Vocational Awe and the Folklorist: Introducing Library Science’s Concept of “Vocational Awe” to the Discipline.

Virginia Siegel (Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts, University of Arkansas Libraries)

Fobazi Ettarh coined the term “vocational awe” to describe the perception that libraries as institutions are inherently good. Ettarh proposed this term to explore how a related web of assumptions affects the degree to which librarians conflate their lives with their profession. As a folklorist working in a library, I have witnessed how Ettarh’s term has anchored discussions of occupational identity, job creep, mental health, and burnout. This paper aims to introduce the term to our own field, particularly public folklore. Vocational awe challenges us to question how perceptions of our own work affect our emotional investment and wellbeing.

Part of 02-09 Reevaluating Folklore's Past and Present, Thursday, November 02, 10:30 am–12:30 pm