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Public libraries require an expanding set of discipline specific, as well as generic knowledge, skills and attitudes from Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates, for their services in this evolving and constantly changing knowledge society. Guided by the core competency theory of Selznick (1957), this paper reviews literature on the competencies required of LIS graduates and the challenges they face in public libraries. Knowledge of cataloguing, collection development, interpersonal relationship, communication, technology, and customer services skills are noted significant in the public library context. Also noted are skills gap: lack of training programmes; drastic changes in the LIS market, which eventually demand curricula revision and re-orientation; and several challenges facing LIS professionals and the public libraries themselves. Identified challenges include: lack of funding, lack of trained/skilled staff, and ICT resources. The reviewed literature is significant for providing theoretical background for the development of research in the following domains: public libraries, LIS curriculum, LIS educators and LIS graduates/professionals.