The following report reflects my goal to continue sharing data from my ongoing survey exploring how COVID-19 has impacted library employees who were already dealing with low-morale before the development of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. My last general quantitative and qualitative reports were offered in September 2020.
- 82% are female; 9% male; 7% non-binary/third-gender; 2% prefer not to say
- 75% are Caucasian; 9% are Hispanic/Latino; 7% are African American; 7% Asian/Pacific-Islander; 4% Multi-racial; 1% Native American/Indigenous; 3% prefer not to say
- 35% are experienced librarians/archivists; 34% are new librarians/archivists; 31% are mid-career librarians/archivists
- 48% work in public libraries; 40% work in academic libraries; 2% work in special libraries
- The most common ways participants’ libraries have responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic include*:
- Administrators have canceled all library programs and/or events (52%)
- Administrators have reduced library hours (51%)
- Campus has stopped face-to-face classes and moved to online courses (47%)
- Administrators have reduced or curtailed in-person library services (46%)
- Administrators have stopped all in-person services (38%)
- Administrators have reduced in-person staffing (33%)
- The lowest quantitative responses to how participants’ libraries have responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic include:
- Administrators have added or expanded in-person services (9%)
- Administrators have expanded library hours (6%)
- Administrators have added library staff (2%)
- A majority of participants have experienced increases in:
- Negligence (80%)
- System abuse (62%)
- Participants indicate the abusers are:
- Library administrators (77%)
- Supervisors/managers (47%)
- Enabling Systems most often encountered by this group include:
- Uncertainty & Mistrust (80%)
- Leadership (71%)
- Staffing & Employment (61%)
- Human Resources Limitations (54%)
- Librarian/LIS Perceptions (43%)
- 45% of respondents indicate that outside of concerns about COVID-19, physical health conditions have developed or worsened as a result of their library’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 79% of respondents indicate that mental health conditions have developed or worsened as a result of their library’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- During their library’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants have also experienced/dealt with:
- Burnout (“a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who do ‘people work’ of some kind”- Maslach, 1982) – 80%
- Resilience narratives (e.g., “do more with less,” “lean in;” “have grit,” “it’s your job to fix/fill in system gaps” – Berg, Galvan, & Tewell, 2018) – 79%
- Vocational awe (the weaponization of LIS values/library value or librarian stereotypes/identity; job creep, mission creep – Ettarh, 2017, 2018) – 72%
- Job Precarity (“contractual, ambiguous, insecure, unprotected, and poorly paid labor/work/employment.” – Brons, Riley, Yin, & Henninger, 2018) – 50%
*Check out Lisa Hinchliffe’s work tracking COVID-19 academic library closures.
Berg, J., Galvan, A. & Tewell, E. (2018). Responding to and reimagining resilience in academic libraries. Journal of New Librarianship, 3(1). Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2J29Lwf
Brons, A., Riley, C., Yin, C., & Henninger, E. (2018). Catalog cards from the edge: Precarity in libraries. Presented at the British Columbia Library Conference. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/reader/161652150
Ettarh, F. (2018). Vocational awe and librarianship: The lies we tell ourselves. In The Library With The Lead Pipe. Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/
Maslach, C. (1982). Burnout: The cost of caring. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.