Strength in Numbers: Sharing the Stories of Public Library Workers’ Emotional Labour


What happens when, despite providing professional and respectful customer service, you are yelled at, threatened, or challenged? When the encounter is done, how do you manage your raw emotions from the event? What supports exist to help you work through these feelings, and start to love your job (and the customers) again? This session will present the findings from a Canadian study that investigated emotional labour in public libraries. Emotional labour is the idea that, working in public service, there is a need to control your emotions in order to accomplish your job. This research illustrated the ways in which public library workers have to respond to intense customer service situations. You will hear stories from the frontlines of customer service and learn about some of the strategies public library workers use to deal with the effects of emotionally charged customer encounters.



Dr. Norene Erickson and Dr. Joanne Rodger

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