32 Strategic Human Resource Planning for Academic Libraries
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) cre-
ated this for library and information science education programs to provide guide-
lines and a framework for the educational aspects of the profession so that skills are
taught evenly across the world. All of these guidelines and competency standard
documents go through periodic review so as to stay current with a changing work
environment and to meet the needs of the profession in a dynamic and evolving world
These competencies can provide the basis for analyzing a library’s organizational
structure and position development. Periodically analyzing how the human resources
of an organization are aligned with its mission and expected output can be critical to
organizational health and efficiency. This practice is common in the business world
but not considered mainstream in academic libraries as of yet.
4.2 Job analysis
A human resource activity not typically seen in academic libraries is the job analysis.
Conducting a job task analysis can be very beneficial in the strategic planning process
as this is an information gathering activity that can provide useful information with
regard to current processes and workflows. The factors considered in a job analy-
sis include work methods, organizational or reporting structure, knowledge and skills
needed for the responsibilities of the position, and the relationships between individ-
uals or departments.
As it related directly to job functions, data can be collected related to the tasks com-
pleted, tools or equipment needed, level of supervision needed or expected, and any
physical demands of the job. There are also several methods available for completing
a job analysis such as direct observation, keeping a work diary, interviews or question-
ing, and sampling. In an academic library, the value of this activity can also reduce
redundant activities in which the need has changed over time due to the technology
advances or changes to user specifications.
Job analysis has a long history in shaping positions and organizations to maximize
output and gain efficiencies of practice. All the way back to 1911, scientific methods
were used to study workplace techniques in order to establish “best practices” that
influenced change from standard or “rule of thumb” methods. Much of this was in the
manufacturing sectors and it was recognized over time, that as technology or methods
changed, the jobs people were doing needed to be reviewed to ensure that jobs aligned
In more recent history, this analyzing of work and individual jobs became formal-
ized into various forms of formal analysis, typically called a job or job task analysis.
Still used in production organizations, the concept has expanded into service organiza-
tions, with both private and public sector employers. Even more recently, academic li-
braries have determined the need for repurposing or realignment of jobs and positions,
most commonly as a result of budget cuts and declining financial support. Conducting
a purposeful review of positions, functions and responsibilities can be critical in devel-
oping a strategic plan to improve how the organization operates.