Impact of COVID-19 on Parents/Guardians in the Library Profession
Objective: The authors sought to collect qualitative data with support from the literature to elucidate the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. parents and guardians working in the library profession.
Methods: The research team conducted a literature search in January 2022, with an update completed in January 2023 of several bibliographic databases and Google including the search terms COVID-19, parents, guardians, librarians, workplace, among others. In addition, requests for participation in a survey was sent out over listservs within and outside of the Medical Library Association (MLA), including regional library groups, and on social media to collect stories from library professionals who were parents or guardians during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from the survey and the literature search were analyzed and categorized according to theme.
Results: There were 51 respondents to the survey and 90 relevant studies found in the literature search. The most prevalent themes that emerged from the data analysis were “employer support/lack of support,” “childcare issues,” “mental health/stress/burnout,” “remote work–positive outcomes,” and “flexibility.”
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic affected parents and guardians who were library professionals beyond childcare issues. While organizations and individual workers have learned to live with the pandemic and minimize risks of transmission, COVID-19 brought to light some of the existing and underlying issues that are specific to parents and guardians who are library workers in the United States. Further research is warranted.
Keywords: COVID-19, librarianship, parents, guardians
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Copyright (c) 2023 Stephanie Clare Roth, MLIS, Elizabeth G. Hinton, MSIS, Bridget Jivanelli, MLIS
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