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Meet the MLA ’24 Presenters of Building Culture and Community in a Hybrid Workforce: A World Café Conversation

Leading Together, Growing Together: The 2nd Symposium on Leadership & Management

As you prepare for MLA ’24 in Portland, I hope you mark your calendars for one or more sessions offered in the Leadership & Management Symposium. In the weeks leading up to MLA ’24, we are profiling the experts leading each of the symposium sessions, and now it’s my turn. I am the Deputy Director of Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Over the course of the last four years, I’ve had informal conversations with colleagues about many of the challenges facing libraries, educational institutions, and business organizations with respect to remote and hybrid work arrangements. Some report an increase in productivity and staff satisfaction as a result of more flexible work arrangements while others mention challenges, including low staff morale, a collective sense of isolation, and burnout. But enough with the doom and gloom already! 

In the session Building Culture and Community in a Hybrid Workforce: A World Café Conversation, we will embark on several rounds of focused conversations to share strategies that our libraries and parent organizations are implementing to create a sense of meaning, belonging, and community for in-person, remote, and hybrid employees. 

Every organization is approaching remote and hybrid work policies differently and this session will provide unique opportunities for connecting with colleagues to discuss successes and shared challenges. The session is open to all and is intended to give voice to a diverse array of stakeholders—from boots-on-the-ground remote and hybrid employees to in-person staff, supervisors, and library leaders. We will provide a safe and inviting space for participants to openly discuss challenges and opportunities related to remote and hybrid work. I hope attendees leave this session with fresh ideas for building a positive workplace culture where in-person, hybrid, and remote employees feel a true sense of meaning in their work and belonging within their organization.

If you’ve never attended a World Café, you may want to take a look at Forging Ahead: Librarians as Engines of Innovation, which I co-hosted at MLA|SLA ’23 in Detroit. The session consisted of three rounds of conversations where attendees considered how libraries can play critical roles in advancing and leading organizational efforts in novel areas of innovation, including artificial intelligence, data management, data visualization, makerspaces, global health and health equity, and virtual reality.     

To learn about all the MLA ’24 symposium sessions and their presenters, please see the symposium session schedule.

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