Vol. 2 No. 1 (2017)

Innovators and maintainers:: Musings on library competencies

Joshua Finnell
Colgate University Libraries
Published September 18, 2017
  • ibrary competencies, innovation, maintenance, american library association
How to Cite
Finnell, J. (2017). Innovators and maintainers:: Musings on library competencies. Journal of New Librarianship, 2(1), 59-67. Retrieved from https://newlibs.org/index.php/jonl/article/view/595


Our current political climate has certainly reignited a debate over what constitutes professional competence. Having held no political office and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, President Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Though there is no paucity of essays and articles dedicated to the core and functional competencies necessary to hold “the most powerful office in the world,”competence is ultimately decided by our electoral system, not a set of standards. Eager to prove his business acumen and project the idea of progress, Trump recently issued a presidential memorandum creating the White House Office of American Innovation, aimed at applying a business mentality to the federal government. As a corollary, Trump hopes to prove his competence by hastening growth and innovation in every sector of the American economy. Having just co-founded a micro-funding campaign focused on innovations in libraries, reading this presidential memorandum made me pause and reflect on how the profession of librarianship defines core competence and, perhaps inadvertently, tends to value innovation over maintenance.