Butte County Library Promotes Mental Health

By Sarah Vantrease, Assistant Director, Butte County Library

Public libraries are vital resources for our communities. They offer gathering places, trusted sources of information, warm spots with WiFi and lend books and other materials. In many communities, people with mental health challenges also gather in the libraries, seeking respite and education. To better serve people living with mental health challenges, Butte County Library recently was awarded a $25,000 federal grant through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered through the California State Library.

2016-01-11 08.36.16With this grant, Butte County Library has been able to offer staff training, purchase up-to-date materials in several formats and plan a series of programs on topics of mental health and wellness. Together these activities are helping the library reach its goal of improving service and making the library a welcoming place for everyone, including those who may have a mental health challenge.

At the staff training, consultants from Each Mind Matters shared the facts and figures of mental health, showing the vital need for support, education and de-stigmatization around mental health issues. Speakers from NAMI Butte County told personal stories of living with and recovering from, mental health challenges. Behavioral Health described local resources and referral processes. Participants rated the training very highly, noting that it helped them learn new strategies for service as well as new information. They also got a first glimpse at the hundreds of new books and DVDs purchased through the grant.

During May, Mental Health Matters Month, Butte County Library will focus adult programming on offering support and de-stigmatizing activities. Programs such as mindfulness and nutrition workshops, guest speakers, movie screenings and book discussions will be open to the entire community, with special invitation to members of the mental health community (both providers and consumers). Community members will learn side by side, reducing stigma through participating together in the shared space of the public library.

Mental Health programming and training is now an upcoming focus for the California State Library, with events planned for this fall’s California Library Association conference and new grant opportunities soon to be announced. Other public libraries can work with their local mental health resources and the Each Mind Matters campaign to improve services and education for their communities.

For more information on the training, check out these stories from ChicoER and KRCR-TV:
ChicoER: Butte County Library undertakes countywide mental health training
KRCR-TV: Butte Co. libraries to educate visitors on mental health issues


sarahSarah Vantrease is the Assistant Director of the Butte County Library and was previously a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. She attended Harvard University and holds a master’s degree in Library & Information Science from UCLA. Sarah is an experienced librarian who is passionate about public service. She believes that libraries should be positioned at the center of their communities. Sarah can be contacted at [email protected]


*Guest blog: Each Mind Matters provides a platform for open dialogue and varying perspectives about mental health. The opinions of the author of guest blogs don’t necessarily reflect those of Each Mind Matters. If you have questions or comments about a blog written by a guest writer we encourage you to continue the discussion with the author by contacting the organization listed in the bio.