These rural Texas communities know their libraries! Through the PEARL Project (Promoting & Enhancing the Advancement of Rural Libraries), the University of North Texas is working with 105 rural libraries in Texas to enhance the role of public libraries in their communities. With funding from the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust, the three-year project is addressing the roles of the small rural library as:
- A community resource.
- A gathering place for people.
- A facilitator for community partnerships.
The project’s team includes Louise Greene, ARSL board member and secretary, who is one of the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) students who serves as a mentor to the project’s rural librarians. Dr. Robert S. Martin is also a part of the project team and he will be presenting on the PEARL Project at the Small but Powerful Forum for Winning Big Support for your Rural Library at ALA Midwinter.
A core component of the project are the Community Outreach Plans. Each plan has a detailed step-by-step action grid that describes how to complete a program with community partners. Programs among the more than two dozen plans now available in .pdf format include: game day, summer reading for teens, homebound delivery, reaching low income patrons, developing a local history collection, offering ESL classes and more. Each plan was written by a librarian in a rural community in conjunction with PEARL grant students and is designed to heighten the visibility of the library within the community and improve library servies. The plans are proven workable models. New plans are added continually as they are written.
Find out more about the project and browse the Community Outreach Plans, and if you’ll be in Dallas for Midwinter, please come to the Small but Powerful Forum. And if you won’t be there, urge your regional or state representatives to join on your behalf!
And special thanks to the PEARL Project and staff for their support as ARSL Annual Conference Sponsors in 2011!