ALA Annual Conference 2023

Prioritizing Mental Health at #alaac23 and Your Library

Without doubt, there are many factors impacting the mental health of librarians and our patrons. Sophie Leveque and Diana Beltrao de Macedo of Boston Public Library are prioritizing access to free mental health resources through the library. How are they doing it? By combining digital and physical resources for patrons to explore mental health support on their own.

Digital Resources

The Boston Public Library offers access to the Headspace app monthly through a corporate subscription. While the model can be slightly clunky for libraries, it does offer resources in several languages for patrons. However, they also acknowledge that digital-only resources can be a barrier. This may be through lack of access or lack of comfort in navigating the platform.

Therapy Cards

Therapy cards offer a physical alternative for patrons. There are two brands available: My Therapy Cards and the Therapy Toolkit. Both resources were developed by mental health professionals. While not a replacement for professional intervention, these resources can demystify the therapy process or bridge the access gap. My Therapy Cards were created by Dr. Ebony Butler. Currently, she offers general sets as well as sets for teens and men. These cards are best for those who are ready to make changes, with each card including a task for the user to explore. The Therapy Tookit was created by Linn Martinsen. This set works best for those who want to explore feelings and concepts around mental health.

Learn More

While this program is still in its pilot phase, there is already evidence of its popularity and success. To learn more about the full complement of mental health resources available through the Boston Public Library, visit https://www.bpl.org/mentalhealth/.


Today’s guest contributor is Jaime Eastman (she/her/hers). Jaime is a senior Public Services Librarian and Family Place Coordinator at the Harrington Library, one of the Plano (Texas) Public Library locations. She’s currently serving as a member of the ALSC Board of Directors. This will be her second Annual Conference. She is looking forward to many things, including finalizing the strategic plan with the rest of the Board, seeing great educational sessions sponsored by ALSC, and connecting with members both in person and through the blog. Jaime is currently working on at least two ambitious cross stitch projects, dreaming of future travel plans, and reading far too many books at once. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be an author. Writing for the blog and publishing with Children and Libraries feel like a good start, and she regrets nothing about her adult decision to be a librarian doing storytimes who didn’t have to grow up too much.


Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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