My name is Nola Ramirez and I am the branch manager of the Gustine Branch Library in Gustine CA. We are located in the heart of agriculture on the westside of the central valley. City’s population is 5,000. The Gustine Branch Library is small, only a little over 12,000 square feet, and contains 12,542 items and circulated over 8,000 items last year. On March 22, 2013 I will have been running the busy regional branch all by myself for 21 years.
I joined ARSL 5 years ago when I was invited to go to the Conference in Sacramento and felt immediately at home with everyone. Here were people that understood what I was going through and felt. The California State Library has awarded me scholarships for all 5 conferences I have attended.
Being on the listserv has opened up many opportunities for me and the Gustine Community! Recently I received a box of 34 books on CD from TEI Landmark Audio. They were completely free and doubled the number of books on CD that were on my shelves! I was able to order 9 art books from DUC (disadvantaged underserved communities). These books were free also to the Gustine Library. Gustine Library is 1 of 20 pilot libraries for Pushing the Limits. I just found out last week that I am one of the qualifying libraries for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. All of the above happened because I am a member of ARSL and on the listserv. Being a part of this wonderful organization has truly opened the world to me and my patrons with opportunities, ideas and friendship with others who understand what rural libraries are really about.