Enabling Systems for Public Librarians



For the past two months, I have been working diligently to analyze participant data from my public librarian low morale study. Again, the results have validated the causes and general development and trajectory of low morale; however, the data also reveal that public librarians have more Enabling Systems (ES) to deal with as they face workplace abuse and neglect. 

Enabling Systems are individual behaviors or organizational cultures, structures, policies, or ethoses that inadvertently enforce or underpin low-morale experiences. In the 2017 low morale study of academic librarians, the original ES are: 

  • Uncertainty & Mistrust
  • Leadership
  • Faculty Status/Tenure & Promotion
  • Human Resources Limitations
  • Contagion
  • Staffing & Employment 

(Kendrick, 2017)

With the exception of Faculty Status/Tenure & Promotion (which is unique to the higher education industry), public librarians validated their engagement with the original ES. Additionally, they revealed seven more ES that are specific to public library environments. In total, public librarians navigate twelve systems that exacerbate their low-morale experiences. The ES are linked, and surround aspects of workplace safety,  library culture and organizational structure, policies and training, socioeconomic conditions, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and more. 

The manuscript currently is undergoing author-prompted peer-review, and I hope to submit it for official peer-review (and ultimately, publication acceptance) soon. Please look forward to it.

Learn more about discovery of ES for racial/ethnic minority academic librarians here and here.

Works Cited

Kendrick, K.D. (2017). The low-morale experience of academic librarians: A phenomenological study. Journal of Library Administration, 57(8): 846-878. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2Jdz7ak 


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