ALA Annual Conference 2023

Self-Care for #alaac23 and Every Day

Self-care. It’s something that we’ve heard a lot about, especially since the pandemic. But is it something that we’re practicing regularly? In the last three years, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring self-care. So, I was excited to see a session dedicated specifically to it. Bobbi Newman of the Network of the Library of Medicine taught this session, titled Self-Care During Stressful Times.

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Radicalizing Self-Care in Librarianship

“…I thought about the fact that although books don’t have feelings, the librarians forced to remove them from the shelves do.” Xochitl Gonzalez, “The Librarians Are Not Okay.” The Atlantic, March 15, 2023 Book challenges, protests against gender and racial inclusivity, salary stagnation, skyrocketing inflation, opiate overdoses, bad branch managers, years of being ‘essential workers’ -– we all know there isn’t a bath long or bubbly enough to repair the damage that long-term chronic stress does to the body and mind. Public librarians are housekeepers, zookeepers, referees, therapists, mandated reporters, front line emergency workers, cleaners of unidentified effluvia and other duties as assigned.  This is why bubbles-and-polish commodified self-care simply does not suffice. Most of us have, at this point, heard about the Urban Librarians Unite’s 2022 Urban Trauma Study, so I will not go into great detail about it here. In short, public-facing librarians experience significant trauma on a daily…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Accentuate the Positive 

These days book challenges and attacks on intellectual freedom seem to be a constant part of working in the world of libraries. It can be draining and downright disheartening to see what is happening to our colleagues, collections and creators. Encountering misinformed vitriol is taking its toll on our profession.  These threats against intellectual freedom are very real and the tactics being used to enforce censorship are alarming. During the barrage of bad news, it’s easy to miss the glimmers of good. It’s difficult to remember that there really are people who are grateful for our work and thankful for the resources and services libraries provide. While it is important to avoid succumbing to toxic positivity, seeking out the wins can offer much needed energy and clarity. Wins such as the Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned initiative and a whole community working together to support librarians are excellent examples. School…

Uncategorized

BREATHE

It’s been a long, long week/month/year/decade, and May is stressful for all; public library staff are gearing up for Summer Reading (a wild time to work in a public library environment), while school staff are just trying to make it to the end of the school year (a wild time to work in a school environment). And of course, we’re still living in a pandemic; things are scary and uncertain in so many ways. With all this happening, it is no surprise that I often have to remind myself to breathe. How often do you actually pay attention to your breathing? The persistently ragged, near-panicky gasping that has become my pandemic breathing style doesn’t exactly lead to inner peace. To really help yourself achieve some level of calm, one needs to be mindful of their breathing, and so, in that spirit, here are some links I hope you find helpful…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Treat Yo Self

November and December can get stressful with holidays, staff vacations, winter weather, annual wrap-ups, and the end of the year ahead. While many of us have a tendency to simply push through, taking time to introspect on ways you can relieve stress and be a happier, more positive coworker and public service provider is an important part of serving your staff and community. Listen to Parks and Rec staff Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, and treat yo self. We’ve all heard tips related to self-care: don’t check work email at home, take your lunch breaks, get up and move around every hour. These are all important (and you should follow them!) but there are lots of other, more in-depth resources to help you manage stress and be your best self. Take a look at a couple here: Self-Care Starter Kit from the School of Social Work at the University of…