Mindfulness Presentation at ALA MidWinter 2020 #ALAmw20 #health4libs

On Sunday I hosted a session on Mindfulness at ALA MidWinter for the ALA Allied Professional Association. This was an interactive session with the audience who shared their practices and recommendations. Many great resources were shared beyond what is included in my slides and the session was not recorded so hopefully, some will share their recommendations in the comments.

For what is worth here is a link to the PDF of my slides





3 thoughts on “Mindfulness Presentation at ALA MidWinter 2020 #ALAmw20 #health4libs

  1. Thank you for sharing! With the idea of vocational awe and the other pressures on those of us who have shrinking budgets and shrinking staffs, we have to manage the stress somehow.

    However, have you considered that some of this might be cultural appropriation of a religious activity practiced by another group? While Thich Nhat Hanh (and countless others, like Jon Kabat Zinn, etc.) has written books for the non-Buddhist, some argue that mindfulness is also a way to encourage complacency in toxic situations.

    What is your perspective on these issues?


    1. Hi LP,

      Good points! You mentioned vocational awe so you may have been at this presentation or the other one I did at MidWinter, but I can’t be sure so I’m going to respond as if you were not and maybe provide some context for other readers. Forgive me if you were there. To be honest, I was asked to do this presentation and it probably is not one I would have submitted on my own ( I did not write the title or description). My introduction to mindfulness was through a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course here at my university (Jon Kabat Zinn). I do not feel like an expert in this area and this session was heavy on audience participation, I spent most of my time carrying the mic around.

      I’m deeply uncomfortable with any commodification of “wellness” including mindfulness. During this session and the presentations and classes I teach on workplace wellness I emphasize that is it not necessary to spend money to practice mindfulness and/or wellness.

      I agree that far too often resilience, mindfulness, and other ideas and practices that place the burden on the individual to “suck it up” when in a bad situation are deeply troubling. When I was designing the Wellness in the Workplace class I wanted to be sure to structure it in such a way that it is clear that the first and best way to address issues is by changing the physical environment and cultural and that is the responsibility of management and administration. There are real benefits to creating a healthy work environment. The second part is what individuals can do, because we have all be in situations we cannot leave immediately. But we should all be advocating for better working conditions in libraries. Personally I have found mindfulness use for my mental and physical health, but I would never suggest it as a substitute for better policies and conditions.


      1. Thank you for your thoughtful response! I wasn’t there, and the context is useful to both me and other readers. I hope you are not offended by my questions as mindfulness and meditation have been part of my practice for 30 years.

        What do you think of the cultural appropriation aspect? You may also want to look at the work of Ronald Purser and Barry Magid regarding disconnecting it from its Buddhist context. (Along similar lines, would it be different to adopt Sufi whirling as part of our professional practice?)


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