Madison Public Library closed its doors on September 12 for its seventh annual Staff Day. Each year, nearly three-fourths of the staff come together for a day of training and team building focused on a different theme. This year, library management introduced a new Customer Service Framework, which brings together many aspects of the values of the library and the City of Madison into a framework that library staff at all levels can apply to their daily work.

Also, a staff-only Wisconsin Book Festival event featured author Dolly Chugh, via Skype, speaking about her book, The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias. Staff had prepared for the event by reading her book throughout the summer, and Chugh answered questions from library staff after talking about her research and findings. The discussion proved to be one of the highlights of the day.

Other breakout sessions featured discussions around harassment and self-care techniques. One attendee noted, “I feel like this was the most valuable Staff Day we have had so far in terms of learning new information and being applicable to my job.”

Foundation Executive Director Jenni Jeffress ended the day with the presentation of the Elizabeth Moon Proctor Scholarship to Juli Jasicki, and the announcement of a new professional development endowment fund. Retired librarian Barbara Arnold encouraged the foundation to start the fund and made an initial gift, followed by a $4,000 anonymous challenge gift that was matched by library staff. Another anonymous donor has since contributed $11,000 more to the fund, which will sustain career growth among library staff. For a library system focused on innovation, training and exposure to new ideas are essential.

Lunch, refreshments and speakers for the day were funded by a Madison Public Library Foundation grant.