Foundations of Library Services

Updated October, 2012

These competencies are fundamental to understanding the mission and roles of libraries. These competencies cover the ethics, values, and governance of libraries, and the basic knowledge needed for all positions in a library.

  1. Library Support Staff (LSS) know the mission and roles of a library in its community and the mission of libraries in general.
  2. LSS know the ethics and values of the profession, including an understanding of the Library Bill of Rights, the ALA Code of Ethics, freedom of information, confidentiality of library records, and privacy issues.
  3. LSS know the roles of library support staff and other staff in different types of libraries.
  4. LSS know the responsibilities of and the relationships among library departments or functional areas.
  5. LSS know basic principles of:
    • reference and information services
    • circulation, including interlibrary loan and collection maintenance;
    • current cataloging and classification systems;
    • acquisitions and collection development.
  6. LSS know how libraries are governed and funded, including how libraries fit within larger organizations or government structures.
  7. LSS know the value of cooperating with other libraries to enhance services.
  8. LSS understand their responsibility to pursue all available means to keep their knowledge and skills current, including involvement in professional associations.
  9. LSS understand the basic principles of and practice quality customer service.
  10. LSS communicate and promote the library’s mission and services to staff, volunteers, uses, and the community.
  11. LSS recognize and respond to diversity in user needs and preferences for resources and services.
  12. LSS demonstrate the ability and willingness to uphold policies and decisions and know when exceptions are appropriate.

Foundations of Library Services (Word Document version)

Foundations of Library Services (PDF version)