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Title:Exploring Empathy in LIS Education and Practice
Author(s):Stanton, Katerina
Emotional labor
Customer service
User services
Qualitative research
Mixed methods
Abstract:Empathy is recognized as an important part of society and the global interconnectivity of the digital era. Empathy is more specifically a useful “soft skill” in providing customer service and problem-solving. Such soft skills are essential to librarianship, connect people and information, and increase patron satisfaction (Matteson et al., 2016; Saunders, 2019). Yet literature has little to say regarding the existence of empathy in library professionals. Research has turned toward empathy only in specific instantiations, such as understanding library anxiety in international students or experiences of visually impaired patrons. Empathy, ‘Effect of Service’ in LibQUAL+, is both the most important to customer satisfaction and most difficult aspect to measure (Roy et al., 2012). However, empathy has not been integrated into professional codes of conduct, praxis, or LIS instruction. How do we as information professionals practice empathy, and how can we use empathy to better solve problems and provide service in an ever more connected world? Moreover, should we be teaching empathy as a core skill in LIS education? Thus I propose to examine if empathy is a prevalent or valued skill to the practicing profession. Measuring a baseline of empathy in practicing librarians alongside extended interviews will shed light on the value of empathy in librarianship and LIS education. Matteson, M. L., et al. (2016). “Soft Skills”: A Phrase in Search of Meaning. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 16(1), 71–88. Roy, A., et al. (2012). An Investigation of Affect of Service Using a LibQUAL+ Survey and an Experimental Study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(3), 153–160. Saunders, L. (2019). Core and More: Examining Foundational and Specialized Content in Library and Information Science. JELIS, 60(1), 3–34.
Issue Date:2020-10-13
Reference Transactions
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-09

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