Competency Evaluation Results: Library Management
Details of the evaluation results are in the attached PDF.
Summary and Analysis
Having defined a representative set of competencies for library management, WebJunction conducted a survey to learn more about how librarians and library staff across the field would rate themselves in this important area of skill and knowledge. Rather than create a lengthy evaluation covering the gamut of competencies, we focused on three selected topics—Budget and Finance, Marketing, and Strategic Planning.
We collected 473 responses from the US, Canada, and 19 other countries. Respondents were fairly evenly distributed between libraries serving small populations (under 5,000) to those serving very large populations (over 100,000). Over 66% of respondents were from public libraries.
Respondents were asked to rate themselves on a number of skills or knowledge questions using the following scale:
- Strong skill: demonstrates knowledge or performs tasks confidently and needs no further training
- Moderate skill: demonstrates knowledge or performs tasks adequately but could use more training or mentoring in certain aspects
- Minimal skill: demonstrates lack of confidence in knowledge and task performance; needs more training
- No skill: not at all familiar with the knowledge or skills
Results from this self-selected, self-evaluating group do not constitute a scientific and objective data set, but the findings are still of interest for determining areas for improvement through learning opportunities. The majority of responses in all three library management topics were in the “moderate skill” range. Responses indicating “strong skill” reached into the 20’s or 30’s percentiles, but none of these ratings constituted a majority on any of the questions. For example, 31.1% of survey takers rated themselves as strong in their level of skill in applying the basic principles of marketing to library services—an encouraging amount of confidence in this skill, but still less than 1/3 of the total. (43.6% fell in the moderate skill level.)
The greatest weakness is indicated in the area of Budget and Finance. The results are somewhat skewed because many management level positions in the library do not entail budgeting responsibilities and there was no ‘does not apply’ choice in this survey. However, when asked to select from the 11 topics covered in the Library Management portion of the Competency Index, 46% chose Budget and Finance as the topic in which they were most interested in improving skills and knowledge.
Some weaknesses that stand out:
|Working with the library board to develop their knowledge of finances and the budget process||
29.8% no skill,
|Conducting financial analysis to identify costs, risks, and alternatives||35.7% minimal,
20.7 % no skill
|Conducting capital campaigns||40.4% no skill,
Here is a selection of the open-ended comments added by a handful of respondents:
“Competency is an ever changing target.” (from mid-size public library in Illinois)
“This evaluation is good because it has made me know that being a Librarian, entails more than sitting down with books. I like it because I want to improve and know other ways I can be a unique, better and real professional Librarian, who will be highly wanted.” (from small academic library in Nigeria)
“...my highest level of confidence was on Strategic Planning and that is because I took a 2 day workshop with Sandra Nelson on "New Planning for Results" A very powerful course.” (from mid-size public library in Iowa)
“There is a real lack of systematic budget and finance training for new public library directors.” (from large public library in Indiana)
“…thanks for the very specific questions on this survey. …This really helped to focus my strengths and weaknesses.” (from mid-size public library in Iowa)
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