Libraries hold a unique position as safe spaces that encourage users to seek out and read credible information. Academic libraries are powerful spaces for students who struggle with mental health difficulties. As part of a mental health initiative to become a trauma informed campus, Marshall University libraries launched a partnership with counseling services to utilize the library’s space. These included transforming the study rooms into mental health safe places to decompress and find mental health services across campus. Marshall University Libraries launched a library wide art exhibition titled, Don’t Call Me Crazy: Resiliency through Art, which filled each floor with artwork by students, faculty and staff who suffer from diverse mental health challenges from anxiety and depression to learning disabilities. Partnering with the Counseling Services department, we created innovative panel presentations on various mental health issues, each including ways in which students, faculty and staff could find support. Counseling services held support groups within the library as a continued effort to demonstrate the library as a space of safety whereby all people can come to find information and support. At the end of this panel presentation, attendees will identify the characteristics of a leading library supporting the mental health of its students. Attendees will generate new ideas to advance proposals to support varying mental health agencies. All participants will evaluate and discover how their library space is fundamental to supporting the retention of students with mental health challenges.
ALA Unit/Subunit: ACRL
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.