It’s a Small, Small World

Ok – now that you are stuck singing this silly song for the next few hours, here’s why I called this post by such a title. One of the best parts of the ARSL conference, which is now officially concluded, is meeting and sharing with librarians, trustees and library staff from other parts of my state, other states and even across the county.  Doing so has made me aware of several things.

First – the ARSL conference allows you to travel all over the county by traveling to one location.  Here in Tennessee I have become aquainted with California, Texas, Kansas, Iowa, North & South Carolina, Maine, Alabama, Georgia as well as my home state of Pennsylvania.  I have learned how their libraries function, are funded, the tales of their towns and villages, the stories from their trenches. 

 Also I have learned that while some librarian’s talk funny (you can decide which ones those are) we are often telling the same story. We have the same struggles, the same joys, the same insecurities, the same pet peeves; it is as if we run the same library, just in the next town or state over. If you will allow me to use an over-used phrase – we are all in the same boat.  Their tales are similar to my tales, their funding woes are like mine, their insecurities are mine, their crazy patrons visit me in PA and their trenches look surprising like the ones I visit daily. 

Perhaps that is why this conference and this organization has struck a resounding chord at the heart of so many? ARSL members and conference attendees know they are not in this alone and they know that someone else is working and may have already come up with a solution to the problem they just found that they have.  

As we travel together over the next weeks and months – remember this.  We are all in this together.  The land of small and rural libraries is truly a small, small world.

Andrea Berstler

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