As part of the 2019 Project SET Cohort, Courtney Michael, Reference/Programming Librarian at the Wayland Free Public Library, is exploring library trends and connecting with colleagues outside of her library. On November 4, each member of the 2019 Project SET Cohort will give a five minute presentation at the MLS Annual Meeting.

For her presentation, Courtney will be investigating employee recognition and gratitude at work. She hopes to arm attendees with low and no-cost solutions that will bolster library loyalty and patron satisfaction by fostering a culture of staff appreciation. Currently empathy, gratitude, and emotional intelligence are hot topics at business schools. Libraries would seem to have a leg up on the corporate world as they practice these skills with patrons on a daily basis. 

I love that libraries strive to be accessible to all and to serve people of all ages. I love that our patrons feel comfortable asking for what they need and that we can very often provide it – or something close to it – and, in that exchange, we build trust and community. My presentation will focus on gratitude as a simple but powerful tool for library leaders to improve staff morale and retention and, by extension, enrich the patron experience.

The Wayland Free Public Library was established in 1848 as arguably the first free public library in Massachusetts to be supported by a local tax levy. They serve an affluent community of 13,000, providing library services and programming for all ages. Courtney’s favorite part of the Wayland Library is the people: their enthusiastic patrons, and her excellent, energetic and resourceful colleagues who serve them. In addition to reference, Courtney coordinates adult programming for the library.

I love the challenge of organizing quality programming for our community and the reward of seeing people connect over a common interest or curiosity. From the 12 year old boy learning to knit alongside his mom, to the honeybee enthusiast sharing her hive management strategies with her neighbors, to the tech-phobic older gentleman who learns what an “app” is and now feels confident enough to approach his kids for help… it’s awesome to know that our library helps create myriad moments of interpersonal connection as well as expanding minds.

Courtney decided to apply for Project SET after an alumni and former colleague encouraged her to consider the program. Courtney originally trained as an archivist and worked in the field for 10 years so, despite earning her MLS degree in 2007, she is new to public libraries. Courtney is excited to make connections across the state through her new SET and MLS colleagues, and to learn as much as possible about the latest trends in libraries. In addition, it is a real privilege to have the dedicated time during SET to reflect and focus on her career goals and aspirations.

We hope to see you on November 4th at our Annual Meeting, to be held at the Hogan Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Registration is now open on our calendar. To learn more about Project SET? Visit our LibGuide!