Academic Librarian Burnout: Causes and Responses—eEditions PDF e-book

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

Librarianship has been conceptualized as a vocation or calling—rather than a profession—since the 1800s. Within this historical context, librarians are encouraged to think of ourselves as possessing a natural disposition to showing perpetual engagement, enthusiasm, and self-regulation in pursuit of our shared vocation. These assumptions about the profession can sometimes shield us from introspective criticism, but they can also prevent us from recognizing and managing the systemic occupational issues that afflict us.
Academic Librarian Burnout can help librarians develop the agency to challenge the assumptions and practices that have led to so much professional burnout. In five thorough parts, it offers ways to discuss burnout in our work environments, studies burnout’s nature and causes, and provides preventative intervention and mitigation strategies:

  • Reframing Burnout
  • Conditions that Promote Burnout
  • Lived Experiences
  • Individual Responses to Burnout
  • Organizational Responses to Burnout

Chapters explore the relationship of burnout in academic libraries and illness, intersectionality, workload, managerial approaches, and more, while offering real-life stories and ways for both individuals and organizations to address the symptoms and causes of burnout. The emotional, physical, and mental investment we require of librarianship—to go above and beyond to serve the ever-evolving needs of our patrons while perennially justifying our existence to library stakeholders—can come at the expense of our well-being. Academic Librarian Burnout addresses unsustainable work environments and preserves and celebrates the unique contributions of librarians.


Chapter 1
X, Y, Zzzzzz: Generational Differences in Academic Librarian Burnout
Thomas C. Weeks, Josette M. Kubicki, Rod Bustos, and Melissa E. Johnson
Chapter 2
Burnout and Chronic Illness in Academic Libraries
Mary Snyder Broussard
Chapter 3
“I Just Feel Like I’m Not Doing Enough:” Experiences of Feminist Library Leaders
Martinique Hallerduff and Freeda Brook
Chapter 4
What’s in a Workload? Affect, Burnout, and Complicating Capacity in Academic Librarians
Matthew Weirick Johnson and Sylvia Page
Chapter 5
Distinguishing Depression from Burnout: Implications for Impactful Interventions for Long-Term Improvement
Dawn Behrend
Chapter 6
“I Can’t Keep Doing This:” Contingent Labor and its Impact on Archivists
Courtney Dean and Angel Diaz
Chapter 7
Where Burnout and Leadership Intersect: Implications From, and for, Academic Library (and Other Higher Education) Stakeholders
Joyce Garczynski, Karlene Noel Jennings, and Kathleen L. Schmand
Chapter 8
Burning the Candle at Both Ends: How and Why Academic Librarians Who Are Parents Experience and Combat Burnout at Work
Michael Holt, Jessica Lee, Amy Chew, and Robert Griggs-Taylor
Chapter 9
The Effect of Dysfunctional Organizational Culture on Burnout in Academic Libraries
Lora Del Rio, Juliet Kerico Gray, and Lis Pankl
Chapter 10
Coworker-Induced Burnout: Firsthand Accounts of the Impacts of Colleagues’ Behavior on Academic Librarians’ and Archivists’ Well-Being
Marguerite H. Albro and Christy Fic
Chapter 11
To Err Is Human: Academic Librarians and the Fear of Making Mistakes
Lindsey Reno
Chapter 12
Publish or Perish: Conditional Burnout for Tenure-Track Faculty Librarians
Courtney Stine
Chapter 13
Professional Service Expectations: Causes and Prevention of Librarian Burnout
Sarah K. Kantor
Chapter 14
Intersectionality, ICD-11, and Black Women Librarians in the Midst of a Pandemic
Vivian Bynoe and Kay Coates
Chapter 15
Is It Burnout or Mental Illness? Searching for Understanding When the Answer Is “Both”
Megan L. Toups
Chapter 16
Radical Empathy and the Managerial Ethic of Care
Sarah E. Fancher
Chapter 17
Reframing Occupational Stress to Mitigate Burnout: A Trauma-Informed Care and Constructive Living Approach to Foster Lifelong Resiliency and Self-Directed Life Management within Academic Libraries
Wendy C. Doucette and Rebecca L. Tolley
Chapter 18
Time: The Secret Ingredient for Work–Life Balance Among Academic Librarians
Mónica Colón-Aguirre and Katy Kavanagh Webb
Chapter 19
Managing Leadership Burnout: A Case Study of a Multicampus Consolidation Followed by a Prolonged Dean Search
Timothy Daniels and Austina McFarland Jordan
Chapter 20
Building a Seat at the Table: Organizing Labor in Libraries to Alleviate Burnout
Carolyn M. Caffrey and Joanna Messer Kimmitt
Chapter 21
Combating Burnout: Positive/Transformational Leadership and Organizational Culture
Linda Miles and Susanne Markgren
Chapter 22
Preventing Burnout in New Hires: Importance of Onboarding Support for Employees at All Experience Levels
Michaela C. Keating and Ilda M. Cardenas
Chapter 23
Understanding and Mitigating Employee Burnout Due to Role Conflict and Incivility in Merged Departments
Andrea Boehme
Chapter 24
Burnout Among Academic Library Deans and Directors
Elizabeth Batte and Megan Lowe
About the Editors and Authors

Christina Holm

Christina Holm is the Teaching & Learning Team Lead, Instruction Coordinator, and a Librarian Associate Professor at Kennesaw State University. With over 9 years of professional experience working in academic libraries and public services, she is passionate about information access, library service design, and advocating for critical reflections into professional practices.

Ana Guimaraes

Ana Guimaraes is the former Director of Collection Development at Kennesaw State University and currently an Engagement Librarian with SAGE Publishing, Inc. A librarian with over 15 years of public services and collection development experience in academic libraries, including public archives and university special collections, she is passionate about library collections, project management and process improvement, and advocating for staff development and the needs of library employees.

Nashieli Marcano

Nashieli Marcano is Archivist for Digital Collections at Furman University. Her 14 years of experience in academia has encompassed library research support, instruction, collection development, and project management. Her current work and interests involves digital curation; diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; exploring issues in academic librarianship; and digital scholarship. She holds a doctorate degree in Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Cultures from the University of Pittsburgh.