Combatting the Cost of Caring

By Isolde Karro

When your workplace is the neighborhood’s favorite hangout, you meet all the faces of humanity. This means regularly helping people living through disaster, trauma and illness. And library staff see it all … and feel it all.

It isn’t easy to shake off someone’s human experience and quickly pivot to helping someone else find a fun read for their upcoming beach vacation. Ping ponging between these emotional highs and lows is HARD WORK and Compassion Fatigue is real. It can lead to depression and grief for many library staffers.

The upcoming partnership with Mental Health America will include training on self-care and strategies for handling the stressors directly impacting the Library’s front line — ensuring they can bring their best selves to work and back home again to their personal lives.

In a recent survey, Library staff requested interventional training and closer collaboration with social services. In response the Library is creating a curriculum with Mental Health America to provide staff with the tools they need to help their most vulnerable customers.

Pictured: Lonna Vines, branch manager at Myers Park Library.

Branch Enhancement, Innovation, Libraries Matter, Library Locations, Partnerships

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