New research highlights competence development in the library world

Syed Rahmat Ullah Shah, Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science, who has worked as a librarian in his home country Pakistan for many years, has investigated this to identify the causes of this phenomenon and has developed parameters that can contribute to a sustainable competence development for the country's academic librarians.

Examines proactive competence development

Recently he presented his doctoral thesis, in which he shows different ways and means of activating individuals with different motivational needs for their sustainable learning and competence development throughout their professional career. The dissertation examines proactive learning and competence development among academic librarians (i.e. librarians that work in colleges, universities and degree awarding institutions).

Other aspects, such as the effects of funding and finance, facilities and discrimination, personality and organizational characteristics, and many other similar features in the social environment, are among the issues that are pointed out, and these are of practical use in different contexts.

Decreasing motivation

“The reason why I chose to investigate this is that during my years as a librarian I noticed that students completed the librarian education and had proper qualifications, they had a great self-confidence to work, both independently and in teams, and they were very motivated. But after getting a job, and then for some years as librarians, their motivation and proactivity for learning and competence development decreased”, he explains.

He also noticed that there among the senior librarians were those who were passive, instead of passionate, about their own learning and guiding the junior staff.

In the research project, he scanned the environment available to the country’s academic librarians for their learning and competence development and conducted a survey to test his theoretical assumptions.

 “I have investigated the relationship between different kinds of motivation and exposure of the surrounding society in explaining librarians' learning at different stages during their careers. It was found that people have particular behaviour of working on individual tasks, or to work in collaboration with others, or to work in leading position. They are motivated for learning and competence development when they come across the situations of their particular behaviour”, he explains.

A socio-cultural phenomenon

Syed Rahmat Ullah Shah also introduced a theory that explains learning and competence development as a socio-cultural phenomenon.

In his work, Syed Rahmat Ullah Shah highlights the socio-cultural perspective that he believes covers a gap in the research area of competence development.

“The dissertation also fulfils an important guiding function, both locally and nationally and in different research areas, when it comes to looking at how different individuals, depending on different motivational needs and different stages in working life”, he explains.

The dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science was publicly defended on 1 October at the University of Borås.

Titel: Sustainable Competence Development of Librarians in Pakistan
Swedish title: Hållbar kompetensutveckling av bibliotekarier i Pakistan

Subject: Library and Information Science

Read the doctoral thesis

Main supervisor: Professor Elena Maceviciute and Professor Thomas Wilson.