Staff Day

Eva —  October 28, 2014 — 2 Comments

We try to have a staff in-service/professional development day (we just call ours “staff day”) every year. During the rough years of the recession, we had to put the day on hold due to finances, but we were able to reinstate staff day in the last couple of years.

Staff day here is led by a committee of employees from across the library. Many of them volunteer; some are volunteered by their manager. There is always one manager on the committee, though the manager does not necessarily serve as chair of the committee.

photo credit: MeganElizabethMorris via photopin cc

photo credit: MeganElizabethMorris via photopin cc

This year, my managers decided it was my turn to serve on the committee. The chair, though, is one of the department administrative assistants–who, it turns out, is incredibly focused, organized, practical, and detailed. I kind of knew this about her already, but working directly with her now has really brought that into sharp focus. She is bold and unafraid to be different, and she’s carried this attitude through to the rest of the staff day committee. To wit:

Our staff day usually has a speaker in the morning followed by Breakout A, B, or C. Then there’s lunch, followed by Breakout A, B, or C (no repeats, you have to choose a different breakout than the morning), maybe a fun activity, followed by silent auction/raffle, longevity recognition for employees with anniversaries in 5-year increments, dessert, and farewell.

This year, there is no keynote speaker. We are spending the morning visiting our neighbors–we’ve lined up twelve public libraries around us to provide tours to small groups of employees at each one. The groups came back for lunch, where they reported out on what they liked, what surprised them, and/or the most valuable thing they learned from their tour. I love this idea (which we stole from another library, of course!) because my staff got to do some comparing/contrasting and, hopefully, gain some perspective on how variable public library service can be from one community to another.

Another bold change for staff day this year is no breakout sessions. After lunch, we had a company come in to do competitive trivia with the staff. This is the same company you’ve seen in bars and restaurants doing trivia nights. I think it’s a novel method (for my library, at least) of teambuilding, and a good opportunity for our know-it-all staff to strut their stuff. Prizes were given to the winning teams, of course.

No keynote speaker and no breakout sessions–this is how our 2014 staff day committee rolls. We’re hoping the change of pace re-energized our coworkers about staff day, and it was a ton of fun, too!

If you have a staff day at your library, how do you do it?



Eva Davis is the Director of the Canton Public Library in Canton, Michigan--not Canton, Ohio, or Canton, Massachusetts, or Canton, Mississippi. (It is an easy mistake to make.) Eva honed her supervisory and management skills working in customer service, research, and publishing before heading to graduate school at the University of Michigan School of Information. She became a librarian in 1998. She was an intern and then the teen services librarian at the Plymouth (MI) District Library before moving to the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library, where she was Head of the Youth Department at the Downtown library, Head of Youth Services for the system, Head of Branch Services, and finally Associate Director for Public Services. Eva has held her dream job as the Director of the award-winning Canton Public Library since 2008. She received the Michigan Library Association's Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Teen Services in 2003, and is a graduate of both Leadership Ann Arbor and Leadership Canton, where she learned that she is moderately Affiliative according to MAFF, her color is "Green" on the Four Color Personality Test, and her Myers-Briggs Type is INTJ (although she has worked diligently and consistently on improving her Sensing, so she now leans ISTJ). Follow @CantonLibrary and @EvaDavisCPL on Twitter. (Photo credit: Susan Kennedy)

2 responses to Staff Day


    Trivia sounds like a great team building activity! Were there special library questions, or was it the general content from the trivia providers?


      It was general content from the trivia company. Honestly, they were so taken aback at our invitation (“You want bar trivia, in the daytime, at the library?!?”) that I chuckle to imagine their faces if we had asked that the questions be library-focused!

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