A Competencies Approach to Learning and Development

Competencies are the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary for successful individual job performance and the successful achievement of organizational outcomes.  They provide a common language with which to describe the range of work that happens in public libraries.  The SOLS Competencies Index describes dozens of competencies related to every aspect of public library work organized into five categories:

Most public library staff would have to consult at least three of the categories to develop a comprehensive competencies profile to match all of their responsibilities.  A few sample profiles are available as starting points for the process of developing a profile.  The value of having such a profile is that it provides an excellent overview of the scope of responsibilities assigned to a particular position. This can be very helpful for purposes of recruitment, orientation, and succession planning. 

For purposes of training and development, a competencies profile is helpful but not necessary.  The SOLS Competencies Index can assist greatly in planning for training and development by helping individuals and their managers identify gaps that indicate areas for improvement. Browsing the index offers an excellent opportunity to find language that describes the skills, abilities and knowledge in need of development. Those competencies can then be used to focus training and development efforts, utilising both formal and informal learning strategies to facilitate real and lasting staff development.

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