A perfect fit: Tailoring library positions to match individual skills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A look at the library literature shows that there is no longer a consensus among library administrators as to what is a public services function and what is a technical services function. It seems that many libraries have adapted not only to respond to budget cuts and to meet the needs of their patrons, but also to capitalize on the unique combination of skills of their own librarians. Are the skills required for a technical services librarian at odds with those that make a good reference librarian? Are there some skills that cross over well into each area? What skills can a librarian gain by broadening his or her job responsibilities? This paper seeks to explore the requisite skills needed for success in reference and cataloging, and how cross-training might enhance those skills. Negative aspects of blurring the departments will also be considered. Finally, the author proposes a flexible approach to developing job descriptions for librarians, based on their personal skills, aptitudes, and interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntegration in the Library Organization
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317957188
ISBN (Print)9780789009845
StatePublished - Feb 28 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2000 by Taylor & Francis.


  • Catalog librarians
  • Cataloging skills
  • Cross-training
  • Job descriptions
  • Library skills
  • Reference librarians
  • Reference skills


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