Mindfulness in Librarianship

Image by bibigeek. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by bibigeek. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

In an earlier post, I mentioned a thread of  programming at the fall MLA Conference about mindfulness and reflective thinking, as it relates to librarians.  This idea keeps coming back to me. From a review of the literature, and from conversations with librarians embracing mindfulness, I believe it has value to our practice. Professional and personal growth can increase if we slow down and take the time to understand mindfulness.  A few key things to consider about this concept include: 

  • If we embrace a state of being aware, focused and present in the moment, we can reduce job-related stress and improve the quality of  library services.
  • Multitasking is finally being questioned, and not necessarily valued as it was in the past.
  • “Monkey-mind syndrome” describes a state of being where thoughts continually flit in and out of our minds. This is often caused by too much multitasking or by  continually shifting gears or changing priorities without tools to manage it.
  • In MLA president Kristen Mastel’s article about mindful librarianship (see end of post), she talks about “beginner’s mind” and the challenges of achieving  beginners mind. As you may guess, it is harder to achieve this state when you have been in positions for long periods of time.
  • Mindfulness can be used anywhere or anytime, making it the ultimate mobile device!

As we embark on the 23 Mobile Things program in mid-January, CMLE staff will  inject a mindfulness thread in the program, to help participants manage their focus and enhance their learning outcomes.

Mastel ends her article by saying, “Mindful librarianship—practiced with awareness, intention, and open mind, and a spirit of compassion—could make the difference in the success of our students, our profession, and ourselves. Read the full article: Insights and Practical Tips on Practicing Mindful Librarianship to Manage Stress