Tight-knit Groups Generate Increasingly Creative Ideas: Team Building at the Law Library

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Cyanotype by Circulation Assistant nina Guzman and Circulation Manager Marie Mize

Part of our library’s strategic plan is to foster collaborative and cooperative relationships. One way in which we strive to do this is through periodic “team building” activities. These small organized events aim to improve comradery among the staff and librarians by offering an outlet for occasional merriment and other social fun during the workday.

How it works: Teams were originally created alphabetically, with some effort taken after the fact to equalize the group membership so that teams were not made up of staff who are already familiar due to sharing departments or other duties together. It allows us all to get outside our own comfort box and work with other staff members. The teams are roughly made up of 6 to 7 staff. With our library staff numbers, that equates to 4 teams.

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Cyanotype by Librarian Suzanne Graham

Each team is assigned a quarter of the year in which to plan and schedule their activity for the entire staff to partake in and enjoy. Teams are responsible for working together to determine the type of celebration, food (if any) to provide, and the location of the event (you can choose a field-trip type activity).

Ground Rules: To help teams, a set of short guidelines exists in our library’s intranet giving a modest budget for food or activity supplies, time limits and recommendations for best days and times to schedule their event. Teams can also find the list of team members with the guidelines. Since we began doing team-building activities it has been something I genuinely look forward to every few months. You can always count on some sort of refreshment from any given team.

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April 2016 “Dig In” themed activity included Founder’s Memorial Garden tour, “dirt” ice cream sundaes, and packets of seeds.

Examples: The celebrations and activities have ranged from guided tours of the nearby UGA Founder’s Memorial Garden, celebrations for Mardi Gras and Earth Day, and most recently a workshop for creating our own cyanotypes. This particular activity included a short but very interesting presentation by Nina Guzman who explained the history of cyanotypes and how to create them. The team had prepped paper for everyone in advance and sealed them in manila envelopes. Although the weather did not coorperate that day and staff could not create their cyanotypes during the event, we were all excited to take our materials home and create a cyanotype with our family.

“It’s always nice to take a break from routine, do something different, and hang out with co-workers you don’t see as often. Also, I really enjoyed making the event flyer for the cyanotype activity.” – Leslie Grove, Web Developer

“I enjoy working on the activities with people who I don’t normally have an opportunity to collaborate with plus, I love cupcakes and any event that involves cupcakes. – Zanada Joyner, Law Librarian

“The team building events have introduced me to new ideas and experiences. I’ve even experienced virtual reality! I am looking forward to the next adventure.” – Marie Mize, Circulation Manager

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Law Library Administrator Deb Baker deep sea virtual reality thanks to Law Librarian Jason Tubinis and Help Desk Manager Brad Grove who brought their own technology in to share about it and let the rest of us experience it first hand.

I know I am personally looking forward to what the next team will come up with for their activity in the coming months!

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