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The hybrid librarian

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Hybrid librarian skills

All librarians need business and management skills, such as:

  • project management
  • budgeting
  • marketing,

as well as the interpersonal skills of:

  • communication
  • teamwork
  • negotiation
  • persuasion and influencing
  • flexibility
  • account/relationship management.

However, librarians in a hybrid role will also require an in-depth knowledge of the domain area in which they are working. Sheila Corrall, interviewed elsewhere on this site (see an interview with Sheila Corrall), has this to say about legal information professionals:

"... they need legal knowledge, not as in a law graduate, but rather the special types of legal materials, the particular citation practices and the specialist terminology. In addition, much of their work is actually business information research. So they also need a good knowledge of business information sources and business research skills as well as an understanding of the law firm as the business environment in which they're working. On top of which are their professional information skills, which, increasingly, need to be of a higher order for knowledge management activities if they are to extract and analyse the information and place it in the relevant organizational context."

Thus, hybrid librarians often need highly developed professional skills as well as knowledge of a particular area. They also need to be proactive as opposed to reactive. Gone are the days when the librarian could sit behind a desk, issue books and answer queries. Many library posts in a range of sectors involve a substantial amount of outreach, going out and promoting the service to the user group, feeding the user group's needs back to the library, and sometimes working in a dispersed context, with a particular team or department rather than in the library itself.