According to the American Library Association, the “Core Competencies of Librarianship define the knowledge to be possessed by all persons graduating from ALA-accredited master’s programs in library and information studies” (Core Competencies 2009). A combination of research, application, and personal experiences have, I believe, rendered me an information professional who demonstrates competency in several areas of librarianship, but especially the following six.
Competence 1 – ALA Competency Area 2: Information Resources
Competency in this area is demonstrated through understanding of concepts and issues that relate to information resources, management and maintenance of collections, along with the ability to obtain useful information through evaluation, selection, etc. This area of competency is demonstrated in this Collection Development Showcase. Each area of the project follows the guidelines set in place by ALA; the project is meant to improve the chosen collection. Not only have I completed the Development and Management of Collections Project, but I am also working to apply this area of competency in my Practicum as Teen Specialist at Columbus-Lowndes Public Library through addition of new materials and removal of old, irrelevant, or damaged materials. I believe that this competency is extremely important to libraries and librarians, as collection maintenance is vital to the survival of the library.
Competence 2 – ALA Competency Area 5: Reference and User Services
Competency in this area is indicated through the knowledge and demonstration of reference and user services that include the ability to interact with anyone who requires assistance in information seeking, the ability to reach specific groups, and the ability to diversify based upon the needs of the user.
This Government Sources Pathfinder Showcase demonstrates mastery of this competency. In my experience, patrons of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library who are searching for jobs are also very frequently affected by the Digital Divide. My understanding of the needs of the users of my library are reflected in the creation and design of the pathfinder. The pathfinder is catered specifically to the needs of those patrons who need assistance with computer use, job searches, or both. I believe that such focus on understanding and subsequently responding to the needs of the patrons reflects mastery in this area.
Competence 3 – YALSA Competency Area II. Knowledge of Client Group
In order to demonstrate competence in this area, there must be evidence of the information professional’s ability to demonstrate an understanding of the educational, entertainment, and developmental needs of teens and young adults, knowledge of topics and areas of interest to teens and young adults, and understand various areas of diversity, including race, religion, etc. I believe that the showcase of my practicum as Teen Specialist demonstrates knowledge of the client group. The practicum objectives follow the guidelines listed by ALA, and focus on providing users of the Teen Collection at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library with the best collection, outreach, and programming possible. The research that I have done for programming and collection development combined with the actual work I have done for the teens reflects my understanding of their educational, developmental, and recreational needs and what they want out of programming and the collection. Using this research and knowledge has allowed me to adapt the collection and programming to fit the needs of the patrons, which I believe is a demonstration of mastery of this area of competency.
Competence 4 – YALSA Competency Area V. Knowledge of Materials
Demonstrating competency in this area requires an information professional to develop a collection that meets the various needs of teens and young adults, to be familiar with teen and young adult literature, and act as a resource for teens, young adults, and parents in order to assist them with their information needs. This competency is very clearly reflected in the Collection Development Showcase. The project provides an in depth analysis of the current state of the collection, along with rationalization for changes to be made to the collection. Analysis of the collection includes location, content, analysis of the community, and an evaluation of current materials. The rationalization for changes to be made to the collection focuses on problems within the collection. Both the analysis and rationalization for change demonstrates a knowledge of not only the materials present within the collection, but also a knowledge of materials that would be beneficial to the collection if they were added.
Competence 5 – YALSA Competency Area VII. Services
In order to demonstrate competency in area VII, one must create programming based on the library’s guidelines and the needs of the teens and young adults, understand and be knowledgeable of pop-culture and trends among teens and young adults, create an environment where teens and young adults are comfortable and where their needs are met, assist with the information needs of teens, and teach them basic research skills. The showcase of my practicum demonstrates my mastery of this area of competency. My practicum project specifically focuses on teen services, as I am serving in the capacity of Teen Specialist. The work I am doing to create quality programming, provide educational and recreational materials, and connect with teens falls under the heading of Teen Services. I believe that the programming I have created, combined with new materials that have been added and the outreach efforts all demonstrate mastery of the Teen Services area of competency.
Competence 6 – ALA Competency Area 8: Administration and Management
Competency in this area is established through developing a library’s human resources, being able to effectively manage personnel, understanding and application of library services, and the ability to negotiate partnerships, collaborations, etc. The showcase of the Management of Information Organizations final project demonstrates mastery of this area as it examines different techniques of management. It also provides effective personnel practices and assesses and evaluates the organization, while offering suggestions for potential improvement. The project also addresses partnerships and collaborations maintained by the organization. The ability to break down an organization and view it through different lenses, and then to combine the lenses to provide an analysis of the organization and suggestion for improvement shows mastery of this area of competency.