Insights and practical tips on practicing mindful librarianship to manage stress


Mindfulness practice has tremendous potential to help librarians manage work-related stress and improve the quality of our library services. Librarians are trained to effectively manage a fast changing information and technology environment, and to enable others to succeed and thrive in a 21st century knowledge society. However, such rapid technological change, combined with economic uncertainty, changing user habits and ever-evolving models of library service, can exact a human toll. Ever-increasing demands, having to "do more with less" and constant multitasking can make us feel time-starved, spending our energy worrying about the past and projecting into the future. Chronic stress and burnout can result. Mindfulness practice has much to offer to allay this state of "mindlessness" and bring us back to a balanced, healthy state. It trains us to: 1) be present, nonjudgmentally, in the moment; 2) focus on simplicity in all things; 3) adopt and maintain a "beginner's mind" and 4) practice loving kindness and compassion on a daily basis. Such mindfulness techniques as breathing, meditation, and the practice of yoga and Tai Chi are powerful ways that we as librarians can begin to incorporate mindfulness in our daily lives, enabling us to provide library services with a spirit of engagement, joy, and fulfillment.

Presented by Kristen Mastel, Outreach and Instruction Librarian, University of Minnesota Libraries and Jenny Innes, Research and Instruction Librarian, George Washington University Libraries.