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Joy in the Library Workplace: A Literature Review and Related Activities

A research guide collecting links and information about joy in the library workplace

Joy in the Library Workplace

The literature on toxicity and low morale in library workplaces is extensive. Neoliberalism, trends towards a care economy, and ramifications of the COVID pandemic place considerable demands on library workers and exacerbate existing inequities. Top-down efforts to improve well-being can be ineffective or self-serving. Recent literature outside the library field describes the need to make work joyful, reflecting workplaces’ joylessness, barriers to changing the work itself, and our desire for transcendent delight. We have explored exacerbating trends such as positive psychology’s false hope, the mythology of self-care, and management approaches that offer snacks instead of real change. Improving workers’ autonomy and interpersonal connections can impact well-being, but can such changes bring the alluring concept of joy within reach?

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