In March 2023, Technology from Sage announced that it had invested in Skilltype to build librarian skills for the future. Skilltype is a talent management platform codesigned with libraries to improve access to quality training resources in line with changing patron needs. Using a controlled vocabulary of information science competencies, interests, and trainings, Skilltype identifies and closes skill gaps across the library while simultaneously enabling librarians – regardless of their degree or job title – to manage their personal learning and career development.
Under the leadership of Tony Zanders, a committed advocate for librarians and their capacity to shape the campus and the community, Skilltype is now embedded in more than 150 libraries across five countries. The company recently announced a new round of seed financing to fuel its mission.
“We were interested in partnering with an organization that has a track record of thinking about new ways to manage the library as opposed to continuing to invest in legacy ways of doing things. Sage has a track record of investing in emerging technologies that will define the library of the future,” said Tony Zanders, Skilltype CEO. “This investment will enable us to expand our product offering to help libraries solve their recruitment challenges and fill vacancies using data – one of the top challenges facing libraries today. Ultimately, it will help us help libraries make more impact.”
With Technology from Sage’s investment, Martha Sedgwick, Vice President of Product Innovation at Sage, will join the Skilltype board. Sedgwick said:
“Our Technology from Sage division is investing in new solutions and emerging tech that amplify the power of the academic library and support librarians through a transformative decade for the library. The growth of open access, hybrid learning, and now emerging AI tools are bringing dramatic changes in the way patrons discover and engage with information. We believe the librarian’s role will be more important than ever before in helping universities and their patrons navigate these changes. This is why we are so excited by Tony’s aspirations for Skilltype. His team has built a very impressive solution that empowers librarians to continue to increase their value on campus. Our hope is that our support will increase Skilltype’s global impact.”
Zanders created Skilltype after observing challenges in how libraries developed skills to support today’s patrons. It started as a community of nine academic libraries researching how linked data could be used to better understand their organizations. Today, Skilltype’s controlled vocabulary leverages existing competency frameworks for the information professions, ultimately encouraging both individual and organizational growth:
- Individually – Knowledge workers can more easily discover what personal skills need developing and better take control of their own career journey. They will also be provided with opportunities for speaking, attending conferences, or specialized training in a more equitable way, based on skills and interests.
- Organizationally – Library leaders are provided with a dashboard summary to help visualize skills across their organization and best use the talent that already exists and the talent that might need developing to meet emerging patron needs. They can also see where there might be skills gaps to support recruitment plans and develop a workforce to benefit the library for the future.
“At Sage, we see librarians as playing a crucial role in supporting their Higher Education Institution’s goals of supporting research excellence and student success. We share those goals as core to our mission and work in partnership with libraries to help them deliver for their institutions.” explained Karen Phillips, Executive Vice President of Learning at Sage. “As an independent company, we take a long-term approach to investing in library success and are free to do so in ways that enhance equity and break from tradition to help expand the role of the librarian as patrons’ needs evolve.”
Technology from Sage shares Sage’s mission and believes that the right technology can remove barriers to knowledge. Lean Library, part of Technology from Sage, published their Librarian Futures report in 2021 exploring what the future holds for the librarian-patron relationship and focusing on how to prepare libraries for what’s coming next. Part II of this report will be published in April.