During the first full week of August, something very special happened all over the state of Ohio. Staff members from libraries of all sizes and types came together to tackle a major national issue—the opioid crisis. Hosted by the Regional Library Systems, the State Library of Ohio, and OhioNET, 4 separate events took place over 4 days in 4 cities around the state: Gallipolis, Dayton, Findlay and Twinsburg. Each day-long event attracted between 70 and 120 attendees and featured national, state-wide, and local speakers and resources, including an opening keynote session with Sam Quinones, author of DREAMLAND: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic and a closing presentation and brainstorming activity led by Dr. Meghan Harper (Associate Professor, School of Information at Kent State University). At each of the 4 events, a panel of library staff members from various types of libraries in that region shared professional and personal perspectives on the impact of the opioid epidemic. Each event also included a presentation from the host county’s Project DAWN team featuring local resources and giving background information on addiction issues. Attendees left at the end of each day with a better understanding of how we got where we are and, more importantly, what we can do to combat this scourge on our communities.
The feedback folks shared was overwhelmingly positive with 85-95% of all attendees agreeing (or strongly agreeing) with statements about their learning and their intention to apply it to the work they do for the communities they serve. Over 75% of attendees returned our short survey at the end of each day, including over 180 unique comments like…
- Have heard or read about most of these ideas, but each presenter sparked new thoughts about how to apply to library service.
- Very good program. Got a lot out of the panel discussions. Good ideas to take back to my library. Enjoyed Sam Quinones & Dr. Harper. Lots to think about.
- Opioid epidemic is a community problem that needs attention from the public. Loved the coming together to speak about these issues.
- I felt so inspired to band together with other libraries and community leaders to have a conversation and brainstorming sessions about this epidemic.
- Thank you for hosting an event like this in our neck of the woods. Workshops about opioids are so relevant to our work as librarians. Keep'em coming.
- As mentioned, the problem is too complicated for a single solution, and libraries are one of those places that entire cross sections of the public frequent. All libraries should have this info available to the public.
- Anyone can give someone kindness and hope.
- I learned enough to know I need to learn more.
- This was a well put together day-moved along quickly, quality speakers and I left with a to-do list.
- Yes to collaborative events! Thank you for working together on an event that addresses a huge need.
Even if you weren’t able to join us at any of these events, we want to share the information we compiled to keep the larger conversation going.
Sam Quinones - Reporter’s Blog -- http://samquinones.com/reporters-blog/
Dr. Meghan Harper’s website -- http://www.meghanharper.org/
Dr. Meghan Harper's handout -- Libraries Lending Hope - Dr. Meghan Harper.pdf
Project DAWN site -- https://www.odh.ohio.gov/health/vipp/drug/ProjectDAWN.aspx
Project DAWN location list -- List-of-Project-DAWN-programs-2-6-18.pdf
Link to YouTube Narcan Training Video -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBF0ovVWPYc
Brainstorming Activity results -- OiC LiR Brainstorming Activity Responses.pdf
These events are made possible thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), awarded by the State Library of Ohio.