Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: What’s Your Job?

cover of the teen services competenciesOne of the topics you want to consider when reviewing the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff is what impact the document has on job descriptions within your organization. Does your job description reflect what’s included in the Competencies? Do your staff member’s job descriptions support what’s in the Competencies? Do your colleague’s job descriptions make it possible to maintain the ideas of the Competencies in your organization? As you ask yourself these questions perhaps you will realize that it’s time to re-envision the job descriptions in your institution to better reflect the Competencies.

Get started by reviewing job descriptions and asking questions like these:

  • What in the job description supports the dispositions outlined in the Competencies? Are there areas where it’s clear that the dispositions listed are required in order to perform the job successfully?
  • How do the tasks outlined in the job description reflect the skills and knowledge needed by library staff?
  • What opportunities does the job description provide for improving/leveling up within the different content areas of the Competencies?

As you analyze the job description(s) ask yourself what would the work of a staff member include in order to demonstrate the Competencies fully. Then ask yourself, what would the job description need to include in order to make that work possible. For example, the Competencies:

  • Describe the need to develop relationships with youth, families, community members, etc. Does the job description allow for describe that work?
  • Highlight the need to continually engage in learning in order to develop skills and knowledge. Does the job description include that as an activity of the staff member?
  • Acknowledge the need to take time to develop outcomes and assessments that demonstrate impact of library services for and with teens. Does the job description describe work that makes that possible?
  • Support the role of library staff as advocates for teens in the library and the community. What is in the job description that describes that that work is required?

Keep in mind that it’s not just teen services specific job descriptions or youth services job descriptions that need this analysis. As noted in a previous blog post, all library staff need to recognize, develop, and demonstrate the dispositions and skills and knowledge outlined in the Competencies.

Take time to review job descriptions in your organization to determine how successfully those documents support the work of library staff in relation to the Competencies. Take time to talk with others about what needs to be changed to more successfully design and implement job descriptions that succeed in that way. Take the plunge and go through the process of re-envisioning and re-writing job descriptions for this purpose. In the end the teens in your community will be better served.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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