Thursday, May 17, 2007

Annual Staff Retreat

Every year the NJIT Library has a staff retreat.  The boss takes us to another library in New Jersey.  There is a speaker, followed by a tour of the host library and finally a full staff meeting.  This year he schleped us to The College of New Jersey near Trenton.  I think we have visited almost every 4 year college in Northern, NJ.  He rented a bus to take most of the staff from Newark to Trenton.  To summarize the thoughts of my colleagues, it is nice to get away for the day, but these retreats have no lasting effect.


Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think these retreats are a waste of time.  Like you said, there is no lasting effect and after three years of going to them there are a couple of things I have noticed.  One, of the four year colleges in New Jersey, we probably have the least aestheticly pleasing library.  The second is that no work actually gets done during the 'work session.'  All that is done is a discussion of things that we should do and strangely, there is rarely ever a mention of things that actually got accomplished during the past year.  I don't know whether to be suprised that there is no mention or just expect it (because was there anything accomplished last year that was actually a goal of the previous year?).  

I already told the boss man this but I am not sure if I already told you.  If these retreats are suited for anyone, its the librarians.  I don't know the rigors of the typcial work day for you guys but for the general staff our roles have been established from the day we were hired and have not changed since.  Learning about new technologies at other libraries or what the "library of the future" is going to be like will not change our day to day function today, tomorrow, or a year from now.  Just a waste of a work day in my opinion.  

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, those retreats; I remember them well (can you believe it's been 4 years since I left NJIT?).  
Is going over the focus-group transcripts still a component?  Always a good time.
We had our full-staff retreat here at Yavapai College this past Tuesday.  I was in charge of putting together the agenda & location.  I don't know if you are familiar with the town Sedona, AZ but it is absolutely gorgeous.  We have a satellite campus there that doesn't teach anything but film-making.  Anyway, I chose this for our location; the group loved it.
I had to have a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) component only because my boss said so.  For a guest speaker I chose a guy from our Office of Public Information.  He's a graphic artist and is pretty much our marketing guru.  He talked for two hours but it went fast.  He gave us the right questions to ask ourselves, some practical advice and he showed us what he's done for other departments.  The key thing is, people walked out of there fired up.  This has always been my claim as to what the objective of a retreat should be--recharging the batteries.  
Will let you know if we follow-up with this or just let it die on the vine.

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