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Professional competencies for librarians working in special libraries: the case of Pakistan

Shakeel Ahmad Khan (Department of Library and Information Science, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan, Bahawalpur, Pakistan)
Abida Parveen (University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 4 December 2020

Issue publication date: 12 December 2020

865

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify the core competencies for librarians working in special libraries. It also measures the competencies of librarians working in special libraries of the Punjab Province against the checklist developed by the Special Library Association (SLA) Task Force. The study also identifies the training needs of librarians working in special libraries and the problems they face in acquiring SLA competencies.

Design/methodology/approach

A peer-reviewed questionnaire based on the list of competencies for special librarians prepared by the SLA Task Force was used to collect quantitative data from a targeted population. An online survey was administered to approach the population working in special libraries of Punjab Province. Collected data was analyzed statistically through SPSS software.

Findings

A review of literature highlighted the various competencies for librarians working in special libraries (Figure 1). The findings of the study showed that the competencies identified by SLA Task Force are imperative for librarians working in special libraries of Punjab Province. The results showed that librarians working in special libraries of Punjab possessed an intermediate level of competencies identified by the SLA. However, they had a good level of basic professional and interpersonal skills. The study highlights the training needs of librarians working in special libraries to enable them in acquiring relevant competencies.

Research limitations/implications

The study measures the competencies of librarians in special libraries of the Punjab Province. During the data collection phase, it was observed that there were some libraries where the non-professional/supporting staff was deputed, and due to this, data could not be collected from these libraries.

Practical implications

This study has practical implications for librarians and information professionals working in special libraries to acquire the relevant competencies identified by the SLA. This study has identified various competencies areas that are essential for librarians working in special libraries.

Social implications

Librarians working in any special library can use the results of this study as a checklist to improve their competencies level and work efficiently.

Originality/value

In contrast to other studies conducted on professional competencies of library professionals working in academic libraries, this study particularly identifies and measures the competencies of librarians working in special libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Khan, S.A. and Parveen, A. (2020), "Professional competencies for librarians working in special libraries: the case of Pakistan", The Electronic Library, Vol. 38 No. 5/6, pp. 1135-1148. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-02-2020-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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