IL2006 Day 1: Technology Competencies: a path to training

Sarah Houghton-Jan – Librarian in Black spoke about technology competencies (and she’s writing a book on this. Cool).

Tech competencies are a list of things staff need to know…

How will competencies help?

  • job descriptions
  • evaluations
  • reveals training needs
  • addresses feelings of inequity
  • help staff adjust and handle change

Create a purpose statement. Why are you doing this?

  • this will help guide planning
  • explains process to all staff members

Competency types: descriptive and task-based

10 questions before starting:

  1. who does the lead work
  2. who identifies the competencies
  3. tech competencies only, or all competencies
  4. core or extensive list
  5. do you have a timeline in mind
  6. what consitutes technology (ie., does a phone count?)
  7. specific to hardware/software you have now, or more general
  8. essential skills and extended skills
  9. based on classification, position, location, or pay step
  10. based on full time/part time/substitute, or desire for promotion/bonus

The competency cycle: brainstorming – creation – assessment – training – reassessment… then start over again.

getting staff buy in – most important thing to do!

Brainstorming for leaders:

  • lit searching
  • see existing position descriptions
  • professional assoc requirements
  • library’s strategic goals
  • what do your customers need to know? Your staff needs to know those, too!

get staff input through any and all means possible
get input from outside experts and stakeholders


  • Option 1: organize by staff position or area
  • Option 2. by competency – let managers figure out what parts their staff members need

Categories: broad…
hardware, software, skills

categories: moderate:
terminology, search skills

Or specific – goes deeper…

Format options: lots of different ways to do it

Put it somewhere… word, wiki, html… share it out!

Web option – allows links to individual helps on each competency