A Purpose.

Welcome to Renewals, a blog discussing low morale in North American libraries. This blog supports my work on this topic and also serves as a point of reference and resource for those who have faced or are currently experiencing low morale in academic library environments. This space is also for anyone who is concerned about preventing workplace abuse. By the way, because of my study’s definition of low morale, I use the terms workplace abuse, workplace neglect, and low morale interchangeably.

Participant data in my study revealed that low morale is the result of repeated and protracted exposure to emotional, verbal/written, and system abuse or neglect in the workplace. While my original study focuses on academic libraries, the general response to my research has alerted me that the trajectory and outcomes of the experience may also apply to other library environments. I hope this outlet is also helpful to anyone to whom this applies.

My first few blogs reflect content I originally published at The Ink On The Page, a project I began last year. As this space develops, I will include original content focusing on my 2017 study,  my forthcoming study centering on the low -morale experiences of racial and ethnic minority academic librarians, and other ideas and projects that spring from these works.

I have also created an online community for  librarians who are familiar with low morale (Renewers).  Along with this space, I hope Renewers are able to recognize, reduce, and resolve their experiences, return to a fuller sense of joy, and recapture purpose in their careers and communities of service. Moreover, I’d like to offer this space for sustained constructive dialogue on this important topic – let’s connect, create strategies, and fulfill positive outcomes for the long-term improvement of our profession.

All Best,

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P.S. You can keep up with my other research and news here!

 

 

 

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Tweet-dux: White Supremacy and Racism in the PoC Low-Morale Experience.

[This content was originally published on February 11, 2019 at The Ink On The Page.]

On Twitter, I’ve been threading some results of my latest low morale study (done with Ione Damasco), which centers the experience of racial and ethnic minority academic librarians. It is my hope that this work will bring into clearer view the additional emotional labor that librarians of color bear while dealing with abuse and neglect in American library workplaces. 

These threads expound on my earlier report of additional Enabling Systems in the PoC low-morale experience. 

  1. Participants frequently reported White colleagues’ assumptions of racial superiority as a significant cause of their low-morale experience(s).
  2. Dealing with White librarians’ unrequested guidance or advice, often given under the guise of knowing what is best for minority librarians, was frequently reported.
  3. Participants’ discussed their institutions’ active justification or downplaying of the negative outcomes of their historic and contemporary participation in or condonement of programs or events perpetuating White supremacy and racism.
  4. These justifications were evidence that their institutions remain unwilling to recognize or reconcile the long-term, still-present negative impacts of their actions on marginalized groups.
  5. Participants perceived that White colleagues discounted their preparation for, engagement in, and outcomes of their work.
  6. They perceived the discounting was motivated by White colleagues’ desires to discourage minority colleagues’ feelings of self-efficacy or trajectories of career success, even if they had no interest the same projects.
  7. Participants shared that White colleagues had limited expectations about them based on their race, culture, or ethnicity.
  8. Behaviors or comments signaling subtle or indirect racial, cultural, or ethnic discrimination were noted by study participants. (e.g. dog whistling, microaggressions).
  9. Racism increased participants’ feelings of emotional or physical limitations with regard to their immediate workplaces and/or overall career development.
  10. Multiracial participants discussed White colleagues’ reliance on phenotype to determine if it was safe to share racist opinions…
  11. Multi-racial participants also recognized that the non-White aspects of their identities were more often met with disdain than the perceived “better” qualities of Whiteness.

 

Tweet-dux: Diversity Rhetoric and Whiteness in the PoC Low-Morale Experience.

[This content was originally published on February 4, 2019 at The Ink On The Page.]

On Twitter, I’ve been threading some results of my latest low morale study (done with Ione Damasco), which centers the experience of racial and ethnic minority academic librarians. It is my hope that this work will bring into clearer view the additional emotional labor that librarians of color bear while dealing with abuse and neglect in American library workplaces. 

These threads expound on my earlier report of additional Enabling Systems in the PoC low-morale experience. 

  1. Participant data show that White women are soundly perceived by minority academic librarians as harbingers and enablers of workplace abuse and neglect.
  2. White women librarians alienate minority librarians through exclusionary attitudes or language.
  3. [One participant] stated, “Specifically, just librarianship as a profession, it’s predominantly White women [who have contributed to my low-morale experience]. And that’s just—I don’t know what else to say about that.”
  4. Respondents shared how White privilege also played a detrimental role in their low-morale experience, especially when it was invoked purposively while dealing with general enabling systems…
  5. White privilege also allowed uncivil behavior to go unchecked.
  6. Study participants also recognized the intersectionality of diversity rhetoric and White privilege when White colleagues invoked both enabling systems to offset events traditionally seen as only negatively affecting minorities – especially when such events were poised to also affect them negatively.

Learn more about the Diversity Rhetoric Enabling System.

 

 

Mentioned: Documentation and practice

The 2017 low morale study was mentioned as a resource in Mirza and Currier’s Digital Libraries Forum presentation, “Towards a praxis of library documentation.” The information was shared last October. The study is noted in connection to their discussion of the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics, specifically, Principles V and VIII, which focus on the promotion of humane treatment of and professional development and career advancement of library employees.

View the presentation notes.

Award Notice.

Today the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) announced that I’ve been named the 2019 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year.  According to ACRL, the award “recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development.”

The announcement goes on to share the impact of my research, including the low morale study:

“Kaetrena Davis Kendrick is a fully engaged and dedicated professional with her finger on the pulse of some of the most relevant and significant issues in academic librarianship today,” said Jennifer L. Fabbi, chair of the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee and dean of the California State University-San Marcos University Library. “Her work in the areas of underserved and rural user populations, professional ethics, and morale in the profession are discussed widely and used in graduate library programs. Kaetrena is framing discussions influencing the future of our profession and the next generation of librarians.”

I’m completely elated and proud to earn this achievement, and I thank the Renewers Community for joining me in my continuing efforts to improve our profession.

All Best,

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Read more about the award.

Grant Awarded for Low Morale Studies

The University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Research and Productive Scholarship Award allows faculty and staff to compete for funding annually. 

I’m really pleased to share that I’ve been awarded funding that will help support data analysis for my current low morale studies focusing on public librarians and business and nonprofit organization employees.

Learn more about previous RPS Awards.

 

Mentioned: Digital Stewardship Studies

Shira Peltzman and her co-authors deftly summarize their research focusing on how digital preservation initiatives and oversight evolve over time. They note there is “increasing dissatisfaction among stewards with the way that digital preservation is organized at their respective institutions,” and continue the summation of their impetus and scholarly effort (a qualitative study) to find out why.

The 2017 low-morale study’s methodology is mentioned as “a a pivotal precedent” for this group’s work. 

Read the summary.