It doesn’t matter if you work in a public library, an academic library, special library or a government agency library; everyone is being impacted by the economy. It is increasingly common to hear these types of phrases:
do more with less,
we are in the process of right-sizing,
we’ve decided not to fill that retirement, we have to save money,
as negotiations begin with the union we are not giving any raises, and
we have to split up those duties; you aren’t going to be able to post that job.
During these challenging times, it is even more important to recognize and celebrate the great work staff performs. National Library Workers Day needs to be a priority for the leadership team and human resources. Now is the time to start planning the events for National Library Week and National Library Workers Day.
Look around your organization and tap into the creative thinking which exists. Ask for volunteers to serve on a committee (yes I hear the groans) to plan activities for the week. Think of activities that can highlight the great work of your staff, celebrate the customer service they are providing, and honor longevity. There is no reason these celebrations have to be expensive; that is not what staff cares about Employers generally believe that pay is the primary motivator of an employee. More than ten years worth of research indicates that employee’s biggest motivator is making a significant contribution and supervisor’s praise. Armed with this information, challenge your committee to design the National Library Week and National Library Day celebration around these core motivators. Tap into the resources of the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA’s website has ideas which have been shared from libraries around the country. Sample press releases and announcements are available.
To celebrate National Library Week and National Library Worker Day 2008, the State Library of Ohio’s leadership team provided a celebration breakfast, with the leadership cooking and serving, for the employees at the Columbus location and held a luncheon for the SEO employees. Each employee received an embossed “Teamwork leads to Success” pin and note card recognizing National Library Workers Day. The State Librarian sent a note to all staff recognizing the superior levels of customer service which had been observed and thanking all staff for the dedication and commitment to the agency. The staff was also sent the link to the message created by ALA featuring Julie Andrews. Afterwards several staff members expressed their thanks at being recognized for their work.
As you think about celebrating, get creative! Invite participation and don’t be afraid to ask for ideas and suggestions. Maybe a proclamation from the mayor, county commissioners, or other noted official would go a long way for your staff. Do you work extensively with a school or community group? Now is the time to ask for a show of their support. Take the time and energy to celebrate National Library Week and National Library Worker Day. You won’t regret it.