Some days are harder than others.’  Everywhere we look, we see rapid change taking place.’  Budget cuts are reducing staff and affecting families across the United States.’  One has to ask: How do we keep morale up in the workplace when all of this is going on?

Here are some tips to keep your morale on the positive side:

Tip #1: Stay Optimistic. Always being negative and reflecting on the bad things will only drag staff down further.’  No one enjoys being around a negative nelly.’  Everyone knows one of these people.’  Think of how much you are drained or feel down in the dumps after being around him/her for five minutes.’  You don’t want to be this person, so try to think positive as negativity is a positive drain.

Tip #2: Be Encouraging. Financial rewards are impossible nowadays, but some simple words of encouragement can go a long way in making staff feel more confident about what they are doing.’  Telling someone they did a good job, sending a thank you or appreciation note, or even a cheery staff email can give staff an extra boost.’  It takes minimal time and the effort has many rewards.

Tip #3: Work as a Team. It is important now more than ever that we employ teamwork in our libraries.’  Staff members are stressed from the amount of work that needs to be done and the reduced amount of people to do it all.’  If you are the boss, pitching in and helping out–doing some shelving, taking some reference shifts–these things will show staff that you are in this together. If a you are a staff member, just helping another person with a task can make all the difference.

Tip #4: Keep Trying and Keep Advocating. The minute you give up, almost everyone else will too.’  You must keep talking about your library to staff and to the community.’  Explore as many avenues of assistance as possible and be open to creative ideas to help.’  Also, take every opportunity to tell your elected officials of the good libraries do.’  Keep your name out there and keep letting the community know you are there.

Tip #5 Reach out and Be Willing to Listen. Work with other organizations and other libraries across the country. So many libraries are dealing with the same issues and have some creative and energizing solutions to assist with the problems we are all facing.’  Also,’ sometimes we just need to talk to others and express our concerns and get some feedback.’  It helps to get it all off of our chests.’  Knowing that you have a listening ear can be a big help in troubled times.

Finally, keep reading the 31 Days of Dollars and Sense posts! There is a lot of inspiration in them and they can be a big help in libraries large and small.

These are just a few ways to boost morale. What are some of the unique strategies that your libraries use to keep your workplace positive?

About Krista McKenzie

I am a Children's Specialist at the Ruth Enlow Library in Garrett County, Maryland. I work with kids from the ages of 0 to 18 and am also a reference librarian. In addition, I am member of the YALSA Legislative Committee, and the Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association.

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