This is a bit of a downer post, but definitely some thought provoking pieces!
“Not only are libraries tasked with providing more services for their communities using continually shrinking budgets, but librarians are being asked to take on responsibilities that far outweigh “Other Duties as Assigned.”
This is part of larger debate that I find fascinating. I went to an opioid epidemic webinar and the discussion surrounding the library’s role is very interesting. Like the author says, this is an extreme example. However, more than once I have found myself feeling like a book bartender or free therapist. I always thought “other duties as assigned” meant cleaning up vomit in storytime, not conducting homeless shelter assessments (I actually haven’t done this, but I guess my library used to do this). It’s a slippery slope because we want (and need) to stay an important figure in the community, but at what point do we stretch ourselves too thin.
Sunday Reflections: That Delicate Balance Between Quality Patron Services and Employee Personal Boundaries
“Friendliness and approachability are not the same thing as we must be social workers and counselors and personal truth tellers. In truth, most staff members don’t have the training and knowledge they need to be those things and their attempts to do so can put the library itself in a capricious position.”
At work the other day a coworker mentioned an article about the emotional toll librarianship can take on librarians and those that work in libraries. We have a few patrons who are experiencing homelessness and I know we all bring home thoughts about those people and want to help, but we also don’t have the kind of training as teachers and social workers. I was expecting the article to deal with those issues. It does (in a round about way), and it certainly discusses other important issues surrounding those that work in libraries, like sexual harassment and mental exhaustion, making it a worthy read.