The view from my post in Adult Services is that the most common trait of the OFPL staff — by a fair margin — is empathy. I’m aware this falls into the “well, duh” category, but it’s not just opinion anymore.

I learned this after we each took the strength-finders survey for our recent staff development day. This survey is based on the “Gallup 12,” which is a “well-established national survey that can provide benchmark comparisons with other organizations on employee engagement and productivity,” said City Administrator Walter Denton in his weekly email to city staff.

Truth be told, I had a trace of trepidation about what to expect. But what I experienced was, again, what I already knew – the library administrators really care about us as individuals, and we all care about the patrons who make our shifts so interesting and fulfilling.

I also learned a few fascinating — and a couple of surprising — facts about my coworkers. Of course, it’s all good and helpful knowledge as we interact with each other with more understanding.

Photo by Emily on

One of our sessions was on the importance of self-care. Of course, OFPL offers a variety of self-care opportunities.

Diana Kurtz hosts Gentle Yoga for Stress and Anxiety Relief Sat. Mar 12, 9:30am. Diana leads the group through gentle stretches, easy yoga poses, and guided meditation that will leave you feeling enlightened and rejuvenated. This is a free 1-hour class. Please bring a mat, small blanket or towel, and a water bottle. Space is limited, so please register on our website or contact Heidi at or 618-206-4344.

Self-care also includes eating well. First Fitness Certified Wellness Coach, Carol Simpson presents Eat to Live At 2pm, Sat. Mar. 12, Carol will show you how to take healthy food preparation from bland and boring to delicious and mouthwatering. Please register and join us as we sample delectable dishes and learn how to “eat to live.”

In case you or someone you care about needs some self-care inspiration, here are just a few titles to help you get started.

The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again by Catherine Price – journalist Catherine Price has learned the truth: far from being frivolous or a distraction, fun is actually the secret to achieving our goals.

I Didn’t Do the Thing Today by Madeleine Dore. An inspiring call to take productivity off its pedestal and the unrealistic notions of what can be done in a day.

Undo It!: How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases by Dean Ornish, M.D

What Fresh Hell Is This?: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You written by a deeply perimenopausal Heather Corinna.

Self-Care for Black Women: 150 Ways to Radically Accept & Prioritize Your Mind, Body, & Soul by Oludara Addyo.

As always, happy reading! — Susan C.

This article originally appeared in the O’Fallon Weekly.

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