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Libraries for the People: A Series on Trauma-Informed Customer Service – I See You: The Strengths-Based Perspective in Public Service

Wednesday, April 12 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This webinar series is comprised of five 90-minute sessions – one session each month from December 8, 2022 to April 12, 2023. 

As books, media, and research have become available online, many public libraries are reimagining their work. Live music, video game tournaments, and even weddings are taking place in our libraries! While books will always be central to the mission of public libraries, increasingly, libraries are about people more than books.

This series will help develop “people skills” including: the creation and vetting of community partnerships, becoming trauma-informed, de-escalation, and related topics.

Together, we will reimagine the role of public libraries in strengthening communities and protecting vulnerable populations.

Webinar Series Information:

Session #1 – Thursday, December 8 @ noon: Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Library: An Introduction to Trauma-informed Library Service

Session #1 signup link

This session will provide an overview of research into Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the lifelong consequences of trauma. Special attention will be paid to the behavioral responses to trauma commonly observed among public library patrons. We will explore ways that libraries can move to become trauma-informed, providing customer service that addresses the needs of the whole person. Please note that while ACEs occur during childhood, the repercussions are felt throughout our lives; this session is not specific to children and youth.

Session #2 – Tuesday, January 10 @ 1:30 PM: The Public Library as a Protective Factor

Session #2 signup link

This session will examine the ways in which public libraries mitigate risk in the lives of all patrons, with particular attention paid to vulnerable populations. Many of us believe that books and libraries are life-changing; for folks coping with extreme difficulties, libraries can also be lifesaving. We will define and consider our work through this lens and consider the ways in which it can reshape our service to patrons who are struggling.

Session #3 – Wednesday, February 8 @ noon: Approaching Patrons Who Have Experienced Trauma

Session #3 signup link

Even before the events of 2020 and 2021, most of us had experienced trauma. Today, we are only beginning to understand the impact of recent events on the mental and emotional health of our communities. However, research is indicating widespread trauma responses in our society including increased cigarette sales, rising opioid overdoses, and other societal ills. How can libraries continue to meet the needs of our communities given these escalating challenges? This session will provide a brief overview of trauma and its subsequent behavioral responses in the library. We will focus on physically approaching patrons in a compassionate, trauma-informed manner with the goals of increasing felt safety in our libraries and mitigating confrontation.

Session #4 – Tuesday, March 7 @ 1:30 PM: The Connected Library: Vetting and Partnering with Social Service Providers

Session #4 signup link

As we have witnessed the social, financial, and mental health challenges of our patrons escalate during the covid-19 pandemic, libraries must connect and build relationships with local providers focused on these needs so that we may serve our communities as effectively as possible. This session will explore why it is imperative that libraries connect with social service providers in their communities, how to cultivate these connections, and tips to make sure the agencies you work with are effective, ethical partners.

Session #5 – Wednesday, April 12 @ noon: I See You: The Strengths-Based Perspective in Public Service

Session #5 signup link

Think of a time when a friend or loved one built up your confidence and made you feel understood. What did they say? What was their tone? What did they notice in you? Did they focus on your faults or did they emphasize your strengths? Often, our world tends to focus on problems, pointing out faults before recognizing resilience. Choosing to focus first on strengths rather than deficits is called a strengths-based perspective and it has the potential to shift both our work as public servants as well as the ways in which we see our patrons. This session will introduce the strengths-based perspective, examine its use in a world that is often problem-focused, and discuss the ways in which focusing on the strengths of our patrons can help empower our communities.

This webinar series is intended for library staff at all levels.

Wondering if you have to sign up for the whole series, or if you can pick and choose webinars? While we recommend taking part in the whole series, we have set it up so participants can sign up for individual weeks if that works best for their schedule.

While registration is unlimited for this series, attendance in each session is limited to the first 50 people who join a session.

This webinar series will be recorded, and the recordings, slides, and any other resources will be available via links added to this page within 24 hours after each webinar occurs.

To check your system’s compatibility with Zoom and/or download software for your computer/tablet/smartphone, see this page.

Speaker’s slides will be available the morning of each webinar session.

Presented by :: Patrick Lloyd