Work/Life Balance

Does “when worlds collide” describe how you feel about your life? Are you desperately seeking a personal life without losing your job? Then you may be experiencing a need for work/life balance.

During this two-day e-forum on work/life balance, participants discussed what their organizations do to help employees maintain this delicate balance. We welcomed comments from employers as well as employees on what programs and solutions do employers provide We heard stories and strategies of how participants personally manage to keep work responsibilities and life in balance.

Find a summary of the discussion in the ALCTS News.

We discussed:

  • Does your workplace have programs (flex-time, maternity leave, child care) and a culture supporting work/life balance?
  • What would you like to see your employer support that they currently do not support?
  • As the employer, has there been a down side to supporting work/life balance programs?
  • Do you think that libraries lead or follow when it comes to national work/life balance trends?
  • How can organizations support work/life balance programs when some staff are union employees while others are not?
  • Can managers benefit from work/life balance programs too?
  • What happened to working 8–4 or 9–5? When did we move to being at work 9 hours with a 1 hour lunch? Does that help or hinder work/life balance?
  • Has anyone successfully implemented job sharing? What were the hurdles and how were they overcome?
  • Do your organizations offer health-related/wellness programs? How do they work? Are wellness programs and work/life balance programs the same?
  • What are your organizations’ expectations regarding phone and email outside of your traditional work hours?
  • Are you expected to participate in events that occur outside of your normal working hours?
  • How does your employer handle the need to take care of family issues (e.g., children sick or snow days, elder care, partner care)?


Leslie Burke is Collection Development and Digital Integration Librarian at Kalamazoo College (K). She has worked at Kalamazoo College since January 2012 handling serials, acquisitions, collection development and e-resources. Prior to working at K, Leslie was an Account Services Manager (a librarian-on-the-road) for EBSCO Information Services for eleven-and-a-half years. Leslie was a corporate librarian for over a decade at Amway Corporation, and a serials/acquisitions librarian at Western Theological Seminary. Leslie has been active in the Special Libraries Association (SLA), Michigan Health Sciences Library Association, and other state and regional library groups.

Robert Roose is the Support Services Manager at Spokane Public Library in Spokane, Washington. He has worked in public services at Renton Public Library (WA), Hobbs Public Library (NM) and both technical services and public services at Jefferson County Library (WA). He is active in the Washington Library Association.


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