Skills needs in the library sector – preliminary findings

We have been working hard over the past few months doing desk research on the skills needs on the labour market in the library sector, running a training needs survey, conducting in-depth interviews, and now we are close to finishing this first work package. So, what is left for us to do and what have we learned so far?

One of the objectives of this initial phase is to map emerging job profiles in the library sector. To achieve this, our VET partners are running best practice interviews with training providers throughout June based on the skills needs we have identified so far. This research will not only help us know, which attitudes are encouraged in these training opportunities but also how we can develop a VET curriculum that is engaging and relevant for library professionals. Our objective with Biblio is to provide an up-to-date and relevant training opportunity for library professionals that will allow them to respond to their changing sector in a timely manner, and knowing what makes a VET course a success is the first step in achieving this.

While we are not done with our research just yet, we have learned a few things already:

  • Many library professionals feel confident in their media, information, and data literacy skills. As we now have access to information at the tip of our fingers, library professionals help us navigate the sea of information in front of us and learn to critically evaluate sources. In a sense, this has become a mission for libraries and library professionals.
  • However, many library professionals do not feel confident when it comes to digital content creation and production and cybersecurity questions. Some of the users interviewed during this research phase expressed difficulties in using technology to solve problems and could see librarians supporting them through these.

It is undeniable that the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for digital skills for all of us including library professionals. Librarians have adapted to these unprecedented circumstances but it is clear that many feel they need support in those areas to better serve their communities and users have new demands for their libraries.

As we wrap up this research phase and deepen our understanding of the skills gap in the library sector as a result of the digital transformation, we are keeping in mind that libraries will be facing a new reality as they re-open post-COVID and will face new challenges to serve their communities. By equipping them with new digital skills and transversal competences, this can be a first step in bridging the skills gap and responding to new realities and demands. 

For a more detailed insight into the skills gap identified through this research phase, keep an eye out for the full training needs report we will be publishing in August!

by Public Libraries 2030

Featured image by fan yang on Unsplash