Pandemic Stresses Increasing Burnout Among Librarians

Experts profile librarian mental health Abigail Phillips

As centers of their communities, libraries and the people who run them are increasingly called upon to take on new ways to support the public. The new expectations put on libraries during the pandemic increased the burnout rate among librarians, a profession that already suffers from high rates of mental illness, a UWM scholar’s research finds.

“They are being asked to do more and more and put themselves in a kind of an unsafe space, like they have patrons that come in refuse to wear masks,” said Abigail Phillips, an assistant professor of information studies at UWM. “They don’t feel that administrators or supervisors really care about their needs.”

Phillips, who was a librarian in Georgia for seven years, studies the mental health of librarians across the country and look for ways to better support them. She conducts most of her research through interviews and focus groups.

By Lauren Breunig