Competencies for Information Professionals

Janice Lachange, CEO of Special Libraries Association from the United States, gave a talk on what were the key competencies of an information professional needed to have in the 21st century. The talk held on 20 April 2009 at the Li Ka Shing Library, was well attended and jointly hosted by the Special Libraries Section of LAS, the Asian Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, the Li Ka Shing Library of Singapore Management University and the National Library Board.

Janice highlighted the role played by information professionals in finding, sharing and analysing quality information that is relevant to the organization.

I especially liked her formula:

Information skills + Critical thinking = Actionable knowledge

The competencies of an information professional included:

  1. Managing Information Organizations
  2. Managing Information Resources
  3. Managing Information Services
  4. Applying Information Tools and Technologies

She described successful information professionals as flexible, well-grounded in everything, experts in communication, with in-depth understanding of the information needs of their organization.

When asked which competencies were more important, Janice named leadership skills and business skills like budget planning and supervision skills. These skills need to be learnt and built up over time.

Janice talked about how SLA had created and developed Click University to meet its members learning needs in a risk-free environment.

A final piece of advice from Janice is to prioritize the things you need to do everyday and manage your time effectively. This would allow you to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.

Contributed by Yeo Pin Pin