Staying Sane: Project Compass Workshop Discussion
During tough economic times, everyone is impacted—especially library staff. You and your colleagues can find yourselves over-worked and frustrated due to decreased resources for your library (e.g. fewer staff, less budget for materials, fewer open hours to get things done, etc) at the same time that there is an increased demand by your patrons. In addition to needing more resources and services, the emotional state of our patrons can take a toll on us. Many of our patrons are anxious, angry, sad, and frustrated by their economic situation; and they take those emotions with them to the reference desk.
Of course, library staff are not impervious to the economic recession! Handling patron frustrations can feel overwhelming when coupled with our own economic worries such as fear of losing our job or not getting enough hours, coping with colleagues being laid off, or a spouse or partner who is unable to find work. All of these factors combined have the potential to make us lose sight of the powerful and positive role we play in our community. It’s important for us to find ways to stay sane in these tough times so that we can continue to provide the critical programs and services that support our communities.
Use the discussion questions in the attached handout to help you articulate your own coping strategies and discover areas where you’d like to gain more skills. We encourage you to begin by answering the questions individually and then share your answers with your colleagues. You’ll learn new coping strategies from one another and find ways to support each other through the challenges of our work.
You will also find helpful resources for managing your own and your patrons’ stress in the Training & Programming section of the Core Services Pathway.
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