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Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to interpret and discuss survey results of a study of academic librarians’ scholarship and creative work outside of library and information science in order to reveal some librarians’ motivations to perform such work as well as their perceptions of administrators’ attitudes toward it. Design/methodology/approach – The authors published a link to a qualitative survey instrument on COLLIB-L and ULS-L, the e-mail lists for the college libraries section and the university libraries section of American Library Association, asking that only academic librarians engaged in scholarship and creative work outside of library and information science participate. This paper is an exploratory analysis of the survey results. Findings – Librarians reported that they produce such work for many reasons, including personal satisfaction, dynamic and successful liaison work, and ongoing commitment to scholarship and creative work. Academic librarians who produce non-LIS work do so with varying levels of support, and the recognition of such work is inconsistent among institutions. Originality/value – The authors are the first to query American academic librarians specifically about their scholarship or creative work outside of library and information science. Managers and administrators will glean much about academic librarians’ attitudes toward such work and how it adds value to the library operation and institution. Findings could affect criteria for reappointment, promotion, and tenure.