Competencies for Librarians Serving Young Adults

Article excerpt

According to a recent Department of Education report, public high school enrollment is expected to increase by 13 percent between 1997 and 2007. This increase will have a great impact on all types of libraries that serve young adults, ages 12 through 18. The need for more librarians to serve young adults is obvious. All will feel the impact of the greater numbers in this client group in the years to come.

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has developed a set of competencies for librarians serving young adults. Individuals who demonstrate the knowledge and skills required b) the competencies will be able to pro vide quality service to teenagers during this next crucial decade.

Although these competencies were originally developed in 1981 to guide library educators who were involved in training librarians at the pre-service level, they have been found to be useful in a variety of other ways. Directors and trainers use them as a basis for staff development opportunities. They can also be used by school administrators an human resources directors to create evaluation instruments, determine staffing needs and develop job descriptions.

The audiences for the competencies include:

* Library Educators

* Graduate Students

* Young Adult Specialists

* Teacher-librarians

* Generalists in Public Libraries

* School Administrators

* Library Directors

* State and Regional Library Directors

* Human Resources Directors

AREA I: Leadership and Professionalism

The librarian will be able to:

1. Develop and demonstrate leadership skills in articulating a program of excellence for young adults.

2. Exhibit planning and evaluating skills in the development of a comprehensive program for young adults.

3. Develop and demonstrate a commitment to professionalism.

a. Adhere to the American Library Association Code of Ethics.

b. Demonstrate a non-judgmental attitude toward young adults.

c. Preserve confidentiality in interactions with young adults.

4. Plan for personal and professional growth and career development through active participation in professional associations and continuing education.

5. Develop and demonstrate a strong commitment to the right of young adults to have physical and intellectual access to information that is consistent with the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights.

6. Demonstrate an understanding of and a respect for diversity in cultural and ethnic values.

7. Encourage young adults to become lifelong library users by helping them to discover what libraries have to offer and how to use libraries.

AREA II: Knowledge of Client Group

The librarian will be able to:

1. Apply factual and interpretative information on adolescent psychology, growth and development, sociology and popular culture in planning for materials, services and programs for young adults.

2. Apply knowledge of the reading process and of types of reading problems in the development of collections and programs for young adults.

3. Identify the special needs of discrete groups of young adults and design and implement programs and build collections appropriate to their needs.

AREA III: Communication

The librarian will be able to:

1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal relations with young adults, administrators and other professionals who work with young adults and the community at large by:

a. Using principles of group dynamics and group process.

b. Establishing regular channels of communication (both written and oral) with each group.

2. Apply principles of effective communication that reinforce positive behavior in young adults.

AREA IV: Administration

A. …