Friday, October 12, 2007

The Hubbub recap, part three

See parts one and two for background.

Staffing is of course the most important thing to make such a large event successful. From the very beginning, we involved as many library staff as possible.

All Library Staff

Once I got approval from administration and set a tentative date with our K Week folks, I sent all library staff a "save the date" and asked for volunteers to help plan. We notified staff as we got closer to the event and encouraged them to volunteer to work at the event as well as to attend. After the event, we sent images and a recap out to all staff via email and through the library staff newsletter. We tried to communicate about the event as much as possible and get everyone involved. I thought it was very important to make it a library-wide event that we could all be proud of--not just a Hub thing or a Young Library thing.

Planning Committee

The Planning Committee was the genius behind the operation. Gail, Debbie, Reinette, and Alice did a fabulous job with brainstorming ideas and putting them into action. It is essential to have a strong committee that can be really "out there" with ideas (some that didn't make the cut this year: a makeover counter, knitting, pony rides, a live band, a Money Machine or dunking booth...and that's just a few). At the same time, that committee has to have follow-through in actually getting these things accomplished--obtaining estimates, making reservations, communicating regularly with vendors, following up as needed. This committee did a stellar job with both.

One of the very time consuming things we did (that Reinette did--thank you!) was contacting local businesses for possible giveaways in our grand prize drawing. She contacted salons, CD shops, gift stores, clothing stores, coffee shops--all kinds of local businesses that might appeal to students--and the response was overwhelming. It was practically a full-time job for a few days as she went around town picking up the various donated items. The students loved the prize drawing at the event--it was definitely a highlight. Even the young man who won a "Pilates Hottie" tank top seemed to be happy.

Volunteers for Decorating

I'd never bought a helium balloon kit so I had no idea how long it would take to blow up all those balloons (50 per kit). Plus I had several thousand feet of streamers and lots of colorful stuff to hang on the walls. I was worried about trying to balance decorating with dealing with the caterers and the other vendors as well as generally preparing for the evening. When I put out the call for volunteers, Mary graciously volunteered the ENTIRE STAFF of Preservation and Digital Programs. She planned to have everyone decorate instead of holding their weekly staff meeting. Wow, I can't begin to describe how helpful that was. Thank you all!

If you are lucky enough to have 14 volunteers to help decorate, it's likely that the decorating will go quickly (and it will be loads of fun).

Volunteers to Work the Hubbub

The event was 6-8 pm so I was a little concerned we might not have enough staff and student employees to cover the event adequately. I also had to factor in all the other activities of the week (many of us were already tired, tired, tired from other K Week and move-in activities). I did my best to make it sound like the best job ever, and thankfully 19 people volunteered.

That was enough to work my plan:
  • Three people at the entrance to greet and help with registering for the drawing
  • Two people staffing the bellydance area (bellydancing was optional)
  • Two people on Pop A Shot Basketball (we ended up needing more since the score mechanism was so lame on the machines)
  • Two people to watch the pizza tables (unfortunately food service staff were overwhelmed and the library staff did most of the serving of the pizza--THANK YOU Sherree and Mary!!)
  • One person on Pimp My Avatar
  • One person on Palm Reading Librarian (Jo could have really used some help as busy as she was though none of us have her awesome skills. Thanks, Jo!)
  • One person at the Mac Lab to greet and direct
  • One person at the Windows lab to greet and direct
  • The rest were to help staff the non-existent video games and float around to answer questions, direct, and trade up with people who wanted to work multiple posts
I did have quite a plan. Looking back at it, it's really kind of scary--a big floor map with names and hash marks and arrows all over the place. If anything, I probably over-planned it but I had no idea what to expect the first go-around.

Clean-Up Crew

One of the things I neglected in all my overplanning was dealing with cleanup. Granted, we have a very fine custodial staff and that technically is their job. There was no way I was going to leave that kind of mess for them though, and I'd been working and communicating with them about the event all along. We were all exhausted, so I sent as many people home as I could. Alice, James, my husband, and I had the fun of fishing ~100 soft drinks out of freezing cold water and ice. Now that's definitely an activity to consider for next year's Hubbub.

Final Thank Yous

You really can't thank people enough. Thanks to everyone who helped in any way with the Hubbub. There are too many to name here but I appreciate all of you. I especially want to thank Alice who works with me at the Hub. I also want to thank Krista, who was our brand-new graduate assistant at the time. Both of them are full of great ideas and initiative, and it's truly a pleasure working with them. I also want to thank the Dean of Libraries who allowed me to do this in the first place (she even worked at the event which is really quite cool).

If you've managed to read through all these credits, let me just add that I'll continue to write about the Hubbub as I think of things that are relevant or might be useful to others. I'll also start documenting the planning of the next one. Right now the event I'm consumed with planning is the Young Library Anniversary Party (and yes, I am actually approaching the student event in the Hub as a real birthday party--cake, hats, balloons, clown, and all). I'll post about that as things become a little more concrete.

More pictures of the Hubbub and other fun things at the Hub are available on flickr.

(Photos by Jacob Davis)

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