Indispensable, Interdependent, and Invisible: A Qualitative Inquiry into Library Systems Maintenance

Ruth Kitchin Tillman

Abstract

Over thirty years after such systems were first developed, the Integrated Library System underlies most operations of an academic library. Yet in the literature, its day-to-day maintenance is often reduced to a list of tasks. Through interviews with sixteen system maintainers, this study attempts to develop an experiential understanding of its maintenance. Findings suggest that most maintainers find such work meaningful but face barriers when colleagues and administrators don’t understand what they do well enough to support it. This article proposes steps toward building a workplace where core maintenance tasks are recognized and supported.

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Copyright Ruth Kitchin Tillman


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