Mindful School Libraries
Creating and Sustaining Nurturing Spaces and Programs
by Wendy Stephens
February 2021, 134pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-7527-4
$45, £35, 40€, A62
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7528-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Learn how to promote mindfulness in your school library.

Complement efforts in the classroom to work on social-emotional learning and understand the affective needs of young people in library settings.

Given the national climate of anxiety and fear, climbing diagnoses of neurological difference, and overall sensitivity, fewer young people come to school able to self-soothe. Building on the work of Nel Noddings, Lynne Evarts, and Meghan Harper, this book focuses on the deliberation, quiet, and reflection sometimes described collectively as mindfulness.

From breathing exercises to meditation, mindfulness exercises can be a coping mechanism for at-risk students, and librarians can create an environment, away from the classroom, in which students can explore their abilities to regulate and control their social and emotional responses, skills that underpin information retrieval and analysis. The role of school libraries in promoting mindfulness in the twenty-first century could parallel the quest for intellectual stimulation and self-improvement that informed the public libraries movement in the late nineteenth century. Providing practical suggestions for working in concert with classroom teachers, school counseling staff, and community partners, this guide will inform librarians’ practice by increasing awareness of how to create a nurturing space for students in the school library.


  • Highlights how mindfulness strategies have been successfully implemented in classroom and library spaces
  • Recommends a range of easy-to-implement, no- or low-cost adjustments to space and services that can make the library experience more inclusive and positive
  • Harnesses the increasing interest in social-emotional learning and how that undergirds student readiness to learn and confidence as a learner
Wendy Stephens, PhD, is assistant professor and school library chair at Jacksonville State University. Before joining the faculty at Jacksonville, Stephens was a high school librarian for 15 years.


"Professional materials on mindfulness and social emotional needs are more important than ever, making Stephens’s volume an ­ideal choice for most collections."—School Library Journal, April 1, 2021

"School librarians, administrators, and even teachers should find this text enlightening and thought provoking."—Booklist Online, May 21, 2021
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