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KEYNOTE SESSION WITH KAETRENA DAVIS KENDRICK  |   TUESDAY, JUNE 9  |  1 PM EST  

Todd Ream

Keynote Address: Reframing Limitations: Reflections on Workplace Morale and the Role of Self Preservation

My 2017 study on workplace morale in academic libraries clearly revealed the nexus of ethics, leadership, organizational development/culture, professionalism, and well-being in the library and information science profession. My subsequent studies on the topic emphasize additional issues where equity, diversity, and inclusion and the role of the library – and librarians – in American communities and neighborhoods is concerned.  Information professionals working in all kinds of libraries are perennially tasked to meet traditional and emerging resource, technology, and program needs with budgets that shrink annually, all while library users increase their expectations for what libraries can and should provide.

The impact of these conflicting desires can be compounded by library workplace culture, individual behaviors, and other factors both unique to the library profession and familiar to the workplace in general. We’ll explore the markers of reduced morale in North American libraries, and keynote attendees will also have a unique opportunity to reflect on their experiences as they consider the following idea: professional limits may help us regain personal and professional freedom and equilibrium.

Together, we’ll discuss tools for self-preservation and share countermeasures that may help increase morale in library workplaces.           


Kaetrena Davis Kendrick earned her MSLS from the historic Clark Atlanta University School of Library and Information Studies. Her research interests include professionalism, ethics, racial and ethnic diversity in the LIS field, and the role of digital humanities in practical academic librarianship. She is co-editor of The Small and Rural Academic Library: Leveraging Resources and Overcoming Limitations (ACRL 2016) and author of two annotated bibliographies: Kaleidoscopic Concern: An Annotated, Chronological Bibliography of Diversity, Recruitment, Retention, and Other Concerns Regarding African American and Ethnic Library Professionals (ACRL 2009) and Global Evolution: An Annotated, Chronological Bibliography of International Students in U.S. Academic Libraries (ACRL 2007).  

In addition to her research and writing, Kendrick also offers professional development opportunities and organizational consultations designed to energize employee morale and promote empathetic leadership in North American libraries. In her daily and long-term work, Kendrick has transformed library programs, services, and culture via creativity, leadership, and advocacy. In 2019, Kendrick was named the Association of College and Research Libraries' Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. This past May, Kendrick was selected to be the incoming Dean of Ida Jane Dacus Library and Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University. She is expected to begin her new role in July 2020. Learn more about Kaetrena's mission and activities.