Library Thinker Series: What Skills Must a Librarian Have?

This post is a part of the Library Thinker Series where we examine some of the larger questions that we struggle with in librarianship and try to come to some insights together.

This week’s question is “what skills are necessary in the field of librarianship?” Are there “must have” skills that should be essential to librarians?

The most important skill that I see for librarians is to have a mindset of service. Librarianship is a career of service and not always the type of service you expect. Sometimes you get asked about a paper jam, or how to reformat a spreadsheet, or where the bathroom is. But sometimes you get asked for help with a job application or for help with research on media bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even though these second one’s are often more mentally stimulating, when you have a mindset of service you will answer all of those questions with similar zeal. You will want to do all they can to please their users.

This service mindset does not have to be only among public services librarians either. It could be an ILL librarian trying a lot of different avenues to get an item for a patron. It could be a web services librarian wanting to talk with patrons to genuinely improve their web experience. They don’t even necessarily even have to interact with patrons, though I believe this is extremely valuable. A spirit of service in my opinion is of the utmost importance in librarianship.

What is your take? What skills are necessary for librarians in this day and age?