I Love a Good List!

I came across this post on the Criminal Law Library blog and found it to be very interesting. The author, David Badertscher, Principal Law Librarian of the New York State Supreme Court Criminal Term, First Judicial District, has created a list of characteristics that are essential to the long-term survival of libraries and librarians.

He states three objectives for the list:

Hopefully it will stimulate both thought and further action. With that in mind the list of characteristics can be used as a point of departure for further development. A second equally important objective is to convey to the reader reviewing the list a sense of the vital, irreplaceable role libraries and librarians can play in meeting the information requirements of an increasingly dynamic and competitive environment. Thirdly, I would hope to convey my basic optimism regarding the future of libraries and library systems, provided that measures such as those discussed above are implemented and maintained consistently over time.

The list is very comprehensive, and is a great starting point for librarians in evaluating themselves and their organization:


Ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use; obtainable; approachability.

Accessibility of library directors, managers, department heads, and others as appropriate to decision makers and to meetings and other forums where policies and procedures related to libraries and library systems are being discussed and deliberated.

Accessibility of library collections in all formats, including digital, to library users.

Other, as appropriate


Skill, aptitude, and motivation in the identification and detailed examination of components of systems, procedures, documents, organizations, or other entities and to infer meaning and communicate conclusions based on such examination..



Evaluations (including evaluations of library collections)

Compilations (including bibliographies, development and continuing maintenance of library catalogues, indices)

Financial evaluation and analysis (includes financial planning – budgets)

Analysis related to strategic planning

Systems Analysis related to library applications and services

Other, as appropriate.


The ability to transcend traditional ideas, techniques, rules, approaches


Develop new, improved approaches to resolving challenges

Exploration of new and emerging developments as to their possible application to library applications and services.

Other, as appropriate


Desire, and drive, to learn and understand


Urge and motivation to become more aware of ways to adapt libraries and librarianship to competitive, dynamic environments

Other, as appropriate


Ability to vicariously experience experiences, feelings, thoughts, attitudes of others




Caring about and relating to other people

Other, as appropriate


Willing to adapt and adjust

Accepts and is reasonably comfortable with change

Willing to yield when appropriate

An important attribute in a rapidly changing library environment

Other, as appropriate.


Ability to make things happen

Provide direction

Take initiative and assume risk

Strategic planning

Ability to ensure that quality of organization and service are maintained at a high level

Ability to persuade and articulate at a high level

Take lead in encouraging coordination, collaboration, and sharing as considered appropriate

Take lead in introducing new technologies as appropriate

Ability to say “no” when situation warrants

Other, as appropriate


Ability to stay the course and be steadfast in working toward objectives of the library, especially in difficult, challenging situations

Other, as appropriate


Includes all areas related to maintaining the integrirty of library records, including bibliographic records as well as financial and business records associated with the library

Cataloging, indexing, issues related to authentication of digital records and materials over time Preservation of materials and records over time

Maintain consistent and steady relationships with parent and other organizations as needed Maintain stable physical environment in library or library system

Other, as appropriate


Ability to deal skillfully with new or difficult situations

Ability to adapt quickly

Skillful in finding ways of doing more with less as situation warrants

Other, as appropriate


1 Comment

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One response to “I Love a Good List!

  1. I am David Badertscher the author of the posting you are discussing. First, thank you for your posting which is very encouraging to me. As someone who is still basically optimistic about the future of librarianship, provided characteristics such as I have identified are taken seriously, I will probably write more on this topic and would appreciate any thoughts you might have.

    Best regards,

    David Badertscher

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