Intersections

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About Intersections

Intersections, the blog of the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS), highlights the work of library and information science workers as they create safe, responsible, and all-inclusive spaces that serve and represent the entire community, as well as initiatives and projects supported by the office that promotes their work.


By: Cathleen Miller, Curator, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England   As workers, we spend our lives tending to the needs of our organizations, our patrons, and our co-workers. Whether you work in a supportive or a difficult environment, we all live with the stresses of being employed in a service-oriented field, in which few understand the rigors of our jobs or the stresses that accompany them. So how do we tend to our spirits in the face of a frustrating encounter with a patron, a colleague who makes our day-to-day work stressful, or when we learn that...

Read more | 02/08/2019 - 09:18

By: Erika Lehtonen, Youth Services Librarian, Shelton Timberland Library   When you work in libraries, you give so much of yourself to other people. While most of my experience has been in public libraries, I can imagine library workers from different fields have often felt the same stress, anxiety, and burn out. We can be so busy taking care of others, we forget about taking care of ourselves. One thing I’ve learned is to take time out of my busy week for self-care. Here are a few ideas that work well for me, and I hope they will work well for you, too. Make time...

Read more | 02/01/2019 - 08:00

By: Jody Gray, Director, ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services 2019 marked the first year that three affiliates of the American Library Association (ALA) were included in the Youth Media Awards (YMA) announcements. The American Indian Library Association (AILA), Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). The decision to include these affiliates was announced at the 2018 Youth Media Awards. I wanted to address questions that have arisen about the inclusion of the affiliate honor titles at the event. ...

Read more | 01/30/2019 - 14:57

By: Conrrado Saldivar, Adult Services Specialist at the Natrona County Library and MLIS Student at the University of Washington For many library workers in smaller communities, helping someone download an eBook while waiting in line at the grocery is normal. I’ve even served drinks to a former board member at a second job while talking to the table about how adding video games to the collection aligns with our mission statement. Our work weaves its way into our normal, day-to-day activities and keeps us awake at night whether we want it to or not. Taking time for a little self-...

Read more | 12/27/2018 - 09:43

  By: Michelle McKinney, Reference & Web Services Librarian, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College Library Discovering Self-Care I never gave much thought to the concept of self-care until I became a mother and found myself being pulled in all directions. I’m notorious for juggling lots of things while running on fumes. This cycle usually ends with me getting sick and being forced to stop and recover. I needed to take care of myself so that I could be at my best when I was needed to help others. The question was when would I find the time to take care of me...

Read more | 12/20/2018 - 09:27

  By: Bill Sannwald, Principal Librarian, San Diego County Library When people find out journaling is one of my passions, two things often happen. First, they seem a little surprised because, based on my physical appearance, I’m usually mistaken for someone who would be more into pastimes like watching sports or enjoying craft beers. Second, people usually express to me how much they have wanted to get into journaling but have not been sure where to start or are afraid that it’s too daunting of a commitment.            Now, before...

Read more | 12/17/2018 - 15:50

By: Amy Schofield, Community Outreach Manager, Richland Library I’m fortunate to work in a library system that values innovation in many forms -- including supporting an entire department of library social workers. In 2014, Lee Patterson, LMSW, was hired with grant funding from the Knight Foundation to provide accurate, unbiased information on the then-new Affordable Care Act. Now, our reach includes a team of social workers who provide a range of services, including in-house consultations with library customers, educational opportunities for the incarcerated, health...

Read more | 12/10/2018 - 12:34

By: Mallory Pillard, Library Director, Trinidad Carnegie Public Library After the Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference, I returned to my library in Trinidad, Colorado to learn of the suicide of one of our patrons experiencing homelessness. I had just presented at ARSL about tips for serving the homeless and discussing the challenges that rural libraries face; it was an uplifting and energetic learning experience. But our patron’s death was particularly emotional for me; he was 21 years old, we had been working together to try and obtain an ID, and I often boiled...

Read more | 12/07/2018 - 09:45

                      By: Jean Demas, Literacy Librarian, Lisle Library District, Lisle, IL Families Together: Reading Enrichment for Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) is a project designed to build social and emotional learning for birth to 5-year-old children from the Ann Reid Early Childhood Center (ARECC), Naperville School District #203. Children are joined by their parents in a weekly program at the Lisle Library District (LLD) that can be transferred from the school and library settings into...

Read more | 11/27/2018 - 12:13

By Beth Nieman, Youth Services Librarian, Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad, New Mexico A coffee break or brisk walk can temporarily reduce workplace stress, but what about long-term solutions for a satisfying work environment? Self-care can include nurturing our careers by raising public awareness about the importance of librarians, networking with colleagues, and making time for what we love about our jobs. Pam, a public librarian, shared with me a negative experience she had at a city council meeting. Pam voiced her concerns about parents dropping off young children at the...

Read more | 11/20/2018 - 16:04