The Coffee Connections project was designed to facilitate Community-building in the UConn Library through unstructured, short, one-on-one virtual conversations. Proposed as a strategic project several months into the pandemic, the project’s aim was both to strengthen existing relationships between staff members, especially beyond their immediate work units, and also to create new connections between staff who knew each other minimally or not at all. We encouraged staff to use the Connections to get to know each other as individuals and to focus on non-work topics. To facilitate conversations, we provided both a list of prompts and the option to use a deck of purchased conversation-starter cards. By the end of the project, nearly half of our staff participated. Feedback from those who participated was overall very positive, so much so that we are currently working on incorporating the program into new employee orientation and as an ongoing optional activity to bolster connection-building.
After briefly introducing the project design and implementation in our library, this workshop will share how to facilitate one-to-one connections between library colleagues in this format. We will highlight how one can structure these interactions to keep them simple and safe while still enabling colleagues to discover new things about one another, deepening trust based on emotional bonds and interpersonal relatedness. We’ll share how one can prepare such an initiative with little or no budget, ensure random matching from interested participants, and collect feedback for this activity. Our hope is that staff at other libraries will adopt a version of the Coffee Connections that fits their organization in order to strengthen their organizational culture. This simple project can help facilitate connections and break down silos between functional and physical divisions. And best of all - it’s a lot of fun!
- Strengthen ties and establish new ones between library colleagues
- Promote better communication between individuals with the use of teambuilding questions to help colleagues discover new things about one another
Type of Library
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Coffee Connections: Rebuilding Connections Among Coworkers in the Library