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Staff Development Day, April 19, 2024: Home

from the director

Ross A. Holt

Library staff to take day to recharge

Sometimes you need to take a breather, take stock and reset.

The library will do just that on Friday, April 19, when we close for our first ever — and first annual, we expect — Staff Development Day.

These events are common among libraries in North Carolina. We’ve always resisted because it rubs us the wrong way to withhold library service from the public when there’s not some crisis that’s forcing us to do so.

We believe, however, that the one-day hiatus will benefit the people we serve in the long run, allowing us to recharge our batteries, and get reacquainted with (or even meet for the first time) our colleagues from each library.

We haven’t had a countywide staff meeting since before the pandemic. We formerly held monthly meetings for all who could attend while also keeping the libraries open.

Lately, though, the variety of activities and events among all the libraries on almost all days of the week make getting together like this impractical, although branch managers and department heads meet monthly.

Our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan establishes as one of four strategic priorities that “Library staff are empowered, engaged and connected.” A goal within this priority is to “Establish annual opportunities for employees to connect and learn together.” So on April 19 we’ll make a day of it. Head of Youth Services Samantha Martin, recently named Staff Development Coordinator, and Assistant Director Niccole Hugg have arranged a lively day of learning and teamwork activities that will be informative and inspiring.

We will start with a keynote speaker, Dr. Leisha DeHart-Davis from the UNC School of Government. Her topic will be “Emotional Labor for Librarians,” which stems from her work on strengthening the capability of local government employees to respond effectively to a wide range of public needs.

Afterwards, the staff will rotate though breakout sessions that include:

  • Customer Service Scenarios, with pointers on helping readers find just the right book, and getting to the root of patron’s questions and needs in order to deliver just the right response;
  • NC LIVE, focusing on learning about and practicing on research resources offered by the statewide online library, presented by NC LIVE Instruction Librarian Devon Waugh;
  • Safety, focusing on best practices for a number of life/health scenarios that staff might encounter; and
  • Strategic Plan Updates, in which staff will meet with their teams created to guide implementation of our strategic plan priorities.

The day will conclude with a whole-group guided mindfulness activity.

We are indeed reluctant to close the libraries, and we know it’s an inconvenience to our many visitors. The libraries will resume regular hours Saturday, April 20.

Please grant us this indulgence and we will use it to polish up the service we offer every day.