Competency Guidelines for Rare Books and Special Collections Professionals

by IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section

Competency Guidelines for Rare Books and Special Collections ProfessionalsLibraries are the guardians of cultural memory and the preservers of cultural heritage. Within larger libraries and as stand-alone repositories, special collections libraries are the specific sites where documentary and cultural heritage is preserved.  Not only the information content of these handwritten works, printed texts, works on paper, audio-visual materials and artifacts deserves preservation, but also the objects themselves because of their historical and cultural significance.  It is these collections that lie at the core of special collections librarianship.

These guidelines outline the competencies developed for all library professionals who work with special collections materials, both analog and digital. They provide direction and focus for special collections professionals to facilitate their own career development, as well as to manage their special collections in line with their institutional policies and user needs. 

It is hoped that the guidelines can serve as a basis on which training programs can be developed to ensure special collections professionals develop core competencies relevant to their continuing professional development. The guidelines also delineate the ethical framework within which special collections professionals are to perform their professional duties to uphold their positions as the trusted stewards of cultural heritage materials


Standards, Rare Books and Special Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Competencies

Last update: 18 December 2020