Tag Archives: Librarians

How libraries became refuges for people with mental illness.

By Anthony Aycock, Sept 22, 20225:50 AM

Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo/Slate. Photo by Chanvre Québec on Unsplash and Pawel_B/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Welcome to State of Mind, a new section from Slate and Arizona State University dedicated to exploring mental health. Follow us on Twitter.

The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges is often credited with saying that “Paradise is a library.” He must not have meant a downtown public library, circa 8 p.m. Such places, like most communal spheres, can be a challenge to oversee.

Some people treat them like a sort of roomless hotel, sleeping in chairs and bathing in restrooms. I used to watch a man who looked like the famous woodcut of Blackbeard the Pirate ride the escalator of my three-story library up, down, up, down. For hours. Carrying a duffel bag. He never bothered anyone, so our security officers left him alone. (Can’t say the same for the lady of the evening who was meeting clients in the stairwell.)

Then there are the questions from believers in Qanon. Election deniers. Sovereign citizens. The woman who ranted about the “news” that the World Health Organization was going to “force a vote to allow them to take over the U.S. and force a lockdown like China.” (If WHO had that kind of power, why bother with a vote?)

The man who asked me how he and a few of his buddies could get into the governor’s office to “remove him” over pandemic closures. (Would that all insurrectionists did such thorough research!) Declinism is the feeling that everything is getting harder, scarier, and weirder, and a lot of people seem to have it.

Work in a library, I want to tell them, and you’ll learn what weird is.

Source: https://slate.com/technology/2022/09/libraries-mental-health-support.html

From book stacks to psychosis and food stamps, librarians confront a new workplace | Salon.com

As America’s social safety net decays, librarians are feeling less safe doing their jobs

By Rachel Scheier, Published August 24, 2022 8:15AM (EDT)

Stack Of Books On Table In Library (Getty Images/Rachan Panya/EyeEm)

For nearly two decades, Lisa Dunseth loved her job at San Francisco’s main public library, particularly her final seven years in the rare books department.

But like many librarians, she saw plenty of chaos. Patrons racked by untreated mental illness or high on drugs sometimes spit on library staffers or overdosed in the bathrooms. She remembers a co-worker being punched in the face on his way back from a lunch break. One afternoon in 2017, a man jumped to his death from the library’s fifth-floor balcony.

Dunseth retired the following year at age 61, making an early exit from a nearly 40-year career.

“The public library should be a sanctuary for everyone,” she said. The problem was she and many of her colleagues no longer felt safe doing their jobs.

Via: Library Link of the Day, http://www.tk421.net/librarylink/  (archive, rss, subscribe options)

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: https://www.salon.com/2022/08/24/from-book-stacks-to-psychosis-and-stamps-librarians-confront-a-new-workplace_partner/

Book ban efforts by conservative parents take aim at library apps | NBC News

Campaigns that started with criticizing school board members and librarians have turned their attention to tech companies such as OverDrive and Epic, which operated for years without drawing much controversy.

By David Ingram, May 12, 2022

Kim Hough watches as her 12-year-old son, Ethan, and her 9-year-old daughter, Emelia, browse book selections on the Epic app at their home in Melbourne, Fla., on May 6. Jacob M. Langston for NBC News

E-reader apps that became lifelines for students during the pandemic are now in the crossfire of a culture war raging over books in schools and public libraries.

In several states, apps and the companies that run them have been targeted by conservative parents who have pushed schools and public libraries to shut down their digital programs, which let users download and read books on their smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Some parents want the apps to be banned for their children or even for all students. And they’re getting results.

A school superintendent in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, pulled his system’s e-reader offline for a week last month, cutting access for 40,000 students, after a parent searched the Epic library available on her kindergartner’s laptop and found books supporting LGBTQ pride.

Source: Book ban efforts by conservative parents take aim at library apps

The Librarians Are Not Okay – by Anne Helen Petersen

By Anne Helen Petersen, May 1, 2022

from article…

This week, I gave a talk at the CALM (Conference on Academic Library Management) Conference. I’m sharing it here because I’ve received several requests for a written copy, but also because I think you could substitute pretty much any passion job for “academic librarian” here and the descriptions (and advice) will hold. The librarians are not okay. The nurses are not okay. The teachers are not okay. The journalists are not okay, the clergy are not okay, the social workers are no okay. And we can’t start the long-term work of recovering from the burnout and demoralization of the last year until we acknowledgment as much.

So here’s the talk, which seems to start in the middle of the nowhere but that’s just because I did some normal casual intros and positioning in the beginning. Please forgive the more conversational tone (which is how I write talks), the repetition of phrases (again, how I write talks) and the abundance of dashes (an approximation of the way we often actually speak). I hope it’s useful to you in some way, regardless of whether or not you’re a librarian or work in a passion job — because writing it, and delivering it, was certainly useful to me. Real, enduring empathy demands that we understand some corner of others’ contexts. And this is the crucial context that I’ve seen missing from so many conversations about people leaving jobs and industries and fields, and struggling mightily to stay within them. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Your job has become incredibly difficult. And even though I can’t understand the very specific ways it has become difficult — what a life in your shoes feels like — I do understand the overarching ways it has become difficult, and think we should spend some time acknowledging them.

First: You work passion jobs, and passion jobs are prime for exploitation. Until I started writing about my own burnout back in 2019, I didn’t grasp why it would ever be problematic to pursue work that you love. I thought that’s what everyone should, in some way, be trying to do — and if they weren’t, I had some sort of quiet pity for them, like WHO WANTS TO BE AN ACCOUNTANT? THEY MUST BE SO BORED!!

This perspective was not, by any means, unique: for people on the college-track in the 1990s and 2000s, this was the air we breathed, passed down in maxims like do what you love and you won’t work another day for the rest of your life and in Steve Jobs’ oft-quoted 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.

To be able to follow that ideology felt so aspirational — like setting yourself up for a future of guaranteed fulfillment. But it also set up a whole lot of us to conceive of our jobs not as jobs, but as vocations, as callings — with the understanding that pushing back, in any way, on the conditions of our employment was somehow evidence of a lack of commitment to the work.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: The Librarians Are Not Okay – by Anne Helen Petersen

Source: https://annehelen.substack.com/p/the-librarians-are-not-okay
The Librarians Are Not Okay [Culture Study] via Library Link of the Day
http://www.tk421.net/librarylink/  (archive, rss, subscribe options)

Celebrating the Librarians of SFF | Tor.com

By Stubby the Rocket, Wed Sep 29, 2021 10:00am 32 comments 7 Favorites [+]

From article…

Across fantasy and science fiction (with the occasional stop in horror), there are any number of amazing fictional libraries we’d love to visit—especially to meet up with the guardians of the stacks!

After all, what’s a fantasy story without an awe-inspiring tower full of potentially curséd books?

Or a sci-fi adventure without the cumulative knowledge of civilization stored somewhere to guide our heroes on their quest?

We decided it was time for an overdue celebration of the keepers of knowledge, from experts in Egyptology to far-future book-lovers fighting tyrannical governments to sword-wielding barbarians, we have a librarian for every occasion.

Editor’s Note: Lots of listing in the article, and check out the comments as well.

Source: Celebrating the Librarians of SFF | Tor.com