ARSL: The connection to small libraries just like mine

ARSL has been an amazing addition to my career as a children’s librarian in rural North Carolina. I have attended the last two conferences and brought home with me a fervent desire to utilize many of the things I learned.

The most important aspect of ARSL is the connection to small libraries just like mine. At ARSL we figure out how to make silk purses out of sow’s ears because we don’t have zillion dollar budgets and humongous populations with which to deal.

That said, our rural populations should have as many opportunities with modern technology to do what large library systems do.  Our little libraries should also provide as many cool programs with the staff we have and always deliver excellent customer service. ARSL has oodles of sessions on just these concepts.

Wonderful friends and supporters are another facet ARSL has provided to me. Kieran Hixon has been awesome to answer any technological questions I have. Countless other attendees and I stay in touch. It’s great to know there are other folks in libraries just like mine with whom you can bounce ideas or share troublesome issues.

One of many things I have personally taken from the ARSL conferences has been programming ideas. We had a very successful Hunger Games party in March with our teens. I got the idea from an awesome session provided by 4 Texas librarians at the ARSL conference in Frisco last September. The Texas ladies and I were actually going to combine parties through Skype, but they had spring break at that time. Bummer…

For libraries to sustain their importance in every community – now and in the future – it is best for library staff folks to provide excellent customer service, provide access to information in all forms, and to deliver beneficial programs to all members of their communities. ARSL helps library staff acquire the skills to make library lovers out of every generation we serve.

Can’t wait for Raleigh!

Melissa ‘Miss Mel’ Hager
Children’s Librarian
Alexander County Library
Taylorsville, NC

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