The State of Academic Liaison Librarian Burnout in ARL Libraries in the United States

Jennifer Nardine

Abstract

This study investigates the incidence and acuteness of occupational burnout in full-time Association of Research Libraries (ARL) liaison/subject librarians in the United States, using the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Areas of Worklife Survey. Findings show that lack of personal agency is the primary contributor to a sense of burnout and that, while many liaisons feel significant levels of overwork and lack of fair treatment, positive correlation between institutional and personal values runs high regardless of gender, time as a liaison, or time spent at a particular institution. This values relationship, along with a strong sense of personal efficacy, may moderately offset burnout symptoms. Still, findings indicate a need for further study of burnout in the overall academic librarian population, and a significant need for change in liaison librarians’ professional experiences in order to ease their reported levels of burnout.

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