Transformations of the Lithuanian Librarian’s Profession: Professionalism and Development of Competences
Keywords:conception of the professionalism of a librarian, transformations of the profession of a librarian, sphere of professional activity, Lithuanian public libraries, qualitative research
The objective of the article is, by drawing on the conception of professionalism of today’s librarian and on qualitative empirical research, to analyse how representatives of administrations of Lithuania’s public libraries perceive the transformations of the profession of a librarian, the development of competences determining the librarian’s professionalism, and the main obstacles and challenges facing such professionalism. The qualitative (empirical) research that has been done substantiates theoretical insights by scholars regarding the transformations of the profession of a librarian and related challenges. The most intensive changes are determined by rapidly evolving technologies, but Lithuania’s librarians also face certain forms of political change, economic inequality, and competition. Though public libraries are increasingly taking on the role of leaders within communities and are purporting to better comprehend communities’ expectations, they acknowledge the need to continuously develop competences and seek professionalism. Obstacles hindering the development of professionalism express themselves not only through personal limitations (conservatism, insufficient motivation to improve, etc.) but also through objectively experienced lack of general library policy and inability to demonstrate the benefit provided to community. The scheme of competences determining the professionalism of Lithuanian librarians that has been drawn by applying thematic analysis shows that participants of the conducted survey perceive professionalism mostly through general traditional competences and innovative ones determining creativity and visitor orientation approach. It is essential to build a nucleus of knowledge and skills embodying the profession’s exclusiveness, which all newly employed librarians should possess, and those with some length of service could pursue their careers in their appropriate fields by following the commonly known general correlation between acquired competences and achieved results from work in a certain position.
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