New collection to focus on health and wellness

Grant from the MindHandHeart Initiative will jumpstart the collection and fund outreach

Photo: Christopher Harting

Photo: Christopher Harting

The MIT Libraries will begin building a new health and wellness collection at Hayden Library this spring with support from MIT’s MindHandHeart Initiative, a campus-wide effort to enhance mental health and overall well-being at MIT. The Libraries will purchase materials, including foreign-language materials, in areas such as mental health, substance abuse, life skills, and wellness, and will plan a number of bookmobile events in heavy-traffic campus spaces to promote the collection to the community.

“Our collection scope has not traditionally allowed for extensive collection of non-academic materials focusing on MindHandHeart’s key areas, ” said Courtney Crummett, biosciences librarian, one of the Libraries staff members coordinating the project. “With this grant, we can jumpstart our collection in these areas, including books and media, and do critical outreach to build awareness of the collection.”

The MindHandHeart Innovation Fund offers grants to faculty, students, and staff who propose new and inventive ways of increasing awareness about mental health, building communities of support, and promoting life and wellness skills. Recipients of the second round of grants were announced in January.

The new collection is one of several ways the Libraries have been working to foster a health environment on campus, including finals week study breaks, dog therapy events Furry First Fridays and Cookies with Canines, and Om Under the Dome, a weekly 30-minute silent meditation in Barker Reading Room. Bookmobiles, including recent ones organized for Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, have allowed the Libraries to highlight collections of particular interest to the community and bring them around campus.

“The Libraries are a well-established, highly utilized resource on campus,” said Michelle Baildon, collections strategist for arts and humanities and liaison to the Science, Technology, and Society Program, who is also working on the project. “This initiative can help us play a larger role in the spectrum of wellness services offered at MIT.”