Full Curriculum

Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory CultureThe mission of librarians and museum professionals is to foster conversations that improve society through knowledge exchange and social action. The Salzburg Curriculum aims to bring together the training processes for both library and museum professionals in order to align them with each other.https://player.vimeo.com/video/50805018?dnt=1&app_id=122963


As discussed at the Seminar (and derived from The Atlas of New Librarianship), the mission of librarians and museum professionals is to foster conversations that improve society through knowledge exchange and social action. One of the unique aspects of this curricular framework is that it sees the preparation of librarians and museum professionals in a unified way. Despite ongoing discussions of the links between the two professions, these connections are rarely, if ever, seen in how each group is prepared for their work.

This framework is dedicated to lifelong learning both in and out of formal educational settings. It is intended to be applied to continuing education as well—not just degree programs.

The curricular topics discussed below are driven by the following core values (in no particular order):

  • Openness and transparency
  • Self-reflection
  • Collaboration
  • Service
  • Empathy and respect
  • Continuous learning/striving for excellent (which requires lifelong learning)
  • Creativity and imagination*

* While the other core values in this list are fairly self-explanatory, the last item bears some elaboration. Developing new ideas and being able to adapt to new circumstances is a professional value and should be expected of all librarians and museum professionals.

Curricular Content

Transformative Social Engagement

This skill set is likely to be the largest addition to the standard canon of library and museum curricula. These skills take the core concept of service from a passive stance—being ready and prepared to serve—to an active one.

SkillsNotes and Discussion
Activism and advocacy—the latter of which falls into two types:Professionals advocating for the communityProfessionals teaching the community to be advocatesQuestions to consider: How can you identify topics within the community that can bring the community together? How do you really bring action to a topic?
Social responsibilityInformation professionals have a social responsibility to their community; by helping people access and process information, information professionals affect how people think about things.
Critical social analysisInformation professionals need to be able to critically analyze what is happening within their communities. This goes beyond simple demographics and surveys to true understanding.
Public programming—fitting to a larger agenda based on community needsHow does public programming fit into a larger agenda? How do the services offered fit the community’s needs?
Sustainability of societal missionOrganizations must plan beyond the implementation of projects. How are resources going to be allocated? What kind of promotions will be in place to ensure a project’s success? A plan must be in place.
Conflict managementThere is a difference between conflict management and conflict avoidance. How can organizations facilitate and moderate conversations that arise from conflict? If possible, how can a common ground be reached?
Understanding community needsHow can information professionals take a proactive stance that will address community needs?


Technology is a core skill, but the components and very specific skills rapidly change. Rather than focus on super-specifics like Facebook and HTML, this framework looks for larger skills in technology, such as the ability to constantly retrain and teach others.

SkillsNotes and Discussion
Crowdsourcing/outreachReaching out to the community and learning with the community is imperative.
Ability to engage and evolve with technologyTechnology doesn’t necessarily have to mean electronics; what are some hands-on events or objects libraries and museums can utilize to engage with the community?
Ability to impart technology skills to community across generationsInformation professionals should be able to learn with their community and find ways to reach out across divides.
Creating and maintaining an effective virtual presenceInformation professionals need to keep up with technology in order to maintain an effective virtual presence.

Management for Participation (Professional Competencies)

This part of the curricular framework focuses on the interface between the professional and the institution they may work for/with.

SkillsNotes and Discussion
Institutional sustainabilityProgramming must be in line with the organization’s vision and goals.
Advocacy for institutionHere advocacy pertains to organizing the information professionals to advocate for themselves and their institution/organization.
EconomicsThe basic management of finances and budgeting.
Ethics and valuesSuch as those listed in the “Framing” of this curriculum.
Sharing: benefits and barriersWhat are the benefits of building barriers to create structure within an organization, and what are the benefits of tearing those barriers down?
Collaborate—this skill is twofold:With peersWithin interdisciplinary teamsIt is just as important to train people within an organization as it is to train community members that an organization is collaborating with. Collaboration is key to achieving larger goals.
Assessment/analytics/impactWhich programs are successful, and which programs should be pulled? Assessment, analysis, and consideration of overall impact are necessary managerial skills.

Asset Management

The following skills comprise collection development and collection management. Many of the traditional skills of artifact curation and cataloging in libraries fall into this category. Obviously, the list of specific skills points to a large and rich tradition of skills education in both libraries and museums. They are not further described not because they are unimportant, but because they are already so well known.

SkillsNotes and Discussion
Preserve/safeguardPreservation is seen as the protection of an item removed from its regular use. Safeguarding acknowledges that, in many library and museum settings, artifacts are still very much in use (from ceremonial garb to fishing poles) and they must be maintained for continued use.
CollectA collection should reflect a constant dialogue with the community. What is important and unimportant? To whom is it important? When is it important? How can libraries and museums build and share ideas?
OrganizeProfessionals should find ways to provide access, provide the necessary knowledge to get to that access, and provide a scheme that fits the needs of their community.

Cultural Skills

Bringing diverse communities together is the focus of this aspect of the curriculum. It transcends the concept of  global cultures and encompasses age, gender and skill levels as well.

SkillsNotes and Discussion
CommunicationIf you have a great idea but you can’t tell anyone about it, you don’t have a great idea. Information professionals must understand how and when to communicate, and that different communities will associate different languages and meanings to things.
Intercultural: the ability to analyze and function in micro- and macro-cultures including age and genderThe term “intercultural” was chosen specifically over multicultural, because the focus here is on interaction of diverse community components. The idea is not to work in a given stovepipe, but to bring these diverse groups together.
Languages/terminologyTo truly interact with one’s community, one must be aware of the different languages and terminologies associated with various groups (and not just ethnic groups).
Support for multiple types of literaciesBe aware of different learning styles and the fact that most people benefit from a mixture of different approaches.

Knowledge, Learning, and Innovation

Much of the current instruction for librarians and museum professionals focuses on functions and tasks. It is important that professionals know about theory and how people learn and know. If these professionals are seeking to change and improve knowledge, they must wrestle with the very nature of knowledge itself.

SkillsNotes and Discussion
Knowledge is constructedThere are debates as to what knowledge is, but libraries but find ways to engage different forms of learning.
Improvisation or innovationThis skill lines up directly with the value of creativity and imagination. The value says we want it, this skill says that techniques can be taught that foster these skills.
InterpretationAn object or a piece of information means different things to different people, and information professionals must find a way to interpret these different viewpoints.
Information seekingInformation is now readily available through things such as search engines, but information professionals must help people navigate these different sources.