National Library of Latvia study: Librarian training needs and trends 2017-2019

Changes in the librarian profession are influenced by processes such as globalization, digitalisation, continuous change in all areas, new requirements, innovation, rapid growth, changes in communication format, changes in readers’ portraits, changes in the labor market, pandemic, etc. These and other processes affect the necessary competencies of librarians and their continuous improvement. In order for the library to be able to “accept” the above processes and changes, its staff must continuously develop general, professional, digital and other skills.

Along with new trends in society, there is a need for an expanded training offer for librarians in both general and professional development. In order to create an appropriate training offer, it is necessary to identify the training needs of librarians.

In the period from 2017 to 2019, the Competence Development Centre of the National Library of Latvia conducted a survey of participants in non-formal education programs with the aim of obtaining a course evaluation and finding out what topics they would like to study in the future. Analyzing the results of the participants’ answers, the learning needs and the main conclusions were documented.

As shown in Figure 1, in 2017 (N=282), the majority of respondents (67%) answered that they would like to acquire general competencies that include topics such as library promotion and marketing, digitization, educational activities, culture, literature science, applied etiquette, psychology, media literacy, project development, presentation, languages and language applications, etc. 34% of all respondents have admitted that they would like to learn more in depth topics related to the basic functions of a librarian, which include current affairs in the library industry, work with young people, modern library equipment, library management, library information systems ALISE and ALEPH 500, work with documents in libraries, work with the library collections, database, information search, creation of exhibitions and events in the library, methodical work in the library and local history.

In 2018 (N=180), the situation has changed, more than half of the respondents (56%) wanted to learn more topics related to the basic functions of the librarian profession, but less (44%) general competencies.

In 2019 (N=156), the situation has changed again in the opposite direction, the majority of respondents (54%) have answered that they would like to acquire general competencies and the smallest part (46%) would like to acquire professional competencies.

Based on the answers of the respondents:

The main learning needs in general competencies are:
  1. Digitization and digital skills
  2. Psychology
  3. Communication
  4. Languages and language applications
  5. Literature science
The main learning needs in professional competencies are:
  1. Working with databases
  2. Work with young people
  3. Work with the library collection
  4. Information search
  5. Library work

In the age of digital transformation, librarians need to be open to the latest trends in order to be among the best professionals in their field.

More information in the full article (in Latvian):


By Data Media Group

Featured image by Dana Ward on Unsplash