How we communicate within the library is always a challenging part of any director’s job. While there are many aspects to internal library communication, recently I have been focused on how I as library director can increase my communication with those who work in the Library. The following influenced my thought process:
1. Knowledge from years of experience that communication is difficult under the best of circumstances. In an organization with over 100 employees working in two facilities and on outreach vehicles effective communication takes considerable time and effort.
2. In its final report the Williamsburg Regional Library Strategic Plan Review Committee included the following: ” While they (library staff) generally agree that WRL offers a “positive work environment,” many expressed a need for greater inclusion in decision making processes. The committee encourages the library administration to address this need.”
3. Discussions with the Library Board of Trustees.
4. A personal acknowledgment that as a life-long introvert, effective communication takes extra effort.
How am I planning to address this aspect of internal library communication?
In my goals for the coming year approved by the Board of Trustees, I am committed to the following:
A. Hold monthly meetings of the Director’s Cabinet. This group consists of all library administrators that report directly to me.
B. Hold meetings of all Library Division Directors on a bi-monthly basis. This is also a wonderful opportunity for us to learn together. At our first meeting later this month we will hear from the Director of the Library of Virginia.
C. Attend individual Divisional staff meetings as appropriate to their meeting schedule.
In recent months I received helpful suggestions from individuals on how to facilitate better communication. As a result of these suggestions, and further discussion with library staff, I recently instituted the following:
- “Meandering with Moorman,” an opportunity for staff members to discuss library topics with me in the informal, one-on-one setting of a walk over to Colonial Williamsburg. Thirty-minute walks will take place one day each month. In the event of inclement weather or if a staff member prefers, discussions will take place in my office.
- Preparation of a monthly “Report from John” which will be distributed through all-users e-mail. This report will include a summary of decisions made during the month, current and long range issues and other pertinent information, including major initiatives within the library.
- The establishment of an e-mail “suggestion box” where ideas for improving library operations may be e-mailed to me. This will not be a channel for complaints or personnel issues, but will deal with suggestions for improving our operations. I will respond to each individual suggestion in a timely fashion. In preparing my response I will be consulting with other staff as appropriate.
Will the above steps increase director/staff communication, including addressing the concern for greater staff inclusion in the decision making process? While I do not know, I am optimistic that they will.
What I do know is that I have a firm commitment to this process and will do my best to make it succeed. As an individual with over thirty years experience as a library director in six libraries in four states, I know how difficult effective communication is and how it must be continually worked on by all involved parties.
So long for now!