Report: The Renewal Colloquium at the Rochester Regional Library Council (April 2021)

Last week I led a virtual Renewal Colloquium hosted by the Rochester Regional Library Council. About 60 people registered, and approximately 40 people attended the live event.

Event attendees are offered an opportunity to take two surveys: 

  • Pre-Colloquium Questionnaire (basic demographics and impetus for joining the event)
  • Low-Morale Experience Survey (exploring basic markers of a low-morale experience)

At the end of the Colloquium, I distributed an evaluation form. Following is a selection of data (quantitative queries show majority responses only)

Pre-Colloquium Questionnaire Highlights

  • Represented areas of practice
    • 33% Reference & Instruction
  • Career length
    • 60% 10 years or more
  • Topic Interest
    • 41% Emerging countermeasures and best practices to reduce/interrupt low morale

 Low-Morale Experience Survey Highlights 

  • Have you experienced low morale?
    • 75% Yes
  • Length of low-morale experience
    • 43% 1 – 3 years
  • Perpetrators of abuse
    • 24%  Library administrators
  • Types of workplace abuse experienced:
    • 32% Emotional
  • Feelings experienced during low morale:
    • 14% Frustration
  • What contributed to low-morale experience?
    • 16% Leadership Styles
  • Behaviors noted/considered:
    • 16% Decreased professional engagement
    • TIE: 15% Decreased willingness to collaborate; Increased procrastination; Decreased work productivity

Colloquium Evaluation Report Highlights

Topics recommended for discussion/consideration:

“How to deal with situations when you feel like you can’t walk away.”

“[M]ore about self-compassion and setting/enforcing boundaries.”

Things learned or more clearly defined:

“[W]hat different types of abuse look like in the workplace. That negligence is abuse. examples of self-preservation tools.”

“The concept of taking care of yourself was defined much more clearly and made me think of times when I didn’t put myself and my mental health ahead of my work. I have a lot I still need to work on but this session was a much-needed step in the right direction.”

“[V]ocational awe…very useful.”

Share a specific skill or goal you hope to get closer to or realize as a result of attending this Colloquium:

“Investigating pathways to stop rumination.”

“Develop skills as a trauma-informed leader.”

“As a result of attending this colloquium I realized that I cannot just hang-out in my current position (even if it is tenured) because the institutionalized neglect is not acceptable to me. A change of administration is not going to solve the issue if the other frogs are happily lounging in the boiling water… Thank you. I have languished while weighing options before, as I am geographically bound due to family. Your presentation made it clear, even if a reduced salary is involved, I need to get out. Which won’t mean other people have won, merely that I will have saved myself.”

Recovery plans (personally or at work):

“Look into daily practices I can put in place to shore myself up against low morale. Attending this workshop helped me to realize I need to build positive habits on my good work days as well as my bad work days, so that I’ll have tools already in place and in practice when bad days happen at work.”

“Set boundaries, and to speak more clearly.”

“This time is really difficult for me. I’m not sure what I can or will do.”

Thank you to the Colloquium attendees, and a special thanks to Laura Osterhaut, RRLC Executive Director, for her invitation and support during the planning and during the event.

Ready to host a Renewal Colloquium? Let’s plan your event!


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