During the COVID-19 pandemic and recent wildfires, many libraries have been reflecting on the role that they play in supporting community mental health and resilience.

Libraries throughout California joined NorthNet Library System (NLS) on March 9, 2021, for a panel discussion on how libraries can best support the mental health of patrons, staff and volunteers during disaster recovery.

During the meeting, panelists shared insights from recent disasters, ways that libraries are supporting community mental health during COVID-19 and a wide range of resources for those interested in learning more about mental health.

The panel, which was moderated by former director of the Napa County Library Danis Kreimeier, included:

  • Azalea Ebbay, the Skyline Hills Branch Manager for San Diego Public Library. Azalea shared her experience hosting two mental health resource fairs and recent work supporting Operation Shelter-to-Home, helping individuals navigate housing resources in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Misty Wright, the Chico Branch Manager for Butte County Library. Misty shared insights into Butte County’s recent experiences with wildfires and what the library has learned about the challenges of supporting long-term recovery.
  • Rachel Sher, the Albany Library Manager for Alameda County Library. Rachel spoke about her library’s collaboration with local mental health professionals from NAMI East Bay and programming that the library has offered to support resilience during COVID-19.

Panelists and meeting participants also compiled a detailed resource list, which features videos, books, online courses and community organizations that your library can partner with. Materials from the panel discussion can be downloaded below:

If your library is interested in learning more or collaborating with NLS on disaster preparedness, please contact Jacquie Brinkley at brinkley@plpinfo.org.