Transformational Skills in a Perpetually Changing Information Landscape


QUESTION/SITUATION: Librarians, at some point in their careers, are certain to take on responsibilities that are of an altogether different character from any of their previous work experiences. This paper will report on the need for information professionals to utilize transformational skills in a perpetually changing information landscape. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS/RESOURCES: Each of the authors has experienced change within an individual library setting, between types of libraries, and in geographical locations. By examining their personal experiences when they changed job titles, task requirements, and/or career paths, they determined skills and competencies not acquired in graduate school or subsequent professional development were often needed to effectively manage the change. METHODS: Several library associations have produced "core competencies" that are transferable from position to position, but many of these are transactional (i.e., task-oriented) in nature and are typically learned in library school or on the job. However, transformational skills (i.e., change-oriented) are also needed and should be emphasized, especially in a library environment that is evolving so rapidly. Examples of transformational skills include lifelong learning, adaptability, flexibility, openness, creativity, and initiative, which often are either learned haphazardly or ignored altogether. MAIN RESULTS: Future discussions of core competencies should address both transactional and transformational skills, especially those not learned in library school. To identify a starting list of such skills, a brief survey was distributed to targeted groups of local librarians, and the results will be reported. CONCLUSION: The authors hypothesize that core competencies for medical librarianship, including both transactional and transformational skills, should be developed. More detailed research is warranted to generate a complete list of skills. This could also have implications for broader areas of librarianship.

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Bunnett, B., Crossno, J., & Lee, R. (2006, May). Transformational skills in a perpetually changing information landscape. Paper session presented at the Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference, Phoenix, AZ. Retrieved from

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