A Trauma-Informed Approach to Library Services (Paperback)

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Library Services By Rebecca Tolley Cover Image
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We are only now coming to terms with how common trauma really is; a landmark Kaiser study that surveyed patients receiving physicals found that almost two-thirds had experienced at least one form of abuse, neglect, or other trauma as a child. Though originating in the fields of health and social services, trauma-informed care is a framework that holds great promise for application to library work. Empathetic service, positive patron encounters, and a more trusting workplace are only a few of the benefits that this approach offers. In this important book Tolley, experienced in both academic and public libraries, brings these ideas into the library context. Library administrators, directors, and reference and user services staff will all benefit from learning 

  • the six key principles of trauma-informed care;
  • characteristics of a trusting and transparent library organization, plus discussion questions to promote a sense of psychological safety among library workers;
  • how certain language and labels can undermine mutuality, with suggested phrases that will help library staff demonstrate neutrality to patron ideas and views during information requests;
  • delivery models that empower patrons; 
  • advice on balancing free speech on campus with students’ need for safety;
  • how appropriate furniture arrangement can help people suffering from PTSD feel safe;
  • guidance on creating safe zones for LGBTQIA+ children, teens, and adults; and
  • self-assessment tools to support change toward trauma-responsive library services.

About the Author

Rebecca Tolley is a professor and librarian at East Tennessee State University. She coordinates the Sherrod Library’s research consultation service. She speaks and publishes on topics such as organizational culture, customer service, and cultivating empathy in library workers. She co-edited Generation X Librarian: Essays on Leadership, Technology, Pop Culture, Social Responsibility and Professional Identity (2011) and Mentoring in Librarianship: Essays on Working with Adults and Students to Further the Profession (2011). Her writing has appeared in anthologies, several library journals, and numerous reference works.

Praise For…

"At its core, the trauma-informed service model is user-centered: it attempts to identify with patrons and to imagine the experience of utilizing the library from their point of view ... Tolley provides clear and succinct chapters that are full of concrete information about not only what needs to be addressed as libraries move toward a trauma-informed approach but also how to accomplish such a complex task."
— Public Services Quarterly

"Very thought provoking. While specifically aimed at public librarians, this information applies equally to other library settings."
— Journal of Hospital Librarianship

"A welcome addition ... This book is particularly relevant in light of the current pandemic and social unrest, a time where more library users may be experiencing trauma. The information provided will help libraries improve customer service for all that use and experience their space. The layout of the book is easy to follow, and the sections and chapters are well organized. The author showcases several libraries that have implemented changes to make their spaces more inclusive for all."
— Serials Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780838919811
ISBN-10: 0838919812
Publisher: ALA Editions
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
Pages: 192
Language: English