Library Development

Library Management Competencies Define Essential Skills

As a library director do you ever wonder what skills, knowledge, and abilities the library world believes you should have to do your job well? In 2003, the Western Council of State Libraries received an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to improve library services by defining the essential skills of library practitioners, defined as library directors or managers without a master's of library and information science. WCSL developed a list of competencies for these library practitioners. The competencies represent a consensus opinion about what are the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities for public library practitioners. The Library Practitioner Competencies can be found at

Recently another professional library organization, WebJunction, also released Library Management Competencies, a guide to courses and resources to help library managers be more successful in their work. In developing the Library Management Competencies the WebJunction staff worked closely with experts in the field. The competencies are worth reviewing. Although there are links to WebJunction courses, you are not required to take the courses, and the State Library is in no way endorsing the courses. The Library Management Competencies identify the key aspects of managing a library and define the associated knowledge, skills, and behaviors. The competencies can be found at Click the Details & Learning button for each competency statement to find the associated skills and knowledge for that competency.

Take a Look at the New Tools Available for Public Libraries

The Institute of Museum and Library Service and the U.S. Census Bureau announce two new tools for public libraries: Compare Public Libraries and Search Public Libraries. Both are available on the U.S. Census web site at and

Compare Public Libraries allows users to compare one library (the library of interest) with similar libraries (the comparison group). For example, a user may wish to compare one library's total circulation with the total circulation of a group of libraries with similar total expenditures.

Search Public Libraries, currently based on FY 2007 data received from the IMLS 2007 Public Library Survey, includes identifying information, organizational characteristics, staff, income and expenditures, size of the library collection, services offered, and electronic measures. Search Public Libraries contains information from almost 9,000 U.S. public libraries. This database allows you to compare your library with peer groups based on size of population of the legal service area and/or total operating expenditures.

We would like South Dakota’s librarians to try out these new statistical tools and give us your feedback. It will not replace our State Library’s subscription of Bibliostat’s Collect in the coming year. However, if they are comparable, Bibliostat’s Connect tool may be dropped in favor of these freely accessible national statistical tools. If that occurs, we will keep you informed.

E-mail your comments to Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian and State Data Coordinator, at, or call Daria at 605-773-3131.

Public Library Standards Taskforce Formed

The Public Library Standards Taskforce is officially formed and off and running. Jane Norling (Beresford), Kathy Jacobs (Yankton), Amber Wilde (Spearfish), and Mike Mullin (Watertown) have agreed to serve as sub-committee chairs forming their own groups to research various aspects of public library standards. Jane will be heading up the Funding & Staffing Committee; Kathy, Administration and Governance; Amber, Public Relations and Technological Innovation; and Mike, Access, Collection and Resources. The sub-committees will be formed this spring and work will begin this summer. If you are interested in serving on one of these committees please contact one of the sub-committee chairs, or Colleen Kirby at the State Library.

The four sub-committees will be reporting back to a State Library committee comprised of Stacia McGourty, Brenda Hemmelman, Jane Healy, Colleen Kirby, and Daria Bossman (ex officio). Colleen will chair the larger taskforce. We hope to have something to report by the 2009 SDLA conference with final recommendations due in early January 2010. We will keep the library community posted of progress in the Cornerstone and via the South Dakota public library listserv. The larger taskforce will be looking at what other state library agencies do to recognize public libraries’ growth, innovation, and achievement. Many states have a tiered system of standards. The taskforce will not be looking at individual librarian certification this year.

The current voluntary public library standards and certification process will remain intact with applications due by Sept. 15. However, they are now to be sent to the State Library addressed to Colleen Kirby, Continuing Education Coordinator, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2294, or electronically to Any newly adopted standards system will not go into effect until the spring of 2010. Questions or comments may be sent to Daria Bossman at

public libraries, standards, statistics

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