Burnout and Library School

Recently, LIS scholars have started exploring the potential connection between working in graduate school and burnout in librarianship. In the recently published article, “When Does Burnout Begin? The Relationship Between Graduate School Employment and Burnout Amongst Librarians,” authors Jade Geary and Brittany Hickey discovered that, today, more LIS students are working throughout graduate school and “also working more hours on average than current or former librarians did as students.”

The survey results in this study clearly show that burnout is a big problem within the field of librarianship. But when does it begin? That’s the question on researcher’s minds.

I could have added the many conferences I’ve attended, presented at, and coordinated group funding opportunities for in the last year; the committees I’m on; writing for HLS; and the 120 hour practicum I’m taking this semester to this list.

Because our time in library school is often so hectic, so driven by the competitiveness of the field, and—for many students—filled with late hours in public-facing positions, it’s no wonder that burnout is so pervasive within librarianship. I’m starting to discover that, at least for myself, the seeds of this burnout are sown during library school.

More research is being done to connect the dots between graduate school and burnout. This research could have implications for several areas of librarianship—from library schools, to hiring committees, to employers, to anyone invested in the humanity of grad students. Consider taking part in the survey in the tweet below!

It’s likely obvious why I’m interested in this topic: I’m a current graduate student experiencing burnout. But I’m eager to hear from you, because I know I’m not alone. I hope we can carve out a little community of support in the comments and discuss the following questions:

  • Are you experiencing burnout in library school? Or did you?
  • What led to your burnout?
  • Do you have resources and/or support to address burnout? In your program? At your institution? At your place of work?
  • Given that burnout is such a big problem within librarianship, how could library schools better prepare students to recognize and address burnout?

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