Monday, August 6th the Research and Instruction Team took a day out of ZSR for a team retreat.We had the full twelve (!) person team in attendance (not an easy feat to accomplish) including Bob Hebert (who is transitioning to RIS over the next year), Charles Hildebrandt and our newest RIS member, Kyle Denlinger who was a trooper to go through this on his fourth full day on the job. Hu was very happy to have three other males on the team and it was a great chance for us to get to know our newer members better.
We met at the START Gallery in Reynolda Village where Marcus Keeley, who many of us know, was a wonderful host. After breakfast goodies and conversation we started with a discussion of our Strengthfinders results. Some may remember that The Clifton Strengthsfinders is an assessment tool you take that returns to you a list of your top five strengths out of a list of thirty-four. The idea behind the assessment is that organizations and individuals perform best when building on their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. The ZSR leadership team and the Special Collections and Archives teams have all done the Strengthsfinders assessment and RIS had a very interesting and lively discussion as we looked at our strengths. I think it really helped us learn more about each other and where the natural tendencies are in our team. We have (to no one’s surprise) lots of thinkers in the group, but also several people strong on the interpersonal traits. We even have one futuristic person and two with WOO!
After a brief discussion of notes from the last Admin Council, I broke the team up into three groups and prepared them for the lunch discussion. I gave them the prompt that the new Provost announced he was going to build us a brand new library (wouldn’t that be nice!) and their job was to come up with ideas of how the public services on the main floor might be configured. I told them to think big and they did not disappoint.
There were some great new ideas but some common themes emerged. First, all three groups designed new space that was round and full of light. Second, all had the public services desks separate but in close proximity to each other and a general information or concierge desk that would triage patrons and get them where they needed to be. There seemed to be agreement that having all the help students would need located centrally within sight of each other was much to be desired but that a central welcome desk that could point them to the correct expert desk would alleviate any anxiety people might have about who to approach first. Third, there was a lot of new classroom, collaboration, quiet and student-friendly spaces that served the many different types of users we have. Finally, all groups looked to other WFU services that might be brought into the library. These included the Interdisciplinary Centers and Institutes, Student tutoring services, The Math Center, and The University Information Desk (currently in Benson). I think this shows a real recognition of ZSR as the heart of the university and our willingness to collaborate with other units on campus to make sure the services our students need are as convenient for them as possible. If you want to see a bit more of what we came up with here are files from Group 1 (Lauren, Ellen, Kaeley and note the placement of my office in this one – VERY NICE), Group 2 (Hu, Charles, Sarah and Joy) and Group 3 (Kyle, Bobbie, Mary and Bob).
We wrapped up the day with a discussion of our Team Goals for next year and some general RIS business as we look forward to back to school. All in all I think it was a good day, and I hope my team does too! I apologize for not getting a picture of us.