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Professional Development

Professional Competencies

Archive - 2007 release

Following are the seven professional competency areas defined in MLA's Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success, needed by health sciences librarians throughout their careers. These competencies were defined by MLA to provide a plan for professionals to achieve success. Also included are recommendations for actions individuals and professional organizations, health sciences librarians, MLA, employers, graduate programs in library and information science, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) can take to promote professional development and lifelong learning.  The competencies are updated periodically, with the next update to occur in May 2017. Work is currently being done by the Task Force to Review MLA's Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success.

Professional Competencies for Health Sciences Librarians

1. Understand the health sciences and health care environment and the policies, issues, and trends that impact that environment including:

  • current management and business practices
  • the parent organization's (academic medical center, hospital, government, corporate, etc.) major policy and program sources
  • the health sciences professions
  • the clinical care, research, medical education, cultural, ethical, economic, and legal issues and environments
  • various health and health-related organizations

2. Know and understand the application of leadership, finance, communication, and management theory and techniques including:

  • understanding the institution's mission and planning processes and the role of the library in the institution
  • forging and maintaining alliances with universities, public libraries, public health services, community-based organizations, and others to meet users' information needs
  • human resources management including recruitment, retention, staff development, and mentoring
  • facilities planning and space allocation
  • budgeting, cost analyses, and fund-raising
  • public relations, marketing, and advertising
  • library programs and services administration

3. Understand the principles and practices related to providing information services to meet users' needs including:

  • the information needs of health practitioners, researchers, administrators, educators, students, patients, consumers, and the general public
  • the institution's information policies
  • methods of information delivery and access including consideration of the specific information needs of diverse populations
  • information services management

4. Have the ability to manage health information resources in a broad range of formats including:

  • selection, acquisitions, and control of resources including the licensing of resources
  • scholarly publishing, copyright, licensing, privacy, and intellectual property issues
  • conservation, preservation, and archiving of materials in all formats
  • cataloging, classification, abstracting, and thesaurus construction and knowledge representation
  • national and international standards and conventions
  • trends in information formatting, production, packaging, and dissemination

5. Understand and use technology and systems to manage all forms of information including:

  • basic principles of automated systems, data standards, and systems analysis techniques including design and evaluation
  • acquisition, use, and evaluation of information technologies
  • integration of systems and technologies
  • technological solutions for permanent access to electronic information
  • applications in emerging areas of biomedicine computational biology and health information, including electronic health care systems and records
  • communications and information infrastructure including the Internet and Web

6. Understand curricular design and instruction and have the ability to teach ways to access, organize, and use information including:

  • adult learning theory and cognitive psychology
  • educational needs assessment, analysis, and evaluation
  • instructional methodologies, technologies, and systems design
  • management of education services

7. Understand scientific research methods and have the ability to critically examine and filter research literature from many related disciplines including:

  • using quantitative and qualitative methodologies and techniques and their interpretation
  • locating, organizing, and critically evaluating the research literature
  • using principles of evidence-based practice to support decision making
  • conducting research and reporting and disseminating research findings either individually or in interdisciplinary research teams

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