Asking for Help in a Helping Profession: Encouraging and Modeling Help-Seeking Behaviors in the Library Workplace

In our work as librarians we encourage all library patrons to ask for help. Librarianship is the profession of “Ask Us” and “Get Help Here” but are we applying that same ethic to our colleagues and ourselves in the workplace? Asking for help or support is an act of bravery and vulnerability, one that can carry a great deal of risk in the wrong environment. Yet it is essential to growing and developing as a library professional.

This session will explore practices, attitudes, and structures that can encourage and promote, help-seeking behaviors among library workers. Panelists are a mix of library managers and librarians without supervisory responsibilities who will examine how help-seeking can mitigate against internal barriers such as perfectionism and imposter syndrome, promote a workplace culture that values learning and intellectual humility, and diminish the harmful effects of hierarchy in libraries. Participants will examine their own experiences with help-seeking behaviors, including barriers to asking for help, in hopes that at the end of the session they will leave with ideas on how to promote asking for help at their own libraries.

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Oct 20 2023


10:30 am - 11:30 am


Chair's Program


  • Jennifer Holland
    Jennifer Holland
    Teaching and Learning Librarian, University of Houston Libraries

    Jennifer Holland is a Teaching and Learning Librarian at the University of Houston Libraries, with prior experience working as an interim assistant director at a previous institution. Her research interests include leadership development, reflective teaching practices, and creative learner-centered pedagogies.

  • Joanna Gadsby
  • Kathryn Sullivan
    Kathryn Sullivan
    Head of Reference & Instruction, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    Kathryn Sullivan works as Head of Reference & Instruction at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In this role, she oversees research support services, library instruction, and the subject librarian program. She holds an MLS from the iSchool at the University of Maryland, College Park.

  • Mea Warren
    Mea Warren
    Assistant Head of Teaching and Learning, University of Houston

    Mea Warren is the Assistant Head of Teaching and Learning at the University of Houston Libraries. In her role she manages co-curricular engagement initiatives, connecting with units across campus to teach information literacy concepts beyond the traditional classroom.

  • Veronica Arellano Douglas
    Veronica Arellano Douglas
    Head of Teaching & Learning, University of Houston Libraries

    Veronica Arellano Douglas is Head of Teaching & Learning at the University of Houston Libraries. She holds an MLS from the University of North Texas and a BA from Rice University. Her research interests include critical information literacy, inclusive pedagogy, and relational-cultural theory in libraries. You can read her writing at