A capability framework is a tool to understand the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes required to work in complex and changing roles.
The purpose of the capability framework is to provide guidance to support professional development and address the challenges faced by researcher-facing librarians and their managers grappling to introduce and sustain inside-out services.
Learn more about the development of the framework by selecting OSF Platform on the side navigation panel. This will open a new window.
The Purple Squirrel (or why this framework is a guide not a manual)
According to Wikipedia, the term "purple squirrel" comes from employment recruiters and describes "a job candidate with precisely the right education, set of experience, and range of qualifications that perfectly fits a job's requirements." It is important to emphasise that the intention of the framework is not to support the hiring or training of purple squirrels. The possibility that any single individual would have every single capability is unrealistic. Instead the framework can be used at different stages throughout the employment lifecycle as a guide for professional development, goal setting, managing team dynamics, and workforce planning. It is first and foremost a thinking tool to support conversations about the capabilities needed to be successful. Suggestions on how to use it include:
The Inside-out library
Lorcan Dempsey (2016) has coined the term “inside-out” to describe how academic libraries are increasingly supporting the processes of research at their institutions. Traditionally academic libraries have focused on bringing outside scholarship into the University through journal subscriptions, book collections, and providing access to online databases. However, the inside-out library works to describe and disseminate the scholarship from within the University back out to the world. Libraries are digitizing collections, supporting research data sharing, managing institutional repositories, running journals on Open Journal Systems and so forth.
Digital scholarship, changes in scholarly communication practices, advancing technology, and the growing use of bibliometrics for research evaluation are fuelling the evolution of library research support services. Researcher-facing librarians are increasingly being required to upskill and engage with the research process at deeper levels.
It should be noted that many teaching and learning activities, including building online resources using software like LibGuides, are not in this framework's scope. Instead, they belong to another service category Lorcan Dempsey calls the “Facilitated Collection”. There are however exceptions, for example Research Data Management education. The goal of this framework is not to minimise the importance of teaching and learning activities. Nor is it to minimise the importance of the work done by librarians who are not researcher-facing. However, the focus of the framework is researcher-facing librarians and “inside-out” activities.
Dempsey, L. (2016). Library collections in the life of the user: Two directions. LIBER Quarterly, 26(4), 338–359. https://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10170
In the context of the framework, researcher-facing librarians work in university libraries on tasks that are primarily focused on interacting with researchers to support their research. They may be hybrid or new roles. Examples include: Subject Librarian, Reference Librarian, Information Research Specialist, Teaching and Research Librarian, Research Services Librarian/Advisor, Outreach Librarian, Liaison Librarian, Research Data Librarian, Digital Initiatives Librarian. Inside-out activities should represent a reasonable proportion of the services they offer but they may have other tasks that fall into other categories.
This first version of the capability framework can be further refined. The capabilities are currently presented as equals. Although some are associated with specific inside-out tasks in the "inside-out case studies" there is no systematic mapping between the capabilities and various inside-out services. Future development will include:
To help achieve these goals five survey's have been created, one for each category in the framework. After exploring the capabilities, let us know if you agree that these are the capabilities required by researcher-facing librarians working with inside-out services, and whether some are more important than others:
This framework makes a distinction between competency and capability. To learn more about how capability is defined visit the project's OSF site: https://osf.io/uhd6z/?view_only=5f2787b3b24e465da9cccc2d57df1e07
If you are seeking a competency framework, listed below are examples found during the development of this capability framework.
Also consult the Competency Index for the Library Field compiled by WebJunction
To add to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org