Workplace Wellness@Your Library: A Symposium
By Loriene Roy, Professor, School of Library and Information Science, The University of Texas at Austin
To maintain personal wellness – in the workplace or out – one must balance social, environmental, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical factors (outlined in a 2008 pamphlet written by several ALA Emerging Leaders). Library employees seem to be particularly vulnerable to wellness imbalance. A 2006 study conducted in the UK found that of 300 individuals who worked in five occupational areas, respondents working in libraries suffered the most stress in their work environment. They were also more likely to be absent from work. Many library workers are approaching retirement, and even younger library employees face the physical challenges of sedentary work that requires repetitive motions, intensive time spent in front of personal computers, the stress of public service and the loss or greater expense of health care coverage.
Introducing: The Launch of an Annual Workplace Wellness@Your Library Symposium
On March 23-24, 2012, the University of Texas at Austin will host a free symposium called Workplace Wellness@Your Library. We anticipate a face-to-face audience of 50 to 75 attendees. Attendees will represent libraries that have initiated workplace wellness programs as well as libraries that would like to start a program. Since the gathering is small and the results will be widely shared, we ask interested libraries to send, at the most, one or two representatives. The symposium is funded by a Year 1 Regional Symposium Award sponsored by National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Yan Zhang, Assistant Professor in the School of Information, will assist me in the planning. Her research interests lie in (1) users’ perceptions of information systems, particularly web-based information retrieval (IR) systems; and (2) consumer health information needs and information seeking, as well as the design of consumer health information systems. My own interests in workplace wellness stem from my early career as a medical radiologic technologist and exploration of the topic of workplace wellness in libraries during 2007-2008 when I served as the 125th President of the American Library Association.
We have defined the following objectives for this upcoming symposium:
- to assess the status of workplace wellness in a selection of at least 25 libraries;
- to learn about background/motivation and processes followed in existing workplace wellness initiatives in a selection of libraries ;
- to develop and test strategies for searching for workplace wellness information in MedlinePlus.gov and other NLM products/services with 50 to 75 symposium attendees;
- to assemble a community of library workers interested in continuing communication and learning about workplace wellness;
- to contribute rich content including symposium presentations and workplace wellness cases to a website on workplace wellness tailored for library workers;
- to disseminate results with the library community through one or more publications including a possible monograph; any publications accepted through a peer review process will be submitted to the PubMed Central digital archive; and
- to develop and apply formative and summative evaluation criteria to assess the impact of highlighting workplace wellness in the library setting.
The topics to be presented at the Workplace Wellness@Your Library Symposium include:
- background on workplace wellness and simple steps in launching an initiative;
- an overview of workplace wellness activities in libraries based on data gathered through the ALA-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA);
- introduction of customized materials developed by librarians for library workplace wellness initiatives including the “Workplace Wellness Inventory,” “Wellness Passport,” and “Know Before You Go: Tips for Healthy Conference Travel,”
- research on wellness issues based on evidence-based measurements;
- demonstration of key resources including MedlinePlus.gov and other NLM products/services;
- opportunities for participants to share their workplace wellness efforts;
- opportunities to practice and learn exercises—yoga and hula—that can be completed in the work setting; and
- opportunities to network, share experiences and continue to connect over the topic of workplace wellness.
Day 1: Friday, March 23, 2012
8:30-9:00a: Gathering: Picking up registration packet, program, name badges
9:00–9:30a: Coming Together: Welcome, Introductions, Event Goals
9:30–10:30a: Preparing: Keynote
- Topic: Top 10 Reasons to Have a Wellness Program Plus 10 Simple Solutions.
Speaker: Todd A. Whitthorne, President/CEO, Cooper Concepts, a division of the Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas, Texas
10:30:–10:45a: Refreshing: Midmorning Break
10:45–11:45a: Knowing: Overview of Workplace Wellness in Libraries
- Speakers: Dr. Loriene Roy and Dr. Yan Zhang, School of Information, UT-Austin
- Review of Join the Circle of Wellness@Your Library Website
- Introduce the Workplace Wellness Inventory, Wellness Passport and Know Before You Go: Tips For Healthy Conference Travel
11:45–12:00 noon: Defining; Committing
- Taking Steps in Developing Your Wellness Plan
Speakers: Dr. Loriene Roy and Dr. Yan Zhang
12:00 noon–1:30p: Nourishing: Lunch on Your Own at Nearby Restaurant
1:30–2:15p: Understanding: Keynote
- Topic: What Does Evidence Based Research Tell Us About Workplace Wellness in Librarianship?
Speaker: Dr. Joanne Marshall, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina
- Demonstrating and Hands-On Practice Using MedlinePlus.gov and NLM products/services for Locating and Evaluating Workplace Wellness Information
3:00–3:15p: Renewing: Afternoon Break
- Topic: Building Connections in Workplace Wellness
Speaker: Representative from the Lance Armstrong Foundation
- Start Your Wellness Plan by Learning and Practicing Exercises You can Perform in your Workplace
- Classes on Seated Yoga and Seated Hula
Yoga Instructor: Dr. Joanne Marshall
Hula Instructor: Analu Josephides
Day 2: Saturday, March 24, 2012
9:00–9:30a: Sharing Connections; Setting Up Poster Sessions
9:15–10:45a: Browsing: Poster Sessions
10:45–11:00a Break: Midmorning Break
11:00a–12:00 noon: Special Guest! and Moving On
- Discussion, Summary, Evaluation and Moving On
Text and videos of symposium talks, as well as customized resources, will be available on an open website. Conversation prior to and after the symposium will take place on a blog and Facebook event page/group. We welcome your participation and interest in the event! For further information, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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