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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Emotional Labor of Instruction Librarians: Causes, Impact, and Management.

Emotional Labor of Instruction Librarians: Causes, Impact, and Management.
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Author(s): Lorraine Evans (University of Colorado Denver, Denver, USA) and Karen Sobel (University of Colorado Denver, Denver, USA)
Copyright: 2021
Pages: 16
Source title: The Emotional Self at Work in Higher Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ingrid Ruffin (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA) and Charissa Powell (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3519-6.ch006


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This chapter consolidates aspects of emotional labor that apply to the work of academic faculty and staff. Perspectives will focus on the instructional work librarians do, in the classroom and through research support, and be applied to teaching faculty and support staff in higher education. The collaborative nature of the work, along with the environment and structural components that both enhance and challenge that work, are examined. The chapter describes risk factors that are common and unique to librarianship, such as academic culture, administrative demands, communication, and student support, applying these concepts more broadly in higher education. Pulling from the research on emotional labor, industrial psychology, and the authors' experience in libraries, strategies are presented that can be used or adapted by individuals and departments. Finally, the chapter discusses tensions inherent in the work of those who choose to perform emotional labor: the love of supporting students and faculty through academic and personal challenges versus the exhaustion that sometimes results.

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