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Technology Competencies and Training for Libraries

LTR.43.2.cvr.jpg Library Technology Reports 43:2 (Mar/Apr 2007)

"Competencies are the abilities, qualities, strengths, and skills required for the success of the employee and the organization."

Sarah Houghton-Jan, the author of the second issue of Library Technology Reports in 2007, tackles technology competencies for librarians in the Information Age. "A few years ago," she notes, "I found myself wanting a work like this to exist. Because it did not, I figured I might as well consolidate all the information about library technology competencies in one place so that others could benefit from my hunting and gathering."

In her report, Houghton-Jan provides useful technology-training practices, including:

  • how to use descriptions of technology competencies so they will enhance your staff members' technology knowledge, improve their self-confidence and individual morale levels, help staff provide better service, and transform your library into an institution that continously promotes lifetime learning for every staff member;
  • a look at the purpose and background of describing competencies;
  • a review of the process of creating descriptions and a look at various types and structures of lists of competencies as well as sample competencies; and
  • the implementation process, including assessment and best practices for technology training.

"This work," summarizes Houghton-Jan, "is an attempt to fill the gap in knowledge about documenting technology competencies with overall guiding principles, examples of successful projects, and project-management guidelines for those embarking upon such a project in their libraries."

About the Author
Sarah Houghton-Jan received her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MA in Irish Literature from Washington State University. A member of Beta Phi Mu, she has worked in libraries for a decade as a page, reference assistant, reference librarian, e-services librarian, technology trainer, and technology manager.

Sarah is currently the Information and Web Services Manager for the San Mateo County Library in Northern California. She also works as a consultant technology instructor for the Infopeople Project, serves on LITA's Top Technology Trends Committee, is a member of the California Library Association's Assembly, and the past President of CLA's Information Technology Section. In her time as the IT Section President, she led the task force that developed the Association's Technology Core Competencies for Library Workers, building on her previous experience creating competencies for individual libraries.

Sarah is also the author of the blog