Vision Librarian Core Competencies


Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL) members view our role as one of partnership in vision care, education and research.  We are committed to high standards of service and provision of resources, including print and multi-media collections and electronic materials, with the goal of meeting our users’ needs for knowledge creation and management. We are also committed to sharing both knowledge and resources, and have a history of informally mentoring new vision librarian colleagues.

Staff of vision libraries and Centers for Community Ophthalmology resource centers arrive with varying levels of information, biomedical and information technology skills, and knowledge.  The right person, with commitment, opportunities, and institutional support, can succeed and make a substantial contribution to an organization’s goals and mission.

These Vision Librarian Core Competencies are intended to aid new vision librarians in attaining and demonstrating a basic level of competency of librarianship related to eye and vision care.  They will also assure that new vision librarians are integrated into the Association of Vision Science Librarians, to receive help and mentorship in achieving a high level of proficiency in providing library services to users.

This document identifies knowledge, skills, competencies and resources available freely to all; local and regional resources will also be identified and used as appropriate.

General Information Competencies

Vision librarians will:

  • understand core competencies of organization of information, collection development, maintenance, and evaluation;
  • be aware of professional ethics concerning copyright, intellectual property, plagiarism, and user privacy;
  • become members of local/regional library associations;
  • participate in local/regional library associations, through attendance at meetings and workshops;
  • become familiar with resources such as grant opportunities, information exchange, mentoring programs, and other occasions for collaboration, provided by local/regional library associations and professional networking;
  • participate in continuing education programs, through a variety of means: in person, via teleconference, online tutorials, webinars, etc.;
  • know how to use local resources to locate information.

Biomedical Information Competencies

Many of the biomedical training resources are available through online workshops and distance education.

The Medical Library Association’s Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success provide additional guidance.

Vision-Related Competencies

Vision librarians will develop knowledge, skills, and abilities through:

Information Technology Competencies

Vision librarians will:

  • Be able to create documents and presentations using
  • Be able to collect, manage, and cite research sources through use of bibliographic management software, e.g., Zotero, EndNote, etc.;
  • Have a critical understanding of the Internet as a useful resource for locating, retrieving and transferring information electronically;
  • Be familiar with Web browsing relevant search engines and meta search engines, and methods to find Web-based sources, such as directories, portals and other electronic information resources;
  • Understand how technology can be used to improve library services.


This document is the final revision (April 8, 2011) of a draft approved by the Association of Vision Science Librarians at their fall 2010 meeting.


To download the Vision Librarian Core Competencies, please use the Word or PDF versions.






Last Updated:  3/17/2017