Nothing ever changes ... or maybe it can! Let's begin by listening
“Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right” (Jane Goodall). In Fall 2022, J. Murrey Atkins Library created the "Library Workplace Climate Committee" to coordinate initiatives and activities to "foster a workplace culture that makes the library a highly desirable place to live, learn, and work” as outlined in the newly adopted 2021-2031 library strategic plan (https://library.charlotte.edu/about/our-organization/strategic-plan). The committee has created a variety of outlets for employees to communicate with the committee and each other, including (1) Climate Conversations, (2) library-wide climate surveys, (3) and anonymous feedback forms whereby employees can share concerns with the committee co-chairs to be addressed by the larger committee. These outlets are key for building a stronger workplace climate, as they allow employees to feel seen, heard, and acknowledged. Of the three outlets, we have discovered that the Climate Conversations have been particularly impactful for cultivating community in supportive ways that allow employees to grow and thrive. The conversations are facilitated by this session's presenters who are climate committee members. These conversations are offered each semester, take place in a focus-group style setting, and are open to all employees. Conversations are offered on different days of the week and times of day to accommodate individuals with varying work schedules. Recent Climate Conversations topics include challenges with flexible working arrangements, employee morale, COVID-19, and supporting colleagues who are grieving. So how did we get here? This standing committee was created in follow-up to recommendations from two library short-term working groups. One working group was tasked to better understand challenges in the current workplace climate; the other to research and propose recommendations relating to flexible working arrangements. The Library Workplace Climate Committee includes representatives from all library units and with an equal mix of staff and faculty; the library dean participates in an ex-officio capacity. Among its many responsibilities, the committee is charged to create opportunities for employees to share perspectives, concerns, and challenges in an emotionally and professionally safe, non-threatening manner related to the library's workplace climate to both foster community and uncover issues that may need to be addressed by the library. As part of the committee process, employee concerns and suggestions are anonymized and discussed in monthly meetings, summary reports are created to include recommendations, and reports are openly shared throughout the library. Recommendations are reviewed and adopted by the library's leadership team, and action plans are enacted. Our committee work is transparent so that employees can see we are truly listening and responding to their workplace concerns in order to foster a positive workplace culture. The presentation will include a deep-dive discussion about how the Climate Conversations are structured, types of questions that elicit engaging conversations, ground rules for discussions, open and anonymous opportunities to participate and share, and how these conversations have helped us uncover and address concerns and ideas that may not have surfaced through more traditional channels. Presented at the 2023 65th NCLA Biennial Conference.