Workplace Wellness

New Series at WebJunction on Library Staff Health

It seems like forever ago that I talked with the team at WebJunction about writing a regular column on library staff health and wellness. Like all things during the Pandemic this has not unfolded how I had imagined. But I am pleased to share with you that the first column is finally up!

IMAGE from SAMHSA with eight overlapping circles depicting the 8 dimensions of health emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental, and spiritual.

Through this series, I will explore library staff health and wellness, what libraries can and should do, and what individuals can do. It is important to me in this column, in the class I teach, in the book I’m writing, in conversations, and in the symposium I am organizing that conversations about library staff health and wellness include recommendations and discussions on the responsibility of libraries to create a healthy environment. Too often ideas around wellness focus on superficial solutions like pizza parties or put the onus on library staff using problematic resilience narratives.

For each column, I will start with what libraries should be doing. I know the first response from many in administration is to offer reasons why they cannot make the recommended (and evidence-based), and I know some of those reason may be valid. But I hope that library administrators will instead take the time to sit with the recommendations and put real thought and effort into how they can make them possible, including bringing library staff into the conversation and search for solutions.

If you are interested in the health and wellness for library staff, please join us for March 24, 25, and 26, 2021, for BLOSSOM – Building Life-long Opportunities for Strength, Self-Care, Outlook, Morale, and Mindfulness. A free virtual symposium for library staff focused on their health and wellness, from the Network of the National Library of Medicine.

This three-day virtual symposium will bring together experts on morale, invisible services, vocational awe, burnout, and self-care in libraries. The symposium will provide library staff at all levels, including management, with key takeaways to improve library staff’s health and wellness. This event is open to all library staff regardless of employment status and to library science students.