This project is based on ALA President Loriene Roy’s 2007-2008 Circle of Wellness Initiative. Ted Chaffin, Sara Jeffress, Jennifer Turner, and Laura Warren-Gross–all members of the 2008 cohort of ALA Emerging Leaders–created the Circle of Wellness website and several accompanying tools.
In the Spring of 2016, the website’s content, tools, organization, and design were updated by Amanda Avery, Dory Cochran, and Jennifer McElroy, members of the 2016 cohort of ALA Emerging Leaders. The website received another update in the spring of 2018 by Leslie Flynn, University of Texas graduate student, under the guidance of President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo’s Workplace Wellness Advisory Committee consisting of Loriene Roy, Lydia Willoughby, and Uta Hussong-Christian.
The site was designed to provide resources to help library workers achieve a well-rounded life which includes all eight dimensions of wellness: physical, social, environmental, emotional, financial, intellectual, spiritual, and occupational. It is felt that this valuable resource is needed now more than ever with today’s changing workplace dynamics.
Q & A with Dr. Loriene Roy
(former ALA President and initiator of the Circle of Wellness Initiative)
Q: What was your motivation for focusing on wellness as a presidential theme and in the ALA-APA Circle of Wellness website?
A: I was interested for several reasons:
- I had an earlier career in allied health where I worked for three years as a medical imager and worked in community hospitals.
- As an indigenous person I see wellness as part of my culture and as part of a balancing life force.
- As I’ve been in the library field, I’ve seen colleagues impacted by poor health and I wanted to help people before events like conferences to ward off sickness.
- Wellness is in the shadows and certain related issues are not taken up by ALA. As a result, topics like salaries, unions, and things that impact the individual in the library setting need to be taken care of by ALA-APA.
Q: What new or different challenges in wellness do you see librarians and library workers facing now, as opposed to when you started your presidential wellness initiative?
A: Librarians have a tendency to take care of others and not themselves very well. We’re all aging and the average library worker is still in their mid 50s. So, we still need more attention given to health coverage, health care, and insurance coverage for librarians. And, anything that helps someone have a good work life that extends into retirement is a positive thing that can benefit one individual worker and the workplace as a whole. Also, needs haven’t gone away, but with events like the zika virus and ebola, health is a more prominent topic in the public sphere.
Q: Do you have a personal wellness story or any tips to share with others?
A: I gave a talk on workplace wellness with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Barbara Bergin at the Texas Library Association this year. Dr. Bergin has launched a national campaign for women and joint health called “Sit Like a Man.” The idea of the campaign is that by implementing a simple technique, like not crossing your legs when sitting, you can make positive health, work, and life changes.
* Interview conducted in May 2016. Answers condensed for brevity.