Mental Health Resources for Libraries
Many people turn to libraries in times of crisis, and mental health concerns are no exception. And while libraries are trusted havens for community members seeking resources, library staff aren’t immune to the challenges faced by community members. The added stress of acting as information first responders throughout the crises of the past several years has led to increased feelings of burnout and low morale among library staff.
Addressing these deeper issues will likely take time and immense resources, but in the meantime it’s important to seek balance between taking good care of ourselves and offering support to our community members. This collection of resources can inform and support the work you’re already doing to serve your community, and help support your own well-being as you continue the important work you’re doing in the process.
Staff Training and Support Resources
While much of our work centers on offering support and resources to community members, it’s important to consider our own well-being, too. These articles and training materials focus on issues that affect library staff and possible solutions.
- Researching Low Morale in Libraries: Overview of Kaetrena Davis Kendrick’s work low-morale experiences in libraries and possible solutions.
- Self-Care for Library Workers: Califa provides a list of freely available resources and archived webinars from Infopeople and other professional development providers supporting self-care work for library workers.
- Information studies prof works to address mental illness among librarians: Read about how a LIS professor is creating dialogue about mental health concerns among library staff by creating a zine.
- LIS Mental Health: This website features a blog, zine, and resource area all geared towards library workers.
- Mindfulness for Librarians: Massachusetts Library System mindfulness resources, including links to social media groups, booklists, and downloadable materials from a mindfulness workshop.
- Working Toward Wellness: Exploring Trauma-Informed Librarianship: Library Journal article with firsthand experiences and perspectives from library staff.
- Low Morale in Libraries: Impacts and Countermeasures: Learn about important research on low morale and leave with actionable ideas for promoting a healthy work environment for all staff and cultivating empathetic leadership in libraries.
- Prioritizing and Promoting Self-Care to Avoid Burnout: This webinar focuses on self-care strategies for library staff, to respond to the physical, behavioral and emotional impacts of workplace stressors.
- Revitalizing Morale: Cultivating a Supportive Library Culture: In this webinar, delve deeper into essential facets that foster a healthy and supportive library culture, exploring institutional and individual solutions to countering low morale.
- Taking Care of Self, Staff, and Community: In this webinar, we explore ideas for expanding core self-care practices to encompass connections with work colleagues and more broadly with community members. Also available is an accompanying article on the same topic.
- From Burnout to Balance: Identify burnout causes, manage stress, and boost emotional resilience with this course. There’s something for everyone here, but managers at libraries, archives, or museums will develop skills to promote teamwork, communication, and mutual support in the workplace.
- De-escalation Strategies: Learn how to intervene in conflict effectively, enforce policies proactively, and promote an environment where everyone feels secure and valued.
- Coping with Change: Learn strategies and skills to mitigate the unsettling aspects of change and help you cope and capitalize on that change.
- Having fun at Work Again: Learn strategies to cope with increasing pressures and cultivate a fun and meaningful work experience for everyone.
Resources to Support Patrons
- Books, Programming, Resources: Helping Patrons Through the Opioid Crisis: This collection of resources can help you connect patrons to the information that they need to support themselves or a loved one.
- Helping Libraries to be Autism-Ready: This article gives an overview of the University of Washington’s new Autism-Ready Libraries Toolkit.
- Resources for Social Work and Library Collaboration: Examples, articles, and resources to learn how partnering with social workers can benefit library staff and the people they serve.
- Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities: Barrington Public Library Case Study (pdf)
Courses and Webinars
- Providing Mental Health Information at Your Library: This course is available through the Network of the National Library of Medicine, which provides free CHIS eligible coursework and covers the cost of the CHIS application fee for library staff and students located in their national network. Learn more in this WebJunction article or on the MLA Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) website.
- Community Health Challenges: Training, Language and Programming for Libraries: This webinar highlights approaches, resources, and programs that can help reduce stigma and fear surrounding the opioid crisis, and promote healthier communities.
- Cultivating Protective Factors for Safe Libraries and Resilient Communities: Explore the ways the library functions as a "protective factor" and how to build community resilience through more compassionate and inclusive policies and practices.
- Mental Health First Aid and Trauma-Informed Approaches for Libraries: This webinar explores how the principles of trauma-informed care and Mental Health First Aid can equip staff with the knowledge and confidence to communicate with compassion.
- Where Compassion Meets Action: A 10-webinar series by the California State Library Mental Health Initiative. Some webinars include:
- Creating Library Spaces and Programs that Nurture Teen Mental Health and Healing
- Creating a Safe and Welcoming Space in Your Library: Working with Patrons in Crisis
- Suicide Prevention: Basic Skills and Resources
- A Trauma-Informed Lens Changes What You See
- Empathetic Leadership: Titles centered on innovative and compassionate leadership. This WorldCat.org list was created in collaboration with WebJunction webinar presenters, Kaetrena Davis Kendrick and Sunnie Scarpa.
- Supporting Student Mental Health Awareness with Books: This Read Across America book list is geared towards students dealing with mental health issues and difficult feelings related to grief, anxiety, isolation, and more.
- Mental Health in the Library: This American Libraries Magazine list features a handful of books on mental health, self-care, and mindfulness in libraries.
Additional Resources and Reading
- 10 for 10/10: 10 Ways to Take Action this World Mental Health Day: This Mental Health First Aid page offers 10 daily mental wellbeing in honor of Mental Health Day, plus information about becoming a mental health first aid responder.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
- Adult & Teen Wellness Kits: Ada Community Library presentation offering tips and inspiration for creating wellness kits at your library.
- How Libraries Became Refuges for People with Mental Illness: This Slate article offers an overview of how libraries are helping, plus first-hand examples from the author’s own library.
- Librarians as Second Responders: Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month: Resources collected by Information Today.
- Mental Health Resources in Libraries: This ALA page offers a comprehensive list of resources to help support patrons with mental illness.
- New Jersey State Library Mental Health Resources for Librarians: Resources on this page include national organizations, free mental health apps, and resources for children, teens, and young adults.
- Reducing the Stigma Around Mental Health at the Library: Programming Librarian feature about an initiative to create dialogue on community mental health topics.