There are a lot of things that I have learned about myself and about being a librarian from this course. I have learned the importance of being a well-rounded librarian, of being compassionate, kind, and curious. I have remembered that first and foremost, our patrons come first, meaning that customer services is a HUGE part of the job no matter what side projects or activities you are currently working on. This is one of the reasons I love librarianship so much. I have spent my whole adult life (the last 12 years of my life) in the customer service field. I am proud of myself when I can help a customer in a way others were not able to. I love finding creative ways to problem solve issues, it is what I am good at because I know the most important way to help patrons is by listening to what they have to say. If you listen, they can tell you what is really bothering them and it makes it easier for us as support staff to find out of the box and creative solutions to their problems.
Some of my favorite things I have learned throughout the course were focused on compassion and kindness. In the participatory services module, I learned about how different libraries have created ways to help those patrons who are struggling, such as New York City Library creating a Coffee and Conversation support group for those who are homeless or know people who are homeless. At the San Francisco Public Library they have an in house social worker who connects at-risk patrons with support and helps they may need. Some academic libraries have set up food pantries for their students who are struggling to feed themselves. These panties include other necessities such as tampons, toothbrushes, and other toiletries. At the Pima County Public Library, they have a team of public health nurses who make rounds inside their libraries and provide basic health services to their patrons.
This course as shown me how important connections are. People need to be connected whether it be virtually or in real life. PEOPLE ARE HYPERLINKS TOO. This single concept has changed the way I think about library services. I have worked hard this semester to implement our new Mental Health is Health Campaign in my own library. We started before the COVID-19 outbreak and shelter-in-place was instituted and I believe it will be more important now than it was before. We have started offering virtual meditation and yoga classes from members of our yoga club through Facebook. We did a two-week book suggestion list on Instagram for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We have used our library social media to connect to our students and post encouraging and uplifting quotes in our attempt at creating a virtual “inspiration station”. There is a lot we can try to do virtually while the students are struggling with their new normal and I hope this campaign can change and grow because mental health is important and with the new stressors in play, today patrons are overstressed and overworked and trying to adapt quicker than ever. When we return to our libraries mental health support will be necessary to help people re-adjust.