Survey Invitation: The Labour of MLIS Degree-Holding Paraprofessionals
August 31, 2023
I am Annabelle Drobniak from Queen’s University and I am searching for research participants who:
- Hold or are pursuing an MLIS degree (or equivalent)
- Are currently employed as a library paraprofessional (e.g., assistant, technician, clerk, etc.)
- Live or work in Canada or the United States
- Are able to read and write in English
I am interested in investigating your experiences as an MLIS-degree holder/pursuer in a paraprofessional role (Library Assistant, Technician, Clerk, etc.). This research is being done to better understand the impacts of a demanding job market on MLIS graduates who have elected to take roles as library paraprofessionals. This study would like to examine the nature of library paraprofessional work, the labour involved in seeking a professional librarian role, and the potential transition between paraprofessional and professional library roles.
To find out more details or to participate, please visit this website: https://queensu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bvl5FAdkkNBDNTU
No compensation will be provided for your participation.
Annabelle Drobniak, MLIS
Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)
613-533-6000 ext. 36912
An invitation to participate
You are being invited to participate in this research study that investigates the labour of MLIS degree-holding paraprofessionals. This research is being done to better understand the impacts of a demanding job market on MLIS graduates who have elected to take roles as library paraprofessionals. In particular, this study would like to examine the nature of library paraprofessional work, the labour involved in seeking a professional librarian role, and the potential transition between paraprofessional and professional library roles. This study addresses a lack of library and information science research that addresses underemployment of library professionals in Canada and the United States.
Why is this study being done?
Professional identity and the labour of librarians is a matter of concern for librarianship. Most of the scholarship in this area has focused on MLIS-degree holding librarians and their status and work as “professionals.” The status and labour of paraprofessionals has also been investigated, although to a lesser degree. It is a common recognition that the library job market is very competitive which has forced MLIS-degree holders into jobs they are, on paper, overqualified for. We are hoping to gather empirical evidence about whether degreed library professionals are using paraprofessional roles as a stepping stone into professional roles.
Inclusion criteria for the study
To participate in the study, you must:
Hold or be pursuing an MLIS degree (or equivalent)
Be currently employed as a library paraprofessional (e.g., assistant, technician, clerk, etc.)
Live or work in Canada or the United States
Be able to read and write in English
What are the study procedures?
Your participation in the study will consist of completing a short questionnaire which should take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. The survey will be administered on a platform called Qualtrics. We will begin with some demographic questions. Then, we will ask questions about the library work that you do and how you feel about it, about your working goals and ambitions, and about how you are advancing your career.
Your participation in this study is voluntary. You may decide not to be in this study. Even if you consent to participate you have the right to not answer individual questions or to withdraw from the study at any time. If you choose not to participate or to leave the study at any time it will have no effect on your relationship with Queen’s University.
You will not waive any legal right by consenting to participate in this study.
What are the risks and harms of participating in this study?
There are no known or anticipated risks with participating in this study.
What are the benefits of participating in this study?
If you choose to participate in this study, you may not directly benefit from participating in it. However, the information gathered may provide benefits to society as a whole and to the profession of librarianship. This study will be helping to develop knowledge about the experiences of library workers.
Can participants choose to leave the study?
Yes, you have the right to leave the study at any time by closing the questionnaire in your web browser. Because data is collected anonymously, withdrawal of your data after you’ve submitted the survey is not possible since we are not able to link you to your responses.
How will participants’ information be kept confidential?
The principal investigator will be the only individual who will have access to the study data.
Some demographic data will be gathered from you (age, gender, country, income level, employment status, education level) to help paint a picture of the people involved in the study. Demographics will be reported in the final dissemination of this study (in aggregate). We hypothesize that there may be trends related to these demographic characteristics and the answers that are provided. If there are indeed trends, we will be able to draw conclusions that will show the relationship between the demographic characteristic and library labour.
We will not collect any other personally identifying data about you (i.e., name, email, IP addresses, etc.). Any personal information that could possibly identify you will be redacted, de-identified, or pseudonymized in any dissemination of the study results (e.g., publications in scholarly journals, presentations at scholarly conferences). Please try not to provide any identifying information in any of your written responses.
If you provide your consent, the researcher may use de-identified direct quotations from open-ended responses as in the formal write up of the findings of the study.
Qualtrics, the survey platform used by Queen’s, will be used to store survey responses during the collection period. Once the survey is closed, the data will be downloaded to the researcher’s secure and encrypted institutional OneDrive accounts where it will be analyzed. Upon completion of the study, the research data will remain in that OneDrive account for at least five years, then deleted by the researcher.
The Queen’s General Research Ethics Board (GREB) may request access to study data and/or all other study materials used in this research to ensure that we (the research team) have or are meeting our ethical obligations in conducting this research.
Are participants compensated to be in this study?
You will not be compensated for your participation in this research.
This study has been reviewed for ethical compliance by the Queen’s University General Research Ethics Board (GREB).
Whom do participants contact for questions?
If you have any questions about your participation in this study, you may contact the Principal Investigator by the contact information provided at the top of this letter. If you have any ethics concerns please contact the General Research Ethics Board (GREB) at 1-844-535- 2988 (Toll free in North America) or email chair.GREB@queensu.ca. Please note that GREB communicates in English only. This office oversees the ethical conduct of research studies and is not part of the study team. Everything that you discuss will be kept confidential.
(Via Annabelle Drobniak)