In September, the Lakeville and North Liberty libraries held programs funded by the Libraries Transforming Communities Grant, awarded by the American Library Association. Mental wellness has always been an incredibly necessary part of life, but even more so over the course of the global pandemic. For these reasons, we chose to make this topic our focus. The resulting programs were designed to inform the community of general wellness issues and resources, as well as start a community conversation surrounding mental health.
The series consisted of four separate programs: a talk presented by a licensed clinical social worker about mental wellness at home, a yoga class that focused on the mind/body relationship, a bullet journaling introduction, and a community book talk on Lori Gottlieb’s book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. These programs were curated specifically to address several areas of mental wellness, with a focus on at-home steps for participants.
Because mental health resources aren’t often abundant in rural communities, this grant helped share access to mental wellness tools that may otherwise have been unknown or unavailable to residents. An open discussion with a licensed clinical social worker kicked off the series, and our hope was to shine a light on mental health, common areas of stress, and tools for maintenance. Programs like yoga and bullet journaling introduced even more wellness tools, and sent participants away with new knowledge as well as journaling and stress relief kits.
The capstone of the programming series was a book discussion for Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. Participants discussed personal stressors and obstacles to good mental health and, as the book talk progressed, an overarching theme began to reveal itself: communication. Appropriate and functional communication is at the heart of Gottlieb’s book, and book talk participants discussed how technology can both positively and negatively impact communication, how generational differences change the tone and scope of our words, and how human beings require different types of communication from different types of relationships.
While only an introduction into the world of mental wellness, we hope that this series sparked a flame of curiosity in participants. As a conclusion, a small donation of mental wellness books, curated by North Liberty and Lakeville branch libraries, were donated to local schools in this rural service area. It is our hope that these materials will continue to fuel the discussion about mental wellness for years to come.