There is no doubt that the librarian of today is required to be a jack of all trades.
In addition to traditional duties, those of us dedicated to a career in information science must also be highly skilled at instruction, outreach, scholarly communication, web programming, database management, etc. A perusal of recent job listings shows a variety of terms that were not in the lexicon of common vocabulary even a few years ago! I looked at 10 current openings on the ALA JobLIST, in the specific fields of science librarianship and data management services. Here are a few of the required and preferred qualifications that jumped out at me:
-Demonstrated proficiency with HTML/XHTML/CSS and current trends in web development.
-Demonstrated experience developing user-centered digital projects.
-Experience with digital library, institutional repository and/or content management software such as CONTENTdm, DSpace, Drupal, Archon, Archivists’ Toolkit.
-Demonstrated ability to efficiently manage multiple projects and priorities.
-Ability to work collaboratively in a team-based environment.
-Experience with creating and maintaining web pages.
-Demonstrated strong commitment to professional development.
-Ability to develop instruction sessions and to instruct users effectively both individually and in the classroom setting.
-Demonstrated understanding of the issues involved with data management and curation, including format migration, preservation, metadata, and data retrieval.
-Knowledge of research data lifecycle concepts and issues.
-Familiarity with federal funding requirements for data management.
A variation on these preferred qualifications was found in all of the job postings that I perused. In a nutshell, to be an attractive candidate in today’s over saturated job market it is necessary to continue to work towards furthering our education and training to meet the demands of a changing profession. A working knowledge of web design, data management, and emerging technologies is a key component in staying viable as a profession as well as furthering your own career. In addition to gaining the hard skills necessary to continue to develop the infrastructure for the digital libraries of our future, it is also important to not neglect the soft skills that make librarians such a valued member of the academic community. Striving towards increased collaboration and furthering efforts in outreach and instruction are also key components in the process of “skilling up”. Next week, I’ll be posting some links and resources for free and inexpensive continuing education opportunities. So stay tuned!