The SOLS Competencies Index for Public Library Staff is divided into 5 categories:

Each category is comprised of several skill sets.  For example, the Public Service category is comprised of the following nine skill sets:  Customer Service, Access Services, Adult Services, Programming & Outreach, Readers' Advisory, Reference, Patron Training, Children's Services, and Young Adult Services.

The intended use of the SOLS Competencies Index is to provide a framework for thinking about the skills, abilities and knowledge required to perform the range of work carried out in a public library.

It may be useful to create a competencies profile to match the responsibilities of a particular position, your own or someone who reports to you.  Such a profile will illuminate the scope of responsibilities associated with that position and can be used to create job descriptions, performance expectations, and learning objectives.  The profile can also serve as an important succession planning and development tool, helping those being groomed for more responsibilities to understand the nature of those responsibilities.

Currently, the best way to create a profile is to cut and paste the competencies you've selected into a Word or RTF document. This feature allows you to save or edit the profile for future reference.  It also allows you to decide the scope of the profile - is it for a position, or for one area of responsiblity? Or, in the case of core competencies (see below), is it a collection of knowledge, skills and abilities you believe apply to all staff?  SOLS is working on an easier way to create a competencies profile. 

Sample profiles have been developed by pulling together skill sets from the Index that are relevant to common public library positions. It is recommended that they be viewed as examples that would need to be edited and customized based on the specific library’s requirements, rather than adopted in their entirety.

It is worth considering the concept of core competencies - knowledge, skills and abilities that should be held by all staff across the organization.  SOLS staff propose that the Personal/Interpersonal category be considered core as the skill sets within that category (Communication, Ethics & Values, Interpersonal Relationships, and Learning and Personal Growth) are universally required by anyone who works in a library.  There is also a Technology Core Competencies Skill Set within the Technology category.  If a category or skill set is endorsed as a core competency, it should appear in everyone's competencies profile and be linked to training opportunities and performance expectations.

The SOLS Competencies Index can be used by individuals who want to identify their learning needs.  Browsing the index and determining those competencies in need of development can be a way of focusing one's learning and development for the coming year.  Once identified, the competencies form the basis of a learning path intended to grow those competencies.  For more guidance on this process, see 4 Steps to Create a Learning Path.

Contact Us

For questions about the compentencies index, please contact Anne Marie Madziak, Service Development Director