In order to deliver exemplary service to patrons, library professionals must have both knowledge of specific library services as well as of general professional skills that make them strong leaders and communicators, capable of helping library staff to improve their own performance and providing excellent customer service to everyone who visits the library. In this article, we will look at some of the most important skills that every library professional should have in order to excel in the workplace and be able to help others do the same.
Learn how to communicate
All library jobs require excellent communication skills, so make sure you’re comfortable communicating in writing, verbally, and electronically. This is especially important because working in a library means communicating with people from all over the world. Learning how to use programs like Skype, Google Hangouts and other video conferencing software will prepare you for job opportunities that may involve remote employees and meetings. Personal Improvements: Learning new software is an ongoing process for all librarians—whether you’re just getting started or an experienced professional.
Learn how to learn
Many librarians can easily rattle off a list of software and web tools they use on a daily basis: social media management programs, citation management systems, library catalogs, and reservation systems. Personal improvements are another familiar category of knowledge—librarians are well aware that continued education is necessary to keep their knowledge base up-to-date. But there’s another set of skills that many libraries don’t explicitly teach: personal improvement skills.
Learn how to contribute
Like any profession, there’s a range of software skills you’ll need to do your job well. If you don’t know how to code or use technical tools like Adobe Creative Suite or Survey Monkey, learn them. You won’t be behind for long. As more libraries are starting to integrate digital and physical spaces, digital technology will become a crucial part of public service—and your responsibilities as a librarian will expand because of it.
Update your computer skills
Whether you’re an IT pro or just a library employee who spends hours each day on your computer, you should always make it a point to update your software and learn about current trends in technology. Software changes rapidly, so you might not be aware of how outdated your current knowledge is until it comes time to make a change. Keeping up-to-date on new technologies helps ensure that when anything breaks down, you know exactly what to do to fix it or help others with issues.
Update your software skill
Technology may change rapidly in other fields, but when it comes to libraries, what you’ll be doing next year will probably be much like what you do today. That is why keeping your software skills up-to-date is one of your most important responsibilities as a librarian. Stay current with new programs by learning how to use them yourself or by searching for webinars and tutorials. Ask colleagues for tips and advice, too—most library employees are eager to share their expertise with others.