On July 12 and 13, the Library organized a 2-day Retreat in the Learning Commons for its staff. This is an initiative by the new Library Director, Ms Diana Chan, who assumed duties on July 1. Taking this opportunity, she introduced her vision and strategic directions for the Library in the next two years. The forward-looking Strategic Planning was the theme on day 1, while the operational 334 Scenario Planning with high impact on front-line staff was the focus on day 2.
In the Strategic Planning Day, Diana shared with staff the Redefining the Academic Library document by the University Leadership Council, highlighting worldwide trends in the information landscape, digital collection, scholarly publishing models, repurposing library space and re-deploying library staff. She also shared the strategic goals she envisioned for the next two years. They can be viewed at http://library.ust.hk/info/mission.html.
Library staff were assigned to each strategic goal in the group discussion session, when they deliberated on the objectives, reviewed on-going projects and continuing challenges, and proposed new initiatives for the next 2 years. Practically, they also developed action plans with timeline, specified measures of success, mapped the goals with the University's strategic priorities, and identified resources and training implications. After much brain storming in the morning, all staff enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the G/F Chinese Restaurant. A second group discussion in the afternoon repeated the same pattern, and was followed by a tea break in the Refreshment Zone. After the break, each group presented their discussions and initiatives.
In the 334 Scenario Planning Day, Diana shared what the University and the Library have prepared for 334. Staff were divided according to their functional units for group discussion. They worked on the likely scenario of 20% increase of services and workload and the worst scenario of 30% increase. Each unit identified what services and operations would be affected and came up with action plans in different situations. They were very resourceful in identifying potential problems and creative in finding solutions and contingency plans. For example, there will be higher demands on course reserve, general education and common core titles, popular media, discussion rooms; more questions, photocopying, defects, noise, broken furniture, seat hogging, food and drink problems, theft cases; even longer waiting for toilets, more garbage, etc. Staff came up with back-up plans and suggestions on how to alleviate bottle-necks. One unit manager in the presentation session admitted that she was not willing to make a forecast for the 30% increase, as she reasoned "I will be totally exhausted. So hire another me."
The 2-day Retreat provided Library staff a good opportunity to collectively engage in progressive planning and problem solving. All staff participated and contributed ideas, insights, initiatives, action plans, and back-up plans. At the end, every staff has an overview of all initiatives proposed from the presentations on different strategic goals.
We all grasp the overall picture of potential problems in 334 and understand different contingency plans put forward. It was a wonderful channel to do team building, brain storming and socializing across functional units. An evaluation survey was completed by 48 staff (a 56% response rate) with a rating of 4.17 out of 5 on the success of the Retreat. We appreciate the sponsorship from the new Staff Activity Budget. More photos are available from the Library Facebook.