Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CALL 2009 Conference - Research Projects by Members

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.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:30 am


Blogger Wendy Reynolds said...

Many thanks for the informative posts, Michel-Adrien.

I wonder if the dissatisfaction with advancement opportunities rests in the fact that most law libraries are fairly small places, and in order to move up, you often have to move out.

Did Nancy indicate whether she plans to do any followup work on this initial study?

11:02 am  
Blogger Michel-Adrien said...

My impression is that she attributes any dissatisfaction to younger librarians still trying to find their feet in the profession, but your point makes sense.

In terms of your 2nd point, McCormack did state that she hoped someone would redo her survey in 5 or 10 years to see how things have evolved.

If I recall, the report is to be published soon, so she may explain in the text if any further steps are planned.

7:50 pm  

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