Friday, September 22, 2023

Care and Compassion: Why We Need to Learn about Trauma-informed Librarianship

I'm really trying to learn as much as I can about self-care and self-compassion which is integral to healing.   I've been focusing a lot of attention on challenging topics, particularly during my sabbatical, on discrimination, exclusion, gaslighting, bullying, the list goes on,  and much of the effects I witness (and personally experienced myself) is chronic stress of which the effects are only beginning to be understood in the medical world.  The trauma expert Dr. Elizabeth Stanley has suggested that chronic stress and trauma should be viewed as part of a continuum; stress over time has the same biopsychosocial effects on individuals as acute trauma.  As such, many of my colleagues in this profession who have faced the onslaught of chronic stress have either left the profession due to burnout or have suffered mental or chronic health issues.  

I'm seeing an emerging emphasis on Trauma-informed librarianship (TIL) in the library world nowadays, but it's still a rare topic at conference circuits.   I really enjoyed Karina Hagelin's session which I believe can help us open up conversations about taking care of ourselves and others for a better profession.  She is so raw and honest -- so deliberate in her messaging about TIL as a vital practice about creating cultural shifts in how we approach our work to move towards healing -- not just for our patrons, but for each other, and for ourselves.  This webinar introduces what is trauma and how it impacts both individuals and communities; the principles and goals of trauma-informed librarianship; how we can apply this lens to library services in actionable ways to better support survivors in our libraries, whether they are patrons or colleagues; and how we can take care of ourselves too, through 10 concrete self-care strategies.

Karina is such a courageous and engaging speaker, and being a chronically ill and disabled queer femme librarian, they have lived experiences and expertise to help us create better cultures in our libraries that center healing through radical empathy, collective care, and social justice work.  Karina is an Outreach and Instruction Librarian at Cornell University who has a very cool website where you can find more information about her work: 
TIL is a reminder for us to take care of ourselves and to be compassionate to one another.

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