Faculty Librarian Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, Michigan
Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine whether community college health sciences librarians responsible for nursing and/ or health sciences collections and services perceive that they are proficient in the essential skills, knowledge, and abilities that are necessary for the practice of a health information professional as defined in the Medical Library Association Competencies (MLA) for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success. In addition, the study identifies what barriers and how engaged community college health sciences librarians are with developing their competencies.
Methods: A survey was posted to Medical Library Association (MLA) Nursing and Allied Health Resources and Services (NAHRS-L), all regional MLA Chapter groups, select American Library Association (ALA) community discussion boards via ALA Connect, and the Tribal College librarians institute (TCLI-L). Also, volunteer follow-up interviews were conducted via GoToMeeting and email.
Results: The survey was completed by 75 community college librarians and seven follow-up interviews with librarians public and private US community colleges. Results from the study report self-perceptions of community college health sciences librarians consider themselves proficient in the six competencies with as majority score of “intermediate proficiency” or higher for each question. Community college librarians face the same barriers as other librarians for travel, publishing, and engagement and are engaged within the profession.
Conclusion: This study affirms that community college librarians who are responsible for collections and services in the health sciences self-assessment meet the MLA competencies The societal benefits are that the study will fill a gap in the literature that identifies how health sciences community college librarians develop professional proficiencies as defined by the MLA Competencies. They are very involved with professional associations other than MLA. Furthermore, these results show that community college health sciences librarians can improve their skill levels in all six MLA competencies by continuing their education and following trends in the literature.