Title

Emotional Labor in Librarianship: A Research Agenda

Publication Title

Library and Information Science Research

Publication Date

7-2012

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1016/j.lisr.2012.02.003

Keywords

emotional labor, librarianship, research

Disciplines

Library and Information Science

Abstract

Many occupations, including librarianship, require emotional labor, which can be defined as the awareness of the emotional expressions required of a job, and the strategies used to express those emotions. To date, little research has examined emotional labor in library work, even though strong evidence exists to suggest emotional labor is a key component of many library jobs. Research on emotional labor shows that there can be positive and negative effects on individuals such as job satisfaction and job burnout. Research also shows that the negative outcomes from emotional labor may be buffered to some extent by factors such as support from the organization, or job autonomy. Individual differences such as personality traits and attitudes toward customers also impact the effects of emotional labor on employees. Because emotional labor is a critical issue in library work, and because evidence suggests positive outcomes can be fostered, there is a need to study how emotional labor is carried out in libraries, and to identify management techniques for emotional labor that will yield positive outcomes for both employees and organizations. Empirical research on emotional labor is reviewed, and a research agenda for exploration of this important construct in the field of librarianship is presented.