Join SCARLA on Tuesday, March 19 at 7pm EST for our CritLib Collective event series, a space where students, faculty, and librarians can gather for informal discussions on important topics related to critical librarianship. For this iteration of our series, we are reading “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Fobazi Ettarh. You can find the open access article here.

Fobazi Ettarh will be joining us for the meeting to give a short talk about her experiences writing this article and what she has learned since, with time for discussion to follow.

Register for CritLib Collective here.  Bring your questions, thoughts, and anecdotes! We are excited for the conversation!

Fobazi M. Ettarh started out in libraries as a school librarian, then was an academic librarian doing mostly public facing roles such as instruction and student success. She is currently in her deferment year for her PhD at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. In the meantime, she is an independent scholar and consultant for library organizations and training.

Fobazi’s research is concerned with the relationships and tensions between the espoused values of librarianship and the realities present in the experiences of marginalized librarians and library users. In 2018, she coined the term and defined the concept of “vocational awe,” which describes, “the set of ideas, values, and assumptions librarians have about themselves and the profession that result in beliefs that libraries as institutions are inherently good and sacred, and therefore beyond critique.” In her article “Vocational Awe: The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” she describes how vocational awe can lead to burnout and a sense that one’s own self-care is less important than the work being done.

Fobazi Ettarh’s critical work on libraries, labor, and identity has been published in In the Library With the Lead Pipe and edited collections, including the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook and Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race Theory. She has given invited talks at numerous professional and scholarly conferences and events, including the Library as Place Symposium, and keynotes at the Association of College and Research Libraries and Library Journal Directors’ Summit.