Contemplative Pedagogy: Building Resilience in Academic Libraries

Contemplative Pedagogy: Building Resilience in Academic Libraries

Madeleine Charney

Research Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries, Amherst, MA, USA.

Jenny Colvin

Outreach Services, Furman University Libraries, Greenville, SC, USA.

Copyright © 2017 by Madeleine Charney and Jenny Colvin This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License:


This paper addresses the emerging movement of contemplative pedagogy in higher education with an emphasis on academic librarianship. The authors posit how integrating mindfulness-based practices into pedagogy and programming builds resilience in students, creating meaning in an age of climate disruption, information overload and uncertain times. Examples of librarians’ relevant professional development activities are also included. Library spaces offering mindfulness opportunities for students are explored and a contemplative-oriented, campus-wide collaboration centered on climate disruption is featured.  Selected Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda are touched on, demonstrating how contemplative approaches in academic libraries support well-being, justice, community building and concern for the fate of the earth. 

Keywords: contemplative pedagogy, academic libraries, resilience, climate change, mindfulness

Presentation: pdf

curriculum vitae

Madeleine Charney (MLS, 1991; MA Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design, 2003) serves as liaison for sustainability studies across the curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is co-founder of “Talking Truth: Finding Your Voice Around the Climate Crisis,” a campus initiative that invites a contemplative approach to the urgency of climate change. She is also co-founder of the Sustainability Roundtable: Libraries Fostering Resilient Communities, a group under the American Library Association.

Jenny Colvin (MLS, 2006) is the Assistant Director for Outreach Services at Furman University, encompassing library instruction, research assistance, the branch libraries, and the library liaison program. She is the liaison to mathematics, computer science, education and religion. During the May Experience term, Jenny teaches classes in storytelling and reading. She is also co-founder of the Contemplative Pedagogy Interest Group of the Association of College and Research Libraries.