On Monday, I attended a session at the 2009 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries
(CALL) entitled "Research Matters: Recent Research by CALL / ACBD Members".
Every year, the CALL Committee to Promote Research provides financial assistance to members who want to conduct research in areas of interest to law librarians.
At this year's session, 2 CALL members presented the results of their research projects.
The first was from Kirsten Wurmann of the Legal Resource Centre in Edmonton who presented the results of her study on the role and impact of librarians in the history and development of public legal education practice in Canada. Her paper is entitled The Role and Impact of Librarians in the History and Development of Public Legal Education (PLE) in Canada
The second presenter was Nancy McCormack, Head of the Law Library at Queen's University in Kingston, who conducted a survey on job satisfaction in Canadian law libraries.
According to McCormack, Canadian law librarians had never been surveyed before on this topic.
A Survey Monkey survey was sent out electronically over various listservs in Sept. 2008.
199 responses were received (response rate of 23,4%). 58% were from professional librarians, 42% from other law library workers.
Responses were received from all kinds of law libraries, with a predominance of responses from private firm libraries (52,3% of responses). 48,2% of respondents were from Ontario, 14,6% from Alberta, 14,6% from BC, 11,6% from Quebec.
The most satisfying aspects of law library work were found to be: challenge (72,4%), followed by autonomy (71,4), patron interaction (57,3) and relationships with colleagues (53,8).
The 2 biggest sources of dissatisfaction were the physical environment (39,2%) and salary (34,2%).
Overall, the most satisfied of all were academic law library workers (92,3%), followed closely by courthouse librarians (91,7%). Only 80,6% of government librarians expressed overall satisfaction.
In terms of age groups, 77,3% of the under 30s were satisfied. After age 30, satisfaction levels rose significantly. A plausible explanation is that newer, younger professionals are still finding their way and moving around
Under 30s were also the least satisfied of all age groups when it came to salary, with 50% mentioning salary as one of the least satisfying aspects of librarianship. This falls dramatically for all older age cohorts.
Overall, McCormack explained that law library workers generally do well in terms of career satisfaction when compared to other librarian types. However, compared to other types of librarians, law librarians seemed more dissatisfied when it comes to advancement opportunities.
Labels: careers, conferences, law libraries