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I may not be a librarian, but I’m running the school library: understanding the work identity of library paraprofessionals

Faculty Advisor




library paraprofessionals, library technicians, school libraries, work identity

Abstract (summary)

Work identity is defined as ones’ sense of purpose, value and belonging in the workplace (Saayman & Crafford, 2011). It is a useful construct in which to investigate how identities are influenced and developed through personal characteristics, relationships, and work activities. This study sought to understand the ways in which school library paraprofessionals’ work identities are formed. Seven library paraprofessionals in Alberta, Canada were interviewed as to their experiences working in a school library. It was discovered that, despite experiencing some misconceptions about their ability, sometimes feeling disconnected with others in the school and lacking a voice to direct their own work, these paraprofessionals experienced a sense of purpose, value and belonging at work. This study demonstrates that even if library paraprofessionals are not qualified Teacher- Librarians, they still are deeply committed to making a difference in the lives of young students.

Publication Information

Erickson, N. (2019). I may not be a librarian, but I’m running the school library: Understanding the work identity of library paraprofessionals. Proceedings of the International Association of School Librarians (IASL) 48th Annual Conference: Convergence, Empowering, Transformation, 21-25 October, Dubrovnik, Croatia. Erie, PA: IASL. doi:10.29173/iasl7428


Item Type





Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)