My library system is having our Teen Services retreat next week. A lot of us are busy getting ready for it. I’m looking forward to it because there will be time to play with the technology we’re asking people across the system to use. I don’t think there’s any other way to learn effectively without having play as one component of the learning.
Teens are going to be part of the retreat as well when we get to the part about the LEGO Mindstorms kits. When staff get to see the interest and excitement of teens themselves, hopefully it will be motivating and infectious to want to have their own program. We’ll have our digital and video cameras. We all become leaders, teachers, and learners at the same time. Feel free to share your experiences and ideas for your staff retreats.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

2 Thoughts on “Staff Retreats

  1. As a former teacher that has sat through many a staff development session on a wide range of topics, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having participants assume the role of learner during these sessions. Whether it is using new technology or being asked to work in a group to accomplish a creative task, the initial feeling of discomfort reminds us of what it might be like for the child trying to figure out the Dewey decimal system for the first time. More importantly, the AHA moment of mastering a new skill has the amazing power to rejuvenate and replenish our stressed-out staffs. The staff might need some prodding to get there – but once engaged the fun begins!!

    Since leaving the school system, I have had the opportunity to teach Flow Circus staff development workshops which use seemingly “silly” skills such as balloon twisting and juggling. Juggling can obviously serve as a metaphor for the many tasks that librarians serve, but more importantly it gives participants the opportunity to be kids again. We also use balloons as a creative medium that tends to be much less intimidating than more traditional art forms. Teams are faced with a variety of challenges such as creating a 1 minute commercial for a book or some other topic depending on the objective of the staff development session using the balloons as their props. We have had teams create some of the most unique balloon sculptures for these commercials!! For all of these different sessions we use a flip video camera to model for the staff how easy it is to capture the fun of the moment and make learning last!

    I hope your staff development session went smoothly and participants had lots of AHA moments playing with technology and LEGO mindstorm kits!

  2. Kelly on May 24, 2009 at 6:29 am said:

    Thank you so much for sharing Dawn! We’re creating an evaluation tool to determine the success of the event from the participants. My perspective was that the technology ‘worked’ so I was happy =] I do think it was a good time and we had teens come and present about the robotics kits-I think that allowed the staff to feel they had a lot of great resources in the community.

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