Blogger Chelsey Roos

Library Work Has a Trauma Problem – Can It Be Fixed?

The public might think of libraries as calm and gentle, but library workers know the truth: library work can cause trauma. Most of us have had at least one experience – if not many experiences – that broke our hearts, wore us out, or left us feeling alone and unsupported. A groundbreaking new study from Urban Libraries Unite has sought to dig deep into that trauma and explain why it’s happening. They also propose four changes to help mitigate library staff trauma and make sure that library staff do not feel alone in their experiences.

Guest Blogger

Saturday kickoff at #ALSC20

We jumped into the morning with a panel discussing “on the ground” experiences from librarians working in communities experiencing trauma. Beth Patin from Syracuse University was a school librarian when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It was an overwhelming experience for the community; everything in that area was utterly destroyed. Patin was able to start rebuilding her library collection (even with a little computer lab!) inside of a trailer long before the school was rebuilt. The community immediately utilized those services. Anita Montoya from Hennepin County Library works in the area where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis this year. Their community was rocked with protests, and she said they worked hard to be there for the people. Some buildings were damaged, but she said that the community also tried hard to protect the library, too, because they knew the library was there for them. The library also provided constant…

Guest Blogger

Librarians Working through Trauma

2020 brought a lot of unexpected changes and challenges to people all over the country. The session on “Children’s Librarianship in Communities Experiencing Trauma” was a great reminder of how libraries are often the hearts of their communities. Anita Montoya and Beth Patin explained how they responded to traumas in their communities that were caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Coronavirus, and the death of George Floyd. Services had to be adapted in a way that still gave their libraries a strong presence. Montoya’s public library expanded its outreach to public outdoor areas, which including bringing information about food availability and children’s books to their patrons. Patin worked with her school to find ways to still engage and educate their students, including setting up a library in a trailer, and borrowing space from another school that was still able to function. Librarians are resilient problem solvers. The stories shared during this…