Wellness is…Celebrating Women in Librarianship
Published: March 20, 2023 by Loida Garcia-Febo, Health and Wellness Ambassador
March is Women’s History Month. Celebrating and recognizing others is a central part of wellness as it can increase feelings of well-being and help us to connect with others. I wanted to write a blog celebrating my sisters, my fellow librarians, students, women. Recently, we observed three years since the world went on lockdown. Women, we railed together, we supported each other, and many of us made it. We lovingly remember the ones we lost, their stories and spirits live forever in us.
The women of the iSchool community are valuable! They deserve recognition for their contributions to the community and society: mothers, friends, sisters, aunts, furparents, caregivers, workers, thinkers, athletes, activists, innovators, and researchers.
Globally, there has been a conversation about how more men are in positions of leadership than women. As a woman, it is very empowering to see how the SJSU College of Professional and Global Education is led by two women, Interim Dean Namrata Shukla, MBA Finance, and Associated Dean for Academics Sandra Hirsh, PhD.
We can say that women rule in libraries! Librarians and library workers are predominantly female. Per the Department of Professional Employees‘ most recent Fact Sheet from 2021, about 83.2% of librarians and 77.5% of all library workers are women. Furthermore, their latest data for MLS graduates indicate that 82.2% of graduates are women.
Although librarians as a profession have come a long way as documented by the American Library Association Archives, we have more to do to achieve salary equity, gender equality, and health benefits for women. We can all do something from where we are. Join forces with library associations or your local student chapter.
I invite you to visit the following websites to learn about women in librarianship and to join efforts to support them:
- The American Library Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship toolkits and webinars about wellness, ageism, harassment, women empowerment, anti-racism, and supporting caregivers in during Covid-19.
- The Association of College and Research Libraries’ Women and Gender Studies Section publications, research, instruction, and collections. Every year WGSS honors two distinguished academic librarians who have made outstanding contributions to women & gender studies.
- The American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Round Table Feminist Task Force maintains a Feminist discussion list you can join. The FTF also conducts research in librarianship, maintains an archive of its newsletter Women in Libraries, and annually recommends books for young readers with significant feminist content as part of the “Rise: A Feminist Book Project.”
Health, Wellness, Strategies and Policies Tips for this Week
Schedule breaks with Pomodoro: Our bodies will deteriorate if we don’t take breaks when sitting to study or work. The website is great for consistent time management. I invite you all to take a moment and reflect on how we can include taking breaks into our day. We can start with five minute breaks. Set up the timer in Pomodoro and happy break time!
Into the Wild: Perhaps not too wild, but into the trees and nature. The University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing recommends spending time in close contact with nature as a strategy to deal with depression and stress. Their website features real-life stories from people that credit nature with helping them to recover from depression. Nature, the center says, heals, soothes, restores, and help us to connect to others.
Read: Reserve and Renew, a LIS Mental Health zine, exploring the intersection of mental health, mental illness, and the library and archives community.
Follow: The hashtag #LISMentalHealth on Twitter has a lot of information and chats about mental health in our profession.