About Professional Competencies

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List of Competencies by organization.

According to the American Library Association (ALA): "The Core Competences of Librarianship define the knowledge to be possessed by all persons graduating from ALA-accredited masterís programs in library and information studies."

Both are used and different organizations use either term. Don't worry about using one over the other.

Throughout your FEP, in both the Professional Development Plan and the Work Products essay, you will have to demonstrate that you have gained competency in the areas of both general librarianship and any specialization or focus you've chosen for your career.

For example: I've chosen Special Collections & Archives as my area of focus. Along with the ALA's Core Competences of Librarianship, I am using the Academy of Certified Archivists' Role Delineation Statement for Professional Archivists, ACRL's Competencies for Special Collections Professionals, and Society of American Archivists' Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies. I'm also using RUSA's Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians and ACRL's Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. I also supplemented those competencies with the Codes of Ethics from ALA, ACRL, and SAA.

No, you aren't expected to have experience with all the competencies prior to graduation and gaining library work experience. This is especially true of any competencies specific to the specialization you've chosen. Even if you could say you could demonstrate every competency, you don't need to use all of them for the FEP.

Because I was mad about the whole mess of the FEP and terrified I would fail. In the hopes of improving my chances at passing, I crammed as much as I could into my Professional Development Plan and Work Product Essays. Also, again, I was mad about the mess and was operating on a "Oh you want competencies? Well, then I'll give you competencies!"

Yup, but I guess it worked.

The more the better, but try to keep it realistic. Read the Core Competencies and competencies for specializations and find items that match each of your Work Products. Each Work Product should demonstrate at least five competencies, only a few of which are repeated elsewhere in other parts of your FEP. That is, at least 15 individual competencies in your Work Products essay. That's the bare minimum. I recommend doubling it just to be on the safe side. You will have to demonstrate competencies in your Professional Development Plan as well. There is no set limit in the PDP either.

You will want to use more competencies in your Work Products Essay than in your PDP. It's better that most of the competencies demonstrated in your FEP are those you've already acquired. Part of the FEP is to show that you were successful in learning from the SLIS program. If you can't demonstrate that the program taught you anything, the FEP grading committee might decide you're not ready to graduate.

I used only four total in my PDP. You may find you want or need to use more, but I wouldn't go less than four. In my Work Products Essay, I used nine competencies in Work Product One, 12 in Work Product Two, and 11 in Work Product Three.

That's ok! You can use the ALA's Core Competences to start. Then think about the kind of library work you would do in a typical day as a librarian. Try to match that work to some of the specializations and use their competencies.

For example, if you know that you'll be answering a lot of questions from patrons as a librarian, you can use the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) competencies. If you know you'll do work on the library's systems, you can use the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) competencies.

This is really going to depend on what you put in your Professional Development Plan.

Remember, your PDP must include referencing skills/competencies you haven't yet acquired and/or areas where your skills might be lacking. You also will have to do a projection of the five years post-graduation and should include planned continuing education. You can use those future plans and continuing education plans to meet competency requirements.

For example: I identified my weak areas as leadership and management skills. I found competencies about leadership and management and quoted them in my PDP. Then I provided a plan for improving those skills based on potential future continuing education and work possibilities.

Similar to how you demonstrate them in your PDP. Read the competencies in the areas/specializations you're most interested in or you think will best map to your Work Products. Select those that you think fit the most. Try to have as few repeating as possible. The more the variety you can demonstrate, the better off you'll be.

The best thing to do is to find the competencies from the specializations you picked or are interested in. Read them thoroughly. Highlight any that you think might apply to aspects of your Work Products or Professional Development Plan. Write something like "My library budgeting project demonstrated the following competencies:" and then paste those competencies into your essay (with citations).

You can also insert them into a narrative like "My library budgeting project demonstrated the "principles of planning and budgeting in libraries" as well as "developing partnerships, collaborations, networks, and other structures with all stakeholders" (citation).

You should read the Example FEP if you're still unsure how the narrative should be presented. There's really no right or wrong way to do it (theoretically). You'll see in my FEP that sometimes I quoted entire sections directly in a block, sometimes I inserted sections from a competency into a sentence. The important part is to map the competencies to your Work Products and make it believable.

Make sure the Work Product you're mapping them to are actually related. You wouldn't say a Work Product about collection development demonstrated competency in budget planning if the Work Product was evaluating materials and creating a list. You would want to focus more on competencies involving technical services. However, if the collection development project you're using for your Work Product required you to stay within a hypothetical budget, then you can use the budget planning competency.

Yes, but those competencies have to have been acquired while you were in the SLIS program and you should tie it to your coursework as much as possible.

For example: If you have taken Collection Development already and did a project on weeding books at work, talk about how what you learned in Collection Development helped you on the weeding project where you acquired the [insert relevant competencies here].

You can find them here on the ALA website.

The ALA maintains a list here of links to different specialization competencies.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. Other professional organizations might have their own competencies. For example, the Academy of Certified Archivists have their own competencies, but it's not included on the ALA list.

I've created my own list of competencies here. Just keep in mind that it's not exhaustive, though I include more than the ALA list.