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Mental Health and Well-Being: Dealing with Difficult Patrons
Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT
Category: MLA Connect

Calendar icon with date March 14 and text Mental Health and Well-Being: Dealing with Difficult Patrons  with a photo of a tense-looking woman with her hands at her temples

MLA Connect: Mental Health and Well-Being: Dealing with Difficult Patrons

March 14, 2023
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Library workers on the front lines have faced mounting challenges over the last few years. How have you been able to manage? How does a trauma informed approach impact this work?

Dr. Abigail L. Phillips from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will uncover the impacts of the pandemic on library staff and how tough interactions and the demands of the job can contribute to burnout and offer suggestions and strategies that staff and library leaders can use to be proactive about the future.

When working in these difficult situations, a trauma-informed care approach shifts the focus from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

Learn how the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) used a trauma-informed approach to their code of conduct, incident reporting system, supervisor follow-up, suspension guidelines, and security guard on-boarding. Since making these changes, KPL staff have self-reported that adverse interactions with patrons have become less severe.This webinar will be recorded and available through MLA Connect On Demand.


View Recording at
MLA Connect On Demand

Session Goals

Participants will be provided with suggestions to combat burnout and support library staff. Participants will be given an example of a public library who shifted their service model to focus on trauma-informed care. Participants will learn practical examples of how policies and procedures were revised to reflect this model, and how this change has impacted both staff and patrons. Participants will be given recommendations of follow-up resources to continue learning about supporting their mental health on the job and trauma-informed service approaches.


Abigail PhillipsAbigail L. Phillips
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Abigail L. Phillips, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to joining the faculty at UWM, she served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences in Logan, Utah. Dr. Phillips is knowledgeable in public libraries, mental health, disability, neurodiversity, EDI initiatives, and youth and children services. Dr. Phillips received her MLIS, SLIS, and PhD from the School of Information at Florida State University. Please reach out to her via email: [email protected] or by Twitter: @abigailleigh.

Kevin KingKevin King
Kalamazoo Public Library

Kevin King has worked at the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) since 1998. Currently, he serves as the Head of Community Engagement, which includes working with the library branches, mobile library vehicle, outreach, programming, security, and social services. Kevin has presented at conferences in workshops in over 20 states on topics like leadership, organizational health, innovation, and trauma-informed care. In 2020, he became the inaugural winner of the Michigan Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Registration Rates





Registration is first-come, first-served. A maximum of 500 attendees can attend the live webinar. Registered attendees will receive information and a link to access the webinar on the Zoom platform. You will need to log in register. Retrieve your username or reset your password by visiting the links below and inputting your primary email address. This will be the email address where you receive MLA communications.

Event Policies 


Registration and attendance at, or participation in, MLA meetings or other activities constitutes an agreement by the registration to the use and distribution of the registrants or attendees' image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions of such events and activities by MLA.

Code of Conduct

MLA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all participants and MLA staff. Each participant, including attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, staff, service providers, is expected to understand and follow MLA policies and report any violations. These expectations apply to all MLA activities including those held in conjunction with MLA conferences, events and meetings, as well as online venues and social media.


Cancellations for MLA online and virtual events must be received in writing by e-mail no later than five (5) business days prior to the program in order to qualify for a refund. Within five (5) business days of the event, no refund will be issued. Registrations received within five (5) days of the program are not eligible for a refund. No-shows will be invoiced. A $10.00 processing fee will be applied to refunds for MLA Connect webinars.

Contact: [email protected]

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