I read a short piece in the Atlantic about how public libraries often act as Second Responders. Like when there is a natural disaster, and the library provides resources to help folks figure out where to look for help, or goes to a shelter to provide storytimes or activities for kids and families to do to help ease stress and boredom. Or when a kid's home is not particularly pleasant or safe, or when they don't have a home, and the library provides an excellent place for them to be. So many, many examples.
I love seeing this role of libraries getting some attention. It is what many of us are doing every day, and I'm glad others are paying attention and singing our praises. I love it when we get good press for doing our jobs.
I'm also aware that this second-responder business can be exhausting, and can leave librarians with some symptoms of Secondary Trauma. Remember to take time to pay attention to your own health and well-being. Look for moments to breathe deeply. Look for chances to reflect and act with intention when you plan your services, and remember that being Second Responders takes time and energy and resource, and you need to figure out a way to track that so you can let folks know what you are doing.
Let me know if you have any thoughts about this!
Labels: role of libraries, self-care, sustainability