Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
What does self-care mean for women of color (WOC) in library work? How does it affect sense of self and connection to others? How does self-care impact professional practice? These are some of the questions we’ll be addressing within this session. Drawing on qualitative survey data from almost 300 women of color across the LIS field, we will share our study results and offer insight into the challenges and joys of intersectional identities in the workplace. This will include discussions about self-care, mental health and well-being, and work-life balance.
In this session, we will review the results of our study and examine study participants’ feedback about how they maintain (or aspire to maintain) physical, mental, spiritual, social, and emotional well-being and sense of self. Drawing from the literature, we will contextualize our study with current research on job stress and burnout in LIS. This session is particularly timely, given our current national climate and the urgency surrounding issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While workplace stress is common for professionals in all sectors, those who work in service-oriented careers, such as librarianship, may face an additional struggle to find balance and maintain healthy boundaries. Workload equity, job stress, and the availability of support systems are all issues that affect workplace satisfaction for WOC in LIS. While cultural fit has become a loaded term, being from an underrepresented population sometimes creates anxiety for WOC around expectations, especially for those who actively push for systemic change. Maneuvering issues of power, voice, representation, and agency add to concerns of reciprocal fit.
Attendees will come away with advice on how to implement self-care practices to bolster professional practice and will gain insight into how LIS professionals of color utilize support systems to enable greater engagement in the workplace.