Thursday, March 18, 2021

Achievement culture and slow librarianship

At the recent North American Virtual Reference Online Conference, American Libraries columnist and community college librarian Meredith Farkas presented a keynote address titled Resisting Achievement Culture with Slow Librarianship. 

Conference logo with photo of young woman with dark hair, Meredith Farkas

Working from home during the pandemic has increased the practice of people working more hours than what their regular work day normally encompasses, answering emails late at night, and working on weekends when that might not have been part of their "in-house" schedule. But these practices have been happening for years, outside of a pandemic.

From the program description: "achievement culture turns organizations toxic, encourages overwork, and keeps people chasing external validation. Slow librarianship presents an approach that rejects achievement culture and focuses on values-driven work, process over product, and gratitude-focused reflective practice."

Farkas talks about how libraries sometimes chase the next hot, shiny thing instead of doing what is best for the community. Libraries often keep adding new services without letting go of others. How many libraries keep offering the same services, same hours, same programs even after the budget has been cut?

Check out Farkas' keynote and other presentations from the conference website.

Slides from the presentation are available at