Libraries are seen as progressive organisations that facilitate the on-going adoption of digital technologies in order to facilitate the changing nature of information access and to cater for the information needs of society. Libraries are highly responsive and adaptive to technological changes yet there is an on-going need to identify the skill-sets that librarians and information managers need to possess to do so. The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) also acknowledges both the record of Australian libraries adapting to developing technologies, and the importance of doing so: “In the rapidly changing digital environment, libraries are among the best-equipped and most experienced organisations to take advantage of innovation and adapt to new challenges. Utilising new technologies and enabling the community to access services quickly and easily is a fundamental library function” (ALIA 2017).
There is no doubt that digital skill-sets for digital transformation in libraries are needed. In 2011, the American Library Association (ALA) prepared its 2015 Strategic Plan for ‘The Digital Revolution and the Transformation of Libraries’ (Fiels 2011) and included as one of its goals “Increase leadership development and training opportunities designed to support the on-going transformation of libraries.” In Australia, ALIA, the peak professional body for libraries and the information sector in Australia, which also provides accreditation for library and information programs, provides an outline of the core knowledge and skills required to work as information professional (ALIA 2014). In this document, ALIA states that information professionals need to have ‘relevant information and communications technology and technology application skills’, as well as ‘understand the importance of information technology and architecture to determine the structure, design and flows of information’ (ALIA 2014). However, there is no acknowledgement of “leadership” or “training” as recognised by ALA (Fiels 2011) and neither of the ALIA statements is there is an indication of the specific digital skills required, or mention of how information professional goes about acquiring these skills for digital transformation in libraries. This project will explore the digital skills necessary for today’s librarians, from the point of view of practitioners, and how education for these skills may be delivered.