COMPETENCIES FOR
PUBLIC LIBRARY STAFF

COLLECTION MANAGEMENT

Public library collections are a fundamental service, and as such, require a commitment of time and expertise in managing all aspects of collections work. From selection to cataloguing, from marketing to technical services, from displays to discovery, all the facets of managing a library’s collections are included in this skill set.

A library's collection of materials is never static. New resources arrive continually; formats expand, community needs and tastes change; obsolete materials must be purged. All the decisions regarding selection, de-selection, and re-ordering are deliberated, backed by thoughtful and coherent policy.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency: Builds and maintains a collection of resources in many formats based on a determination of the entire community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Strives to build a collection that is diverse, current and relevant
  • Seeks to support the Board’s strategic objectives by prioritizing relevant collection areas
  • Demonstrates broad knowledge of authors, literature and publishers
  • Consults a wide variety of sources and connects with other professionals to stay informed about new materials, resources and technologies, and their potential to deliver improved services or reach new target audiences
  • Pursues a variety of information sources, including popular media and social media, to keep current on topics relevant to library users
  • Assesses and responds to the community's changing needs and interests to inform the ongoing development of the collection
  • Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of the library’s collection (subject ranges, age, size, level, strengths and shortcomings) and applies the knowledge to the decision-making process
  • Conducts surveys that yield quantifiable results in order to make selection decisions
  • Manages and integrates a variety of collections in an array of formats, including collections of periodicals, government documents, and AV
  • Seeks to reflect the demographics of the community, including items that promote cross-cultural understanding and resources to assist with newcomer settlement
  • Understands the different requirements and interests of various groups such as young adults, children, those with special needs  and selects appropriate resources for those groups
  • Connects with teens and those who work with teens to stay informed about new materials and technologies
  • Connects with children, families and others who work with children to stay informed about new materials and technologies.

Competency:  Builds and maintains a collection of reference resources to meet community needs

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the reference collection, encompassing print and electronic, and in-house as well as applicable external sources
  • Understands the various reference needs of adults, children, YA and other groups, and collects appropriate resources for those groups
  • Provides a variety of readily accessible reference resources that meet identified community needs
  • Prepares bibliographies and other user guides to resources in a variety of formats, and creates tutorials to help users navigate information sources
  • Compiles and maintains information about community resources appropriate to users’ needs and in conjunction with the library’s strategic plan.

Competency:  Establishes and applies selection and evaluation criteria to build a collection of high quality, popular and relevant resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Understands the acquisition and collection development processes and policies for the library
  • Identifies and applies objective standards to evaluate the content of resources for accuracy and authority, and identifies any bias or point of view
  • Selects and evaluates resources to assure their quality, pertinence, authenticity and inclusiveness
  • Follows trends in traditional and digital publishing and gathers best practices
  • Consults a variety of review sources, in combination with informed judgment and knowledge of the community, to evaluate materials
  • Identifies and evaluates a variety of sources for materials, including commercial and non-commercial.

Competency:  Establishes collection development policies and procedures

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Evaluates, recommends and applies policies and procedures for identifying and selecting library materials for all audiences and in all formats
  • Ensures that collection policies are consistent with the mission and broader policies of the library and the Canadian Library Association Code of Ethics, the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and the Canadian Library Association’s Position Paper on Intellectual Freedom
  • Develops policies and procedures for handling challenges to library materials
  • Develops policies for weeding the collection, handling donations and gifts, and disposing of obsolete materials
  • Understands and uses a weeding guideline to ensure popular and attractive collections
  • Evaluates purged items, and makes decisions regarding replacement
  • Establishes and maintains a weeding cycle for the entire collection
  • In collaboration with staff, targets specific areas of the collection for weeding and/or renewal.

In order to keep the collection vibrant, current, and attractive, it is important to evaluate the collection, in part or in whole, on an ongoing basis.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency: Performs ongoing evaluation of the collections

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and uses sampling methodologies to ensure accurate evaluation
  • Produces and analyzes data regarding age, use, and make-up of the collection
  • Defines criteria and establishes procedures to evaluate library materials for retention, replacement, duplication or de-selection
  • Routinely evaluates the collection against benchmarks or standards established by the library
  • Uses both quantitative and qualitative values when evaluating the collection as a whole or in part
  • Identifies items in need of repair and evaluates the cost effectiveness of repair, replacement and/or withdrawal
  • Works collaboratively with public service staff to identify collection weaknesses or gaps
  • Periodically assesses the collections size, age, use and relevance to the community, and strategizes methods to optimize the collection’s utility
  • Performs ongoing evaluation of the currency and usefulness of the reference collection and acquires or deselects materials accordingly.

Competencies listed here include those traditionally classified as Technical Services. Those who work in Technical Services are involved in the full life cycle of resources from their creation or acquisition through their destruction. This cycle includes organizing, cataloguing, dissemination and preservation.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency: Establishes procedures and resources to support the acquisition of library materials

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the acquisition and collection development processes and policies for the library
  • Develops an awareness of the library’s collections as a whole that supports collection development decisions
  • Evaluates data, including circulation statistics and requests, to determine the allotment of funds and to prioritise requests for formats and subject areas
  • Knows how to determine the availability of electronic resources through Provincial contracts or through regional consortia.

Competency: Manages the processes by which library materials are ordered, received and tracked

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Establishes procedures for ordering and handling all library resources for expedient availability to library users
  • Analyzes jobber performance and participates in decisions regarding purchasing sources
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with jobbers and other sources of materials
  • Understands and manages the differing cycles of ordering, delivery, and tracking for collections such as periodicals, government documents, etc.
  • Establishes appropriate and consistent procedures for the physical processing of library materials; understands the marketing value of proper preparation of library materials
  • Understands how publishers, vendors and other sources involved in the purchasing process affect the quality, costs and efficiencies of the end result
  • Develops strategies for keeping up with changes in publishers, vendors and other sources for purchasing library materials
  • Establishes procedures for acquiring a variety of materials (serials, periodicals, audiovisual materials, electronic media, government documents, gift materials and other formats)
  • Develops strategies and guidelines for selecting various formats
  • Assesses the most efficient, cost-effective and customer-centered means to acquire requested materials
  • Identifies and implements new technologies in processing and acquisitions
  • Establishes procedures for tracking materials and for negotiating resolutions for returns, incorrect orders, items not received and price discrepancies.

Competency: Executes the processes by which library materials are ordered, received and tracked

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Follows established procedures for ordering and handling all library resources for expedient availability to library users
  • Identifies problems with vendors or with processes, and suggests improvements
  • Executes established procedures for the physical processing of library materials; understands the marketing value of proper preparation of library materials
  • Follows established procedures for acquiring a variety of materials (serials, periodicals, audiovisual materials, electronic media, government documents, gift materials and other formats)
  • Executes strategies and guidelines for selecting various formats
  • Identifies and implements new technologies in processing
  • Follows established procedures for tracking materials and for negotiating resolutions for returns, incorrect orders, items not received and price discrepancies
  • Understands all established procedures, problem-solves issues and suggests improvements.

Competency: Manages the expenditures and accounting for acquisitions

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Manages the allocation of the materials budget and negotiates the purchase and licensing of materials
  • Maintains accurate budgets and accounts, including encumbered funds as well as expended funds
  • Demonstrates proficiency with software programs appropriate for managing acquisitions accounts
  • Leverages partnerships with other libraries or organizations for discounted or cooperative purchasing options.

Competency: Executes the functions associated with tracking the expenditures and accounting for acquisitions

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Following established procedures, allocates the materials budget and negotiates the purchase and licensing of materials
  • Maintains accurate budgets and accounts, including encumbered funds as well as expended funds
  • Demonstrates proficiency with software programs appropriate for managing acquisitions accounts.

Competency: Establishes and implements appropriate techniques for the preservation and conservation of library materials

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands preservation and conservation issues, including requirements for archival preservation, format refresh and migration and proper handling of materials
  • Identifies and applies appropriate methods and techniques for storage and conservation of all library materials, including archival storage of digital content
  • Applies timely and effective techniques for the repair and preservation of library materials in all formats
  • Identifies environmental factors that impact the condition of library materials and provides guidelines for addressing these factors
  • Understands and adheres to library policies for disaster preparedness and recovery of library materials, including digital materials

While the cataloguing standard is now under review, it can be argued that organization of the collection is still of the utmost importance. A comprehensive, logical organizational system will enhance browsing and aid in reader’s discovery.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency: Catalogues all types of library materials according to relevant bibliographic control standards

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the general structure, relationships and relative importance of library Catalogue systems and software (RDA,OCLC, Library of Congress, RLIN, Dewey, Library of Congress Subject Heading, AACR2, MARC, Dublin Core, crosswalks and thesauri)
  • Applies relevant national and international bibliographic control standards (RDA,AACR2, MARC, Dublin Core etc.) to organize materials and resources at a level appropriate for the library and the materials
  • Understands and uses the Cataloguing functions of integrated library systems
  • Understands and performs copy or original cataloguing as needed, providing descriptive cataloguing, classification and subject analysis appropriate to the content
  • Maintains authority control and provides appropriate references in the library’s Catalogue
  • Applies in-depth knowledge of cataloguing standards to assess bibliographic records for accuracy and completeness
  • Selects appropriate subject headings and call numbers for accurate identification and placement within the collection; understands the broader context (national and international) in which collections function
  • Uses cataloguing tools and services available from bibliographic utilities; assesses and learns new tools promoted by bibliographic utilities.

Competency: Manages the Catalog to ensure that library users have optimal access to the collection

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Establishes cataloguing standards and procedures
  • Amplifies the core purpose of the Catalogue to provide library users with the best possible access to the collection
  • Updates the catalogue to reflect accurate bibliographic holdings and item information
  • Pursues knowledge of current library trends and innovations; identifies how they may impact bibliographic control and resource management and how they may be adopted to advantage
  • Identifies and learns new tools and technical skills that will improve cataloguing productivity and enhance access to library resources (e.g. federated search, tag clouds)
  • Articulates the need for and works to provide bibliographic links in the Catalogue to electronic and other remote resources (see also: E-Resources Management competencies)
  • In a consortium environment, contributes to and adheres to the shared standards for cataloguing.

Competency: Ensures collection value and integrity

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Conducts inventories of library materials, analyzes usage and maintains appropriate records in support of maintenance procedures
  • Creates and maintains collection profiles
  • Understands the challenges and benefits of floating collections
  • Manages gifts to the collection, including relations with donors, appraisals of value, record-keeping and arrangements for long term stewardship
  • Recognizes items of true historic value and recommends their preservation and conservation for this library or for another collection.
  • Identifies items in need of repair and evaluates the cost effectiveness of repair, replacement and/or withdrawal

Competency: Develops and manages the library’s collections of electronic resources and provides distributed access to them

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the concepts behind e-resource management systems and maintains awareness of available products
  • Selects, organizes and maintains the library’s collection of e-resources and manages the library’s subscriptions and/or purchases of e-resources (content coverage, usage rights, licenses, usage statistics, etc.)
  • Interprets usage data for electronic journal and database subscriptions and recommends adjustments to allocation of resources or renegotiation of license agreements
  • Evaluates, configures and maintains an OpenURL service for linking online resources to identifying services (A & I databases, Catalogues, etc.)
  • Evaluates, implements and maintains metasearch tools for streamlined access to library resources
  • Understands and implements options for authenticated access to e-resources appropriate for the parent institution
  • Evaluates e-resource expenditures, assessing the relative merit of e-vendor options (including cloud hosting) in terms of integration with the ILS and alignment with the librry's mission
  • Evaluates, configures and maintains services for restricting access to e-resources applicable within the institutional context (e.g., proxy service, single sign-on, Shibboleth, etc.).
  • Understands popular e-reader technologies and formats (e.g.kindle, ePub, audiobooks in .mp3, WMA, etc.)
  • Teaches staff how to access e-books from catalogue or shared publisher platforms across devices: e-readers, tablets, mobile phones, laptops and in library labs or on public access computers

Competency: Researches and designs systems and services to provide optimal access to resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Organizes and effectively displays information so that it is meaningful and accessible to users
  • Determines and provides the appropriate mix of technologies, formats and delivery channels to meet the needs of a variety of users
  • Identifies any factors that impede the use of resources and communicates with the information resource designers about usability improvements
  • Collaborates with IT and other departments, acting as a user advocate, to develop, implement and evaluate new systems and services that better meet users' needs
  • Recognizes the special information access needs of user groups (those with disabilities, those with English as a second language, immigrants, etc.), and provides them with the best possible access appropriate to the library
  • Researches and assesses emerging technologies for improved delivery of information resources
  • Identifies opportunities to cooperate with other libraries, departments or community organizations to share information resources

The vast majority of readers browse to discover their next read. It is also well documented that the majority of readers are a bit intimidated by the sheer size and volume of library collections. With this in mind, it makes good sense to devote some time and energy to assist readers in their discovery, by guiding them to materials of interest to them.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency:  Maximizes the appeal of the collection through displays and finding aids

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Understands the psychology of shopping and browsing, and accommodates these preferences in creating displays and browsing collections
  • Creates a dynamic rotation of appealing displays and tracks their popularity and use
  • Provides read-alike lists and suggestions for reading customers
  • Creates and uses QR codes and shelf-talkers to link read-alikes and to assist with discovery
  • Maintains well-stocked browsing collections for the convenience of customers
  • In collaboration with staff, identifies website enhancements for the use of readers (new book kiosk, My list, etc.).

Competency:  Engages readers to discuss books and reading

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses social media to market titles, genres, and read-alikes
  • Participates in or endorses community reading programs, Canada Reads, etc.
  • Initiates dialogue with readers about their interests, likes and dislikes.

With so many of a library’s resources in digital format, there is a host of new skills and knowledge involved in creating or selecting, organizing, managing and providing access to these digital resources. It’s an interdepartmental effort within the library, crossing divisions between cataloging, preservation, systems and technology.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency: Selects, organizes and maintains the library's collection of digital resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Establishes standards and best practies to assure effective organization, access, preservation and delivery of digital content
  • Understands and applies appropriate metadata schemas (descriptive, administrative, technical, rights, etc.) and the standards for expressing and storing these data
  • Demonstrates knowlege of multimedia file formats, of tools and processes available for digital file format conversion, and the relative support afforded these formats through Web browsers on various platforms
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of best practices, industry standards and services for digitizing various media (text, image, audio, video)
  • Defines and implements policies related to digital holdings, including collection, digital preservation, rights management, emergency plans, etc.
  • Works collaboratively with enterprise systems, Web services, e-resource management and interface services personnel

Competency: Maintains the technology required for the library’s collection of digital resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Defines, selects and manages a digital asset management infrastructure that supports access to the digital content
  • Establishes standards and best practices to assure effective retrieval of digital content
  • Understands and applies appropriate metadata schemas (descriptive, administrative, technical, rights, etc.) and the standards for expressing and storing these data
  • Demonstrates knowledge of multimedia file formats and of tools and processes available for digital file format conversion
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of best practices for digitizing various media (text, image, audio, video)
  • Defines and implements policies related to digital holdings, including collection, digital preservation, rights management, emergency plans, etc.
  • Works collaboratively with enterprise systems, web services, e-resource management and interface services personnel
  • Takes into account the impact of technology decisions on users, when serving a public with wide range of technology skills and familiarity with technology.

Competencies: Demonstrates working knowledge of programming languages applicable to digital resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates working knowledge of XML, XSLT, XML Schema
  • Deploys XML-based Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in integrating systems and services
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of web-based publishing tools and coding (see also: Web Design & Development competencies)
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of Unix, relational database systems, METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) and OAI (Open Archives Initiatives)
  • Performs system monitoring, testing and debugging.
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of Semantic Web concepts (e.g. Linked Data)
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of at least one utility scripting language for processing textual data and managing system resources (e.g. Bash scripts, python, ruby or PERL)

Competency: Develops and manages interface services to provide integrated access to the library’s resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Pursues the integration of discovery and delivery interface systems with the ILS and other sources of bibliographic metadata and digital resources
  • Evaluates and implements federated search tools for streamlined access to library resources
  • Understands the principles of usability and the protocols for user testing; develops and maintains a robust practice of user testing on all interfaces, including mobile technologies and platforms (laptops, tablets, phones and other emerging technologies)
  • Pursues the integration of library resources other systems in use in the information space, including institutional websites, course management systems or geographic/geospatial information systems
  • Experiments with new tools for the delivery of library resources and services to users regardless of location and preferred platform
  • Demonstrates working knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization) best practices
  • Defines and implements policies for resource delivery, authentication and identity management, working collaboratively within the organization and its partnerships

Competency: Pursues efforts to sustain and improve the digital resource systems and services

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Prepares the budget for support of digital resource technologies in alignment with the library’s overall budget
  • Generates objective data for the evaluation of and ongoing redesign of user interfaces
  • Investigates, evaluates and keeps abreast of new developments in digital library systems and services (repository software, metadata management, harvesting protocols, hosted services, etc.)
  • Understand the process of improving the visibility of a library's resources through search engine optimization
  • Investigates and evaluates new developments in discovery interface systems in alignment with user behavior and expectations.

 

 

 

 

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For questions about the compentencies index, please contact Anne Marie Madziak, Service Development Director