Gabriel and Spencer deliver keynote at SAA conference

Jamillah Gabriel
Jamillah R. Gabriel

PhD student Jamillah Gabriel and iSchool alumna Katrina Spencer (MS/LIS ’16) gave the keynote address at the Society of American Archivists Annual Conference, which was held on August 25-27 virtually and in Boston, Massachusetts.

In their keynote, Gabriel and Spencer examined overcommitment among LIS professionals and setting boundaries, a topic that Spencer recently addressed in her article, "The Comprehensive Guide to Resisting Overcommitment." They highlighted what many information workers are facing, "particularly BIPOC workers who are often more subjected to heavy workloads by their employers." In addition to examining the cultural norms pushing workers toward overcommitment, Gabriel and Spencer discussed strategies they use to set professional boundaries and how they ensure their engagements are rewarding.

"Librarians are currently dealing with a work culture of many expectations and increased responsibilities that are sometimes difficult to say no to," said Gabriel. "In an era where quiet quitting is all the buzz, we discuss how one can be proactive rather than reactive about overcommitment by deciding what to say yes to and how to do it in a way that best protects our own well-being in and out of the workplace."

Gabriel is a critical pedagogy research librarian at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on issues at the nexus of information and race and interrogates how these issues impact Black people and communities. She earned her MLIS from San Jose State University and also holds an MA in museum studies from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Spencer serves as a librarian for African and American studies for the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. She also writes for a variety of LIS publications, reads texts that foreground a variety of types of diversity, and creates programming for LIS professionals.

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