How to be a “Good Colleague”: Strategies for Contributing and Creating a Positive Library Workplace Environment
Within academic libraries, we often hear the imperative to be a “good colleague,” with the implication that we all share a definition of what this means in practice. Particularly in our current climate, collegiality as a construct must be reconsidered through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion; historic practices no longer are adequate. Collegiality is an evolving value; what was once a more passive construct now requires us to show up for each other in more meaningful, and often more challenging, ways. In this workshop, we will unpack the term “collegiality” and examine what it means to be a library worker who actively creates and contributes to spaces that encourage and support diversity of thought and experience.
Using the framework of an active and inclusion-oriented definition of collegiality, we will explore and practice a variety of person-centered strategies that can contribute to a positive and open working environment. Some techniques will be small and easy(ish) to implement, like waiting longer for questions; some strategies will require a larger commitment to change, like providing meaningful feedback and changing the feedback culture to include many low-stakes conversations. Throughout the workshop, we will introduce frameworks for intentionally contributing to a culture of respect, ask participants to reflect and share their experiences, and work through a variety of real-life scenarios via group discussion, role play, and modeling. Additionally, we will discuss the development of a reflective practice as a method of self-led professional development to allow further insight on these topics.
No matter your role in an institution, you can meaningfully contribute to redefining what it means to be a colleague and building an institutional culture of respect. Whether a seasoned manager or a new staff member, everyone will gain concrete skills in this workshop to try out in their own environments.