October 16, 2021

ALA Committee on Education Requests Feedback on Newly Revised ALA Core Competences of Librarianship; Last Revision Was Passed in 2009

From the American Library Association

Library professionals are working in environments fueled by rapid advances in technology, social change, funding challenges, and changing user needs. Therefore, the roles, capabilities, and expectations of library professionals are changing as well. The ALA Core Competences (ALACCs) for library professionals must reflect these changes. Today the American Library Association (ALA) Committee on Education (COE) released a discussion draft of newly revised ALACCs (pdf) for library professionals to guide those who hold LIS degrees on basic competences expected within the first several years of graduation.

“The last revision of the ALACCs was passed by ALA Council in 2009, so this revision is much needed for a profession that is leading and implementing many changes within their communities,” says ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr.

The revised ALACCs draft reflects basic knowledge gained through LIS education, job on-boarding, and ongoing professional development early in a library career. It is essential that library professionals working throughout their careers in school, academic, public, special, and governmental libraries be life-long learners to acquire specialized and advanced knowledge beyond those specified in this ALACCs document.

The ALACCs are not intended as a prescriptive document for library school curriculum development but can be used to inform LIS curriculum. Early career library professionals may consider viewing the ALACCs as a list of goals that they should aim to achieve through their LIS education and early years of on-the-job experience. Members of library middle- and upper-management should view the document not as a list of expectations for new hires, but instead as a list of skills that they can support their employees to work toward.

The draft ALACCs document is the first iteration of the ALACCs which intentionally incorporates the concepts of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion both throughout the competences and in a separate competence. Embedding social justice throughout the competences demonstrates that it is not a siloed activity while having a separate social justice competence also recognizes that it contains unique attributes over and above the other competences.

The draft ALACCs document will be vetted, discussed, and further edited based on ALA member feedback throughout the remainder of the 2021 calendar year. Several members of the team that worked on the revised ALACCs will discuss the document and invite input into the draft at the 2021 ALA Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 27th from 1:30-2:30 p.m. CDT. There will also be additional webinars to solicit member feedback, as well as a feedback survey that may be submitted anytime before the end of the calendar year. Dates and times of additional feedback sessions as well as a link to the feedback survey are found on the ALACCs draft document website. The goal is to incorporate the feedback early in 2022 in time for ALA Council to vote on the revised document at Annual 2022.

Direct to ALA’s Core Competences of Librarianship (Revised) (DRAFT)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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