#hurrayoftheday: 80

Today I received a notice from Norene Erickson, the Editor-In-Chief of Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, that my article on public librarians’ low-morale experiences has won the journal’s Partnership Award for the best article of 2020! She noted, ” Articles were nominated by the editorial team, and an awards committee made the final decision based on:

  • Originality
  • Relevance/timeliness to the profession
  • Contribution and impact on the profession
  • Quality

She also shared that despite the short publishing time of the article (it was published in January 2021), it is tracking as one of the most popular viewed/downloaded articles of the year (at announcement time, it had 4,964 abstract views and 7,753 downloads).

I’m so honored that my work is being recognized in this way. UPDATE: Read the announcement.

#hurrayoftheday: 78

Today we have a two-fer, both research related and speaking to the empowerment that I always hope and wish to come of my work.

First up,  this tweet about my low-morale work:

Then,  LaJuan Pringle, a librarian at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library System (we also worked together on the Metrolina Library Association Board), shared with me a post he wrote on the rare joy of being – and working with – other Black male librarians. He cited my 2009 study of the history and career motivations for African American male librarians. 

These messages keep my spirits up and I’m very thankful to know that my current and past work makes a positive difference in a profession I care a great deal about.

#hurrayoftheday: 75

My study focusing on the low-morale experiences of public librarians has been published in the international Open Access (OA) journal, Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science Practice and ResearchRead the article.

#hurrayoftheday: 68

Yesterday at a webinar hosted by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), I presented the latest results of my low morale/COVID-19 survey (it’s still open and taking responses, by the way). I received the following message from an attendee:

“I just wanted to thank you so much for the amazing NNLM presentation today! …[I]t was so powerful to see and feel how present you are in your message and emotional support for listeners.  To me, you are not just presenting research, you are helping people learn how to value themselves, and also to question their own roles in completely dysfunctional systems. This is so valuable in general, and is very much so to me personally.”

Empowerment. Clarity. Accountability. I will keep going!

#hurrayoftheday: 64

I woke up this morning, checked my email, and was immediately stunned by a colleague who attended the #LIBRESILIENCE/#LIBREV(olution) conference that happened earlier this week, which included my presentation on the intersections between COVID-19 and low morale. In part, she shared:

I … regularly advocate to administration for staff needs and labor concerns, which I try to get them to understand as deeply connected to how we provide services for patrons, not separate from it, especially in regards to negative experiences of non-professional staff and library workers of color at all levels. My arguments for shifting policies and procedures have always been based in ethical and social justice principles, but your research and writing have allowed me to introduce aggregated qualitative data into these conversations.
You are providing an extremely important bridge between those of us working from moral and ethical worldviews and managers who want data and field-approved information. To my mind, you have introduced some of the most important and useful concepts and tools to understanding our field in the early 21st century, and I hope that in retrospect we will see their impact in the improved lived experiences of library workers. 
Your work and words have also been personally bolstering to me in this upsetting time, and I am extremely grateful to you for that. – S.S., Massachusetts

I am simply and utterly overwhelmed with gratitude. This is why I’ve done this work, which is hard – and so gratifying to know during my life that I’m making a positive difference. I will continue to improve.

#hurrayoftheday: 63

Earlier this week at the #LIBRESILIENCE/#LIBREV(olution) I presented the latest results of my ongoing survey focusing on the how library responses to COVID-19 are impacting ongoing low-morale experiences. The twitter activity in response to my presentation included this awesome output of notes by Jennifer Allison:

LowMoraleNotes - Jennifer Allison

I’ve never seen my work presented in this way, and I’m so moved…so amazing! Jennifer shared, “I am a law librarian by training – I do notes like this to engage other parts of my brain during talks.”

Thank you so much! 

#hurrayoftheday: 62

My survey on COVID-19 library responses and their impact on low-morale experiences has been translated to German by colleague Dr. Karsten Schuldt at University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons in Switzerland. https://bit.ly/34UTjX0

We’ll be working together to compare data and ascertain cultural differences, as well.
Guten tag.

#hurrayoftheday: 56

Last week I led a presentation for the Southeast Online Collaborative Conference – a virtual professional development opportunity hosted by the State Library of North Carolina, the South Carolina State Library, Georgia Public Library Service, and the Library of Virginia

In my talk, “Low Morale in Libraries: A Survey of Experiences,” I summarized data from my three low-morale studies (academic librarians  – 2017; racial and ethnic minority librarians – 2019; public librarians – tbd) and discussed emerging countermeasures to reduce low morale in library organizations. 

The conference organizers requested and shared feedback from my session and it was very positive! Here are a few responses to the query: “What did you like most about the program?”

  • “Kaetrena was an amazing speaker, drawing so many connections between systemic structures and emotional experience.”
  • “[S]ome of the coping strategy examples made it obvious to me that there are individuals in my institution that are experiencing low morale more than they outwardly voice. I felt that this program was very clear and detailed in explaining what low morale is.”
  • Great presenter. She’s passionate, engaging and great at identifying an important topic that is not often addressed. Good webinar. Lots of good insights.”
  • As a white person, I really appreciated the focus on the point of view of people of color. It helps me see things from a different perspective than my privilege allows and I know it will help shape my actions going forward with staff and patrons of color. I think that sometimes white people feel uncomfortable talking about or thinking about race and that only makes the problem worse.”
  • “It opened my eyes to what was going on in my own library system.
  • One of the first programs that offered clear suggested solutions. Oftentimes, as a WOC I am told what the issues are, even though I am well aware, and not given suggestions on the action items. This was very informative on how to create the change and what expectations I can make for myself and my staff. Thank you.
  • I received a lot of insight on how I can battle my low morale and help lift others up in my organization who are also going through a low morale situation that is difficult to escape…It is such a difficult situation because people can be aware of the injustice and mistreatment they are the victim of without knowing how to pull themselves out of it.”
  • Kaetrena’s research should be required reading for every library school, administrator, manager, etc.”
  • Excellent research from an engaged scholar. Thank you.”

These responses directly reflect the hopes I have for my research and scholarship as well as why I do this work: to give voice to and empower colleagues, and to encourage discussions and actions that improve library workplaces and the LIS profession. I am thankful to the conference organizers (Lauren Clossey, Tiffany Hayes, Dorcas Davis, and Cindy Church) who invited me to share my work.


#hurrayoftheday: 51

I recently opened an invitation to a new low morale study, and I received this statement as part of a query:

 …[Y]our work has made me feel so much less lonely in my low-morale library experience and in fact encouraged me to end my low-morale experience this past year. I saw you speak at ACRL in 2019 when I was at my absolute personal and professional lowest and was filled with gratitude for your work on this subject.

Ever since understanding the development and outcomes of low-morale, my goal has been exactly this – to help people know they are not alone in their experiences. I also believe that my research has helped people name what is  happening to them and subsequently, has helped them enact the courage to move forward from the experience.