Your Name and Title:

Dr. Abigail L. Phillips

Library, School, or Organization Name:

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Information Studies

Area of the World from Which You Will Present:

Wisconsin, United States

Language in Which You Will Present:


Target Audience(s): public, academic, and school librarians. Honestly, all library workers.

Short Session Description (one line):

Empathically Managing Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

Librarians and library workers empathetically and compassionately serve their patrons day in and day out. From the disgruntled patrons to the overly talkative patron, librarians and library workers managed their patron encounters using empathetic services (Phillips, 2016). These services refer to the empathy, compassion, and kindness employed by librarians and library workers when assisting patrons of all ages. However, little is discussed when considering the other side of the reference and/or circulation desk. What are empathetic services doing mentally, emotionally, and physically to the librarians and library workers?

Even before the pandemic, librarians and library workers suffered from burnout and compassion fatigue regularly. Throughout (and beyond) the pandemic, however, abuse, violence, and harmful actions and words have escalated against librarians and library workers. What happens when empathetic services are not enough to survive the front desk of patrons? Where is the place for empathy and compassion? In this proposal, the presenter will discuss strategies for finding empathy and compassion for yourself. Separating yourself from the job and learning to find kindness for you and you alone. Our mental health is at stake here. We must develop strategies to survive in the workplace and find our sense of self. 

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:

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