Coming Together: 2021 WVLS Director's Retreat

2023 WVLS Director’s Retreat:
Coming Together


8:30 – 9:00 am      Refreshments and Conversation

9:00 – 9:15 am      Welcome and Introductions

9:15 – 9:45 am      Introductory Activity

9:45  – 10:30 am  Table Topic Discussions: Round 1

10:30  – 10:45 am Break

10:45  – 11:30 am Table Topic Discussions: Round 2

11:30  – 11:45 am Transition to Lunch/Flex Time

11:45  – 12:45 pm Lunch/Presentation on Creating Welcoming Library Environments
For the first time in several years, libraries are encountering foot traffic at high levels. New and former patrons are utilizing collections, programs and services. What can libraries do to ensure staff and spaces are as welcoming as possible? What things should we not assume that our patrons know? Michelle Dennis, Head of Public Services at the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, will share observations and ideas from her 29 years of library experience in small and large libraries. Bring questions and solutions! 

12:45  – 1 pm Transition from Lunch/Flex Time

1 – 1:45 pm Table Topic Discussions: Round 3

2  – 2:15 pm Break

2:15  – 3:15 pm The Art of Doing Nothing
The act of purposefully slowing down and doing less has been proven to boost creativity, prevent burnout, and promote the ability to cope with stress. This presentation is based on a course that was developed last year for students at Lawrence University (Appleton), called “Doing Nothing.” The course helps students develop the skills to intentionally slow down in order to promote deep thinking. This end-of-the-day activity will be led by Dr. Constance Kassor, an associate professor of religious studies at Lawrence University.

3:15 – 3:30 pm Wrap up

Purple Table: Trends in Libraries


Automatic for the People: Are self-service libraries a threat to the profession or an opportunity to better serve patrons? Claire Zulkey. American Libraries. September 3, 2019.

Cross-training at the Public Library: Lessons Learned During the Pandemic Infobase. May 27, 2021.

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Impacts Libraries. Charla Viera, MS. American Journal Experts. April 4, 2023.

How Can AI Be Used in Libraries?  The Digital Librarian. January 23, 2023.

People Get Ready: Preparing for Challenges | Censorship Lisa Peet. Library Journal. April 19, 2023.

Self Checkout: Should You Implement It? Ben Dwyer. CardFellow. March 14, 2023 (This article is more retail-based, but concepts still apply to libraries.).

Yellow Table: Community Connections

Community Engagement Overview

Ainsley, M. and R. Heydecker. The Times Higher Education, Five tips to enhance your institution’s civic engagement by working with public libraries. May 20, 2022.

Flinner, K., R. J. Norlander, et al. Library programs & new Americans: A white paper. New Knowledge Publication #NPO.074.518.03. Chicago: American Library Association & New Knowledge Organization Ltd., 2019. 

LaRue, J. Library Leadership Webinar: The Community Centered Library. 2020, February 8. Libraries Learn.

OCLC. Community Engagement: Build Connections, Grow Relationships, and Increase Your Impact.


Models for Community Engagement
Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities: Final Report and Evaluation. Thriving Libraries, LLC. 2022. Supplemental project information from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. WI Libraries for Everyone

Knology. Getting people talking: Libraries hosting community conversations. Programming Librarian. Feb. 6, 2023. 

Knology. Why start from scratch? Leveraging existing resources to increase community engagement. Programming Librarian. Sept. 28, 2022. 


Assessment Models
Community Asset Mapping. City of Boise. Website.

Rubric Examples for Partnerships


Discussion: Connecting with a variety of partners, supporters, and groups will strengthen your library’s position in the community.

  • A community group has asked the Library Director to give a 30-minute talk to a community group about the library. How will you prepare? What is important to include?


  • After many months of planning, the library will participate in a large, well-attended community event with other service agencies, non-profits, and community groups in attendance. What are the ways the library should approach success and measure the impact of this participation? 
  • Your library’s visits and program attendance have not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Besides door/people count data, what other elements can you evaluate? What steps can you take to address this trend? How will you define future goals and benchmarks?


  • A community partner that you have worked with successfully in the past has experienced organizational changes resulting in a mission-shift that no longer aligns with the library. How would you approach this partner? What would you say?
  • Some of your Library Trustees initially disapprove of a community engagement proposal and have requested more information prior to taking a vote. What steps might you take to gain understanding of their hesitance? How will you prepare for the next meeting?
  • The Library Director has been invited to join the board of a membership-based group that has been a valuable library partner. Besides schedule, what other factors would contribute to your decision?
Red Table: Inheritance Tax: Supervising Employees You Didn’t Hire


Ahearn, David. Happy accidents : how “yes, and” thinking helps you open hearts, change minds, and win together in a “no, but” world. New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2017. 

Falcone, Paul, 96 great interview questions to ask before you hire. New York: AMACOM, American Management Association, 2018. 

Gordon, Jon. The Power of Positive Leadership. Hoboken, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2017. 

Hoevemeyer, Victoria A, High-impact interview questions: 701 behavior-based questions to find the right person for every job. New York: American Management Association, 2018.

Maxwell, John C. The Self-Aware Leader. New York, HarperCollins Leadership, 2021. 

Rock, David. Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work. Harper, New York, 2006.  

Runion, Meryl. Perfect Phrases for Managers and Supervisors. New York, McGraw Hill, 2010.  

Spaulding, Tommy. The Heart Led Leader: How living and leading from the heart will change your organization and your life. New York, Crown Business, 2015. 



Effective Strategies for Working with Problem Employees
By Mark Tarallo, June 9, 2020 

Handle With Care:  Managing an Employee Who Didn’t Get Your Job 

Hilton Garden Inn, Wausau, WI

Hilton Garden Wausau
151401 County Rd Nn
Wausau, WI 54401