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Trauma management: Resource roundup

Though originating in the fields of health and social services, trauma-informed care is a framework that holds great value for library and museum work. Empathetic service, positive visitor encounters, and a more trusting and equitable workplace for employees are only a few benefits that this approach can offer. This roundup features examples of libraries, archives, and museums applying trauma-informed concepts to public service, as well as articles that focus on the impact of trauma on staff.

Note: These examples may have changed since being reviewed. Last accessed May 20, 2021.

Trauma-informed public service and guest experience

Applying Trauma-Informed Concepts to Reduce Harm,” from Public Library Association (PLA): On-demand “Social Worker Task Force Webinar”—the third in a series—that explores how a trauma-informed service philosophy can reduce harm for library staff and patrons. Cost: $39–$44.

Public Library Social Work—Overview of Trauma-Informed Care,” from PLA: Succinct one-page document that includes highlights of trauma-informed care strategies. Could be used as a flyer in the workplace.

Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach,” from Public Libraries Online, published April 17, 2020: Article detailing the benefits of using trauma-informed approaches with examples of how some public libraries have implemented these new strategies.

Where Healing Happens: Librarians Adopt Trauma-Informed Practices To Help Kids,” from School Library Journal, published October 9, 2019: Article featuring librarians and teachers who championed youth programming focused on building positive relationships and resilience.

Museums Must Become More Trauma-Informed,” from Art Museum Teaching, published August 3, 2020: Blog post on the importance of understanding trauma and implementing trauma-informed guidelines, practices, and processes in art museums.

Working with Grief, Trauma, and Related Challenges,” from Ross Laird: Thoughts on how trauma may be expressed in a museum setting and how staff might approach guests having a traumatic experience.

How LAM staff are impacted by trauma

Mental Health First Aid and Trauma-Informed Approaches for Libraries,” from WebJunction, recorded April 13, 2021: Webinar exploring how the principles of trauma-informed care and Mental Health First Aid can equip library staff to communicate with compassion.

Trauma in Organizations,” from Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, published January 1, 2016: Article preparing leaders and employees to respond to traumatic incidents at work.

How to support LAM staff mental health and self-care practices

The Impact of COVID-19 on Library Staff: Supporting Health and Well-Being,” from Public Libraries Online, published April 2021: Article including the results of recent PLA and ALA surveys about the impact of COVID-19 on libraries and their staffs.

Prioritizing and Promoting Self-Care to Avoid Burnout,” from WebJunction, recorded May 18, 2021: Webinar focused on self-care strategies for library staff.

An Exercise to Help Your Team Overcome the Trauma of the Pandemic,” from Harvard Business Review, published September 1, 2020: Questions to foster storytelling that can create space for post-traumatic growth.

COVID-19 Guidance for Building Resilience in the Workplace,” from the Washington State Department of Health, published September 11, 2020: Actions at the leadership and individual level that can create a workplace that fosters resilience.

Seeking Self-Care Solutions, for COVID-19 and Beyond,” from the American Alliance of Museums, published April 24, 2020: Blog post about challenges that lead to museum staff burnout.

For Leaders: Supporting Your Staff During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic,” from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD: Article covering adaptations leaders can make to their to communications, employee support systems, and self-care practices during the pandemic.

Our Teams’ Mental Health” and “Continuing to Care for Your Team,” from Zoo Advisors, recorded November 17, 2020, and January 27, 2021: Two webinars featuring mental health experts along with zoo and aquarium leaders in conversation about supporting team mental health during the pandemic.


Image credit: Public Library Association