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GELS: Growing Equitable Library Services

Resources related to the GELS series

What are trauma informed services

Trauma informed services shifts focus from "What's wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?" All departments of a library are people facing. Those people may be adult patrons, children, families, board members, mayors, or staff members. Approaching conversations with a trauma informed lens can help to connect with people in new ways, de-escalate a situation when necessary, and act as a reminder that altercations may not need to be taken personally.  

Trauma Informed Services with Beatriz De La Espriella

Beatriz De La Espriella

Beatriz De La Espriella is a licensed clinical social worker and mental health expert in anxiety, stress, and trauma. Beatriz works with individuals and libraries to improve the mental health and well-being of library staff, so they can feel empowered to serve their community and thrive personally and professionally. She provides training and coaching to libraries on trauma informed services, mindfulness, self-care, and more. Beatriz developed a Trauma-Informed Services Professional Development Curriculum that highlights the prevalence of trauma and provides library staff with essential skills to recognize and respond to trauma. Beatriz launched the “Empowered, Confident, and Thriving: A Mental Wellness Program for Library Staff'' that focuses on promoting mental well-being by practicing self-care, building resilience, and gaining the tools and strategies needed to navigate life’s challenges. Beatriz earned her MSW from Rutgers University and her Trauma Informed Professional Certification from Barry University.

Decoding the Neurobiology of Trauma 

Delve into the neuroscience of trauma in this informative session. Understand how the brain responds to trauma and explore the implications of trauma on cognitive functions and emotional regulation. Examine the impact of childhood trauma on brain development and discuss strategies for creating trauma-sensitive library services. Finally, explore generational and historical trauma, and how libraries can contribute to healing within cultural and historical contexts.

Unlocking the Principles of Trauma Informed Services in the Library (Part I)

In the first part of our two-part webinar we delve into the guiding principles of trauma informed services tailored specifically for library settings. In this session, we explored the core concepts of safety, trustworthiness and transparency, and peer support. This session emphasized the role these guiding principles have in creating a secure environment for library staff and patrons, understanding their significance to foster trust within the community and recognizing the importance of building a healing-focused library community. Through interactive scenarios and hands-on activities, this webinar equipped library staff with the tools needed for day-to-day implementation of trauma-informed services.

Unlocking the Principles of Trauma-Informed Services in the Library (Part II)

Deepen your understanding of trauma-informed services in library settings with the second part of our webinar. In this webinar we explored the remaining guiding principles of trauma-informed services such as collaboration and mutuality, empowerment, voice and choice, and cultural, historical and gender issues. Participants will engaged through open discussion and obtained resources to support them in implementing these principles.

Creating a Trauma Informed Library Environment

In this webinar, we unraveled what creating a trauma-informed library environment looks like. Participants learned to be able to identify potential triggers within library spaces and discuss strategies for minimizing their impact. This webinar focused on creating physical spaces conducive to emotional safety and well-being, including the role of signage, layout, and visual elements. Through interactive discussions and activities, participants developed a comprehensive plan to assess their library’s environment, address any changes needed and develop staff training programs that recognize and respond to trauma triggers.

Trauma Informed Services with Patrick Lloyd

The slides below are from a four-part workshop series by Patrick Lloyd who spent years working as a social worker in public libraries in Texas. Librarians are not social workers or trained to handle moments when a mental health professional is needed, yet as institutions that pride themselves on serving all members of the public, what we can do is educate ourselves on the possible responses to interactions that we see on a daily basis. A particular interaction may be informed by a person's past experiences, and with a trauma informed approach, we can respond in a way appropriate to a library setting.

Patrick Lloyd: The Mending Library, Serving Vulnerable and Traumatized Patrons

Libraries and Social Workers

Librarians are not social workers yet the two are prime for partnership opportunities. 

988 Youth and Adult Mobile Crisis Service

What number do you call when you need police, fire or emergency medical services? You call 911. But, when you or someone you know has an emotional or mental health crisis, which number do you call? Hope has a new number, and it’s 988, which can be called from anywhere in the United States.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is a direct three-digit call/text and chat service that is helping millions of Americans, including thousands of CT residents, of all ages access support and services when experiencing any emotional and mental health crisis, not only thoughts of suicide. This 988 service is helping end stigma toward those seeking or accessing mental healthcare, and ensures that someone experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis has someone to talk to, someone to respond, and somewhere to go. It also reduces the use of law enforcement and other safety resources for these types of crises, and reduce healthcare spending with more cost-effective early intervention.

The CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) provide an overview of the CT 988 Contact Center located at the United Way of CT/211, and information on the crisis service system advancements within the youth and adult mobile emergency crisis services available to CT residents.

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