Public Libraries : A Necessary Competency For Library Leaders

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Jantti, M., & Greenhalgh, N. (2012). Leadership Abstract For the past decade, public libraries have faced significant disruption. An economic shift from a post-industrial to a knowledge/sharing economy combined with the accelerated pace of technology has left many people questioning the relevance of public libraries. At the same time, public libraries are trying to determine where they fit in this brave new landscape and how they can remain relevant to the communities they serve. Many in the profession are calling for librarians to re-examine the skills needed to successfully navigate the new terrain, and a considerable amount of scholarship has gone into developing new competencies for leadership. This paper asserts that project…show more content…
As it happens, many of these same libraries – which continue to stretch and adapt to the new landscape – are finding financial support dwindling, contractions in the level of staffing, a graying demographic, and budgets expected to stretch to impossible lengths. As the profession looks to find its way forward, it is trying to determine what new skills the leaders will need to not only keep libraries relevant, but have them thrive once again. As part of this discussion, a number of papers have been written on leadership competencies, and the Library Leadership Administration and Management Association (LLAMA) of the American Library Association (ALA), made identifying these competencies part of its strategic plan in 2008. (Ammons-Stephens et al, 2009, p. 63) What is a competency? Ammons-Stephens et al (2009) describe it as thus: “Competencies … relate to the behaviors underpinning successful performance; what it is people do in order to meet their objectives; how they go about achieving the required outcomes; what enables their competent performance.” (p. 63) Four “meta-competencies” were identified by LLAMA: “… cognitive ability, vision, interpersonal effectiveness, and managerial effectiveness.” (Ammons-Stephens et al, 2009, p. 68). Each of the meta-competencies is subsequently
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