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Avoiding Burnout

Emotion in the Library Workplace

ISBN: 978-1-78743-084-6, eISBN: 978-1-78743-083-9

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 8 August 2017


Burnout has been recognized and measured in the workplace since the 1970s, particularly in service industries. Libraries can be viewed as service providers. Burnout is the result of chronically high work demands combined with emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished personal accomplishment. Burnout components have been linked to physical, emotional, and behavioral consequences, and to high turnover and loss of engagement. Libraries can evaluate burnout levels among staff and address burnout on an individual, management, and organizational level. The Nurse-Experienced Time Pressure, Burnout, and Patient Interaction Questionnaire is modified to identify and quantify activities individuals might use to reduce burnout. The survey is administered to librarians and staff at an academic library and to self-chosen attendees at a conference session on avoiding burnout. Feedback is also solicited in terms of burnout avoidance strategies and possible library responses. Most respondents feel burned out but also committed to providing excellent service to patrons. Respondents have a genuine interest in making work less prone to burnout. Sample sizes were small but gave consistent responses. Burnout can be addressed on an institutional, management, and personal level, with each entity having equal responsibility. Leadership, management, communication, and support efforts can counteract burnout threats. Burnout causes disengagement at work and in personal lives. In terms of personality, neuroticism is a strong predictor of burnout. Making efforts to counteract burnout will lead to a healthier, balanced life. This book chapter is based on research done for a presentation at ER&L 2016 on Avoiding E-Burnout. Causes and counteractions to burnout have been expanded.



Hogarth, M. (2017), "Avoiding Burnout", Emotion in the Library Workplace (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 37), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 71-98.



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