Background and Research

One of the 2021 challenges for the Developing California Library Leaders Leadership Challenge is “Post-COVID-19 Library Services.” Our group, made up of four public librarians and one academic librarian, accepted this challenge. We understand and acknowledge that many libraries are making do with existing funding, supplies, books and more. But we desired to provide additional recommendations for resources, funding, partnerships and wellness from a trauma-informed perspective. 

According to the Buffalo Center for Social Research, “Trauma-Informed Care understands and considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize” (University at Buffalo).  

Survival doesn’t always equate to thriving. What happens when all of the funding is exhausted? How can staff continue to care for themselves while continuing to serve library users? In the aftermath of COVID-19, how will libraries protect their library users and staff? What could we have done better if we had more funding or resources?

There are so many questions and even more variables. It is impossible to tackle every aspect of post-COVID-19 library services for every type of library. We decided to use what we have learned from research, libraries and a survey we conducted to focus on creating a trauma-informed programming toolkit. In it, we consider inclusive and equitable programming options for all communities. 

Our research included websites, blogs, journal articles, and videos. We also conducted a survey, which examined current programming models and the needs of California libraries. This informed and shaped our toolkit, so that we could fill in the gaps of program planning and implementation. 

The recommendations in this toolkit can be adopted and adapted by any type of library.  The toolkit is not meant to be prescriptive nor is it an exhaustive list of resources. All programs can be scaled up or down and adapted to any library type. We encourage you to comment and share additional resources that have supported your work and patrons’ needs in this time. Your input will contribute to more successful, vibrant libraries in a post-COVID world. 

Toolkit contributors: 

Bryan Duran, Materials Manager, San Francisco Public Library

Brittany Garcia, Adult & Teen Services Supervisor, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library

Sasha Kinney, Adult Services & Reference Librarian, Sacramento Public Library

Shamika Simpson, Associate Professor & Librarian, Long Beach City College

Ashleigh Torres, Youth Services Librarian, El Dorado County Library