APLA Continuing Education Newsletter

April 2022

LIS and Mental Health

On February 8th 2022 Infopeople Library Learning hosted a virtual talk
called "We Are NOT Okay: Library Worker Trauma Before and During COVID-19
and What Happens After <>” which
can now be seen on YouTube. It helped kick off a discussion on library
Twitter, trending with #librarytrauma and #wearenotok. The speakers talked
about the simultaneous normalization and erasure of traumatic experience in
librarianship, especially in public libraries, in which watching patrons
suffer and suffering from patron abuse is seen as “just part of the job.”
It did not start with COVID-19, but the pandemic has certainly served to
intensify these trends and made it more necessary than ever to talk about
LIS and mental health for our own sakes and the sake of our patrons.

These conversations have slowly become more nuanced and more public.
Perhaps one of the best examples is the recently published collection of
essays in *LIS Interrupted: Intersections of Mental Illness and Library
Work* (2021). I’ve not finished reading it yet myself, but it looks to be
one of the more personal, yet also comprehensive, considerations of mental
health and neurodiversity in libraries to come out in the past several
years. Refreshingly, it tends to center “own voice” narratives and
reflections from library workers with lived experience related to OCD,
anxiety, depression, PTSD/CPTSD, bipolarity, ADHD, and autism, among
others. It also discusses how mental illness and developmental disabilities
often intersect with employment issues, like hiring, precarity, workplace
bullying, and the narrative of professional “fit.” It is an indictment of
the profession that some of the library workers whose experiences appear in
this book still do not feel safe to write under their own names.

Being a visible proponent of mental health and disability rights in
librarianship, this is something that I have personally encountered as
colleagues come forward to me with their own stories and fears. What
follows is just a small list of works related to LIS and mental health,
which I hope shows a better way forward for all of us.

~Ben Mitchell

As always: Know of something we’ve missed out on or feel is important, let
us know!


Bladek, Marta. 2021. “Student Well-Being Matters: Academic Library Support
for the Whole Student.” *The Journal of Academic Librarianship* 47 (3).

Cox, Andrew, and Liz Brewster. 2020. “Library Support for Student Mental
Health and Well-Being in the UK: Before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” *The
Journal of Academic Librarianship* 46 (6). doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102256.

Dube, Miranda, and Carrie Wade. 2021. *LIS Interrupted: Intersections of
Mental Illness and Library Work*. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Eldermire, Erin R. B., and Wasima Shinwari. 2022. “Brewing Tranquili-Tea:
Supporting Student Wellness at an Academic Library.” *College & Research
Libraries News* 83 (1): 8–12.

Eva Yin-han Chung, and Tasha Tin-oi Tse. 2022. “Effect of Human Library
Intervention on Mental Health Literacy: A Multigroup Pretest–posttest
Study.” *BMC Psychiatry* 22 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1186/s12888-022-03725-5.

“Inclusive Library Service to Individuals with Mental Illnesses and
Disorders.” 2020. *The International Journal of Information, Diversity, &
Inclusion* 4 (1): 119–26.

Green, Michelle. 2019. “Inclusive Library Service to Individuals with
Mental Illnesses and Disorders.” *The International Journal of Information,
Diversity, & Inclusion* 4 (1). doi:10.33137/ijidi.v4i1.32500.

Lawrence, Emily. 2013. “Loud Hands in the Library.” *Progressive Librarian*,
no. 41 (Fall): 98–109.

Phillips, Abigail L. 2019. “Mental Health behind the Desk.” *Library
Journal* 144 (5): 51.

Priego, Ernesto, and Anthony Farthing. 2020. “Barriers Remain: Perceptions
and Uses of Comics by Mental Health and Social Care Library Users.” *Open
Library of Humanities* 6 (2). doi:10.16995/olh.98.

Salvesen, Linda, and Cara Berg. 2021. “‘Who Says I Am Coping’: The
Emotional Affect of New Jersey Academic Librarians during the COVID-19
Pandemic.” *The Journal of Academic Librarianship* 47 (5).

Sara Holder, and Amber Lannon. 2020. *Student Wellness and Academic
Libraries: Case Studies and Activities for Promoting Health and Success*.
Chicago, Illinois: Association of College and Research Libraries.

The Public Library Association Social Worker Task Force. *A Trauma-Informed
Framework for Supporting Patrons: The PLA Workbook of Best Practices*.
Chicago: The Public Library Association, 2022.

Thomas, Sabrina, and Kacy Lovelace. 2019. “Combining Efforts: Libraries as
Mental Health Safe Spaces.” *College & Research Libraries News* 80 (10):

Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared through the listserv are those of the individuals sending the messages and are not necessarily endorsed by the Atlantic Provinces Library Association.

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