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When we discuss critical pedagogy much focus is given to the classroom and consultations, but at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center (HSLIC) we have incorporated critical pedagogy into all our spaces. This incorporation extended to the creation of a wellness room for our users. Considering that “The prevalence of depressive symptoms among (health sciences) students was 12.9%, significantly higher than in the general population, and was 16.1% among female students versus 8.1% among males” and incorporating feedback from our users we believed that a space for private decompression and spiritual connection would be useful.* While we are aware that there are many systems of oppression within academia and the health sciences, and wellness cannot be shifted onto the individual, we wanted to provide resources to offset the typically high cost of wellness supplies, especially since we are located in a state that has a high level of poverty at a neoliberal institution with an extremely diverse population, including many first-generation students. With all of this in mind and engaging with concepts of anti-oppressive practice, feminist ethics of care, and considering the intersecting identities of our users, we worked to create a seed funding proposal to pilot a wellness room within the library. When the proposal was approved, work began to create an inclusive space that would help our users break down traditional concepts of work and study. Much consideration was given to the expressed needs of those with dis/abilities and neurodiversity and the concept of autonomous space. In this presentation we will discuss the decision making process, requesting a budget, the creation of the space, marketing, feedback received from users, and plans for updating and improving the space. There will be a substantial amount of time for Q&A after the presentation.

*Dahlin, M., Joneborg, N., & Runeson, B. (2005). Stress and depression among medical students: a cross-sectional study. Medical education, 39(6), 594–604.

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Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy Symposium




wellness, space design, critical pedagogy, inclusion, and libraries


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Autonomous Space: Incorporating Concepts of Questioning into a Wellness Room