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Library Anxiety

I just published my first original research article in the journal College & Resarch Libraries, http://crl.acrl.org/. You can read it in the preprint here: http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2017/03/09/crl17-992.full.pdf+html.

Really, truly, I wrote this paper to help improve library service and to help improve the user's experience while in the library. I could not begin with a small, introductory article to library anxiety (hidden shame) because it is a complex topic. If you think you understand shame or if you feel that you have very little shame than you are not understanding the definition of shame.

Shame is with us always. It does not go away and it does not indicate that something is wrong with us. Everyone has the same level of shame. As simple as this concept sounds, it is almost impossible for people to absorb: shame is with us always. It serves a purpose, but not in the same way as guilt. Guilt is about crossing boundaries with others. We are mindful of others when we experience guilt. Shame is a focus on ourselves.

Why is shame important? Because it controls all of our positive emotions. The sociologist Thomas Scheff believes that shame is our master emotion. And I am more in agreement with this theory than any other theory I have read in social psychology. But here is the most important bit of information to know: when shame is hidden, it causes great damage to our relationships. How do you explain this to people in a short article. One can't. It is simply impossible.

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