Suggestions for Improving Morale, Part 2: Review of Existing Literature on Librarian and Library Staff Morale

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Purpose: Significant research has been done on morale within libraries focusing on librarians as teachers, administrators, staff, and faculty members. This review is the second in a series of two with the purpose of providing suggestions on ways to improve morale in librarians and library staff. The first part of this review discusses contributors to low morale in these populations. Methods: Searches were conducted between Spring 2020 and 2021 across six databases and by hand (Medline via PubMed, Library and Information Science Collection via ProQuest, Sociological Abstracts via ProQuest, PsycInfo via EBSCO, Library Literature and Information Science Full Text via EBSCO, and ERIC via EBSCO). Broad and narrow searches were performed utilizing keywords and controlled vocabulary terms related to morale and librarians or library staff. Results were reviewed by authors in three stages according to inclusion and exclusion criteria outlined in the article. Results: The initial search resulted in 735 articles for review. After completion of a three-stage review process and hand search, 52 articles remained. The search and hand search update resulted in 13 additional articles for a total of 65 articles for inclusion in the initial review. These articles were then split into two main groups: articles that address contributors to low morale and those that provide suggestions for improving morale. This article will address 28/65 articles retrieved that provided suggestions for improving morale within libraries. Conclusion: There is currently a large body of research on morale related to librarians and library staff; however, it is worth reexamining morale as librarianship and the world around it continues to change. Researchers confirmed that libraries have unique cultures based upon their region, overarching institution, type of library, customer or patron base, and other factors. As such, supervisors must be creative in terms of encouraging their staff and must adapt morale improvement efforts to their individual institution as material resources are not always available as rewards.