FIMS Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Documentation

First Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier

Last Page



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to use spatial thinking (space-time) as a lens through which to examine the ways in which the socio-economic conditions and values of the post-Fordist academy work to diminish and even subsume the immaterial affective labour of librarians even as it serves to reproduce the academy. Design/methodology/approach – The research question informing this paper asks, In what ways does spatial thinking help us to better understand the immaterial, invisible and gendered labour of academic librarians’ public service work in the context of the post-Fordist university? This question is explored using a conceptual approach and a review of recent library information science (LIS) literature that situates the academic library in the post-Fordist knowledge economy.
Findings – The findings suggest that the feminized and gendered immaterial labour of public service work in academic libraries – a form of reproductive labour – remains invisible and undervalued in the post-Fordist university, and that academic libraries function as a procreative, feminized spaces.
Originality/value – Spatial thinking offers a corrective to the tendency in LIS to foreground time over space. It affords new insights into the spatial and temporal aspects of information work in the global neoliberal knowledge economy and suggests a new spatio-temporal imaginary of the post-Fordist academic library as a site of waged work.

Citation of this paper:

Nicholson, K. P. (2021). Spatial thinking, gender and immaterial affective labour in the post-Fordist academic library. Journal of Documentation.

Find in your library