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Trauma-informed librarianship: an exploratory literature review of trauma-informed approaches in school, academic and public libraries

Stephanie D. Founds (University Libraries, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 6 October 2023

Issue publication date: 5 March 2024




The goal of this review is to conduct an exploratory literature review on trauma-informed approaches in libraries to understand how librarians are discussing trauma-informed approaches and their integration into professional practice.


The author reviewed materials indexed in selected EBSCOHost databases. Included materials from selected EBSCOHost databases were available to the author in full text, in the English language and about trauma-informed approaches in libraries. Items were excluded from this review if they were a review of another work, a thesis or dissertation, or letters to or from the editor.


Twenty-five publications were included in this analysis. Publications included described approaches in school libraries, academic libraries and public libraries. Key topics are racial trauma-informed practices, trauma-informed teaching, resisting re-traumatization, social work and the effects of workplace trauma on the library workforce.

Practical implications

Trauma-informed approaches are gaining popularity in a variety of disciplines as the world copes with the turbulent events of recent years. The practical implications of this review are to explore the emergence of trauma-informed approaches in libraries to understand the current publishing landscape on this topic.


While librarians are writing about this approach and some are incorporating it into their practice, an analysis in the form of an exploratory literature review to summarize this work has not been done. Understanding how libraries are incorporating this trauma-awareness and trauma-informed principles into the work is crucial for identifying the future approach to library services.



Founds, S.D. (2024), "Trauma-informed librarianship: an exploratory literature review of trauma-informed approaches in school, academic and public libraries", Reference Services Review, Vol. 52 No. 1, pp. 7-22.



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