How Affective and Emotional Labor Impede or Facilitate New Teaching Practices Among Information Literacy Instruction Librarians Is Inconclusive
A Review of:
Galoozis, E. (2019). Affective aspects of instruction librarians’ decisions to adopt new teaching practices: Laying the groundwork for incremental change. College & Research Libraries, 80(7), 1036–1050. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.80.7.1036
Objective – To investigate the correlation between emotional and affective labour and instruction librarians’ willingness to adopt and implement novel teaching and educational practices.
Design – Semi-structured interview, grounded theory.
Setting – Academic libraries in the Greater Western Library Alliance consortium.
Subjects – 12 information literacy librarians from the Greater Western Library Alliance consortium of 38 research libraries from the US.
Methods – In 2016, the author shared a call for study participants in the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) consortium, selected a convenience sample of 12 information literacy instruction (ILI) librarians, and conducted a structured interview over Adobe Connect, a virtual video-interviewing tool. Interview transcripts underwent initial thematic coding using a grounded theory approach. Additionally, the author used Walker and Symons’ theories of motivation to code interview responses related to emotional and affective labour.
Main Results – The author identified three thematic categories in the interview transcripts: barriers and influences for adopting new teaching practices, and practices implemented by ILI librarians. The author mapped these response themes to Walker and Symons’ (1997) conditions of human motivation: autonomy, competency, feedback, affirmation, and setting meaningful goals. Some major barriers to adopting new teaching practices are burnout and emotional exhaustion due to understaffing, time demands, the sheer quantity of instruction sessions, and the lack of post-instruction feedback to reinforce pedagogical decisions. A sense of competency, autonomy, and support when designing library instruction sessions encourages librarians to adopt new teaching practices. The author explored what practices ILI librarians applied to implement new teaching practices. Having plenty of time to prepare prior to an instruction session encourages ILI librarians to build new teaching practices into sessions. The respondents noted that building relationships with faculty, students, and library colleagues enables them to receive helpful feedback.
Conclusion – Though there is some correlation between affective and emotional labour and the motivation of ILI librarians to adopt and implement new teaching practices, the author notes that the results are not generalizable to a larger context based on the small sample size. It is clear there are many opportunities to investigate other factors that impact librarian motivation and emotional labour including the dynamics of race, gender identity, and disability, or the managerial and structural factors and workplace culture that impede or facilitate the adoption of new teaching practices.
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