Our librarian panelists will share their needs based focus on public service, ensuring their libraries are focused on engaging and empowering vulnerable populations within their communities (those with the greatest needs), particularly patrons with mental health issues. Panelists will present their research and examples and share their findings for mental health initiatives: community partnerships, anchoring patrons and bridging connections to existing support organizations and resources; integrating social workers within branches and staff training; collection development initiatives, etc.
As a hands-on piece, our mental health expert Kirstin Bindseil, MSW, RSW with 20 years of experience working in this field – will lead attendees in exercises of typical mental health emergencies they are likely to face, how to remain calm in stressful situations, etc. In short, attendees will learn what other librarians have done in the past around mental health, and what they can do right now. Attendees will receive, via email: the session PowerPoint; panelists’ full remarks; all resources discussed; and book lists for adults, children and youth (from panellists, the Dewey Divas and Library Bound). These tools will support attendees to champion mental health in their own libraries, as soon as they arrive home.