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The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Serving with Compassionate Empathy

Posted about 10 days ago by Melissa J

One goal at Toledo Lucas County Public Library is to offer services and programs with compassion, fulfilling the learning, information, idea and entertainment needs of all who enter. Leading with compassionate empathy is a skill that can be learned.

Recently, Ryan Dowd spoke to our staff and community about his work with those who are homeless. On his website, you can see his objective is to reduce problems and conflict while still remaining inclusive. During Dowd’s engaging workshops, he spoke about the importance of empathy for people with whom you are relating. As much as some might want to distance themselves from uncomfortable situations and behavior, the reality is we live in a world with people who are different and imperfect.

There are two parts to empathy. One is theory of the mind (also known as cognitive empathy), allowing a person to have an idea of what the other person is thinking and thus what they might need. The second part of empathy is compassionate empathy. This is what most people think about when discussing empathy. It is about being moved to answer the need. Our leadership is moved to answer the needs.

There are many diverse communities in Lucas County, and the vision of the Library is to meet the needs in every corner.

At the Library, our values state that we seek to build an organizational culture that is welcoming, objective, innovative, accountable and collaborative for ALL who walk through our doors. Serving all means that everyone can use Library services. There are very few places in our community where every person is welcome regardless of what they look like, how much money they have or whom they love.

There are many diverse communities in Lucas County, and the vision of the Library is to meet the needs in every corner. Some of these needs were the impetus for the Welcome TLC Librarian, the increase in services in Business and Workforce Department, personal finance programming and the Studio Lab, which encourages digital literacy skills that are so needed in the 21st century.

When people use the computers and ask for our assistance, librarians are ready to serve. While some librarians may speak another language, some of us do not. It is important to have librarians who understand how to communicate culturally with people who ask for our assistance. Having a Welcome TLC Librarian, who knows how to behave interculturally while serving others, answers needs of those who are assimilating into our community.

Librarians also answer the need to financially grow in the community. They regularly assist Library customers using the computers to obtain their credit reports, check stubs, social security and unemployment benefits and even more sensitive information. Some may not know where or how they can navigate public and private resources. Librarians assist them, while also protecting the privacy of their information. In addition, there are librarians who specialize in helping people create a business or non-profit organization.

Librarians are not social workers or case managers, but must be emotionally as well as intellectually intelligent. Emotions are contagious. Studies show that words can hurt or heal, thanks to mirror neurons in the frontal cortex of our brains. Serving with compassionate empathy matters. We are all living in this world together, and all of us are welcome to use the Library. At its best the public library is the People’s University. Therefore, Toledo Lucas County Public Library also serves with compassionate empathy.

Cover of Emotional Intelligence

View Emotional Intelligencein Catalog

By Daniel Goleman

Based on the most recent studies in psychology and neuroscience, a report on the rational and emotional properties of the human mind explains how they shape everything from personal success to physical well-being

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View A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama's vision for our worldin Catalog

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Presents the values that are central to the Dalai Lama's philosophy, highlights science that supports his beliefs, and offers instructive anecdotes of people and projects already bringing his vision into reality.

Cover of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

View Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Lifein Catalog

By Karen Armstrong

Taking as her starting point the teachings of the great world religions, Karen Armstrong demonstrates in twelve practical steps how we can bring compassion to the forefront of our lives. Armstrong argues that compassion is inseparable from humanity, and by transcending the limitations of selfishness on a daily basis we will not only make a difference in the world but also lead happier, more fulfilled, lives.

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View Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the obstacles to psychological balance and compassionin Catalog

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Cover of The Librarian's Guide to Homelessness: An empathy-driven approach to solving problems, preventing conflict, and serving everyone

View The Librarian's Guide to Homelessness: An empathy-driven approach to solving problems, preventing conflict, and serving everyonein Catalog

By Ryan Dowd

Homelessness is a perennial topic of concern at libraries. In fact, staff at public libraries interact with almost as many homeless individuals as staff at shelters do. In this book Dowd, executive director of a homeless shelter, spotlights best practices drawn from his own shelter's policies and training materials.

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View The Power of Empathy: A practical guide to creating intimacy, self-understanding, and lasting love in your lifein Catalog

By Arthur P. Ciaramicoli And Katherine Ketcham

Arguing that empathy is the driving force behind love, the author shows readers how to bring this all-important trait to the fore in relationships.

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View Conscious Communications: Your step-by-step guide to harnessing the power of your words to change your mind, your choices, and your lifein Catalog

By Mary Shores

The persistent messages you repeat can frame your thoughts and trap you in a mind-set that can be difficult to break. Whether you realize it or not, the words you use are the architects of your life. After years of personal experience and research, entrepreneur and communications specialist Mary Shores realized that there is a life-changing theme persistent throughout ancient traditions and spiritual foundations that is also supported by scientific professionals. They all agree on one recurring truth: Words have the power to create and transform.

Cover of Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

View Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Lifein Catalog

By Marshall B. Rosenberg

An enlightening look at how peaceful communication can create compassionate connections with family, friends, and other acquaintances, this international bestseller uses stories, examples, and sample dialogues to provide solutions to communication problems both at home and in the workplace.