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Laughing in Libraries

May 10, 2019

Finals are wrapping up at many of our campuses, and we are packing up the coloring books, puzzles and other stress-relieving activities we provide for students during this intense time.

Meanwhile, year-end reviews are taking place, along with staff and faculty development events, budget decisions and planning for fall semester. And hopefully, among all of these tasks, we are finding time to laugh.

If you’re funny, if there’s something that makes you laugh, then every day’s going to be okay.

Tom Hanks

In a meta-analysis of studies related to workplace humor, researchers found that a positive sense of humor can be associated with good physical and mental health, acting as a buffer for workplace stress. Some studies reviewed also suggested a correlation between humor and effective functioning at work (Mesmer-Magnus, Glew & Viswesvaran, 2012). 

To each their own, but I prefer self-deprecating styles of humor, or jokes that are based on really aggravating situations that present a lighter view in an appropriate context. In other words, you laugh and see that it’s not so bad, or you laugh because it IS so bad, but someone else understands.

Here are a few of my go-tos for humor, mostly related to work. You probably already know about Fake Library Statistics on Twitter:

Then there are tweets from Librarian Problems:

Observations on work and life by Liz and Mollie (Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy) are often very true and very funny. Their new book is terrific as well. They’re on Twitter and Instagram:

If you’re interested in reading some research about this topic, the article I mentioned earlier is:

Mesmer-Magnus, J., Glew, D. J., & Viswesvaran, C. (2012). A meta-analysis of positive humor in the workplace. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 27(2), 155-190. doi:

Comedy in books, movies or TV can also bring more humor into your life, as can funny friends, family and pets. But in the midst of a hectic day, a good laugh with a colleague (away from quiet areas, of course!) can be wonderful stress relief. Puns optional.

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