“All for libraries”
A study of job satisfaction in Cape
Town’s public libraries
Genevieve Hart
Department of Library & Inf...
Background to study
• Began as senior class project
– Experience of a real research project from
beginning to end
– Then e...
Pressures on SA public libraries
• Years of neglect
• Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black”
townships & forme...
Rural?

4
Library in rural region of
Mpumalanga
Pressures on SA public libraries
• Years of neglect
• Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black”
townships & forme...
New library in Mpumalanga closed – dispute over
staffing
Library burnings in
“service delivery protests”

8
Pressures on SA public libraries
• Years of neglect
• Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black”
townships & forme...
Public Library Weds afternoon
Pressures on SA public libraries
•
•
•
•

Years of neglect
Insecure status of public libraries in their local authorities
...
Public library revival
2007+
• Government investigations
• Government grants: by 2013 (Mashatile2013):
– 44 new libraries
...
LIS Transformation Charter vision for
SA public libraries
• “forces for social cohesion and justice”
• “within reach of al...
Research problem
Given the past turbulence & the promise of a
new vision for public libraries, how happy are
their staff?
Job satisfaction?
“Library work is full of emotion”
Matteson & Muller 2012
Study’s theoretical frame
Hackman & Oldham’s JCM
Research questions
• What is the level of job satisfaction among the library
staff? And, how do levels vary according to v...
The two faces of Cape Town
COCTLIS
• 2000: Metro amalgamated 6 (?) library
systems (under different authorities)
• Now 104 “branches”
• 6 districts
City of Cape Town LIS (COCTLIS)
study
• 141 staff members
across all 6 library
districts
• Semi-structured
questionnaire/i...
Respondents
Type of library

Total

%
Historically advantaged /

City-wide

11

8%

Community

94

67%

communities?

Regi...
Job Title
Library aide

Total

%
5

4%

librarian

61

43%

Librarian

34

24%

Senior librarian

29

21%

Principal libra...
Overall levels of satisfaction with job
• 60% satisfied
• 21% strongly satisfied
• No significant differences
across varia...
Rating aspects of job satisfaction
Organisational commitment
• “I am proud to say I work for COCTLIS”
% agree
83
BUT!
• 23% “might be” looking for another job
• 19% don’t see themselves working in COCTLIS
in 3 years
• 40% would accept ...
Spearman Rank testing
• Correlation: job dis- satisfaction & workplace
“restlessness”
• People who are less satisfied are ...
What satisfies you?
Top 6
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Pleasure in giving good service
Community building
Interacting with diverse r...
• “This isn’t a job – it’s a passion!”
• “Making a difference – giving courage”
• “There’s always something new to learn”
What makes you dissatisfied?
•
•
•
•
•
•

Difficult customers
Restrictive & uneven allocation of resources
Rigid bureaucra...
• “Gangsters loitering in the library”
• “We’re glorified administrators – we do everything
but library work”
• “Bureaucra...
Conclusions
• Good news for public libraries in CT
– Weathered the turbulent years ?

• And for South African public libra...
To conclude
“What satisfies me? It’s my work! I’m all
for libraries!”
Thanks!
•
•
•
•

COCTLIS management
141 respondents
4th year BBibl students 2012
Team of fieldworkers
“All for libraries” - Genevieve Hart
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“All for libraries” - Genevieve Hart

  1. 1. “All for libraries” A study of job satisfaction in Cape Town’s public libraries Genevieve Hart Department of Library & Information Science University of the Western Cape
  2. 2. Background to study • Began as senior class project – Experience of a real research project from beginning to end – Then extended to all 6 districts • Job satisfaction of interest – to students – & to me as library educator • And to wider SA LIS context
  3. 3. Pressures on SA public libraries • Years of neglect • Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black” townships & former apartheid-era homelands underserved
  4. 4. Rural? 4
  5. 5. Library in rural region of Mpumalanga
  6. 6. Pressures on SA public libraries • Years of neglect • Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black” townships & former apartheid-era homelands underserved • Insecure status of public libraries in their local authorities • Lack of appreciation of their value
  7. 7. New library in Mpumalanga closed – dispute over staffing
  8. 8. Library burnings in “service delivery protests” 8
  9. 9. Pressures on SA public libraries • Years of neglect • Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black” townships & former apartheid-era homelands underserved • Insecure status of public libraries in their local authorities • Lack of appreciation of their value • Huge increase in under-prepared school learners’ use of public libraries < Hardly any school libraries
  10. 10. Public Library Weds afternoon
  11. 11. Pressures on SA public libraries • • • • Years of neglect Insecure status of public libraries in their local authorities Lack of appreciation of their value Uneven distribution: the densely populated “black” townships & former apartheid-era homelands underserved • Huge increase in under-prepared school learners’ use of public libraries < Hardly any school libraries • Inadequate human resources: numbers , qualifications, competencies, professionalism.
  12. 12. Public library revival 2007+ • Government investigations • Government grants: by 2013 (Mashatile2013): – 44 new libraries – 241 upgradings – 1575 new staff contracts • LIS Transformation Charter (6th draft 2009)
  13. 13. LIS Transformation Charter vision for SA public libraries • “forces for social cohesion and justice” • “within reach of all” • “places for everyone” 13
  14. 14. Research problem Given the past turbulence & the promise of a new vision for public libraries, how happy are their staff?
  15. 15. Job satisfaction? “Library work is full of emotion” Matteson & Muller 2012
  16. 16. Study’s theoretical frame Hackman & Oldham’s JCM
  17. 17. Research questions • What is the level of job satisfaction among the library staff? And, how do levels vary according to variables such as staff grade or district? • What are the chief satisfiers and dissatisfiers? • How committed are respondents to COCTLIS? • Given the links between job satisfaction and motivation and performance, what pointers for library leadership and library educators can be found to increase motivation?
  18. 18. The two faces of Cape Town
  19. 19. COCTLIS • 2000: Metro amalgamated 6 (?) library systems (under different authorities) • Now 104 “branches” • 6 districts
  20. 20. City of Cape Town LIS (COCTLIS) study • 141 staff members across all 6 library districts • Semi-structured questionnaire/interview
  21. 21. Respondents Type of library Total % Historically advantaged / City-wide 11 8% Community 94 67% communities? Regional 36 26% Advantaged communities 51 36% Disadvantaged 90 64% Grand Total 141 100% disadvantaged Grand Total Total % 141 100%
  22. 22. Job Title Library aide Total % 5 4% librarian 61 43% Librarian 34 24% Senior librarian 29 21% Principal librarian 4 3% Chief librarian 2 1% (blank) 6 4% Assistant 100 Grand Total 141 %
  23. 23. Overall levels of satisfaction with job • 60% satisfied • 21% strongly satisfied • No significant differences across variables found Except • District 2 has significantly more respondents reporting satisfaction & strong satisfaction than District 4 where far more chose to be “neutral”.
  24. 24. Rating aspects of job satisfaction
  25. 25. Organisational commitment • “I am proud to say I work for COCTLIS” % agree 83
  26. 26. BUT! • 23% “might be” looking for another job • 19% don’t see themselves working in COCTLIS in 3 years • 40% would accept a job outside COCTLIS with same pay/benefits
  27. 27. Spearman Rank testing • Correlation: job dis- satisfaction & workplace “restlessness” • People who are less satisfied are found to be: – significantly less proud of their workplace – more likely to be looking for another job – more open to job offers!
  28. 28. What satisfies you? Top 6 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Pleasure in giving good service Community building Interacting with diverse range of people Working with children & school pupils Daily variety Ongoing learning
  29. 29. • “This isn’t a job – it’s a passion!” • “Making a difference – giving courage” • “There’s always something new to learn”
  30. 30. What makes you dissatisfied? • • • • • • Difficult customers Restrictive & uneven allocation of resources Rigid bureaucracy/red tape Unfair pay structures Lack of recognition from City Delinquent staff
  31. 31. • “Gangsters loitering in the library” • “We’re glorified administrators – we do everything but library work” • “Bureaucracy discourages me – I want to burn it!” • “Children’s librarians are under stress. I find it painful to defend myself – they say you just chat”
  32. 32. Conclusions • Good news for public libraries in CT – Weathered the turbulent years ? • And for South African public librarianship? • Mixed findings on organisational commitment – Implications for quality of service?
  33. 33. To conclude “What satisfies me? It’s my work! I’m all for libraries!”
  34. 34. Thanks! • • • • COCTLIS management 141 respondents 4th year BBibl students 2012 Team of fieldworkers

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