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Balancing Advocacy With Self Care

photo of 2021-2022 library service to underserved children and their caregivers committee members.

Advocating for initiatives, programs, services, and outreach to underserved populations can be emotionally and physically draining. It is the extra effort we do to lead with equity in mind. Are you overwhelmed by advocacy? Read our blog post about advocacy tips. 

Today, our 2021-2022 members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee would like to celebrate the end of the committee year with self care tips and reflections. Do you have some tips to share too? Feel free to use the comments to add your own! 


Jaime

Cross stitch, walks, and making time for lunch/conversations with friends. 

Wisdom learned over the past two years: Your feelings are valid. Whatever they are. Whether or not other people understand them or agree with them. Your feelings are valid and they matter.

I block time on my calendar most days to focus on specific projects without interruption, and have other times when I’m available to help others. I’m also intentional about scheduling time for breaks during the day. 

I know that my plate is too full when I start to lose joy in the things that normally make me happy, or when the parts of my job that make me happiest start to feel like an obligation rather than something to look forward to. That’s when I need help figuring out how to rebalance and reprioritize. This means having a really honest conversation with my boss about how I’m feeling and what is currently on my plate. The key is being honest with her and myself about where I really am and what I need so that we can create a collaborative solution. 

Emily

Take breaks to walk outside (or long hikes if possible). 

Erika 

I ask myself: What did I do for me today? What kind things did I say to myself? When it comes to days that are especially difficult, I have emergency chocolate hidden in one of my desk drawers at work. 

I take myself out of my own life and become someone else; acting! When Covid hit, I had to find other ways to get my performance juices flowing: tiktok! Making silly videos has become a fun pastime for me. Tiktok is also great for when I need a laugh break or when I want to see videos of cute puppies. 

I love using Insight Timer, an app with tons of free guided meditations and courses.  Slowing down and focusing on my breath has helped me calm my anxious brain many, many times.  And the best part is that I can practice meditation at work on my breaks whenever I need to. 

Melody

Being a part of this committee has made me realize the joint effort of many who are trying to make a difference every day in their work. We are not alone. That energy revitalizes me to put my best effort into the few projects I love and then have time to relax and be myself.

I invest in myself by doing fun workouts, bullet journalling, art, cooking, and spending time with the kids in my family. My best advice is to have boundaries and focus on what matters the most (in both work and life). Saying “No” is the best gift you can give yourself, those you love, and the projects you care about deeply. 

Georgette

Breathe. Take the time to breathe before you get out of the car and start your work day. It will release tension and allow you to think clearly and respond with a level head.


Thanks to our 2021-2022 committee members for an amazing year of developing a New American

Toolkit, doing a We Are ALSC Chat, hosting a webinar with Project VOICE, and writing an

“Overwhlemed by:” series on the ALSC Blog. 

(2021-2022 committee members minus our amazing Priority Group Consultant, Lisa Kropp.)

Jaime Eastman is a Public Services Librarian, Senior at the Plano Public Library. She can be found making painstaking progress on her cross stitch sunset, taking walks when the Texas weather cooperates, or anticipating her next travel plans. She is looking forward to connecting with ALSC members this year.

Melody Leung is a Youth Services Librarian at the Everett Public Library. She is driven by culturally diverse programming, outreach, and empowering youth. All opinions shared are her own. 

Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez is an assistant professor of children’s literature at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She served on the 2022 Newbery Award Committee. Some of her favorite activities include hiking, singing, dancing, and playing trivia. 

Erika Miller is a Children’s Services Librarian at the Lake City branch of the Seattle Public Library and a 2020 ALSC Equity Fellow.  She is passionate about helping others and learning how to create positive changes for the kids in her community. 

Georgette Spratling is the Youth Services Librarian at the North Miami Public Library in North Miami, Fl. She is a mother of 2 daughters, an HBCU Alum (Florida A & M University), and a lover of all things science fiction and fantasy.  When she is not helping teens in the library to become a better version of themselves, you can find her traveling the globe and making memories with her friends and family. 

Kymberlee Powe is the Children/ YA Consultant at the Connecticut State Library. She loves reading, embroidery, crime shows, and has just begun her journey into the world of crochet. The opinions in this article are her own.

Mariel Matthews is a Children’s Librarian with The New York Public Library, Grand Concourse. She is a member of the Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers  Committee (ALSC), Library Services to Children of African Decent (BCALA) Committee and Professional Development Committee (BCALA). Currently, she is enjoying the creativity of virtual story times.

Photo courtesy of the 2021-2022 members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee.

This post addresses core competency V and VI.

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