COMPETENCIES FOR
PUBLIC LIBRARY STAFF

PUBLIC SERVICE

All of the services that interface directly with the library’s users come together under the heading of public services. Front line staff anticipate and meet the needs of users in the most visible way. Fully supported by other departments, they work to provide the best possible programs and services to the community.

Customer service is as important in the library as it is in the marketplace. While there are fundamental differences between library services and commercial enterprises, many of the behaviours and expectations of users/customers are universal.  All customers like to be assisted by individuals who are approachable, personable and knowledgeable.

Last updated: August 6, 2015

Competency: Provides assistance to library users in a manner that is warm, welcoming and respectful 

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses every interaction as an opportunity to cultivate a lifelong relationship with the library 
  • Conveys a willingness to help that puts customers at ease
  • Makes every customer feel important and that they have come to the right place
  • Uses a smile, eye contact and body language to communicate focused attention
  • Listens carefully to understand the customer’s request and the context for that request
  • Empathizes with the customer and withholds judgment, regardless of the nature of the request
  • Explains to the customer the steps or process involved in meeting his or her needs
  • Takes personal responsibility for customer satisfaction at the end of every interaction.

Competency: Pro-actively pursues opportunities to assist library users, anticipating needs and exceeding expectations 

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Approaches customers to offer assistance
  • Understands barriers to using the library and tries to assist in ways that minimize the barriers
  • Exceeds customer expectations by going above and beyond
  • Anticipates customers’ needs through observation and conversation with customers
  • Engages in conversation with co-workers in order to better understand library use patterns and customer needs.

Competency: Demonstrates comfort in assisting library users with disabilities and accommodating special needs

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the accessibility principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity
  • Communicates with a person with a disability in a manner that is respectful, helpful and accommodating
  • Promotes and demonstrates the use of accessible technology hardware and software, eg. Zoom Text, CNIB reader, etc.
  • Assists people in using the library's adaptive and assistive technology

Competency: Demonstrates a good working knowledge of the full range of programs and services offered by the library 

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the need to assist customers in navigating the library’s offerings
  • Offers suggestions to customers on programs and services that are relevant to their needs and interests
  • Stays current with new/changing programs and services by reading internal publications and frequently checking the library’s website. 

Competency: Demonstrates comfort in assisting users with the library's public access technology, peripherals, devices and networks

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands how to assist users with the library's public access computers, printers, scanners and photocopiers
  • Explains to users how to connect to the library's wireless network
  • Instructs users in the use of the computer access, reservation, time and print management systems
  • Understands and explains the security restrictions of the public computers and the user's options for saving files
  • Assists users with questions and troubleshooting relating to basic computer functionality, including: use of mouse, keyboard, printing, accessing the internet and downloading and saving files
  • Instructs users on how to access the library's online catalogue and e-resources.

Competency:  Demonstrates comfort in assisting users with personal portable devices

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Instructs users on how to access library resources on their personal devices, including smart phones, tablets, laptops and e-readers
  • Assists people in retrieving data from and storing data to portable devices or to web-based storage options
  • Assists users with connecting personal portable devices to the library's wireless network
  • Assists users with questions and troubleshooting relating to the downloading of e-books, e-audiobooks and videos. 

Competency: Applies effective techniques to address difficult situations with users

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Encourages users to follow library policies; applies good judgment when deviating from official policies and procedures
  • Treats  users' concerns  with respect and empathy
  • Maintains a calm, professional manner in difficult situations and applies effective communication techniques
  • Responds to complaints and problems shared online and in person  in a prompt and professional manner

Access Services keeps materials flowing in a well-regulated manner, striving to make the library’s need to track information on membership and circulation a positive customer experience.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Understands and executes the basic operations of the circulation function

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates general knowledge of the library automation systems and specific knowledge of the operations that apply to circulation procedures
  • Accurately performs circulation procedures for all library materials (check-in, check-out, renew, place holds etc.)
  • Accurately performs procedures for membership records including adding new members, updating records, processing fines and other financial transactions
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the OPAC (online catalog) and uses a variety of tactics to locate items in the collection (via subject heading, author, title, keyword searches, etc.)
  • Understands and follows provincial privacy legislation and  library policies and procedures with respect to user records
  • Keeps current with changes in library technology (eg. RFID), the automation systems and in circulation operations and policies 
  • Accurately performs procedures for shelving, shifting and shelf reading.

Competency: Assists users in making the best use of the library

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Explains and performs intra- and interlibrary loan procedures,  resource sharing, and reserves and other options  for obtaining materials not available in the library
  • Understands and explains service options available to customers, including customers with disabilities e.g., renewing items, checking membership status
  • Understands, explains and adheres to circulation and resource sharing policies and procedures, including copyright issues
  • Is able to appropriately solve problems and issues that arise  in the performance of duties at the circulation desk (fines and fees, lost items, policy issues).

Providing library services to the community is no trivial pursuit, given the diversity of needs and interests to be met.  The ability to serve the needs of older adults and seniors increases in importance as the population ages.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Designs and implements library services to meet the needs and interests of the entire adult community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses a variety of ongoing methods to determine the interests of adults and seniors in the community (obtains demographic data, surveys users and non-users, follows current events, collects input from frontline staff, etc.)
  • Analyzes demographic and other data collected about the community and develops a wide variety of services to meet the needs and interests of target audiences
  • Understands the range of seniors (baby boomers to the elderly) and identifies their particular needs and interests, acknowledging the range of skills, knowledge, strengths and limitations they bring to the library
  • Creates connections with other library departments
  • Identifies potential partners in the community that have compatible goals and objectives to serve adults, and develops cooperative services and programs to extend and enhance library service
  • Identifies and maintains regular communication with agencies, institutions and organizations serving seniors in the community
  • Solicits and considers the opinions and requests of seniors when planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services
  • Aligns all services and programs with library policies and procedures
  • Evaluates all services, using appropriate evaluation strategies (evaluation forms, customer satisfaction surveys, input from frontline staff and other stakeholders, etc.), and uses the results to improve future services.

Competency: Articulates and communicates to stakeholders the needs of seniors to receive quality library service

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Models and promotes a welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental attitude towards seniors
  • Promotes awareness of services to seniors within the library governance structure and lobbies for inclusion in the library’s plans and budget processes.

Competency: Uses Web tools and social networking to engage with and provide services to users

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and articulates the importance of engaging with users in ways that extend beyond the physical library
  • Investigates and evaluates tools, and identifies those most applicable to the library’s services and community needs (blogs, wikis, widgets/toolbars, social networks, other emerging online tools)
  • Demonstrates proficiency with selected tools to provide effective library services based on objectives
  • Explores the potential of new and emerging social networking tools to interact with users and meet their information needs
  • Understands the unique opportunities, norms and limitations of online engagement with users
  • Devises strategies to keep up with emerging tools and techniques, and connects with professional communities to seek and share best practices
  • Assists users with setting up and using Web tools and participating in social networking communities.

Libraries must find new ways to engage the community through programs that support learning, social and community development, creativity and innovation.  Outreach activities and programming are also effective ways of extending the reach of the library and serving non-users, the under-served, and people with special needs.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Manages and advocates for programs and outreach services that advance the Library’s mission

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Aligns programs and outreach services with the library’s goals and objectives and with the identified interests and needs of the community
  • Understands and promotes the value of programming and outreach services as part of library services for adults (educational and social value, cognitive stimulation, reaching under-served, etc.)
  • Determines objectives of adult programs and outreach services (e.g., bringing adults and teens together, improving computer literacy, etc.)
  • Determines budget required to implement programs and outreach and seeks to integrate programs and outreach  into the library’s budget
  • Coordinates with IT and other departments to address technology requirements for programming
  • Promotes the library’s programs and outreach to the community in coordination with marketing efforts
  • Coordinates with collection development efforts in support of programming and outreach
  • Evaluates programs and outreach using appropriate evaluation strategies (evaluation forms, debrief with presenters, input from frontline staff, etc.), and uses results to improve future programming efforts.

Competency: Designs and implements outreach services and library programs for targeted adult groups (seniors, new Canadians, job seekers) that offer information, special skills or entertainment

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Analyzes information about the community in order to identify markets and special interest groups and develops a variety of programs to meet the needs and interests of target audiences
  • Aligns all outreach and programming efforts with the library’s overall goals and objectives
  • Identifies individuals and groups not adequately served (those with disabilities, homebound, institutionalized, remote, non-English speaking, immigrant, low literacy, etc.)
  • Determines the particular needs of each target audience and works with groups to design a variety of programs and services appropriate to them
  • Acknowledges the knowledge and experience of adults and provides opportunities for them to volunteer with the library
  • Explores the various options to deliver library services to remote users (mail, bookmobile, online, multimedia)
  • Designs programs and builds collections and information resources to meet the special language and literacy needs of the community
  • Collaborates with other community groups to meet the literacy needs of target audiences.

Competency: Develops and Delivers engaging adult programs

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Pursues new ideas and experiments in order to create interesting and engaging programs
  • Investigates the options for programs through research, benchmarking with similar organizations, consulting with colleagues, focus groups, etc.
  • Understands traditions and  trends in library programming; tracks developments and potential in areas such as gaming and maker spaces
  • Develops programs to acknowledge and celebrate the cultural diversity of the community
  • Actively involves users in planning, implementing and evaluating programs
  • Identifies program venues outside of the library
  • Identifies opportunities to collaborate with other departments, community organizations and individuals on creating programs.

Readers’ advisory services foster an environment where reading is a valued activity and readers’ advisory staff advocate the importance and joy of reading within the community.  Successfully helping the user to find the next great fiction read or connecting a reader to what interests them in the non-fiction collection involves collection knowledge, readers’ services skills and good conversation.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Assists users with choosing popular and recreational reading, viewing and listening choices

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates a broad knowledge of the library’s collection and materials of interest to library readers
  • Demonstrates knowledge about publishing trends and is on top of the book buzz
  • Reads widely and demonstrates the ability to formulate connections between resources, and converse with users about the resources
  • Understands the theory of appeal, listens carefully to information elicited from the user and bases suggestions on an interpretation of what appeals to the user
  • Communicates succinctly but effectively the character and appeal of a book, both in writing and speaking
  • Identifies and suggests a selection of materials that align with what appeals to the user
  • Uses Web tools (blogs, wikis, social networks) to encourage participation and contributions from readers
  • Seeks feedback from readers on suggested materials and adjusts future suggestions accordingly
  • Treats equally and without bias all requests for readers’ advisory assistance
  • Creates booklists, read-alikes, book-talks, displays and other tools to assist users with finding materials of interest and increase access to library resources
  • Engages with users virtually as well as face-to-faces for readers' advisory interactions
  • Uses social networking sites and tools to spark conversations with community members about titles, authors and reading

Competency: Develops strategies to stay well-informed as a readers’ advisor

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses a variety of online and print readers’ advisory resources to identify materials
  • Maintains a knowledge of major new authors, fiction genres, non-fiction subjects and current releases
  • Participates in conversations with colleagues as a means of exchanging information about reading interests
  • Keeps current with popular culture through a variety of channels
  • Connects with professional communities to seek and share best practices for readers’ advisory.

For more detailed Readers' Advisory competencies, see the core competencies developed by the Ontario Public Library Association's Readers' Advisory committee. The committee has also created a toolkit to support developing the competencies. 

The Library possesses, organizes and provides access to its community's single largest concentration of information resources. Reference services staff take into account information-seeking behaviours and information needs, and provide access in a manner that is most useful to the user.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Facilitates library users’ requests for information

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Practices effective reference interviewing skills, in person or online,  (soliciting additional input, gauging unstated needs, etc.) to best fulfill a user’s actual needs 
  • Addresses users’ requests for assistance with confidentiality and  without bias across the spectrum of age, race, gender, ethnicity, ability or economic status
  • Understands information seeking behaviours, the variety of ways people ask for assistance, and the possibility that patrons won’t ask for assistance
  • Demonstrates strong interpersonal communication skills, including welcoming manner, active listening and non-judgmental response
  • Acknowledges users’ knowledge and involves users as partners in seeking information and choosing resources
  • Answers questions knowledgeably, providing information of an appropriate scope and reading level
  • Identifies opportunities for instruction and empowers users to improve their own information-seeking ability
  • Provides support for users and their self-directed learning endeavours
  • Is comfortable with the concept of roving reference, and has the skills to facilitate this type of service
  • Evaluates the success of the reference interaction through feedback from staff, users and other stakeholders.

Competency: Provides search and retrieval of requested information and presents results that are clear and of appropriate scope

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the reference collection, including both print and online resources
  • Identifies the best kind of resource (print, database, Web) to use to offer assistance
  • Demonstrates the ability to use multiple resources and search strategies in order to perform effective search queries
  • Continues the reference interview process with users to refine the search or topic as appropriate
  • Synthesizes information from a variety of resources and evaluates results for quality and accuracy
  • Customizes the answer to meet the user’s specific needs and characteristics and ensures that the user understands the results
  • Understands the advantages and limitations of federated search
  • Recognizes the limits of library resources and refers users or questions to other libraries, individuals or agencies as appropriate.
  • Uses current technology tools for research and makes exploration of new tools and platforms an ongoing effort

Depending on the size of library, there may be managers or whole departments responsible for the development of patron training programs. No matter where the responsibility resides, patron training and the advancement of information literacy are crucial ways in which the library serves its community.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Provides informal instruction and assistance to build skills of library users

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Perceives needs of users for “just in time” learning and demonstrates readiness to assist at the level of need
  • Identifies and makes available tutorials and other resources for users’ self-paced learning
  • Assists library users with searching the library’s catalog and databases and helps them develop the ability to recognize an information need, meet it and evaluate the results
  • Assists users in accessing and navigating the Internet, understanding common security protocols, locating resources, and downloading and saving files of all types
  • Assists users with Web-based e-mail programs (sign up, create or reply to messages, manage contacts, attach files, identify spam and phishing messages)
  • Demonstrates patience and empathy for learners, and practices active listening.
  • Recognizes a user’s need for formal learning and identifies appropriate opportunities in the library’s class schedule or through other community organizations.

Competency: Develops training programs to build information literacy skills and to meet other educational needs of users

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Defines the objectives of the library’s formal training program
  • Understands the scope and the importance of information literacy (including computer and media literacy) and defines information literacy goals applicable to the library
  • Identifies topics of importance and interest to library users by a variety of ongoing means (benchmarking with similar institutions, surveying users, collecting input from frontline staff, etc.)
  • Defines desired outcomes for individual  training events and builds a curriculum/program to meet those outcomes 
  • Understands and applies basic instructional design principles
  • Establishes a budget for patron training and promotes its value to the library’s  management
  • Identifies opportunities to partner with other departments or organizations to collaborate on training programs
  • Identifies opportunities for combining training for staff and users; understands the advantages and disadvantages of doing so
  • Identifies resources for training (technology, space and trainers) and coordinates with appropriate departments to obtain them
  • Identifies and manages trainers (staff, external, volunteers) and training materials (use external, create new, repurpose existing); manages scheduling of classes
  • Evaluates training programs, using the appropriate evaluation strategies (post-class evaluation forms, debrief with trainers, etc.) and uses results to improve future training content and delivery.

Competency: Delivers formal training to achieve stated outcomes

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Selects the appropriate style and presentation methods for delivery of training, based on an understanding of adult learning principles
  • Prepares the learning environment, including set-up of computer labs
  • Practices effective training techniques (presents ideas clearly, employs interactivity, uses a variety of approaches to accommodate learning styles, actively listens to student input, etc.)
  • Fosters a positive learning atmosphere, one that respects and values diversity
  • Accepts feedback on effectiveness of training and seeks opportunities to improve techniques and behaviour

Through equitable access to library services children develop a love of reading, and become self directed learners. As a result of positive library experiences, children remain library users throughout their lives.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Designs and implements library services to meet the needs and interests of children in the community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Analyzes demographic and other data collected about the community and develops a wide variety of services to meet the needs and interests of children and their families and caregivers
  • Ensures that policies and procedures for children’s services are aligned with federal, provincial and local law and with the library’s policies and procedures
  • Provides services and spaces appropriate to the developmental and experiential learning needs of children
  • Establishes an environment in which children receive courteous service and are encouraged to use the library and participate in library programs
  • Solicits and considers the opinions and requests of children when planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services
  • Collaborates with other departments
  • Partners with organizations in the community that have compatible goals and objectives to serve children, and develops cooperative services and programs to extend and enhance children’s and family programs
  • Identifies and maintains regular communication with agencies, institutions and organizations serving children in the community.

Competency: Articulates and communicates to stakeholders the needs of children to receive quality library service

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Models and promotes a welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental attitude toward children and their families and caregivers
  • Promotes awareness of children’s services to other staff and contributes to their orientation and training in relation to the delivery of those services
  • Promotes awareness of children’s services within the library governance structure and lobbies for inclusion in the library’s plans and budget processes
  • Advocates for the needs of children in overall library planning, including the application of AODA regulations and access to resources and services
  • Designs, implements and evaluates ongoing public relations aimed at reaching the full diversity of children, their families, and caregivers in the community.

Competency: Defines and implements outreach services to increase children’s and families’ use of library services and to reach under-served populations

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Identifies children (individuals and groups) under-served or not yet served (those with disabilities, home-schooled, institutionalized, remote, non-English speaking, low literacy, etc.)
  • Determines the particular needs of each target audience, designs a variety of programs and services to match their needs, and promotes them with targeted marketing.

Competency: Works with parents, caregivers and other adults who serve children

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands the importance of informing and coordinating with a variety of community members who work with children (parents, educators, daycare providers, etc.)
  • Builds and updates knowledge of available library and community resources that may serve the needs of children, families and caregivers
  • Identifies the need to educate adults who care for children and offers a variety of resources to help them provide improved care and guidance.
  • Competency: Uses Web tools and social networking communities to engage children and support age-appropriate digital literacy
  • Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Understands and articulates the importance of introducing children to age-appropriate online tools and environments
  • Investigates Web tools and social networking communities oriented toward children, and evaluates them for their potential to enhance learning and meet the information needs of children
  • Understands the unique opportunities, norms, risks and limitations of online engagement for children, and establishes guidelines for the use of social networking tools appropriate to the library setting and to the age group
  • Assists children in accessing children’s digital resources
  • Helps children, parents and caregivers navigate new technology and identify trustworthy online resources
  • Establishes effective measures to manage Internet and other electronic resources for children.

Competency: Facilitates children’s requests for information and provides accurate and appropriate answers

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and practices effective reference interviewing skills particular to soliciting actual and unstated needs and protecting the confidentiality of children
  • Addresses the information needs of children without bias across the spectrum of age, race, gender, ethnicity, ability or economic status; responds to questions regardless of their nature
  • Understands information seeking behaviours of children, that they may not ask for assistance and the variety of ways they may ask for assistance
  • Identifies opportunities for instruction and empowers children to improve their own information-seeking skills.

Competency: Connects children and their families and caregivers with resources that encourage reading

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Creates booklists, read-alikes, read-arounds, book-talks, displays, electronic documents and other special tools to appeal to children
  • Identifies and uses a variety of online and print children’s readers’ advisory resources to identify materials
  • Maintains a knowledge of major new authors, fiction genres, nonfiction subjects and current releases, including media and genres of particular interest to children (magazines, manga, graphic novels, AV, etc.)
  • Seeks input from children, families and caregivers to inform future reading recommendations
  • Collaborates with families, schools and other community groups to promote reading and literacy to children
  • Understands the theories of reading development for children (including early and emergent literacy) and the reading curriculum used by community schools.

Competency: Designs, implements and sponsors library programs that offer information, special skills or entertainment for children and their families and caregivers

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses a variety of methods to determine the interests and needs of children, families, caregivers and others who work with children in the community (obtains demographic data, surveys users and non-users; follows news and entertainment sources; collects input from frontline staff and community organizations that work with children, etc.)
  • Designs a variety of programs appropriate to the identified interests and developmental needs of children, recognizing the breadth of needs from very early childhood to tweens
  • Demonstrates creativity, openness to new ideas, and knowledge of a variety of tools and techniques
  • Identifies program venues outside of the library that appeal to children
  • Evaluates all programs, soliciting feedback from children and families, and uses those results to improve programs for children
  • Understands traditions and trends in library programming for children; tracks developments and potential in areas such as gaming and maker spaces.

Competency: Delivers children’s programs to achieve stated outcomes

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands how to format an engaging program
  • Maintains a repertoire of traditional and contemporary songs, rhymes and finger plays for use in story time
  • Demonstrates comfort and enthusiasm in delivering programs for children of all ages
  • Understands early literacy skills and incorporates actives into programs which support early literacy skills development
  • Understands how to make programs accessible and inclusive to children with special needs
  • Demonstrates skills for handling and redirecting disruptive behaviour of children and caregivers in a positive manner

Quality library service to young adults is provided by staff who understand and respect the unique informational, educational and recreational needs and interests of teenagers. Equal access to information, services and materials is recognized as a right not a privilege. Young adults need to be actively involved in the library decision-making process in order to develop relevant services and future leaders.Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Designs and implements library services to meet the needs and interests of the young adult community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Analyses demographic and other data collected about the community and develops a wide variety of services to meet the needs and interests of young adults
  • Ensures that policies and procedures for young adult services are aligned with federal, provincial and local law and with the library’s general policies and procedures
  • Provides services and spaces appropriate to the developmental needs and preferences of young adults
  • Establishes an environment in which young adults receive courteous service, are encouraged to use the library individually or in groups and to participate in library programs
  • Leads the teen advisory group to tangible outcomes through planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services

Collaborates with other departments

Partners with organizations in the community that have compatible goals and objectives to serve young adults, and develops cooperative services and programs to extend and enhance young adult programs.

Competency: Articulates and communicates to stakeholders the needs of young adults to receive quality library service

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Promotes awareness of young adult services to other staff members and contributes to their orientation and training in relation to the delivery of young adult services
  • Promotes awareness of young adult services within the library governance structure and lobbies for inclusion in the library’s plans and budget processes
  • Advocates for the needs of young adults in overall library planning, including the application of AODA regulations and the access to resources and services
  • Designs, implements and evaluates (with teen involvement) ongoing public relations aimed at the full diversity of young adults.

Competency: Defines and implements outreach services to increase young adults’ use of library services and to reach underserved populations

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Identifies young adult individuals and groups under-served or not yet served (those with disabilities, home-schooled, institutionalised, remote, non-English speaking, low literacy, etc.)
  • Determines the particular needs of each target audience, designs a variety of programs and services appropriate to them, and promotes them with targeted marketing.

Competency: Uses Web tools and social networking communities to engage with and provide services to young adults

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and articulates the particular importance of engaging with young adults in ways that extend beyond the physical library
  • Possesses extensive knowledge of social networking and uses it to engage with and provide service to young adults
  • Involves young adults in the investigation and evaluation of tools to identify those most applicable to the library’s young adult services (blogs, wikis, widgets/toolbars, social networks, other emerging online tools)
  • Explores the potential of new and emerging social networking to connect and interact with young adults and meet their information needs
  • Understands the unique opportunities, norms, risks and limitations of online engagement with young adults, and establishes guidelines for the use of social networking tools appropriate to the library setting
  • Assists young adults with setting up and using age appropriate Web tools and participating in social networking communities.

Competency: Facilitates young adults’ requests for information and provides accurate and appropriate answers

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and practices effective reference interviewing skills particular to soliciting actual and unstated needs and protecting the confidentiality of young adults
  • Addresses the needs of young adults without bias across the spectrum of age, race, gender, ethnicity, ability or economic status; responds to questions regardless of their nature
  • Understands information seeking behaviours of young adults, their reluctance to ask for assistance and the variety of ways they may ask for assistance
  • Identifies opportunities for instruction and empowers young adults to improve their own information-seeking skills
  • Protects the rights of young adults to access the Internet and electronic resources.

Competency: Connects young adults and their families with resources that encourage reading

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Creates booklists, read-alikes, read-arounds, book-talks, displays, electronic documents and other special tools to appeal to young adults
  • Identifies and uses a variety of online and print young adult readers’ advisory resources to identify materials
  • Maintains an ongoing knowledge of major new authors, fiction genres, nonfiction subjects and current releases, including media and genres of particular interest to young adults (magazines, manga, AV, etc.)
  • Seeks input from young adults to inform future reading recommendations
  • Collaborates with families, schools and other community groups to promote reading and literacy to young adults
  • Understands the theories of reading development for young adults and the reading curriculum used by community schools.

Competency: Designs and implements library programs that offer information, special skills or entertainment for young adults

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses a variety of methods to determine the interests and developmental needs of young adults in the community (obtains demographic data, surveys users and non-users, follows news and entertainment sources, collects input from frontline staff and community organizations that work with young adults, etc.)
  • Involves teens in planning, implementing and evaluating programs
  • Designs a wide variety of programs appropriate to the identified interests and developmental needs of young adults
  • Designs opportunities for young adults to build their technology skills and create digital projects
  • Demonstrates creativity, openness to new ideas, and knowledge of a variety of tools and techniques
  • Understands traditions and trends in library programming for young adults; tracks developments and potential in areas such as gaming and maker spaces
  • Identifies program venues outside of the library that have young adult appeal
  • Evaluates all programs and uses those results to improve future programs for young adults.

Competency: Delivers young adult programs to achieve stated outcomes

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates comfort and enthusiasm when leading activities with young adults
  • Influences group dynamics in programs and meetings with young adults
  • Understands how to make programs accessible to young adults with special needs
  • Fosters a positive atmosphere, one that respects and values diversity
  • Creates opportunities for youth leadership
  • Selects the appropriate style of program delivery based on an understanding of the audience
  • Leads the young adult advisory group to tangible outcomes

Contact Us

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