Playing for Keeps: How academic libraries are prioritizing student mental health and well-being through play

Abstract

Over the past decade there has been an increasing awareness of the need for wholistic means of support for college and university students. With the rate of mental health concerns continuing to rise, institutions of higher education are working more collaboratively to create increased access to mental health support on campuses. Although academic libraries have customarily been responsible for bolstering their parent institution’s commitment to academic success as well as student and faculty research initiatives – it has become increasingly clear that prioritizing their community’s mental health plays a critical role in achieving these goals. As a result, many academic libraries have begun utilizing methods of play to support the mental health and wellbeing of their patronage. Most commonly art supplies, videogame consoles/games, and kinetic resources such as Legos and Play-Doh are offered year-round for check out at many institutions, while events including coloring and crafting opportunities are offered monthly with an increased presence near midterms and finals. This paper will utilize a combination of annual reports, scholarly articles, and library websites to identify and convey trends, emerging practices, and initiatives. 

Keywords

Playfulness, Wellbeing, Student coping, Holistic development, Knowledge absorption

How to Cite

Nance, M. K., (2022) “Playing for Keeps: How academic libraries are prioritizing student mental health and well-being through play”, The Journal of Play in Adulthood 4(2), 162-176. doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/jpa.1026

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Megan Kimberley Nance (Yale University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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