The Library Workplace Idea Book: Proactive Steps for Positive Change

ALA Member
Item Number
ALA Editions
AP Categories

Primary tabs

You don't need to be an ALA Member to purchase from the ALA Store, but you'll be asked to create an online account/profile during the checkout to proceed. This Web Account is for both Members and non-Members. 

If you are Tax-Exempt, please verify that your account is currently set up as exempt before placing your order, as our new fulfillment center will need current documentation. Learn how to verify here.

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Every day you strive to ensure that the library is working for its users—but how is it working for you? And what can we all do to make the library an inclusive and positive workplace? Offering both case studies and personal narratives, this idea book draws on contributions from librarians and library workers at a variety of institutions across the country. Ready to inspire self-advocacy and action for a better library workplace, this collection’s real-world examples include

  • a model library code of conduct;
  • practical steps for gender inclusion, from ILS usernames and job ad language to signage for gender-neutral restrooms;
  • how library workers navigated oversight committees and adapted spaces to create lactation accommodations;
  • methods for encouraging conversations around diversity;
  • using dialog to address conflict in white employees’ conversations about race, including insights from a librarian of color who recounts his library’s diversity training day;
  • ways to make ergonomic changes to your workplace to ease chronic pain or discomfort;
  • favorite yoga YouTube channels and websites for lunch-break yoga;
  • brightening up the library with low-maintenance plants identified by NASA for their air-purifying characteristics;
  • guidance on identify bullying in the workplace, with advice on how to handle it; and
  • positive changes in the recruitment and interview process that can reduce turnover of student library employees.

The antidote to low morale and high turnover starts with mindfulness and self-care, and this resource presents myriad proactive and positive ideas for making libraries a fulfilling workplace.


Part I    Work-Life Balance

Chapter 1    Do You Want Change with That? Identifying Lactation Needs and Solutions in Academic Libraries, by Heather Seibert and Amanda Vinogradov
Chapter 2    Options for New Parents Returning to Work, by Tashia Munson
Chapter 3    The Campaign for Paid Parental Leave at a Private University, by Emily Scharf and Heidi Vix
Chapter 4    Chat Reference and Work-Life Balance, by Rachel M. Minkin
Chapter 5    Making Room for Working Mothers: Lactation and Breastfeeding at Emory University, by Meaghan O'Riordan and Dorothy Waugh
Chapter 6    Express Yourself: Profiles of Lactation Accommodations, by Susan Echols and Elizabeth Dill

Part II        Health/Wellness

Chapter 7    A Leaf of Faith: Creating Positive, Productive Library Spaces with Plants, by Rebecca Tolley
Chapter 8    In Corpore Sano: Paying Attention to Your Health, by Anthony Amodeo
Chapter 9    Benefits of Employee Exercise and the Impact on Mental Health, by Kayla Kuni
Chapter 10    Walk and Learn for Wellness, by Kelsey Brett, Melody Condron, and Lisa Martin
Chapter 11    OM Nom Nom: Integrating Yoga with Your Lunch Break, by Patricia M. Dragon, Katy Webb, and Rebecca Tatterson

Part III    Inclusion and Sensitivity

Chapter 12    A Call for Sensitivity Toward Race and Ethnicity, by Angel Sloss
Chapter 13    Indigenous Support Staff in the Library, by Maggie Mason Smith
Chapter 14    Organizational Change and Gender Identity: When Good Intentions Fall Short, by Alex Byrne
Chapter 15    Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries’ Gender-Inclusive Work Group Experience, by M. Teresa Doherty and Donna E. Coghill
Chapter 16    Creating an Effective Student Employment Environment, by Stephanie Van Ness
Chapter 17    Shared Understanding and Accountability Through a Library Code of Conduct, by Amanda Hartman McLellan

Part IV    Leadership and Change

Chapter 18    Building a Library Employee Appreciation Committee, by Jennifer Natale
Chapter 19    When YOU Are the Change, by Thomas Sneed
Chapter 20    Breaking Out of the Cube (Farm): Redesigning for Empowerment, by Andrea Langhurst Eickholt, Merri Hartse, and Rose Sliger Krause

Part V        Training and Awareness

Chapter 21    Making the Implicit Explicit: Whiteness, Conflict, and Power in a Library Mentoring Program, by Steve Whitley
Chapter 22    Identifying and Confronting Bullying, by Alice Eng
Chapter 23    Diversity Training for Culturally Competent Library Workers, by Madeline Ruggiero
Chapter 24    Creating Spaces for Culture Conversations: Developing a Webinar Series, by Jewel Davis

About the Editors and Contributors

Heather L. Seibert

Heather L. Seibert is currently employed by National Heritage Academies in Winterville, NC. She is an advocate for worklife balance, women’s rights, and lactation compliance in the workplace. Her research interests concern open educational resources, Creative Commons Licensing, and affordable textbook creation in higher education for support of K-12 curriculum and instruction.

Amanda Vinogradov

Amanda Vinogradov works for East Carolina University’s Joyner Library in the Special Collections Cataloging department. Her research interests include digital libraries, public health, and community outreach.

Amanda H. McLellan

Amanda H. McLellan is the assistant director of discovery and technology services at East Carolina University’s Joyner Library, and adjunct lecturer at the University of Illinois School of Information Sciences. Her research interests include library technology, usability and user experience, and library management.

"This is an excellent book to begin self-reflecting about how your library may need to adjust to a changing society and users. It is important to remember to take care of yourself and your staff as much as your users. Highly recommended for all libraries."
Catholic Library World