Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
leading a long line of waiting students up the library steps and into the
building. Starbucks offered coffee samples and treats, and the library staff
were in place, ready to resume normal operations.
At the lobby desk where his coworker had been shot less than 36 hours
earlier, Greg, a security staff member, greeted the incoming students.
It was “a powerful thing. Seeing the emotional faces of those gathering
around, the strong police presence throughout the day, and the many
students who bravely reentered the building for the first time, some even
stopping to thank us and shake our hands, was very moving.”
Supporting the Libraries’ Staff
Counseling for library staff and student workers was a vital step in the
recovery process within the library. Michelle was part of the team of
library managers who assembled to coordinate plans after the shooting.
She had reached out to the University Counseling Center and the
Employee Assistance Program to arrange for counseling sessions for staff
and student workers within the libraries, and counselors were available
around the clock. Michelle required all overnight staff to attend, even
though a few were reluctant. Some sessions lasted only a few minutes,
while others took over an hour. Michelle encouraged library staff to seek
additional counseling, cautioning them to not try to tough it out.
Reactions to the shooting varied widely. Two staff members were
thinking of submitting their resignations. Later they changed their minds,
perhaps due to the support that was provided. Others seemed to take it
in stride. A staff member who had been on-site that night said, “[We] just
wanted to move on with life without being reminded by people who were
amazed that we would come back into the building or who wanted to talk
about it and relive it over and over every family member and friend and
stranger that you would run into in the grocery store would want to talk
about that night.”
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