Professional Development: What are information professionals?

For the next two weeks, the ILN blog is being taken over by the QUT Information Studies Group to explore professional development: 

The information profession is the modern librarianship, however, with a more critical role in today’s information society. The information profession follows the same mission as librarianship: helping people connect with information they need. The scale of the mission though is broader today. While in the past, information was published in printed materials and was located on library shelves, today, information is everywhere in many formats and people don’t need to pass through library doors to access it.



Photo CC_0 by Samuel Zeller

Information professionals still do activities of the same nature that traditional librarians did in the past. They still store, organise, retrieve and distribute information, however on a vast scale. And all because of the different nature of information and how people engage with information today!

Information today is digital, flows quickly, and is abundant. It has gone beyond library walls. Today information comes to you without waiting for you to want it. In response to this change, yesterday’s librarians have transformed themselves to take care of this newly shaped information ecosystem. Today information professionals are digital, are more current than ever, and are far more specialized to fit into a range of settings. Information professionals don’t work only in libraries but they actively manage the information spaces in which people immerse themselves in as part of their everyday work and life.

Information professionals are still librarians, but more relevant than ever with an essential role within today’s information society.

With all this in mind, let’s discuss:

  • What are the implications of this “sameness” yet “transformation” for professional development of modern librarians?
  • If they are to work beyond the walls of libraries, what skills, knowledge and aptitudes do they need?
  • What are the commonalities and variations between what they required in the past and what they need today?
  • In general, how can professional development of modern librarians be achieved?

– Dr Elham Sayyad Abdi

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2016A and tagged , , .


  1. I sincerely welcome this conversation on an international platform. It’s vital that we create a global community of practice when it comes to professional development and training for and in libraries. Solutions and strategies in one environment can spark innovation and updated procedures and solutions in other environments.

    The research I did of library associations globally and subsequent article “The case for international collaboration in academic library management, human resources and staff development” published in the IFLA Journal last year ( may be of interest.

  2. Greetings from Brisbane, Australia, Bonnie 🙂
    I read your journal article. The findings are really interesting and I think ILN is doing an excellent job in terms of providing the context required for international collaboration that is discussed in your paper.
    Are you intending to conduct more research in other types of libraries as well?

  3. Coming up for two year ago I wrote a paper on the creation of a skills framework for librarians working in the academic environment. It can be found here: . It was very much a starting point for a great deal more work to grow from and one I will be getting back to soon.

    What is my opinion on the skills librarians need moving forward? For one, an understanding of the role technology has played in shifting the requirements of their clients and knowledge/confidence of those very technologies. Librarians also need to become truly customer focused and proactive in their approach to their client base. That is, of course easier said than down, they need to seek out opportunities and avenues to help and to not be satisfied with their job description but develop it.

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