US and European Panel, May 5, 2022

Presentation 1: Trauma in the Library: Findings To-date about PTSD among Public Library Staff and Methods for Ensuring Trauma-Informed Care.

Trauma-informed care for library patrons is a growing movement, however, what about workplace trauma experienced by library staff?

We share findings to-date regarding our IMLS-funded study “Trauma in the Library: Symptoms of PTSD Among Staff and Methods for Ensuring Trauma-Informed Care.” The project goals are: 1) to identify the types of post-traumatic symptoms experienced by library staff in diverse library settings where violence and other trauma has occurred; 2) to conduct a national online survey, interviews and fish bowls to ascertain the extent of workplace-related PTSD symptoms on staff and their awareness of existing resource help; 3) to identify trauma-informed care tools, policy and procedures that libraries can implement; and 4) create trauma-informed care for library staff curricula for teaching in MLIS programs.

The outcomes include the first comprehensive baseline study of library workplace-related PTSD symptoms, tools for supporting library staff who experience those symptoms, and curricular materials for sharing across LIS schools and professional associations. Cognizant that some discussion may be triggering for participants, the speakers include a trauma specialist (Masters of Social Work) and participants will be provided with help resources.


Dr. Karen E. Fisher, Professor, Information School, University of Washington

Dr. Karen E. Fisher

Dr. Karen E. Fisher is the Primary Investigator of this IMLS project. A Professor in the Information School and an Adjunct Professor in the Communication Department at the University of Washington, she is also a Field Ethnographer with UNHCR Jordan, Adjunct Professor, Åbo Akademi University (Finland), and Visiting Professor, Siegen University, (Germany). With a MLIS and PhD from the University of Western Ontario and Post Doc from the University of Michigan, supporters of Karen’s work include the IMLS, Facebook, Google, NSF, the LEGO Foundation, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Fisher is renowned for her development and use of theory and methods for understanding information problems, specifically on how people experience information as part of everyday life, with emphasis on the interpersonal aspects and the role of informal social settings or “Information Grounds.” Karen was Co-PI of the “Access for All” study of how people use public access technology in public libraries across the U.S.

Lauren Alexa Gambrill MSW, Research Coordinator II, Information School, University of Washington

Laura Gambrill

Presentation 2: Crises May Be Just the Opportunities for Transformations. How Public Libraries Have Been Serving Their User Communities Since the Pandemic Hit the United States

This presentation will comprise of  three discussions:

1) Ms. Hobbs will discuss the community-first specialized services developed and delivered during the pandemic at the public libraries in the U.S.A.

2) Ms. Bricker will discuss a content analytical study investigating whether the readability levels of the COVID-19 health information in English distributed by the CDC and the WHO supports the health information access activities of adults from the general public in the U.S.A.

3) Dr. Tu-Keefner will discuss the lessons learned from examining the research and practices regarding disaster information services to the local communities during the pandemic and will make recommendations for future considerations. She will also conclude the presentation.


April Hobbs/M.L.I.S/Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, South Carolina

April Hobbs

April Hobbs, M.L.I.S., graduated with her MLIS from the University of South Carolina in 2019. She has been involved with the disaster preparedness research project since 2017. Currently, she serves as the Adult Services Librarian and Creative Studio Coordinator for her branch of the Charleston County Public Library in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.

Abby Bricker/B.S, R.N./ School of Information Science, University of South Carolina

Abby Bricker

Abby Bricker is earning a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. She has over five years of experience as a registered nurse and a passion for patient education. As a library and information services professional, Ms. Bricker hopes to utilize her knowledge of wellness and healthcare to empower community members and encourage health literacy improvement.

Feili Tu-Keefner, Ph.D., M.L.I.S, School of Information Science, University of South Carolina

Feili Tu-Keefner

Feili Tu-Keefner, Ph.D., M.L.I.S is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Science (iSchool) at the University of South Carolina. She is a founding member and current academic advisor of the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication program jointly administered by the Arnold School of Public Health and the College of Information and Communications at the University. Her area of expertise in both research and teaching is in health informatics and health sciences librarianship. Dr. Tu-Keefner completed the Information Manager training program sponsored by the WHO and the CDC in 2021, and she is a WHO-certified infodemic manager. Therefore, she is well familiar with the issues related to science literacy and the infodemic. In addition, Dr. Tu-Keefner has led teams to complete three case studies (between 2015 and 2019) that illustrate libraries’ value in facilitating emergency response and recovery during three disasters. Dr. Tu-Keefner has co-edited a book, Health Librarianship: An Introduction, and she has authored a number of journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters in subject areas related to library and information science, health information studies, and public health. In addition, she serves on the editorial board for the Health Information and Libraries Journal and Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet.

Presentation 3:  Immigrant Children And Youth In Libraries.  Oulu City Library Case Study

Speaker: Ms. Mervi Vaara Head of Reading Services Oulu City Library

Ms. Mervi Vaara

Ms Vaara’s role is to develop and organize reading services for our customers together with library staff. Her background is in children’s and young people’s services & mobile library services. Ms Vaars has been creating library services in Oulu to reach every child and every pupil in Oulu through the Joy of Reading – a collaboration with maternity clinics and kindergartens, and Library Route – a collaboration with schools.

Moderator: Mr Juha Manninen, Executive Director. Finnish Library Association.

Juha Manninen