Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Libraries & early intervention.

with one comment

Today I attended an hour long Early Intervention Program through RIT’s Center for Professional Development (CPD). This is a training session that has been implemented for RIT faculty and staff in light of recent events involving school violence (Illinois, Virginia Tech).

“The purpose of this training program is to raise our awareness as it relates to recognizing disruptive behaviors and the resources available to manage potentially dangerous situations.”

What is the role of the library in terms of early intervention? Depending on when students decide to enter the library, we don’t necessarily see the same faces day after day like other administrators, faculty, and staff. This makes it a little more difficult to notice any student in particular changing their daily habits for the worse.

However, we are an excellent resource for students who are struggling with issues including mental illness, depression, family or relationship issues and violent behavior. We provide access to information, both physical and virtual. If students have the courage to ask for assistance (even under the guise of “this is for an assignment”), we provide support in locating authoritative information that could possibly change and save lives. In reference situations, we need to be aware of warning signs. Although I would not advise straight out confrontation, we can surely provide a kind, sympathetic, non-judgmental ear and point students to pertinent information.

Regardless of position, subject specialty or liaison area, librarians should be prepared to answer some of the typical questions young adults in the college realm may have. These questions include eating disorders, mental disease, relationship issues, suicide, stalking, and violence. In many cases, college is the first time that students are on their own, outside of a family environment and in a new (and challenging) community. Retention rates clearly show that not all students can adjust to these changes.

The library has long been considered a safe and neutral place, especially on college campuses. Perhaps we can continue this feeling by embracing our students so that they can let their guard down within our walls and seek our assistance. After all, that’s what we’re there for.


Written by Erin Dorney

March 7, 2008 at 5:03 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. Very nice! Others would say somewhat the opposite, ie that there should be metal scanners at the door, non-students (like me) screened out, videotapes running everywhere (which there probably are already…), and so on, but maybe that’s a piece of how we got to be such an uptight, paranoid, non-forgiving society. How DID we get to produce all these on-campus violents anyway, and is it only in this country that they’re found??Your thoughts about how a library could serve students always seem to come out and are good. All the same, RIT is wise to hold these sessions. Welcome back! YD

    YD (Your Daddy)

    March 7, 2008 at 9:29 PM

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