Purpose – The main aim of the research conducted was to identify whether the particular country environment of today's professional librarian impacts upon his/her skills capabilities as well as upon his/her access to opportunities for continued development. Design/methodology/approach – Data was sourced by means of a survey administered to professional librarians mainly from the developing Caribbean Region and the developed North American countries. Firstly, the satisfaction level of librarians with regard to six recommended skills and characteristics was measured. These areas are detailed as follows: communication; training; information technology (IT); managerial; commitment and subject knowledge/profiling. Secondly, professional development opportunities were measured via skills, services and attitudes, key areas also recommended for staff development and training. Findings – Findings demonstrated that librarians' perceptions showed noteworthy similarities and fewer differences than expected between the respective country categories. Both perspectives reflected similar zones of “skills insecurity”. Research limitations/implications – The greatest challenge faced by the researchers was to source a sample size that could yield meaningful results in relation to the hypotheses. Originality/value – A comparison of librarians from a geo-economic position (i.e. in relation to geographic location and world economic order) appears to have been largely unexplored. The study is intended as well to encourage key players from both country contexts to unite for the enhancement of librarians' professional development.