On October 12, the Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) was closed for Columbus Day and held their annual Staff Development Day at the Hardesty Library. I have been subbing at various TCCL branches when staff are sick or on vacation, so I was invited to attend Staff Development Day.
The schedule for the event was as follows:8:00 am – Registration and breakfast 8:30 am – Opening Ceremonies 10:00 am – First Breakout Session 11:20 am – Open Booth and Activity Period 12:00 pm – Lunch 2:20 pm – Second Breakout Session 3:40 pm – Closing Ceremonies 5:00 pm – Dismissed
Breakfast was purchased with budgeted funds and catered by Jason’s Deli. Lunch was underwritten by the Friends of the Library and provided by Arby’s. A number of valuable classes were offered during the breakout sessions, and staff could receive continuing education credits by attending. Classes included topics like where and how to enroll in Library & Info Studies Master’s programs, how to provide library programming for teens, disaster preparedness, how to host a murder mystery program at the library, etc. During the Open Activity Period, library staff toured booths and displays created by other library staff. In touring the booths, I learned about TCCL’s proposed floating collection, the many responsibilities of the Collection Development Dept., the many nifty features of various Gale online databases, the activities of the TCCL Staff Association, and the resources of the Beryl Ford Memorial and Oklahoma Collection. In addition, staff could give blood, receive a free health screening, play video games, attend a yoga class or talk an Urban Wildlife Walk during the Open Activity Period.
I thought the catering for this event was well done in terms of set-up and the vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Having the Friends help off-set the cost of food was a smart way to leverage resources and keep the event budget down. The use of Hardesty Library facilities for booths and classes was well-thought-out. The Staff Development Day guide was very cleverly designed, and the inclusion of maps for event locations, descriptions of events, and an evaluation form made this publication very helpful. The theme for Staff Development Day was “Everyday Heroes,” and I thought this theme was very well-chosen in the interest of showing staff appreciation. Staff were given royal blue t-shirts with a modified superman logo on the chest to wear to the event. A number of staff wore capes, too! Decorations included various superhero themed items and were very cleverly arranged. Staff achievement awards were announced during opening and closing ceremonies, and I was very impressed by the number of hard-working and highly creative staff recognized through these awards. I think this is another great way of showing staff appreciation by publicly recognizing their achievements.
I believe a few elements could have been improved in the organization of this event. Hardesty Library is in the process of expanding its parking lot due to space shortage, so a lot of parking was blocked off due to construction. This caused there to be insufficient parking for staff attending the event. Perhaps efforts could have been made to encourage carpooling or to identify locations for overflow parking ahead of time. Possibly such efforts were made, and I was simply unaware of them. Additionally, I heard a lot of feedback from staff attending the event that the Open Activity Session in the middle of the day was too long. Apparently this large span of free time was provided to allow staff ample time to view all the booths, give blood and do the health screening. However, those who did not take advantage of the time-consuming health screening were left with too much time and not enough to do. Perhaps additional optional classes could have been provided during this period.
Another small issue was that subs like me that work few and sporadic hours were unable to browse and choose from the list of classes posted on the intranet in order to enroll ahead of time. Thus I really didn’t get to know about all of the opportunities available at the event–only the activities I stumbled into on my own. Granted, I may have been the only sub who attended, so this was a very isolated problem. Having a full list of classes that could be emailed to subs like me ahead of time would have been very helpful. Of course, it’s easy to identify problems like these after the fact. It’s far more difficult to predict them ahead of time.
All in all I was quite impressed with the organization and promotion of this event.