Wednesday, May 30, 2012

OU-C librarian Shelly Miller co-authors article that addresses topic of emotional labor

OU-C reference librarian Shelly Miller has had an article accepted for publication in Library and Information Science Research. The article, “Emotional Labor in Librarianship: A Research Agenda,” was co-written by Miller and Dr. Miriam Matteson, the lead researcher on an on-going project that the two began two years ago while Miller was pursuing her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Kent State under the tutelage of Matteson, a faculty member at Kent State.

The article deals with emotional labor, or the expectation that workers manage their emotions while on the job in a way that meets organizational expectations, especially when interacting with the public. “We’ve probably all seen this happen—a store clerk or a server at a restaurant has to maintain a happy, helpful face even when customers are grumpy or rude,” Miller said.

“The article describes the concept of emotional labor, why we think librarians are prone to it, how we suggest it could be studied and why,” Miller explained. “Research suggests that the strategies an individual uses to cope with emotional labor can impact the individual, both physically (increased heart rate and blood pressure) and psychologically (decreased job satisfaction or increased emotional exhaustion) as well as their organization (changes in job performance and perceptions of service quality).”

“This is especially relevant for libraries in general, but particularly for one as service-oriented as the Quinn Library.”

Miller earned her bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College, and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University and the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) before earning her master’s degree in library science from Kent State.

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