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”Ibland krävs det ju att man stannar kvar och pratar lite strunt”: En kvalitativ studie av bibliotekspersonals upplevelser av känsloarbete
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2013 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
“Sometimes it's necessary to stay and talk some nonsense” : A qualitative study of library staff’s experiences of emotional labor (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to examine different social aspects of the librarian profession by looking at the positive and negative emotions that are handled in the workplace. This is done by applying theories of emotional labor on the work of librarians in hospital libraries, prison libraries and in mobile library services. Emotional labor, as originally described by Arlie Russell Hochschild, circles around how service staff manage their emotions to create a publicly observable expression. By looking at library work from this perspective my wish is to fill the term “good customer service” with further meaning. The empirical material consists of six qualitative interviews with library staff. The interview material was then examined with a thematic analysis method in which five different themes were identified.

The study shows that the interaction between library staff and users is central to the work. Library work in hospitals, prisons and in mobile library services provides opportunities for personal contact between library staff and users. The nature of these encounters is that there are often no time limits and that the work involves a lot of small talk and humor. Since the work is often done in emotionally demanding environments, the staff must develop a special sensitivity to the needs of the users. The interview material shows that the staff performs both surface and deep acting in their work, but there is nothing to suggest that this has any negative impact on the individuals. Instead the work seems mainly to have a positive emotional impact on the staff. They believe that their work is important and often get a direct positive response from the users. The motives for the emotional regulation seem to be a true empathy for the users, a desire to make them feel a little bit better. I finally suggest that emotional labor is the essence of the work performed by the studied professional group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsatser inom biblioteks- & informationsvetenskap, ISSN 1650-4267 ; 610
Keyword [sv]
Bibliotekspersonal, Uppsökande verksamhet (bibliotek), Fängelsebibliotek, Sjukhusbibliotek, Känslor, Arbetsliv
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209442Local ID: 610OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-209442DiVA: diva2:657507
Subject / course
Library and Information Science
Educational program
Master Programme in ALM
Available from: 2013-11-06 Created: 2013-10-20 Last updated: 2013-11-06Bibliographically approved

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