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Necessity of Soft Skills for Professionals

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Systems
Wordcount: 2550 words Published: 2nd Oct 2017

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Soft Skills are Smart Skills: Necessity of Soft Skills for LIS Professionals in this Twenty First Century


Changing the users’ awareness and the technology developed in this Twenty First Century, Library Professionals required to introduce new services, based upon user interest. Managing and running this current century library, professionals have a highly specialized job. So LIS professionals should be required multi-talented and multi-fold personalities. To reach the success and adding new variety of services in their libraries, this paper will helps to LIS professionals through Soft Skills.Various skills need to become a good leader. In Library concept, if you become a good Librarian you should have Library Professional Skills, Managerials Skills and Soft Skills. This paper describes the necessity of soft skill for library professionals. And it listed out the list of soft skills which are essential to survive effectively. Through this paper, we recommend all the library professionals must acquire and execute soft skills in order to better the outcome of their Library.

Keyword: Library Science, LIS Professionals, Soft Skills, Twenty First Century Libraries, Librarianship.

“Professional skills may help to get your Job, But Soft skills can make you a good Librarian”.


LIS professionals need continuous grooming by new skills. Then only they become obsolete in this fast changing environment. Soft skills, becoming important at the middle level of library management. Library professionals have to be effective in oral, written an e-communication with their patrons, colleagues and managers, This soft skills will make them more effective to promote their library product and services through marketing. And thus this will help them to show their value to the parent organization. They also need good interpersonal and networking skill to interact with users and effectively collaborate with their colleagues. There is also a growing realization that libraries and information service play important social and community function. Thus, social and community building skills are useful for information professionals- both for community of colleagues (Abdus Sattar Chaudhry & Christopher S.G. Khoo).


Technical professionals in various disciplines such as information technology, engineering, architecture, and research and development are increasingly required to broaden their skill sets to master the so-called soft skills. Soft skills, as defined by Wikipedia, are “the cluster of personality traits, social graces, facility with language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that mark people to varying degrees. Soft skills complement hard skills, which are the technical requirements of a job.

Set of Skills

There are various types of skills that can be acquired. These skills are categorized under “Sets” based on their nature. There are five types of “Sets” of skills (Vidya V. Hanchinal. 2014)

  • Hard Skills: certificates acquired through completing a formal education e.g.Certificates
  • Technical Skills: abilities essential to perform a particular job e.g. employability skills
  • Professional Skills: expertise in professional knowledge, e.g. teaching skills,corporate skills.
  • Life Skills: enriching the innermost qualities like peace of mind, concentration,positive energy levels, etc. E.g. Yoga, Meditation, Mind Power.
  • Soft Skills: a sociological term for a persons “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) which refers to the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, ability with language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that mark each of us in varying degrees. Gupta Rajat(2012).

To differentiate clearly between – Hard skills, Soft skills and Life skills as; any type of job/work/profession/trade requires a set of tasks to be executed. These are hard skills or Core skills. So these skills are basics for success in professional life. Soft skills, prepare us to be acceptable by others, so that one can attain materialistic and psychometric success in his/her career. And Life skills, prepare us to attain psycho-somatic success (Inner Happiness) in life. Nishitesh and Reddi Bhaskara (2012).

All these three skills finally elevate and refine our personality to greater heights, if one knows how to balance all these skills. The ever changing life style, hybrid cultures emerging management styles, technological revolutions essentially require refined sets of skills consisting of Hard Skills(Professional Skills), Soft Skills and Life Skills.

Skills Required for the 21st Century Library

Though various skills are required, but the skill needs depend on the role and context of the parent organization As all skills do not relate to everyone, a summarized set of skills under three broad categories of skills, i.e. generic, managerial and professional skills have been listed below. (Fisher 2004). S.P. Singh & Pinki (2009) (Fouire 62-74) (Oldroyd 30:45-49:69:78:99; Sridhar 141-149); TFPL Skill Set)

Generic skills

Managerial skills

Professional skills

Communication skill

Local and global thinking

Information technology skills


Planning and organizational skills

a. Hardware/ software and networking Skills


Financial management skills

b. MS-Office suite


a. Fundraising

c. Power point etc.


b. Skillful use of financial resources

d. Library automation


c. Accounting and auditing skills

e. Database creation


Managing change

f. Internet

Analytical skills

Team building

g. Intranet skill

Problem solving

Decision making

h. Scanning techniques

Decision making


i. Networking skills

Service attitude

Negotiation skills

* On-line search engines

Customer relationship

Consumer management skills

* On-line databases search

Improving one’s learning and experience

a. User need analysis

j. Desktop publishing

Presentation skills

b. Information seeking

k. Content development

Stress management

c. Behavior analysis

l. Digitization

Time management

Project management

m. Web based services


People management

n. Virtual learning

Group skills

Stress management

Information literacy

Working with difficult people

Time management

Technical professional skills


Resource management

a. Information resource management


b. E- serial management


c. Metadata standards


d. Standards


e. System development


Knowledge management5


Traditional skills

Table No: 1 Required Skill for 21st Century Library

Soft Skills

Each one of us is endowed with two Kinds of Skills. Hard Skills and Soft Skills. Hard skills are human tangibles that often find a place in the individual.This soft skill are mostly of complementary nature representing human intangibles. Hard skills are nothing but academic skill that we have picked up in disciplines. Hard skills a can be obtained by reading books while soft skills cannot be acquired by merely reading books. Although it is difficult to give an exhaustive list of soft skills, let us look at the following list proposed by Goeran Nieragden under four heads:

  1. Interaction
  1. Self-Management

Attitude Awareness

Compensation strategies

Conflict Handling

Decision making


Learning willingness

Diversity tolerance




Interlocutor orientation


Teamwork willingness

Stress resistance

  1. Communication
  1. Organization

Delegating skills

Problem solving

Listening skills

Systems thinking

Presentation skills


List of Essential Soft Skills for Library Professionals

Following are some of the significant soft skills that are required to become a successful library professional.

  • Listening skills: The library professionals must have good listening skills a she/she has to interact with different types of users all the time.
  • Communication skills: Command on language, especially English and also regional will improve the communication. A good communication skill also requires understanding people, self-confidence which enables to solve the problems with ease.
  • Writing skills: The librarians are asked to help in writing research proposal/business proposal/project report, which requires good writing skills. Today there are many library professionals who are contributing to various publications, even in-house also or by sharing information and their experiences through library blogs and websites.
  • Presentation skills: The presentation skills are required in report writing, library committee meetings and even in daily work which represents the overall library management.
  • User service: To satisfy the information needs of the users is the utmost priority for any library. The library professionals provide various services such as CAS and SDI or other specialized services.
  • Leadership skills & Teamwork: Library management, especially in a bigger library set up is about team work/exercise. Hence, it is required to have leadership skills to manage and guide the team from time to time, as every subordinate is important for carrying out their work efficiently for smooth running of a library system.
  • Teaching skills: Libraries spend huge amounts to procure resources, both print as well as electronic, therefore, it is essential to possess teaching skills, which helps to conduct the information literacy classes effectively.


Soft skills, becoming impartant of Library professionals in this 21st Century. A current century internet provides more exercise of this Softskills. The overlap in soft skill development and best practices across disciplines needs the Library Science course institutions have to think how to teach soft skills effectively. This paper presents and briefly mentioned variety of soft skills likely to be significant importance to LIS professionals. If we start to learn beginning from library science study itself, the huge difference will be there to execute their work environment. Of course, more and more innovative methods need to implement this soft skills to library studies. Through this paper, we request to add soft skill training to all library and information courses curriculams.


  1. Abdus Sattar, Chaudhry., & Christopher, S.G. Khoo.(2008). “Trend in LIS Education: Coverage of Soft skills in Curricula”. Journal of Librarianship and Information Studies, 66,1-13.
  2. Goeran Nieragden, (2000). ‘The Soft Skills of Business English’, The Weekly September 2000. http://www.eltnewsletter.com/back/September2000/art282000.htm Accessed on (Dec- 2014).
  3. Gupta Rajat (2012). “Soft Skills: Tools for Success”, Yking Books, Jaipur, P.4
  4. Nishitesh and Reddi Bhaskara (2012).”Soft Skills and Life Skills : The Dynamics of Success”, BSC Publishers and Distributors, Hyderabad, P.16
  5. Vidya V. Hanchinal (2014).”Developing Leadership Qualities in Librarians through Soft Skills”, Episteme: an online interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary & multi-cultural journal,6 (4).
  6. Sridhar (2000), “Skill Requirements of LIS Professionals in the New E-World”, Library Science with a Slant to Documentation and Information Studies, 36.(3) Pp.141-149.
  7. TFPL Skills Set: Knowledge and Information Management Skills toolkit. http://skillstoolkit.tfpl.com Access on (Dec- 2014).
  8. Fisher (2004). “Workforce Skills Development: The Professional Imperative for Information Services in the United Kingdom.” Australian Library and Information Association 2004 Biennial Conference. Sydney, 19 June 2004.
  9. S.P. Singh & Pinki (2009). “New Skills for LIS professionals in Technology-Intensive Environment”. ICAL 2009 – CHANGE MANAGEMENT, Pp.331 -336


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