First-person accounts of health-related experiences are worthwhile additions to any library collection, and are available in a variety of modalities including memoirs, novels, comics and graphic novels, visual art, movies, zines, and more. Library users may see themselves or their loved ones in these materials, find support or validation, learn about mental health-related topics, and engage with their personal struggles in non-clinical, creative, ideally non-pathologizing ways. Including such materials in a health sciences library collection positions first-hand patient experiences alongside clinical literature as an important component of clinician/researcher practice. These materials also promote interdisciplinary practice, as professionals can learn about related fields and populations outside of their immediate areas of expertise.
In this session, attendees will learn about the development of such a pilot collection by librarians at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, predicated on principles found in the health humanities. We’ll discuss the rationale behind this project, the collection development criteria we developed, provide a tour of narrative and graphic mental health-related literature, and share the preliminary data upon which the next consultation stage of this project will be based. All attendees will learn from our unique collection development criteria developed in-house to reflect the philosophy of our organization. Attendees in medical librarianship will learn about the value of integrating service-user voices into their clinical collections, and all library professionals will learn about the wide variety of titles in this genre they can add to their collections. Mental health is a priority topic area in so many library settings, especially public libraries, schools, universities, and of course healthcare institutions.