If you’re a fan of self-help books or have even dabbled in the genre, you may have heard of “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, there are five ways in which people express and experience love: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. While these love languages are often associated with romantic relationships, they can also be applied to other areas of life, including libraries. So, for Library Lovers Month, we’ll explore how each love language can be expressed in reference to our very own Emory Libraries.
1. Words of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation are expressions of appreciation, encouragement, and support. In the context of libraries, this could mean giving feedback on library services, thanking library staff for their help, or receiving support on assignments and projects. It’s important to remember that libraries, like all public services, rely on support from patrons as well as community support, and words of affirmation can go a long way in building a positive relationship between the library and its patrons.
2. Acts of Service
Acts of Service show love through actively doing for others. For libraries, this could mean volunteering to help with library programs, participating in workshops, or even just returning one’s library materials on time. By actively supporting the library through our actions, we show that we care about the library and its mission.
3. Receiving Gifts
Receiving Gifts is all about the tangible expressions of love, whether it’s a thoughtful gift or a simple token of appreciation. In a library, this could mean donating books, movies or other materials. Another form of gifting is the library’s offerings of programs and services. Knowledge is a shared gift between patron and library, and this gift exchange shows that we value library resources and want to help it thrive so that we may thrive.
4. Quality Time
Quality Time is all about spending time with the people you love, whether it’s having a meaningful conversation or just enjoying each other’s company over coffee. This may look like attending library programs with your friends or family, organizing a study group, or simply spending time browsing the library’s collections.
5. Physical Touch
Physical Touch is the most intimate of the love languages, and it often refers to physical expressions of love like hugging or holding hands. However, in reference to libraries this is about feeling connected to what we are learning and the interactions we have along the way. This could mean feeling a sense of connection to the library’s resources when browsing the stacks, or feeling a sense of belonging to the library’s community when meeting with a subject librarian.
The five love languages can be applied to libraries in a variety of ways. By understanding how we experience love, we can find ways to connect with the library and show our support. And Emory Libraries looks forward to connecting and supporting you!
—Keeza Hameed, science librarian for biology and neuroscience