Health sciences librarian competency perceptions: a survey of national community college librarians




Competencies, Community College, Librarians, Health Sciences, Engagement, Barriers


Objective: The primary objective of this study was to determine how community college health sciences librarians perceive their proficiencies in the essential skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary for the practice of a health information professional as defined by the Medical Library Association (MLA) Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success. A secondary objective was to determine their current level of engagement with the professional community and identify barriers to further professional development.

Methods: A survey was posted to various email discussion lists, and volunteer follow-up interviews were conducted.

Results: The survey was completed by seventy-five community college health sciences librarians, and seven follow-up interviews were performed. Survey results indicated that community college health sciences librarians perceived themselves as having intermediate or advanced intermediate proficiency in the six MLA competencies. Survey and interview results indicated that community college health sciences librarians were engaged with the profession and faced the same barriers to continued professional development and continued education as other academic librarians.

Conclusion: The results affirm that community college librarians who are responsible for collections and services in the health sciences meet the MLA competencies, which fills a gap in the literature regarding how these librarians develop professional competencies and are involved in professional associations. The results suggest that community college librarians can improve their skill levels by continuing their education and following trends in the literature.


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Original Investigation