Conference Schedule is now available

The preliminary conference schedule is now available for viewing.  Please remember that this is still a draft and is subject to change. We are just so excited to get “Rockin in Little Rock!” that we wanted to help you plan your session days as early as possible.

The PDF version can be obtained through the conference schedule webpage.

Overflow Hotels Now Available

The conference hotel (Marriott) has officially sold out of rooms for conference.  Never fear arrangements have been made at two area hotels to accommodate additional attendees.

The Doubletree, Downtown Little Rock

424 West Markham
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
Phone: (501) 372-4371


*       Room rate is  $129/night (plus tax) using group code “SLM”

*       Parking @ Doubletree self-parking $12 per night.

*       Special $5 parking rate for ARSL members at Little Rock Convention Center Parking Deck located

         just one block from conference hotel.  Parking ticket validated at Conference registration table.

Wyndham RiverFront Little Rock

Wyndham Little Rock

2 Riverfront Place
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72114

Phone: (501) 371-9000


*       Room rate is $99/night (plus tax). Be sure to ask for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries rate.

*       Free parking

*       Complimentary transportation to and from Little Rock Airport – Be sure to call and reserve shuttle

*       Shuttle to the Little Rock Convention Center

The hotel is located across the river and next door to Dickey Stephens Ballpark, and within walking distance to both Historic Argenta and the Rivermarket Entertainment Districts.



Post ARSL Storycorps Opportunity

Title:  Using StoryCorps In Your Library: A Best Practices Workshop

Description: Record, celebrate, and share the voices of your community by establishing a storytelling project based on StoryCorps’ well-known and successful methods and best practices. StoryCorps staff will lead a hands-on and highly-interactive workshop that will cover practical tips on engaging and celebrating the stories of your patrons and local communities, recording equipment recommendations, and best practices for creating exciting public programs based on recorded interviews and freely-available StoryCorps content. Participants will also get hands-on instruction with the newly released StoryCorps app, which guides users through the process of preparing for and recording interviews and allows them to share stories. Judy Bergeron, Smithville Public Library Director, will share working knowledge about what it takes to plan and implement a successful project, specifically in a small and/or rural library setting.


Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 58,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Cost: $20
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3, 2015   1:00 – 4:00 PM
Maximum:  100

Register online

Post Conference Events

The ARSL-ArLA event registration is now live.  The following events will take place post conference and are shared events with the Arkansas Library Association.  Please note that these events have limited seating available to each association. So, be sure to register early!

Shared Saturday Conference Events with the Arkansas Library Association


Title:  Relocation, Arkansas

vivienne.schiffer copy

Description: The execution of Executive Order 9066 in 1943 began what is arguably the greatest single violation of civil rights of any group of Americans, the forced removal and incarceration of every person of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. That two of the prison camps were located in Arkansas is a surprise to many Americans, who never knew that over 16,000 Californians had been sent to the Deep South. Relocation, Arkansas, a documentary directed by native Arkansan, Vivienne Schiffer, explores the aftermath of the incarceration experience on the generation that was born after the camps closed, the surprising story of those Japanese American families who remained in Arkansas after the war years, and the amazing power of the creative spirit of those who were in the Arkansas camps. A panel discussion with the filmmaker and others involved with making the film follows.
Cost: $20
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3, 2015   3:00 – 6:00 PM
Maximum:  100 each association


Title:   Writing Workshop with PC Cast

PC cast

Description: This workshop is tailored for you!  In it PC will touch on the process of creating a manuscript, as well as discuss the nuts and bolts of publishing.  She will also provide a plethora of creative writing exercises, talk about outlines, and share inspiration and research techniques.  Come with pen and paper, or simply just questions and an inquisitive mind.
Cost: $50
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3, 2015   1:00 – 3:30 PM
Maximum: 25 each association

This Is What Our Conference Looks Like

2015 Conference Fees

The following are the fees for what we feel is the premier conference geared towards small and rural libraries.

Please remember your registration fees include 2 breakfast (Thursday & Friday), 2 (Thursday & Friday), along with a Saturday morning brunch.  Additionally, please note there is one additional fee of $3.95 built into the online form which is a pass through cost charged by the online registration management service.

We hope you agree that when considering the benefits of coming to conference and the included keynote and meal events, the ARSL conference is a very affordable conference. We look forward to seeing you in Little Rock in October.

Registration Type 2015 Fees
Early Bird Member (through August 29)  $      260.00
Early Bird Non-Member (through August 29)  $      325.00
Regular Member (starting August 30)  $      325.00
Regular Non-Member (starting August 30)  $      400.00
Full-time Student  $      190.00
One-day (early) with meals  $      185.00
On-site, full conference, member with NO meals  $      325.00
On-site, full conference, non-member with NO meals  $      400.00
On-site, full conference, full-time student with NO meals  $      190.00
On-site, one-day, NO meals  $      185.00
Extra Exhibitor with Meals  $      185.00
Meals + Reception only  $      185.00
Author Event only  $        65.00

Register now! Click here

The Speaker Line-up for the Annual Conference

Little Rock – The speaker line-up for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) annual conference has been released. Over the 3 day conference October 1-3, 2015, five major speakers will headline the event.

The event kicks off with the former voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks and local television personality, Craig O’Neil, who will entertain attendees during breakfast. Later that day, Josh Hanagarne, author of The World’s Strongest Librarian will speak about how an extreme case of Tourette syndrome has done little to slow this Salt Lake City librarian down. He credits books and weightlifting (after faith and family) as his salvation, both of which helped control his tics. With disarming candor, Hanagarne shares his incredible story, bringing audiences to laughter and tears.

Friday is author day at the conference. The breakfast session begins with author, Daniel Black. Black, while a native of Kansas, spent the majority of his childhood years in Blackwell, Arkansas. He is the author of Perfect Peace, the 2014 selection for the statewide program “If All of Arkansas Read the Same Book.” Awarded the Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University, Dr. Black is currently a professor of African American Studies at Clark Atlanta University. His newest release, The Coming, is a first-hand account of the trauma and triumph of Africans on a slave ship in the 16th century and will be released in upcoming months.

Bestselling author, PC Cast will headline the author luncheon on Friday. Cast, a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, is an award winning fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her novels have received many prestigious awards including: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Laurel Wreath. Her famed House of Night series, an international phenomenon, has reached #1 on U.S., German, Brazilian, and U.K. bestseller lists. That series remained a fixture on The New York Times Children’s Series bestseller list for nearly 160 weeks and counting, with more than 20 million copies in print and sold in over forty countries to date.

The conference will conclude with award winning architect Zach Benedict. As a managing partner at MKM architecture and design, Zach handles the company’s community based projects. As the son of a Librarian, Zach also grew up understanding the importance of libraries in communities. He has presented on topics including intergenerational communities, the library as a “Third Place” in the community, and more on the planning of communities and the library’s role in the community.

Conference registrations begin as low as $263.50 /person with most meals included.

Special thanks to OCLC for sponsoring the Friday author luncheon and the Arkansas State Library for sponsoring other speaking events.
Early registration for the conference opens April 27, 2015 online at

2015 Conference on Facebook!

 Get Conference Specific Updates here:


Wednesday Tours

Tour of Two Libraries

Date: 9/30/2015    Time: 1pm – 4pm
Description: A Trip to Little Rock isn’t complete for a group of Librarians, without visiting a couple libraries. Tour the Argenta Library in North Little Rock and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Transit between the libraries will be on the River Rail Street Car Trolley making it a true Little Rock experience.
Cost: $15

Walking Tour of Downtown Little Rock

Date: 9/30/2015    Time: 4pm – 5:30pm
Description: Come experience the beautiful River Walk district in Little Rock. Experience the Farmer’s Market and other picturesque shops and places that make up this beautiful tourist attraction.
Cost: $ 0

2015 Conference – Pre-conferences

REGISTER HERE for the following Pre-conferences

Title: What We Talk About When We Talk About Apps!

Date: 9/30/2015    Time: 1pm – 5pm
Speakers: Jeffrey Stoffer & Yadi Osuna
Description: There are hundreds of different things that you can use your iPad for at your library. Now that you own an iPad, what do you put on it?
Fee: $10

Title: Emergency Preparedness

Date: 9/30/2015    Time: 1pm – 5pm

Speakers: Eva Grizzard
Description: This workshop will introduce key concepts of emergency preparedness, including risk assessment, response procedures, and recovery actions. Participants will walk through the creation of a disaster plan, and will leave with templates and tools for creating their own plan.
Cost: $50

Title: The Accidental Leader

Date: 9/30/2015    Time: 1pm – 5pm
Speakers: George Needham
Description: Leadership may not be something you aspire to, but you may find yourself in a leadership role unexpectedly; how do you quickly find the internal and external resources you need to lead? What do you do when you’re younger than the people you’re supposed to lead? How do you exercise authority without becoming either a tyrant or a pushover? Participants will hear strategies, practical advice, anecdotes, and, hopefully, a few laughs drawing on the speakers decades of experience.
Cost: $50.00

2015 ARSL Conference Hotel

Association for Rural and Small Libraries Fall 2015 Conference

Pre-Conference Start date: 9/30/15
Conference ending: 10/3/2015
Last day to book by: 9/11/15

Marriott hotel(s) offering your special group rate:

  • Little Rock Marriott  for 139.00 USD  per night

Special hotel rates available from 9/29/15 to 10/4/15
Book your group rate: Association for Rural and Small Libraries Fall 2015 Conference >>

Call for Proposals

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) invites proposals for break-out session presentations for the 2015 Conference to be held in Little Rock, Arkansas, October 1 – 3.

Proposals for these 1-hour sessions can be submitted using our online form found here: The deadline to submit the form is March 13, 2015.  All proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Programming Committee.  Those who submit a proposal will be notified whether or not their proposal was accepted by April 6, 2015.

This year’s conference theme is “Rockin’ in Little Rock.”  Themes we hope to see among your proposals include the following:

Libraries Rock ….

  • Building Community Partners
  • Solving Problems with New Approaches
  • Creative Management
  • Technology  Tools

We remind presenters that workshops must be geared toward the small and rural library audience, and those that are practical, hands-on, and how-to are preferred.  This is not the proper venue for post-graduate dissertations or marketing products. Additional instructions are included on the form.

Workshop presenters will receive ONE complimentary conference registration per workshop title selected. (i.e. a team of three presenters working on one workshop will receive one complimentary registration).

The committee is looking forward to receiving your submissions.

Good Luck!

Becky Heil

Conference Programming Committee Chair

Annual Report

The Annual report is available to download.  Annual Report 2014 (pdf)

Disaster of the Month: D&O Insurance

By Su Epstein

Saxton B. Little Library,  Columbia CTinsurance

To be honest, insurance was not something I really thought much about.  Personal insurance (home, auto, etc.) sure, but for the Library?  When I began as a Library Director, I knew the Library had a basic liability policy and I did review it.  I made sure it covered should someone get hurt in the building and if, heaven forbid the building had a fire, the contents would be covered.  But after that, I gave it very little thought.

A few years down the road, however, the make-up of our library board changed.  Personalities shifted and perspectives clashed.  Things came to a head over a fundraising event.  Tensions had been high and communications poor.  At a very public planning meeting, outside of the Library, a full-fledged shouting match erupted.  Accusations and names flew like startled birds.  A board member left, threatening to sue for defamation of character.  I consulted a lawyer and learned the board member had grounds.  At the same time, there arose issues with the vendor contracts for the fundraising event.  This too posed a potential litigious situation.  I called upon my inner Research Librarian, and hit the books and the internet.

It was then that I learned of Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance (often called D&O).  This insurance, purchased by the organization reimburses the organizations leadership for losses or advancement of defense costs of legal actions coming about from alleged wrongful acts in their capacity as leadership of the institution.    Policies vary by the amount of coverage, but are offered by almost all of the major insurance companies.  Costs are based on not only the amount of coverage, but the size of the board and institution.

For our institution the cost increased our insurance line approximately five hundred dollars annually.  It was not an easy sell.  However, the cost of one lawsuit would be far greater.  At the time, my library was facing two possible legal actions.  A situation that six months earlier would have been inconceivable for all of us.

In the end, the fundraising event went off, but not without some very problematic hitches.  The former Board member decided they liked the Library more than they hated the Board and dropped the suit.  The Library Board purchased D&O insurance.  For me, it was all a little too close for comfort.

I don’t know if such insurance is needed and as the coverage varies, it must certainly be analyzed on a per library basis. Likewise, needs can be greatly affected by circumstance.  What I do know, definitively, is that is far better to research and discuss the options before there is a potential need.

One enchanted evening: Lightning talks

Did the metal shop class just build a book drop for your library?

Did you mount an effective display which moved lots of materials?

Did you land a big bequest?

Did you come up with a very successful teen program?

On Thursday evening, September 4th at 8 p.m. (location to be announced), come  and share your accomplishment with your fellow attendees.  You will have ten minutes before we move the mike onto the next individual.  Bring a poster or bring a PowerPoint and boast about what you and your library staff have accomplished.  Practical, easily replicable ideas appreciated!

If you are interested in participating, please email the following information to Lisa Lewis  –  Program Selection Committee Chair  –

Thank you for your participating and I look forward to hearing from many of you!





Topic to be shared:


Projector Needed:

Yes or No

Super Bowl Reading Program

wrp teensIn Sussex County, Delaware three youth services librarians are kicking off 2014 with their 2nd Annual Super Bowl Reading Program.  In late 2012, Tameca Beckett, Laurel Public Library, Christina Poe, Seaford Public Library, and Jessica Webb, Delmar Public Library decided to start the New Year with a little friendly competition.  And what says competition in January better than a little football?  They decided to host a one month Super Bowl Winter Reading Program.  Each participating library would compete to see who could score the most reading touchdowns.  The winner would be announced during the Super Bowl Tailgate party, the Saturday before the Super Bowl.  The only prize awarded was a small trophy for the winning library and bragging rights for the year.

Reading logs were distributed to local schools, community centers, and homeschool groups. wrp1 Throughout the month, each library hosted football themed programs.  Each week the touchdown totals were posted in each library as well as on social media.  In one month, the youth from Delmar, Seaford and Laurel scored a combine

d 227 touchdowns, which equates to 2,270 reading hours.  Over 300 parents and children from each library attended the tailgate party, hosted at the Laurel Public Library.  The Laurel High School football team lent football helmets and jerseys for the tailgate party photo shoot.  Teen volunteers from each library assisted with the food and games during the party.

This program is a demonstration of the power of collaboration and theme.  The football/sports theme drew fathers and sons into the library in droves.  Additionally, kids were motivated as they worked as a team for their library.  Children actually congratulated each other as they scored reading touchdowns.  Yes, there was still a winner but that was all overshadowed in the group effort for both librarians and children.  During the height of the tailgate party, filled with smiling children and parents, it was impossible to identify who was on what team.  Librarians, volunteers, teens, and kids were all apart of Team Literacy.  And it is obvious that we all win on that team.

By Tameca Beckett, ARSL Board Member and Co-Chair of Member Services Committee

Laurel Public Library, DE

“Isn’t that what libraries are all about?” – Jennifer Milligan, Scholarship Winner

By Jennifer Milligan

jennifer milliganShare. Learn. Grow. Change. Rinse. Repeat.  After all, isn’t that what libraries are all about?  A place to share and learn and grow and change, a place to be inspired, a place to be yourself, a place to figure out who you are?

A little over two years ago, I left a successful career in engineering to become a public library director after having completed my MLIS while continuing to work and raise a family.  I did so because I believe in the power of public libraries to educate, inform, and inspire those within our communities, because I believe in the power of continuing education and growth to improve our lives.  To be effective in my role as a director of a small rural public library, I need to learn and grow and change, I need to be inspired, and I need to share that inspiration with those around me, creating stronger and more effective public libraries for all of us. The ARSL conference offered me that opportunity; the opportunity to learn and grow, to make connections, and to better serve my community.

Whether it was getting ideas for fundraising, learning about free tech tools, discussing ways to incorporate makerspaces into small libraries, exploring options for family literacy programming, or sharing the importance of library advocacy, I found every session I attended to be full of passionate professionals, eager to share and learn.  My enthusiasm only grew as I realized that these are ideas that will work for me, a director of a small rural library with limited financial and personnel resources.  How exciting it is to share big ideas and lofty goals in ways that will work for the smallest of libraries, presented by people just like me, people who understand my challenges!  The opportunity to network with similar professionals was priceless, providing me with contacts and friendships that will continue to help me learn and grow and serve my community.

Libraries are a place of change.  We need to be inspired and innovative to meet the challenges of the changes in our communities, to continue to meet the changing needs of our patrons, to ensure that we are continuing to educate, inform, and inspire.  I believe that attendance at the Association for Rural & Rural Libraries Annual Conference provided my entire library system with new information and ideas that will reinvigorate us as we move forward to meet our next challenge.

Lessons Learned from a Drive Through

By Su Epstein

Saxton B. Little Library,  Columbia CT

There is something about the sound of shattering glass that represents all things ‘not good.’  Twice in my career I’ve heard this sound in a Library, I am truly hoping not to have a third.

The last time that horrible sound spun its web around me was a mild day last spring.  It was a Thursday, but not unlike any other, around 3:40 in the afternoon.  The afterschool crowd was in and settled, our later afternoon elderly doing their end of day pass through.  I was gearing up to leave early and cash in some comp time for some much needed rest.su1

The crash sounded at first like a bookcase had toppled and my heart sank, as I heard my Children’s Librarian cry out, “Oh my God, Oh my God.”  We all ran, and I’m sure I was not the only one with a growing sense of fear.

Our library is very small.  In total it sits on a 4800 s.f. footprint that consists of three rooms.  So it took mere seconds to reach the main library but several seconds for my brain to process what I was seeing.

One of our elderly patrons had driven down our walkway, through two metal book drops and a window to arrive literally seven feet into the library.  Realizing what he’d done, he then backed out.

In front of the window had been a four drawer cd holder.  Thousands of discs had flown like fall leaves throughout the room.  Later, we would marvel that not one had broken.   The cd drawers appeared a bit off kilter.  The car had also clipped a six foot magazine shelf.  It had tipped, causing magazines to waterfall and its hanging shelves to swing.  Our television and stand had, prevented the bookcase from crashing down on the periodical seating.  What faired worst was the side of the building that then sported a large whole.

We were lucky.  Thankfully, no one, not even the driver was hurt.  Although many were shaken, no one had been seated or standing in that particular area.  911 was called immediately and with no one harmed, most of us, myself included, mulled around in a stunned state of disbelief.

It was later, after police, fire department, ambulance and television crew had left that several things dawned on us.   First, and foremost, we should have left the building until we knew it was structurally sound.  We didn’t and no one instructed us to.  Fortunately, it wasn’t an issue, but it was a line immediately added to our disaster plan and an idea I’ve tried to drum into my brain.

Second, the disaster plan!  We have one, not that it included a car drive through, but we didn’t even think of our plan at the time.  What was really driven home by this event was that a copy of the plan should be located not only outside of the building, but somewhere local.  I had followed all good wisdom and have a copy of our plan at home — home, which is forty minutes away from the library.  If we had needed to vacate the library and take immediate action, the carefully constructed do lists and phone numbers in our disaster plan would have done me no good at home.  After this event, a copy of our disaster plan lives in a safe spot in our neighboring town hall and their plan lives in a cozy spot next to ours in the Library.

The last lesson learned from this event was to trust in our insurance company.  Since it was a town building and clearly the driver’s fault, it was suggested to simply let the driver’s insurance handle the claim and avoid the library’s insurance.  The driver’s company settled with the driver and the town within weeks, but after 3 months, they had still not settled for the damages within the library.  After filing complaints with the insurance commission and seeking legal counsel, our insurance company suggested we file the claim with them and allow them to seek reimbursement from the driver’s insurance carrier.

Our insurance required only documentation of our loss.  The driver’s insurance was insisting upon sales receipts from the damaged items.  Unfortunately it had been over eight years and two director’s ago when the furniture had been purchased and no one knew where or when those purchases had been made.  While sure, the receipts were in file boxes in the building, who knew which boxes?  After providing photos of the accident and replacement list, our insurance company issued a check and our part in the process was completed.

Now, our furniture replaced, our window and wall repaired and we continue on.  Though we all wish that the jokes about putting in a drive through would come to an end,  I simply say, “do you want fries with that?”

“This is exactly what I’m looking for” – Michele Lawrence, Scholarship Winner

By Michele Lawrence

Michele LawrenceWhen I first learned about ARSL from The University of Alabama’s listserv, I thought, “This is exactly what I’m looking for.” Small and rural libraries have unique issues that other library associations would be at a loss to address.   I read about the 2012 conference and knew I had to go as soon as I possibly could.  The breakout sessions sounded like a wealth of information for my future in small libraries.  I was beyond excited when I found out I was awarded the Dr. Bernard Vavrek scholarship for the 2013 conference in Omaha, NE.

This conference was amazing from the first keynote speaker, Lee Rainie, to the last.  The speakers and presenters were full of energy and excitement for libraries and willing to share all their experience and knowledge to help others.  Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire novels, is a dynamic and fun speaker.  Anyone who has a chance to see him definitely should.  How can I choose the highlights?  The unofficial theme of the conference was to generate mutual support by getting your library involved in the community.  It seems like a simple and obvious plan, but seems to be frequently overlooked.

Rachel Miller and Louise Greene offered great tips to involve your library with community events in Think Outside the Barn.  The Power of One presenters shared great ideas to run a library with a small staff smoothly, such as keeping storytime supplies in a box to be ready at a moment’s notice.  I’m so excited about that even if my library doesn’t participate in the program, I’ll be a one woman Geek Squad!

The ARSL conference brings great presenters, vendors, and ideas together in one venue.  More importantly, it is an opportunity to meet and talk with others who share a love for libraries and small communities.  The conference rejuvenates this passion so you return home ready to face the challenges and rewards of working in a small or rural library.


Super Librarian! – Kathy Hale, Scholarship Winner

kathy scholarshipBy Kathy Hale

With much hope and trepidation I wrote an essay and was awarded the scholarship  to attend my first ARSL Conference. Would I find workshops to fit my needs? Would I have anything worthy to share with others? Would I “fit in”? The “Empowering Small Libraries” conference met my expectations and calmed my anxieties. The sessions and speakers shared not only knowledge, but also introduced me to tools to equip me to better serve my community. Several sessions empowered me with an “I can do it” attitude. Finally, talking to other conference attendees inspired camaraderie of a shared purpose.

My preconference session, Shifting Sands, presented by Bonnie McKewon made me aware of changes coming to libraries of all sizes and some ways to meet the changing needs of our communities and patrons. One of the early sessions with keynote speaker, Lee Rainie, shared Pew research data that confirmed the important role that libraries fill in our community and how that role is changing.

With my mind now set on meeting those challenges and equipping myself to meet them, I made my final decisions on which break out sessions to attend. The presenters were librarians who were willing to share with others how they too could achieve success in specific areas in their libraries.They exemplify what ARSL does best – sharing problems, sharing different ways to overcome those difficulties, and sharing success with others. One presenter mentioned that she plans children’s programs that she enjoys doing. That was a novel thought for me. It made sense, because if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing the program has less chance for success. Mary Stenger, the recipient of the 2013 best small library award, encouraged me with her “if I can do it, you can do it” attitude.

I was also inspired by the presentations from the authors, Craig Johnson and Joe Starita. I enjoyed meeting new people and sharing mealsKathy and discussions with them. I enjoyed the volunteers serving at the registration area and everywhere.

I remember the day Becky Heil called to inform me that I was being awarded the scholarship. I was preparing for our summer reading finale and wondering how I was going to do it all. I needed super powers. She remarked that the ARSL conference would make me a “Super” librarian every day.  While I didn’t quite receive super powers, I came away with an attitude and knowledge to do my job better. Thank you ARSL and thank you to everyone who makes these scholarships possible. It was an opportunity I will treasure.


#chatARSL – Twitter Chat 101

The Future is Now: Rural Library as Innovation Incubator was a webinar collaboration with WebJunction.  In case you missed it, the full archive of the webinar and learning guide are available.

We’d love to continue this conversation with you! Follow ARSL’s Twitter feed and participate in #chatARSL.  If you are new to Twitter or if you have never participated in a Twitter Chat, here are a few tips that will help you get started.

Twitter Chat 101

Q1: What is a Twitter Chat?

A1: When people use a specific hashtag (#) on Twitter to discuss a specific topic.

Q2: Why do you need to use a hashtag?

A2: The hashtag is a way to search and filter tweets that are part of a chat. The # symbols, letters and numbers are used.  For example, #chatARSL.

Q3: How can I get started?

A3: First, sign up for a free Twitter account at

Q4: Okay.  I have a Twitter account.  Now what?

A4: Follow ARSL on Twitter.  In the search box at the top of your Twitter homepage, type @RuralLibAssoc. Click Follow. This will allow you see all the posts from ARSL (@RuralLibAssoc) on your Twitter feed.

Q5: I’m following ARSL (@RuralLibAssoc) now. I’m ready to participate in the Twitter chat.  What’s next?

A5: In the search box, type our hashtag, #chatARSL. This will display all of the tweets so far in the conversation. You will be able to read the moderator’s questions and comments as well as everyone’s recent posts on the topic.  Feel free to jump right in!  The moderator will pose a question. To create a response, click on the blue square at the top right corner of the page.

Q6: I just typed my response.  Is there anything I should remember before I hit “Tweet”?

A6: Yes, a Twitter response (Tweet) can only be 140 characters.  And don’t forget it has to contain the hashtag #chatARSL so everyone participating in the conversation can see it.

Q7: I see the moderator’s questions.  How should I answer?

A7: Here’s an example (it’s very similar to the question and answer on this page)

     @RuralLibAssoc: “Welcome to #chatARSL! Q1:What was your favorite webinar in 2013? #chatARSL”

     @Your Tweet: “A1:I loved the webinar on the library programs on a budget. #chatARSL”

Q8: I did it!  Are there other ways to engage?

A8: Yes! You can reply to any participant’s tweets.  If someone says something you like, there’s a small “reply” button at the bottom of each tweet.  Don’t forget to include the hashtag #chatARSL!

Q9: What does Retweet mean?

A9: A Retweet is a way to re-post someone’s tweet.  It’s kind of like forwarding the tweet to share it with others.

We look forward to sharing innovative stories, ideas, and helpful tips!

COSLA Celebrates 40 Years of Success; Plans for Future

Lexington, KY – The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) held its Annual Meeting at the Hilton Savannah Desoto in Savannah, Georgia during the week of October 27-31, 2013.  COSLA celebrated its 40th anniversary and devoted time to organizational planning while discussing and taking action on issues of common concern and national interest.

2013 marked the 40th anniversary for COSLA which was first organized in November 1973 at a meeting in Washington, D.C.  Former State Librarians  Al Trezza (IL) and Joe Shubert (OH) conceived the idea of COSLA during an afternoon break at the meeting.  They were standing under the stoop at the Capitol Hill Hotel (now disappeared into a parking lot) during a quiet rain.  They identified officers and the general plan and then discussed the ideas with other state librarians later in the day and evening.  In honor of the occasion, a celebratory reception and dinner for current members, past members and guests was held on the Savannah River Queen on Monday, October 28th in Savannah, Georgia.  A program providing the history of COSLA as well as testimonials from many past members was enjoyed by everyone at the event.  COSLA was pleased to have 25 past COSLA members join the celebration along with the 44 states represented at the meeting.

To read more, download this PDF press release from COSLA – COSLA Celebrates 40 Years of Success (pdf)

2013 – Program and Handouts

Thank you to all the presenters for sharing their presentation materials here!

Full Conference Program (pdf)

See also:

Session Handouts

Answering Legal Reference Questions on a Shoestring
Paul Healey

Handout (pdf)

Community 3E
Gail Sheldon

Handout (docx)

Community Connections
Becky Baker

Handout (pdf)

Dazzling Displays on a Dime
Leah Krotz

Handout (pdf)

Establish a Seed Saving Library
David Mixdorf

Handout 1 (docx)
Handout 2 (docx)
Handout 3 (docx)
Handout 4 (docx)

Everyday Tools
Becky Heil

Handout (docx)

Excel at Rearranging your Library
Chris Rippel

Collection Manager
Shelf Shuffler

Family Read
Heidi Schutt

Handout (pdf)

From Cozy to Exotic: Not Your Typical Library Programs
Carrie Falk

Handout (doc)

Fundraising to Build and Sustain the Best Small Library in America
Amy McBride

Handout 1 (pdf)
Handout 2 (pdf)
Handout 3 (pdf)

Gaming & Game Programming in the Library
Josh Barnes
Jezmynne Dene

Handout 1 (google doc)
Handout 2 (google doc)

Geek Your Library
Jennifer Powell

Community Awareness (pdf)
Library Success (pdf)
Why it Works (pdf)

Genealogy Basics for the non-genealogist Librarian
Sarah Uthoff

Handout 1 (pdf)
Handout 2 (pdf)

Inspired for Greatness
Heather Woody


Laughter for the Health of It
Wendy Street

Handout (pdf)

Makers, Mentors and More
Timothy Owens
‎Travis Porter
Kieran Hixon


Mind Mapping
Denise Anton Wright


No Cost Staff Recognition
Sheila Urwiler

Handout 1 (pdf)
Handout 2 (pdf)

Pew Panel: The Future of Technology at Public Libraries
Lee Rainie

Key Messages (docx)
Global Libraries Support for Public Libraries (docx)
Radio spot from Independence Public Library (mp3) [To listen, click on link. To download, right click, then “Save link as..”]

Physical Change by Mental Change
Lola DeWall

Handout (docx)

The Power of One
Judy Calhoun
Anna Bates

Powerpoint (updated with Speaker’s notes)

Reader’s Advisory On the Run
Carolyn Petersen

Handout (pdf)

Refurbishing Reference
Terry Elsey


Shifting Sands…A Changing Library Landscape
Bonnie McKewon

Handout 1 (pdf)

Small Libraries Can Make Big Impact
Joan K. Weaver

Handout (pdf)
Handout 3 (pdf)

Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Valerie Haverhal

Handout (pdf)
Handout 2 (doc)

Tapping into Transnational Community Networks
John Thill

Handout (pdf)

Tech Tools: Get-er Done for Free
Kieran Hixon


Teen Programs That Pack a Punch
Hope Decker

Handout 1 (pdf)
Handout 2 (docx)
Handout 3 (docx)
Handout 4 (docx)
Teen Survey (docx)
Teen Survey Results Chart (docx)
Teen Survey Thank You (docx)
Brainstorming Ideas (docx)
Cupcake decorating rubric (docx)
Cupcake decorating rules (docx)
Cupcake decorating score sheets (docx)

Think Outside the Barn
Rachel Miller
Louise Greene

Handout (pdf)

21st Century iBrary
Matthew Cross, Jeffrey Stoffer, & Cecily Peters

Handout (docx)

Video Book Talks: From Script to Screen
Michael Sauers
Laura Johnson


Weeding:  The Good, the Bad and the Mustie
Jeremy Bolom

handout (pdf)


2013 Conference Update

By Jet Kofoot, member of the 2013 ARSL Conference PR Subcommittee, and consultant, North-Central District, Iowa Library Services

We look forward to this year’s ARSL Annual Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton Omaha Downtown in Omaha, NE from September 25-28. Preconference sessions and welcome reception will be held on the 25th with the full conference beginning Thursday morning.

For the first time ever, the conference has sold out! If you’ve already registered you’re welcome to add events such as preconferences or the Wednesday tour of Council Bluffs, and can do so by logging into the registration page once again, selecting only those items you wish to add.

For information about lodging, our fee schedule, dates, etc., please see the following page on our website:

Preconferences and Tours

Preconference sessions and tours are filling quickly for this year’s conference. We’ve reached the registration limit for the Shifting Sands preconference and the evening Ghost Tour but you can still get in on the 3 remaining preconference sessions and the all day tour of Council Bluffs.  Remember, if you’ve already registered it’s not too late to add a preconference or tour to your registration. Read more about the preconference sessions: and tours:

Author Luncheon

The folks of Buffalo, Wyoming know what’s cool. They recently held their second year of “Longmire Days” in celebration of mystery writer Craig Johnson’s popular Longmire series of books and the new television series by the same name. Over 5,000 visitors were attracted to Buffalo for the weekend festivities. Like the citizens of Buffalo, ARSL conference attendees can get on the Longmire bandwagon as Craig Johnson is our speaker for Friday’s Author Luncheon.  Mr. Johnson will be signing autographs after the luncheon. A special note of appreciation is extended to the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) for sponsoring this luncheon.  Be sure to attend this exciting event!

Wednesday Welcome Reception

Dr. Spit and the Blues Mechanics

Dr. Spit and the Blues Mechanics

You’re in for a real treat, both literally and figuratively, if you’re attending the welcome reception Wednesday evening. Refreshments will feature foods that originated in Nebraska, and musical entertainment will be provided by Omaha artists Dr. Spit and the Blues Mechanics! Come and enjoy the food and entertainment while you network with colleagues from across the country. The 2013 ARSL Conference is shaping up to be our biggest and best conference yet. Don’t miss out!

Final Plans

Those of you coming to Omaha are likely making final travel plans. Be sure to take some time to review the conference schedule and session descriptions, and take a look at the presenter photos and bios as you start to put faces with names.

If you’re posting to Twitter, be sure to tag with the conference hashtag #ARSL13 and please add your conference photos to the ARSL Group on Flickr. We look forward to seeing many of you there and will be posting updates for those unable to join us via the ARSL website at Conference Information.