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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

Finding Joy Where We Can: A Literature Review of Joy in the Workplace

Image of Kitty & Margot


Katherine (Kitty) Luce, Instruction and Web Services Librarian, CSU Maritime Academy

Margot Hanson, Science Librarian, Saint Mary’s College of California

Presentation Abstract

The existing literature on toxicity and low morale in library workplaces is extensive, yet the experience of well-being, even joy, is little discussed. This session provides a review of the scholarly and popular literature on joy in the workplace, with a critical appraisal of whose voices are evident, and a discussion of implications for academic libraries.

Recent writing focuses on the need to bring joy to workplaces, mostly to medical workplaces affected by the intractable challenges of COVID-19, worker shortages, and grueling and dispiriting work. The focus on joy reflects how far many workplaces are from inspiring joy, how difficult it is to change the work itself, and how humans crave the experience of transcendent delight.

This talk will provide an overview of the current research and published writing surrounding joy and well-being in workplaces, providing attendees the context to consider their own organizational culture. A review of the literature delineates coerced or nominal joy and differentiating it from true joy, which expresses workers’ autonomy and defies workplace inequities.

Presentation Slides

Public Zotero Library

We have a public Zotero library collecting information we used in this workshop, and a few other suggested readings and relevant materials.

public zotero group

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