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Skills and knowledge needs assessment of current and future library professionals in the state of Qatar

Nicole Johnston (University College London in Qatar, Doha, Qatar)
Rupert Williams (University College London in Qatar, Doha, Qatar)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 12 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and document the skills and knowledge needs of future library professionals in Qatar and to use the outcomes of this research to help develop or refine focused library and information studies course curricula that meet the needs of the local workforce and also guide or improve national or local professional development programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

A skills and knowledge needs assessment survey was sent to library professionals, LIS students and library managers in Qatar. A total of 109 respondents completed the survey, a representation of around 25 per cent of the current LIS workforce in Qatar.

Findings

Findings indicated that respondents felt that the most needed future job roles included more client focused positions such as research librarians, information services librarians and subject librarians, as well as technical roles such as Arabic cataloguers, electronic resources librarians and system librarians. The largest amount of needed positions was also felt to be in school libraries. Respondents to the survey also felt that there was a lack of opportunities for professional development in Qatar and that the most needed area of skills training was information literacy, followed by copyright training and technical skills including RDA and Arabic cataloguing. One further finding identified from the survey was the concern felt by respondents about the lack of a professional body in Qatar that represented LIS professionals.

Practical implications

This paper provides data on future roles, skills and knowledge needed by library professionals working in international and culturally diverse workforces. It also provides findings that can be used to develop LIS curriculum and professional development programmes in international LIS environments.

Originality/value

A detailed needs assessment of this kind has not previously been undertaken in Qatar. The library and information sector in Qatar is an emerging field with a largely international workforce. This situation provides a distinct perspective on the needs of an emerging library sector that is a blend of different cultures, workplace practices and differing expectations and understandings of the role and skills needed to be a LIS professional.

Keywords

Citation

Johnston, N. and Williams, R. (2015), "Skills and knowledge needs assessment of current and future library professionals in the state of Qatar", Library Management, Vol. 36 No. 1/2, pp. 86-98. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-10-2014-0120

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited