Engaging Staff in Cultivating a More Holistic Work Environment


This round table discussion will offer actionable ideas for all levels
of library staff to move beyond operational work to cultivate a
human-centered work environment. The UC Santa Cruz Reserves & Media
team has spent the past year experimenting with expanding our
definitions of professionalism and productivity to incorporate a variety
of views and approaches. Some of our experiments included email-free
workdays, meetings devoted to reading and discussing shared articles and
book excerpts, and taking concrete steps towards fostering more
inclusivity within the library and on our campus. As part of the User
Services & Resource Sharing department, we are often the first point
of contact for our library. We can be better representatives for the
library and university by expanding our awareness of varied ideas and

Our discussion will also include the benefits of
pursuing work that is traditionally outside the scope of library staff
duties—building what is sometimes referred to as “soft skills.” We
believe it is critical to acknowledge that we are humans with personal
lives, work lives, emotions, and unique experiences that inform how we
do our work. Discussing these topics and experimenting with new
approaches and ideas allows us to better understand each other and leads
to greater collaboration and teamwork. We will engage the participants
with questions that have arisen for us, including the pressing question:
how can we change our organizational structures to allow us to bring
our whole selves to work? Library staff, especially hourly staff,
typically have less time to engage in creative endeavors at work. We
will show that dedicating time to creating a more holistic work
environment across the library is a path to greater diversity,
inclusivity, and openness. This work inspires courage and allyship,
centers underrepresented groups, and allows us to speak from a
background of knowledge.

Gillian Keleher, Reserves & Media Coordinator, UC Santa Cruz Catherine Lau, Reserves & Media Assistant, UC Santa Cruz Jenifer Mohler, Reserves & Media Lead, UC Santa Cruz
Fri 9:00 am - 9:30 am
Round Table Discussion