TEAM COMPETENCIES FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES
A. LEADERSHIP ABILITIES AND ATTITUDES: taking
initiative, making things happen through the effective action of others.
___Takes initiative to accomplish something, such as identifying
and solving problems, overcoming obstacles, achieving goals, pursuing
opportunities, doing things better.
___Establishes and maintains an organizational culture which
encourages staff to develop their maximum potential.
___Recognizes changes in the economic and political environment
that mandate change in the library.
___Initiates, implements, and manages change.
___Develops original and successful approaches, i.e., is
___Develops a shared vision which builds on the past and
present of public library service and looks to the future.
___Understands and promotes the library's role within the
larger governmental organization.
___Coordinates activities of individuals and groups toward
accomplishment of meaningful goals.
___Ensures that activities are provided to prepare staff for
management functions using appropriate techniques such as coaching, counseling,
and shared responsibility teams.
___Establishes a staff development program.
___Demonstrates respect, confidence, and trust in employees by
allowing them to fulfill responsibilities with little or no intervention.
___Values and respects ideas of others.
___Encourages creativity and supports risk-taking.
___Accepts or shares responsibility as appropriate.
___Uses appropriate leadership and interpersonal styles to
effectively guide individuals and groups toward task accomplishment.
___Creates an environment in which staff are committed to
service concepts and policies and are recognized for accomplishing services and
___Recognizes and uses the attitudes, behavioral styles, and
personal traits of others to build a work team.
___Organizes activities for staff to learn and practice a
variety of group process techniques such as building teams, managing projects,
ABILITIES: Structuring one's own activities and those of others;
coordinating the use of resources to maximize productivity and efficiency.
___Selects the best qualified applicant for the job.
___Evaluates regularly the performance skills, knowledge and
potential of employees based on standards.
___Uses constructive feedback to improve or maintain
___Terminates employees based on objective performance
___Serves as a buffer between those in positions above and
below one's own organizational level.
___Develops and administers personnel policies and procedures.
___Deals with personnel consistently and fairly.
___Interprets local, state and national laws and regulations concerning
personnel, e.g., workers compensation, equal employment opportunity, social
security, retirement plans.
Planning and Budgeting
___Uses appropriate planning techniques.
___Develops and communicates mission, roles, and functions of
___Develops library services appropriate to the community.
___Sets challenging yet achievable goals and objectives.
___Develops and communicates written policies.
___Understands taxing and funding for public libraries.
___Uses cost analysis techniques.
___Prepares a budget to implement the goals and objectives of
___Negotiates and defends budgets with funding authorities.
___Selects appropriate strategies and techniques based on
priorities to meet budget constraints or changes in funding.
___Recognizes the need for change in organizational structure.
___Implements plans and organizational changes.
___Develops strategies, tasks, and schedules to meet goals and
___Sets organizational priorities.
___Selects management structure appropriate to the activity.
___Allocates resources (material, financial, personnel).
___Administers a program within a budget.
___Integrates external policies and administrative regulations,
e.g., A.D.A., civil service.
___Develops contract specifications and monitors contract
___Plans, conducts, and participates in meetings so that the
collective resources of the group members are used efficiently and effectively.
___Committed to meeting performance standards, (such as output,
___Assures that good and timely decisions are made at the
AND SKILLS SPECIFIC TO PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND THEIR ROLE IN SOCIETY: Applying
the technical knowledge and political skills needed to do the job, including
competence in library and information management, familiarity with information
policies and practices, and including political skills for integrating the
library with other appropriate organizations and dealing successfully with
political and governmental officials.
Professional/technical knowledge and abilities
___Is committed to the mission and direction of public library
___Is committed to intellectual freedom.
___Is committed to guaranteeing access to information for all
___Understands the basic technical functions of public
librarianship (i.e., reference service, cataloging, collection development,
___Has basic knowledge of the technologies that have impact on
library operations and services.
___Has knowledge of the historical development and trends in
libraries and can relate this information to present situations and future
___Has knowledge of the history and philosophy of the public
library movement, including the legal basis for and laws and regulations
affecting public libraries.
___Understands the roles and responsibilities of library board
members and develops the board to make effective decisions in policy, planning,
and financial issues.
___Keeps up-to-date with conditions, developments, and future
trends in the library and information field.
___Understands the resources available via state, national and
international library networks.
___Understands and is able to use social science research
methods to support the decision making process.
___Participates in professional activities and associations by
attending meetings, conferences, educational activities, etc., by reading
professional literature, and by being active in state and national professional
___Is committed to own professional growth and development,
i.e., establishes career goals that maximize personal productivity and
fulfillment and build on strengths and minimize weaknesses.
___Lobbies effectively for libraries with national, state, and
___Establishes cooperative working relationships with local government
___Develops and maintains cooperative working relationships
with government officials.
___Prepares the library board for its role in representing the
library and lobbying.
___Negotiates and maintains effective relations with unions.
___Understands accountability to the general public (i.e.,
___Relates library needs and goals to those of funding
officials and agencies.
___Understands various organizational structures, funding and
___Recognizes decision making patterns and authority.
___Negotiates the best possible resources for the library in
any given situation.
___Is committed to public service including a commitment for
the library to share, cooperate, and collaborate with other educational,
cultural, and social agencies serving the community.
___Is committed to planning and implementing library services
based on the needs of people of diverse backgrounds and interests.
___Understands the flow, use, and value of information in society
as a whole and relates the role of libraries to this.
___Recognizes and articulates common interests among diverse
organizations and agencies.
___Recognizes connections for libraries with other
organizations and agencies and capitalizes on them.
___Articulates to staff the need and ways to be involved in the
___Represents the library enthusiastically to the community.
Fund Raising Skills
___Articulates a vision of the library to prospective donors.
___Utilizes fund raising principles and techniques.
___Has effective public relations skills to actively pursue
___Involves staff effectively in fund raising.
___Develops a strategic fund raising plan.
___Uses Friends of the Library effectively in fund raising
___Develops and writes proposals for state, local, federal and
SKILLS/ABILITIES: Processing information effectively to learn new material,
identify and define problems, and make decisions. How a person thinks and
___Recognizes and utilizes own learning and problem solving
___Uses complex and abstract concepts and recognizes subtle
relationships and new patterns in information.
___Anticipates and identifies problems, their possible causes,
and alternative strategies or solutions.
___Works with ambiguous situations.
___Draws accurate conclusions from financial, statistical, and
___Uses mathematical and statistical techniques to manipulate
___Defines parameters of and undertakes risks.
___Organizes systems and functions in a logical manner.
___Makes decisions, on a day-to-day basis, within the framework
of organizational mission, goals, and objectives.
E. INTERPERSONAL ABILITIES: Interacting with others.
___Demonstrates confidence in self and others.
___Uses negotiating techniques appropriate to the situation
(e.g., one-on-one, vendor, union).
___Develops and maintains cooperative working relationships
___Establishes trusting relationships with staff members.
___Has credibility with staff.
___Is supportive of organizational policies.
___Deals with patron satisfaction/dissatisfaction regarding
library services procedures and policies.
___Confronts and manages conflict.
___Informs others of decisions, changes and other relevant
information in a timely fashion.
___Speaks effectively one-to-one, within groups, and in
presentations to groups.
___Uses interviewing techniques.
___Listens effectively, (i.e., demonstrates attention to,
conveys understanding of, and comments or questions others.).
___Writes clearly and effectively.
___Creates or develops an atmosphere which supports open
communication among staff members.
___Is aware of how one's own behavior affects others.
F. PERSONAL TRAITS
___Allocates one's own time efficiently.
___Handles detail effectively and efficiently.
___Is adaptable, (i.e., responds appropriately and confidently
to the demands of work challenges when confronted with changes, ambiguity,
adversity, or other pressures).
___Is change-oriented, (i.e., recognizes the need to change,
initiates and plans change, interacts with change, or reacts to change, as
___Has self control (i.e., is able to remain calm in stressful
___Meets the demands of work while managing physical and
___Is empathetic with ideas and feelings of others.
___Counsels staff to use techniques to lessen the negative
effects of stress.
___Acts independently or accepts direction as appropriate.
___Is committed to high professional and service standards.
___Is committed to ethical standards.
___Is committed to management of libraries and to the library
profession, (i.e., sees work as a central figure of life, seeks self
improvement as needed preparation for career growth, and keeps up-to-date on
principles of library science, management and organizational behavior).
___Has a sense of humor.
___Exhibits optimism, energy and enthusiasm.
Source: Suzanne Mahmoodi and Geraldine King
"Identifying Competencies and Responsibilities of Top Management Teams in
Public Libraries" Minnesota Libraries XXX, no. 1-2 (Autumn-Winter
1991/92), pp. 26-32.