First published in Pennsylvania Compendium
By Linda Orsted, Flenniken Public Library, Carmichaels, PA
The Association of Rural and Small Libraries is an amazing organization. It is managed by volunteers whose energy and commitment to its mission of addressing the needs of small and rural libraries keeps it focused and productive. I was honored to meet library staff members from Maine to Alaska at the recent ARSL annual conference in Raleigh, NC. Conferences often advertise their networking opportunities. It’s really true at ARSL. As great as the speakers and workshops were, I got as many ideas from casual conversations with other attendees as I did in the formal sessions. Every person who attends has a story about ‘what works for us’, or ‘these are the hurdles I overcame to get the funding the library needed.’
I attended a 4-hour pre-conference session called “What Do I do Next?” with Don Reynolds, retired director of the Nolichucky Regional Library in Tennessee. Don has a wealth of knowledge about how libraries operate, what challenges public libraries face now, and what challenges they may be facing in the future. Each person attending the session shared a threat or challenge their library is facing now. To no one’s surprise, many were similar—funding, marketing, the rapid change in technology, and keeping the library relevant in the community. One library director commented that they were ‘too successful.’ They are running so many programs and have such a high circulation that they are exhausted!
Don’s presentation focused on ways library directors and staff (if they are fortunate enough to have other staff) can find the community’s pulse, assess its health, and address the needs of its residents. Here are some of his suggestions:
- Get out in the community. Library leaders should spend at least 10% of their time outside the building. Find out what business leaders are doing and what kind of information they need. Talk to official and/or perceived community leaders about the library as a community commons.
- Gather ideas from outside of the library literature. Marketing and leadership gurus have great ideas that can be transformed for the library world. Find some brands and logos that you like and go from there.
- Find library fans to help you get the word out about how wonderful the library is. Don quotes Will Rogers: “Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.”
- Look at past winners of Library Journal’s Best Small Library award. Get inspired to try something innovative, and then apply for the award for your library. (The library director of the Independence, KS library spoke at the conference about winning the award.)
- Don’t get lost in the digital divide. Make sure you know about emerging technology and implement its use in your library. (Don winks and suggests hiring a sixth grader as your technology coordinator.)
- Be customer-friendly in everything you do at the library, and around your community, for that matter. Your next patron, donor, or advocate might be standing behind you in the grocery line. Can it hurt to return their books to the library for them?
After that whirlwind start to the conference, I wondered if the rest of the events would be as information-packed and energizing. Yes, they were!
There was quite a bit of discussion at the conference about libraries as community commons (i.e. gathering places for civic discourse). Lisa Lewis, the library director in Huachuca City, AZ, titled her workshop ‘Turning Your Library into a Community Anchor.’ She used the anchor as a metaphor for the library. It provides support and stability as well as flexibility in the community. The library is a champion of the arts, culture, youth services, the community itself, and a supplier of information.
Lisa talked about how she and her staff have made sure the library delivers on its promise to be a community anchor. The library provides support to the community in many ways, including workshops on subjects related to job hunting (résumé writing, dress for success, life after high school) and other life skills; ongoing classes for computer skills, GED preparation, needlework, genealogy, Every Child Ready to Read, and parenting; and regular programs (story time, family literacy night, art festival, back-to-school night, etc.) In response to community surveys, the library provides Internet access, a collection of best-sellers in book and other formats, databases, job listings, e-readers, reference services, and activities especially for seniors. The library is open to trying new things, partnering with other organizations in the community, and being responsive to community needs.
She reminded us that 6 out of 10 people want to live in a community with a library. Even if they don’t use the library, they see it as an essential part of a healthy community. The library is open to everyone. It’s a great place. In order to make it a great community anchor, Lisa says, “Show up, pay attention, then act!”
It was an inspiring four days. It met lots of wonderful, committed, energetic people. This was the first conference where everything applied to me! It reminded me that small and rural libraries are significant forces in our communities. We can make a real difference in people’s lives. The 2013 annual conference will be in Omaha. Go!
Even if you did not attend the conference, you may read the handouts at www.arsl.info/category/handouts. Conference handouts go all the way back to the 2006 conference, so there is a wealth of information on the site. Please check it out. You will want to bookmark it for future reference.
By Tameca Beckett
Youth Services Librarian
Laurel Public Library (DE)
ARSL Board Member
There are so many equations out there that can help determine the value of success. These metrics provide a glimpse, a snapshot into the library in whole or in part. However, metrics, as important as they are, aren’t everything. Usually people talk about an unknown compelling force as the X Factor. But X is an unknown and it is constantly in flux. Rural and small libraries have a very solid constant that I’d like to call the P Factor.
This year I had the great pleasure of attending the ARSL Conference in Raleigh, NC. Throughout all the sessions (fabulous!), what struck me most were the people that attended. I talked with people from all over the country, many wearing two and three hats. We all converged in Raleigh for the common purpose of engaging, educating and encouraging each other. The P Factor that we, as rural and small libraries, have is our people. We have, as a library community, successfully tapped into the value of people connection.
Think about how many patrons you know by their first name. Consider the regulars that don’t even need to tell you what they need…you already know. No, we’re not big, huge organizations. And some might consider this a weakness. I would argue that our size is our strength. This People Factor is engrained in our policies, our level of service, and our commitment to our community. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that “gets” people. We are building our communities one person at a time. And these people that we are pouring our heart and soul into know it. They know who we are and what we’re about…them.
How many libraries would be willing to take on the challenge of providing an hour long summer reading program four days a week for 8 weeks– and then top off that challenge with the additional duty of providing lunch to the children immediately after the program?
That challenge would daunt most libraries who have multiple library staff. Sprague City (population 441) librarian Judy Boutain knows what her community’s kids needed and didn’t back away from the challenge. Beginning the last week of June and continuing until August 23rd Judy with the help of one summer youth worker provided an hour long summer reading program and then took the kids across the street to the park for lunch. Her attendance varied from 14 to 42.
The Sprague community recognized Judy’s achievement by electing her as the parade marshal of Sprague Days, a local community celebration. Sitting down in the car during the parade probably gave Judy some well deserved rest!
Kudos to Judy Boutain of Washington State for being willing to provide both mental and physical nourishment to the kids of her community and kudos to the many rural librarians out there who have taken on challenges just like the one Judy accepted. They “just do it.”
The call of all those who work in small and rural libraries…zoom, zoom! When Mazda launched its Zoom Zoom commercial several years ago, I felt it was my theme song. Busy but happy: a joyous celebration of zipping around from one thing to the next.
The moment I got back from this year’s ARSL conference in Raleigh I was greeted with a long list of tasks that needed to be done immediately. I had to: plan and make a float for the Fall Foliage Parade, prepare the gift basket raffle and book sale for Fall Foliage Festival, move books and furniture for the carpet cleaners after the Festival, get documents notarized for lawyer (we are suing our insurance company for failure to cover a building collapse) and prepare to move into the section of the building that collapsed (after over a year, the final repairs were completed the week I got back!). For the most part it’s all good stuff (not the battling our insurance company part), I zoom from one thing to the next and somehow everything gets done.
Over the last seven years our little Library has grown in square footage, hours of operation, circulation, funding, programs, and people at an astounding rate. It is all I can do to keep up. I feel like I am doing the doggie paddle in this vast sea of Library success, I’m happy, it’s exciting, but I don’t get the big picture. I don’t really even understand my job anymore (bigger library, bigger everything…my job as director has indeed changed). Zooming from one task to the next, with little reflection, leaves me feeling like I never get anything done in the midst of doing a lot!
At the ARSL conference I had an “Ah-ha moment” during Andrea Berstler’s workshop, The Entrepreneurial Librarian. Our Library has changed, and it needs a new strategic plan. I need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time specific). The “Zoom, Zoom!” method of doing Library business may not always be the most effective way to serve my community. It may eventually even lead to burn out. I could get lost in doing lots and lots of things instead of having specific goals and doing the things that help us reach those goals. I’ll still be “busy but happy”; I’ll just be “busy but happy” with a plan!
Cohocton Public Library
I never did get to write my take away from the conference on the board at the registration table because I was dithering with the choice, fine tuning and editing my phrase and then I lost the moment. The board had gone. We moved on. I was flying across the country again still pondering a good catchy summary phrase.
Would my take away have been something to do with the repeated urging to connect with our community, be present, be where the action is, participate, be the library 24/7 gleaned from the many library advocacy sessions available: Best Small Libraries, Building Community Partnerships, Celebrate with Successful Family Literacy Events, Curation vs Creation, Easy Advocacy, Knock Their Socks Off, Mentoring as Subversive Activity.
Would it have something gleaned from the meal table and conference corridor networks – all that talking and sharing which took place? Perhaps something to do with the amazing experience of commonality derived from being amongst almost 400 librarians from across the nation who all have the same issues, same sized budgets, same missions. We all had so much to say, to share, to question one another about, compare. We experienced that deep meaning of the word conference - to confer, to gift one another with our experiences. We see anew and are refreshed.
Back up a little: I heard I had been awarded the conference scholarship around about the same time that I also heard that the funding for my library was being cut 50% in the coming fiscal year. So it was with tempered excitement that I accepted and started on the journey to a conference on the theme of celebrating libraries. Was this the right time to leave my community? Wasn’t it better to be at home answering questions and comforting those who feared the loss of their more than 100 year tradition of public library?
Going to conference allowed me to step back, take a breath and bring in reinforcements – in the form of the knowledge of all those other small and rural librarians I was meeting who faced the same challenges and who found solutions and made plans. From the first presentation I attended, David Singleton’s on Surviving and Thriving in Challenging Times, I knew I was in the right place. I began to feel more optimistic about the future not only of my library, but of rural libraries across the nation. They are in good hands.
ARSL 2012 conference was an intense 3 days of mingling, learning, laughing, talking, introducing, sharing which invigorates, refreshes and renews
I have come away full. The long return flights, three plane changes and three hour time difference gave me time to ponder and digest.
We live in different time zones, have different climates yet we can learn, strengthen and grow by gathering together. Ultimately the one word which sums up this conference for me is relevant. For small and rural librarians in the USA, this is the most relevant conference out there. Every aspect of the programming is geared to our specific concerns, size of budgets, staffing issues and communities. All the networking which takes place, is with colleagues across the nation who have some much in common.
If one is in a rural or small library in the United States, the ARSL is one of the associations really worth joining. The listserve has already brought me professional community and valuable advice. The conference reinforced this. The generous scholarship award enabled me to be there in Raleigh, NC. Without it I would not have been able to afford the considerable expense of the trans-continental flights, the hotel and conference registration. We weigh and balance membership in professional associations these days where each expenditure has to earn its place in our budget. Membership of ARSL and this conference attendance is certainly real good value.
The 2012 conference in Raleigh with its quality presentations and invaluable connections will inform and strengthen my future practice in a myriad ways.
(Kate Skinner is a Manager with Libraries of Stevens County in rural north eastern Washington State where she manages Chewelah Public Library. She was the recipient of the 2012 Ken Davenport Conference Scholarship.)
As excited as I was to learn that I had been awarded the Dr. Bernard Vavrek scholarship, nothing could compare to the excitement and energy that arriving at the conference actually held. There is a certain energy that flows when you are able to network with your peers. And with over 300 other Librarians who work in libraries just like yours in the house, you are certain to get caught up in the energy.
I was lucky enough to arrive in Raleigh in time to attend a preconference, where I heard Don Reynolds “What Do I Do Next.” There were loads of ideas on how to market our libraries as well as resources to utilize to make our days easier. Afterwards I had a wonderful experience at the mixer held at the old state capitol building. Here I was able to meet with a youth services worker from North Carolina and a Librarian from Alaska! How cool is it that while we are from all over the United States, we all share the same goals of promoting our libraries as places for all to come?
Thursday brought the official start of the conference and after much highlighting and rearranging my session schedules, I was able to attend 3 great sessions where I saw some awesome material displays, learned about signature events (really who doesn’t want to hear about a program called Chocolate in the Stacks???) I also learned a ton at a session on Google Docs. Matter of fact, by the next week I had informed our staff that our transition to Google was coming and our communication logbook would soon be in the trash! My shopping list is already set up and I know it will make shopping very easy when I can access our needs list from my cell phone! The evening wrapped up by attending dinner with another Indiana Library Director and some new friends from California and New York at The Pit. The Dine-Around was a wonderful way to wind down after a day of learning. Many of us attending work in districts where we can’t afford to send more than one person. Going to dinner alone is never fun. The Dine-Around allows for a fun evening where we can get to know other people from across the country while enjoying a great meal.
If I thought Thursday was a good day, I was totally blown away on Friday. I started my day with a session on adult programs. There were tons of program ideas presented to attract adults to the library including a great tip to advertise special events on water bills and to never forget the power of advertising on bathroom stall doors! Next up, Arkansas Librarians shared fabulous customer service tips and a staff program that I will soon be implementing at our library. The afternoon brought a program on ways to build computer training programs for seniors. The evening wrapped up with several librarians going to dinner at another Dine-Around and a most fun evening of relaxing with more librarians over a glass a wine and shared stories.
Just when I thought I could absorb no more, Saturday rolled around and I heard a presentation on using sales tactics to sell the library. My final session was on after school programs. By the end of the program, I truly just wanted to go hang out in the presenter’s library and play. This program was fast and jam packed full of ideas to take home.
These experiences, of course, don’t even touch on the products I learned about while visiting with vendors. After visiting with my ILS vendor I learned about several new products that will be coming soon, including a FREE upgrade with PC management (YEAH!!!) and it looks like we may be getting a mobile app soon. Also, who could predict how cute the Collaborative Summer Reading Program t-shirts are for next year. Trust me until you see it in person, the photo doesn’t do it justice!
As a Library Director and a MLS student this conference recharged my batteries. No matter how hard the universities try they cannot recreate the energy and excitement that 300+ Librarians bring to a room. Not to mention the lessons learned by sharing stories of real world experience. It also reminded me how blessed we are to work in a field that encourages sharing resources and knowledge. And this conference illustrated just how much we can learn from one another. I cannot recommend this conference (or organization) enough to anyone who works in rural or small town America. And I for one can’t wait for Iowa in 2013!
It is hard believe that we are done already. Here we are on the last day of the conference. There have been so many great lessons, discoveries, and friendships. The conference committee certainly hopes that you have not only enjoyed this week, but that there are take aways from the conference that you will be able to put to work for you, right away.
While everything is fresh in your mind, would you help us make 2013 even better by filling out the conference survey. Here is the link – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ARSL2012Conference
I look forward to seeing many of you at the 2013 conference. I know a number of you have asked about the location for next year. The Committee is working on a site in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area on the Iowa/Nebraska border. As soon as we have dates and location nailed down, we will get that out in an email.
It has been my honor to serve as this year’s conference chair.
President – ARSL
Even if you’re not traveling to Raleigh this week for the ARSL Conference we want to use this opportunity to extend our networking opportunities. Help us collaborate and share ideas! There are a number of ways you can stay connected. Some folks are posting to the Facebook event page or others are connecting through our main ARSL Facebook page. If you’re posting to Twitter, be sure to tag with the conference hashtag #ARSL12 and follow ARSL’s Twitter feed. And we look forward to seeing conference goers adding photos to the ARSL Group on Flickr. We look forward to the week ahead, connecting with old friends, making many new ones and we’ll do our best to post updates for those unable to join us. The conference program has been posted and we’ll continue adding presentations and handouts to the site in the coming weeks.
Click here to open a PDF of the full 2012 Conference Program
General Session – Thursday, September 27th
General Session – Friday, September 28th
Keynote Friday – A Vision of 21st Century Libraries (PDF) – Susan Hildreth
General Session – Saturday, September 29th
Closing Session – Keynote (PDF) – Dr. Ron Carlee
Adult programming on a limited budget – Molly Keating
Aiming at a Moving Target: Ebooks in Libraries – Diana Weaver
- Favorite Resources (DOC)
Best Small Library – Julie Hildebrand
- Best Small Library (PPT)
Building Community Partnerships - Kari May
Celebrate with a Successful Family Literacy Event! – Rosemary Chance
Community Impact Planning – Michael Kumer
Curation vs. Creation: the Evolution of the Public Library into the 21st Century – Kieran Hixon & Judy VanAcker
De-clutter Your Collection – Becky Heil
Easy Advocacy – Gail Santy
- Advocacy Resources (DOC)
- Crafting Your Message (DOC)
- ECL Talking Points (PDF)
- Evaluating Your Efforts (DOC)
- How will you deliver the message (DOC)
- Library message worksheet (DOC)
- Library Advocacy Trading Cards (PDF)
- Parking lot speech (DOC)
- Sustained advocacy (DOC)
- Tips for Talking with Your Legislator (DOC)
- Tips for Working with the Media (DOC)
- worksheet – Audience (DOC)
- worksheet – Goals (DOC)
- worksheet – Plan (DOC)
Ebooks and Audiobooks: What the Vendors didn’t tell Us – Colleen Eggett
- eBooks and Audiobooks (DOC)
The Entrepreneurial Librarian - Andrea Berstler
Going Google – Leah Kulikowski
Google Apps for Libraries – Jezmynne Dene
It’s Your Birthday – Lauren Drittler
Knock Their Socks Off! Advocating For Your Rural Library – Angela Glowcheski & Julie Forkner
- Knock Their Socks Off! (wiki)
Librarian Black Belt Required – Steve Parrott
Libraries and the Future: It was never just about the books! – Andrea Berstler
Mentoring as a subversive activity: growing community leadership – Jennifer Peterson
Pages and Stages - Sheryl Siebert
- Pages and Stages (PPT)
Perfecting Your Presentations – Jamie Matczak
- Perfecting (PPT)
Promoting Your Library Using Social Network Media – Yunfei Du
Razzle Dazzle ‘Em: the Glitz, Glam, and Gusto of Material Displays – Jeremy Bolom
- Razzle (PPT)
Reinventing libraries: new model for a new world – Molly Rodgers
Shakin’ the Money Tree – Susan Wolf Neilson & Elena Owens
- Shakin’ the Money Tree (PDF)
Sharing the Best of the Web: Creating Online Resource Guides for Your Patrons – Jane Sandberg
Signature Events for Small Libraries – Cassie Guthrie
Silver Surfers on the Web – RoseAleta Laurell
Social Media Tools – Denise Wetzel
- Social Media Tools (PPT)
Strategic Planning on a Shoestring – Lana Gardner
Surviving (and Thriving) During Challenging Times – David Singleton
- Surviving (and Thriving) (PPT)
Volunteers: The Core of Your Library – Dee Crowner
What do I do now? – Don Reynolds
- So…..What do I do now? (PDF)
The World is Yous Oyster – Mel Hager
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference Planning Team is excited to announce the opening of registration for the 2012 conference in Raleigh, NC, and the availability of a preliminary conference schedule! The conference begins on September 26 with preconferences and an evening reception and continues through lunch on September 29. All items can be found on our website on the following pages:
- Registration Information
- Hotel Information
- Travel Information
- Exhibitor & Sponsorship Information
- Program Information
- Scholarship Information
On the Registration Information page you will find instructions as to joining the association (which will save $55 off the cost of full-conference registration for non-students), and instructions that will help you navigate our online store when purchasing your conference registration. You may pay online, or select the billing option.
We hope you’ll peruse the preliminary schedule under Program Information to see all of the exciting speakers and sessions we have planned, and stay tuned as more details are finalized. As always, if you have any questions about the conference, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to seeing you all in Raleigh!
We are pleased to report that today we have expanded our capacity for the pre-conferences due to popular demand!
Pre-conference sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, September 26th and the full conference runs from that evening’s reception through two full days on Thursday and Friday and closes at 12:30 PM on Saturday, September 29th.
As follows please find pre-conference registration availability as of August 22:
- “A New Model for a New World” with Molly Rodgers and Lyn Hooper: 3 spaces left!
- “Community Impact Planning” with Michael Kumer: 25 spaces left!
- “What Do I Do Next” with Don Reynolds: 4 spaces left!
A reminder about registration and reservation deadlines:
The Early Bird Registration deadline for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference is fast approaching; you have only until August 31st to get the best rate on this year’s fantastic conference in Raleigh, NC! To take advantage of early bird pricing, register here: http://arsl.info/registration/
The hotel reservation deadline (to take advantage of the conference rate of $139 / night plus tax) is August 28th. Our official conference hotel is the Sheraton Raleigh Downtown (www.sheraton.com/raleigh). Please register by calling 800-325-3535, and be sure to identify yourself as registering for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference. Our hotel this year offers free internet access and much more!
As always, you may direct questions about the conference to us at email@example.com.
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries offers three annual conference scholarships to promote the organization and the conference. The Dr. Bernard Vavrek Scholarship goes to a current LIS student and the Founders and Ken Davenport Scholarships go to current library professionals.
Thank you to our ARSL Premier Members who have helped make these scholarships possible through a $10 contribution as part of their membership and a special thanks to the ARSL Scholarship Committee for their work in selecting scholarship recipients.
ARSL Conference Scholarship Winners for 2012
Bernard Vavrek Scholarship
Juliette L. Elmore
Student, Clarion University and Library Director, Oakland City-Columbia Township Public Library, Indiana
Cohocton Public Library, New York
Ken Davenport Scholarship
Library Manager, Chewelah Public Library, Washington
We look forward to sharing blog posts from Juliette, Hope and Kate when they share about their conference experience!
And thank you to the state library agencies who are providing additional scholarships for rural librarians to attend the conference in September.
Library Journal‘s annual Best Small Library in America Award, cosponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was created in 2005 to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of libraries serving populations under 25,000. The Association for Rural and Small Libraries, in collaboration with WebJunction and Library Journal, is pleased to host this webinar featuring the 2012 Best Small Library in America: Independence Public Library. The multi-award-winning library’s staff of eight serves a population of 13,420 through innovative programs and partnerships, leveraging social media and the Geek the Library campaign for sustained marketing and advocacy efforts. Using a participatory management style and collaborating with other Kansas libraries, along with others in their community, IPL has reached out to individuals and partners to deliver programs and services that bring the community into the library. The session will include an overview of the nomination process and details for next year’s award (note: increased award amounts!).
Presented by: Julie Hildebrand, IPL director; Lily Morgan, director, Learning Resource Center at Independence Community College; and Francine Fialkoff, editor-in-chief, Library Journal.
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries election results are in, our membership has spoken, and new members have been added to the ARSL Board. Congratulations to all! And thanks in advance for your willingness to provide leadership to the Association.
For Vice President/President Elect, you have elected:
Library Director, Estherville Public Library
Tena has been elected to serve as Vice President/President-Elect of ARSL for 2013. Tena has served as chair of the Membership Development Committee for the past two years, and has led the charge to complete our list of Key State Contacts who help disseminate ARSL information to potential members in all areas of the country. She is also heading up the effort to bring ARSL’s annual conference to Iowa in 2013.
For Member at Large Positions, you have elected:
Washington Library Branch Manager
Lorie has been elected to the ARSL Board for a second term. With a degree in Public Relations, as well as an MLS, Lorie understands the importance of marketing library services.
Director, Oneonta Public Library
Gail has been elected as a Member at Large on the ARSL Board. She currently serves as the ARSL Key Contact for her state and is a strong advocate for rural libraries. She believes they are the backbone of their communities; providing a sense of belonging as well as a place for access to all types of information and technology.
Adult Services Assistant, Laurel Public Library
Tameca has been elected to the ARSL Board as a Member at Large. She is especially interested in helping libraries see intentional community collaboration and involvement as a critical part of a movement that places libraries as an important and central voice to address challenges that face our communities.
Director of Library Services, Town of Huachuca City
Huachuca City, Arizona
Lisa has been elected to the ARSL Board as a Member at Large. She is very excited to help advance ARSL’s objectives, as she has found her connection to ARSL and its networking opportunities invaluable to her work.
The requested by-laws change was also approved.
Assistant Program Manager, Library Development
Washington State Library
(Appointed to fill out the remaining term of Alison Miller)
Please make plans to attend the ARSL Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina this September so you can meet the whole group! More information about the conference and registration is available at www.arsl.info.
Director – Institute of Museum and Library Services
On January 19, 2011, President Obama appointed Susan Hildreth to be director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Hildreth had been the city librarian in Seattle for the past two years. Her nomination to her new post was confirmed by the US Senate by unanimous consent on December 22, 2010.
Before moving to Seattle, Hildreth served for five years as California’s state librarian, a position to which she was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Previously, Hildreth was at the San Francisco Public Library, where she served as deputy director and then city librarian. Her background also includes five years as deputy library director at the Sacramento Public Library, several years as Placer County’s head librarian, and four years as library director for the Benicia Public Library, all in California. She began her career as a branch librarian at the Edison Township Library in New Jersey.
Hildreth was active in the American Library Association, serving as president of the Public Library Association in 2006. She has a master’s degree in library science from State University of New York at Albany, a master’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University, and a bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Syracuse University.
North Carolina Author
Margaret Maron is the author of twenty-six novels and two collections of short stories. Winner of several major American awards for mysteries (Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity), her works are on the reading lists of various courses in contemporary Southern literature and have been translated into 16 languages. She has served as president of Sisters in Crime, the American Crime Writers League, and Mystery Writers of America.
A native Tar Heel, she still lives on her family’s century farm a few miles southeast of Raleigh, the setting for Bootlegger’s Daughter, which is numbered among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. In 2004, she received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for best North Carolina novel of the year. In 2008, she was honored with the North Carolina
Award for Literature. (The North Carolina Award is the state’s highest civilian honor.)
Dr. Ron Carlee, DPA, CM
Chief Operating Officer for ICMA, the International City/County Management Association
Dr. Carlee holds a Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA) and is an adjunct professor of public policy & public administration at the
George Washington University.
Before joining ICMA, Dr. Carlee worked in local government for over 30 years in diverse, senior executive positions. From 2001 to 2009, he was County Manager of Arlington, Virginia.
Dr. Carlee has been involved with public libraries in a variety of capacities, most recently working on projects with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the various library associations to help increase the leadership capacity of library staff to support a broad, community-based mission.
Three great preconference sessions are taking place on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in Raleigh, NC.
Your biggest challenge: choosing just ONE!!
Preconference sessions are $50.00 and will run from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the conference hotel (room assignments to be determined later).
There are 3 options:
Community Impact Planning!
With Michael Kumer, Principal of Boards Made to Order, Pittsburgh, PA. This session is geared towards library directors and library board members.
If you are overwhelmed by conflicting ideas about planning, then this is the session for you! Michael will show you new ideas regarding how libraries can create the future by crafting, monitoring and constantly updating exciting, relevant plans. This session will be “hands-on” in that Michael will demonstrate how you can replicate this model at your next library board meeting. It will include the creation of exhilarating Vision, Mission and Values statements as well as the core strategies that lead to their implementation.
Michael has several years experience with libraries and library boards. He is an exceptional facilitator and is often called upon to help organizations achieve consensus. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of community leadership at local, regional and national conferences. Michael is dynamic and very passionate about creating great library boards!
A New Model for a New World
With Molly Rodgers and Lyn Hopper. This session is geared towards system (district or regional) administrators, library directors, State Library staff & liaisons.
Hear how rural Pennsylvania’s Wayne County, when faced with gaps between funding and demand, between the past and the future, REINVENTED themselves to create a new model of library service. Learn how this process has made their county group “more hopeful, more unified and more focused.” With Georgia based consultant Lyn Hopper, Wayne County’s process has been turned into a workbook approach to help libraries who want to follow a similar process to reinvent themselves. This session will include the who, what, why and how in Wayne County as well as decisions they made and the lessons they have learned. Molly & Lyn will also provide an overview of the workbook tool and how it can be used at other libraries/systems around the country.
For many years, Molly Rodgers served as a board member and president of a small library board in Northeast PA. Circumstances leading into a library referendum propelled her from board president to library director of a different library in the same county. After successful passage of the referendum, Molly became both library director and system administrator. Molly earned her MLS from Southern Connecticut State University in 2002, one of the first two 100% online MLS graduates at SCSU.
Lyn Hopper works as a library consultant from her home in the north Georgia mountains. She has more than 25 years’ experience with Georgia public libraries, serving most recently as Assistant State Librarian for Library Development at Georgia Public Library Service. Her experience includes a total of twelve years as director of two multi-county library systems. She is the author of the Georgia public library board manual, Tools for Trustees. In 2012, she received ALA’s “Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award.” Lyn has a Master’s Degree in Librarianship from Emory University and completed her Specialist’s degree at Florida State in 2010.
What do I do Next?
With Don Reynolds. This session is designed for directors and trustees of rural and small libraries to:
- Identify the current trends and issues impacting local library services;
- Review innovative local library services;
- Learn how to innovate and market local library services;
- Determine steps for real-world, immediate “how-to apply tomorrow” what was learned.
Don B. Reynolds, Jr. is the retired Director of the Nolichucky Regional Library, a service agency of the Tennessee State Library & Archives. He was a founding Director of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries and its past president. Over the years, he has served on every rural committee in the American Library Association (chairing the Public Library Association special committee on service to rural libraries) as well as the Notable Books for Children committee, Newbery-Caldecott committee, and the Young Adult Services Division Board of Directors.
Please join us for another great ARSL Preconference!
To register: http://arsl.info/registration/
We’re thrilled to see state library agencies making scholarship opportunities available to librarians in their state! In addition to state-provided scholarships, ARSL has opened up the application process for three ARSL scholarships.
Alabama Public Library Service Scholarships
The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) is pleased to announce the formation of 2 scholarships for this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 27-29, 2012. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), in conjunction with APLS, provides up to $1500 reimbursement for registration, travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient.
The scholarship’s criteria for applicants include:
- Must work in an Alabama public library
- Never attended an ARSL Conference before
- Library service population is less than 25,000
- Willingness to network and share
- Agree to write a 1-page article for APLSeeds
- Agree to speak at the October Administrators’ Meeting about the Conference
- If not the head of a library, Supervisor approval of the application
Completed applications must be mailed and received at APLS by May 14th, and scholarship winners will be announced by June 29th. It is up to the recipient to make all travel arrangements. Applications are available on the APLS website (http://www.statelibrary.alabama.gov) under Homepage Quick Links. Any questions should be directed to Denise A. Wetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-723-8469, ext. 3949.
Arizona State Library
The Arizona State Library offers continuing education scholarships of up to $1,000 for full-time Arizona library staff members to attend the ARSL conference.
See Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Scholarship Information for more information.
California State Library Scholarships
The California State Library is pleased to announce that it will provide scholarships for California Rural Library and Tribal Library directors and staff to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina September 27 -29, 2012. This conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn and build practical knowledge, skills, and connections with other rural library staff from across the country.
Who is eligible?
Directors, librarians and other library staff members who work in a rural or Tribal library, and those who are responsible for planning and/or performing public service and programming in a rural or Tribal library.
What will the scholarship cover?
These scholarships will cover conference registration, airfare, hotel, and transportation to and from the airports. All California scholarship recipients will be required to pay for membership in ARSL in order to register for the conference at the member rate.
What is required for the scholarship request?
All scholarship requests are to be submitted by rural or Tribal library directors on their own behalf or on behalf of a staff member. Deadline for submission is June 15, 2012.
For further information and application form, contact Carla Lehn, email@example.com
Montana State Library Scholarships
Montana is providing three scholarships for librarians to attend ARSL! Applicants (directors or staff) must work at either a small Montana public library (service population 10,000 or less) or a tribal library. This should be the applicant’s first ARSL Conference. Applicants should be willing to network and share information gathered at the conference. Scholarships are up to $2,000 to be used for conference registration fees, travel, accommodations and meals. Any expenses over $2,000 must be provided by the applicant. Applications are due by July 2, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified by July 10, 2012.
See Montana Scholarship Application for more information.
State Library of North Carolina Scholarships: Raising the Bar
The project goal is to enhance library services in often underserved communities by promoting and inspiring excellence in service at rural and small public libraries across the state. Grant funds will support registration and lodging for 80 librarians to attend the 2012 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference held in Raleigh, NC on September 26-29, 2012.
Public library staff members will provide a statement describing how the skills and information they receive through conference attendance will benefit their library users and co-workers.
Awardees are expected to:
- Fully attend the conference sessions, during the conference
- Demonstrate how library users and co-workers benefited from their attendance, after the conference.
Who May Apply?
Public library staff from state-aid eligible libraries may apply. Priority may be given to those who have not previously attended an ARSL conference and/or to those in library systems serving small/rural populations.
Funds Will Cover:
- Conference Registration (may include one-year membership)
- Hotel Lodging
Participants will register individually; the State Library of North Carolina will make all lodging arrangements.
All other expenses including meals, transportation, parking, and any other incidental costs are the responsibility of the applicant and/or library.
How Do I Apply?
Complete the online application. The application deadline is Wednesday, August 1, 2012.
What is Raising the Bar?
Raising the Bar is a State Library program that enhances library services by promoting excellence in North Carolina’s libraries through supporting professional development opportunities for eligible library staff.
Questions? Contact Lori Special at 919-807-7425 or Lori.Special@ncdcr.gov.
North Dakota State Library Scholarships
The North Dakota State Library is extremely pleased to offer a Continuing Education grant opportunity for two librarians to attend the upcoming September conference of the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). Applicants must work at a rural or small North Dakota public library (service population 25,000 or less). Applications must be received at the North Dakota State library by July 1, 2012. Announcement of granted awards shall be made no later than July 16, 2012.
See North Dakota Scholarship Application for more information.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Libraries Scholarships
The Office of Commonwealth Libraries is pleased to announce the formation of four scholarships to attend this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 27-29, 2012. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) provides conference registration plus up to $800 reimbursement for travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient. It is up to the recipient to make all travel arrangements. Find application and criteria here and submit applications by Monday, July 2.
West Virginia Library Commission Scholarships
The West Virginia Library Commission (WVLC) is pleased to announce the formation of 2 scholarships to attend this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 27-29, 2012. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), in conjunction with WVLC, provides up to $1000 reimbursement for registration, travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient.
The scholarship’s criteria for applicants include:
- Must work in a West Virginia public library
- Never attended an ARSL Conference before
- Library service population is less than 20,000
- Willingness to network and share
- Agree to write a 1-page article for a future WVLC newsletter
- Agree to speak at an upcoming seminar/webinar about the Conference or a specific subject area of interest related to a conference session
- If not the head of a library, Supervisor approval of the application
Completed applications must be mailed and received at WVLC by May 31st, and scholarship winners will be announced by June 30th. New! See Announcement of Scholarship Winners.
Utah State Library Scholarships
The Utah State Library (USL) offers the UPLIFT Professional Excellence Grant to persons employed in Utah libraries for advancing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individual library employees to better serve their patrons. USL and the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) funds these grants. Up to four grants will be awarded to pay for conference attendance in Sept. 2012 in Raleigh North Carolina. Online application must be completed by July 17, 2012. Application and additional information available on the Utah State Library website.
This was the first year that the Utah State Library offered a grant to individuals from rural libraries to attend ARSL. They offered four grants, and the participants submitted an article about their experiences. Here is a link to the blog that has their thoughts about the ARSL conference: http://utahlibraries.org/tag/association-for-rural-and-small-libraries/
Press Release from West Virginia Library Commission
CHARLESTON. Two library directors in the state have been awarded scholarships by the West Virginia Library Commission to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference to be held this September in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mary Stegner, Director of the Southern Area Library in Lost Creek and Rosanne Eastham, Director of the Tyler County Public Library in Middlebourne were selected from applicants across the state. In return for their scholarships, Stegner and Eastham agreed to share their learning experience with other librarians in the state.
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries was founded several years ago to provide networking and education opportunities for librarians from small public libraries and librarians from rural, isolated areas. Tyler County and the Southern Area libraries are among the smallest and somewhat isolated, with Southern Area being the smallest public library in West Virginia in terms of service population.
Using federal funds from the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, WVLC developed these two scholarships to the ARSL conference just this year to improve library services in rural parts of the state. Applicant libraries had to serve a population of 20,000 persons or less.
For more information, contact John Paul Myrick, Director of Library Development at WVLC, 304-558-3978 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am starting to get excited for the conference!
Thanks Melissa ‘Miss Mel’ Hager, Children’s Librarian in Alexander County Library
Also, check out Miss Mel’s Testimonial!
Twenty rural public libraries will receive a grant from the National Science Foundation for Pushing the Limits: Making Sense of Science – A Reading, Viewing, and Discussion Series
Twenty small and rural public libraries in fifteen states have been selected as pilot sites to host “Pushing the Limits: Making Sense of Science,” a four-part reading, viewing and discussion series for adults. Each library will receive a $2,500 grant from the National Science Foundation, and building on the experience of the pilot sites, the program will be expanded to 100 additional rural libraries throughout the nation.
The Pushing the Limits Program will explore the ways in which, since the beginning of time, humans have strived to push the boundaries of their world. We want to be stronger, smarter, and more aware, and using science we bring those dreams to life. Sometimes, it is great new advances in science and technology that help make dreams come true, and other times it is a science of the every day. In either case, we are all finding ways to push the limits every day.
Each Pushing the Limits event will explore these ideas using a blended science café and book club model that will include feature film-quality videos and a recommended (popular) book reading and will be led by a local STEM (science, technology,
engineering, math) advocate. The overarching theme is one of real people, real stories and real science.
The pilot libraries selected for Pushing the Limits are:
Bertha Boyer Memorial Library- Honey Grove, Texas
Cross Plains Public Library- Cross Plains, Texas
Fairfield Library Association, Inc.- Fairfield, Texas
Flenniken Public Library- Carmichaels, Pennsylvania
Galway Public Library- Galway, New York
Georgetown County Library- Georgetown, South Carolina
Greenwich Free Library- Greenwich, New York
Gustine Branch Library- Gustine, California
Howe Library- Hanover, New Hampshire
Imperial County Free Library- El Centro, California
Independence Public Library- Independence, Kansas
Little Priest Tribal College Library- Winnebago, Nebraska
Mammoth Public Library- Mammoth, Arizona
Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library- Presque Isle, Maine
Murrysville Library- Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
Richfield Public Library- Richfield, Utah
Sedro-Woolley Public Library- Sedro-Woolley, Washington
Sewickley Township Library- Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
Stair Public Library- Morenci, Michigan
Sterling Public Library- Sterling, Colorado
The national program is the work of a unique team of library professionals, scientists, and filmmakers from Dartmouth College, The Association for Rural and Small Libraries, The Califa Group (a California-based library consortium), Dawson Media Group, and Oregon State University. The project is supported with generous funding from the National Science Foundation.
By reaching out to small and rural public libraries, the program is pushing many limits. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.- a total of 16,604 including branches- and more than 77% of these libraries are in communities with populations of 25,000 or less. All communities need and deserve good programs to engage and bring people together.
The Pushing the Limits programs will begin early in 2013.
For more information: Linda Crowe, 650-349-5538, and/or email@example.com.
ARSL is pleased, as an ALA Affiliate, to be represented and co-sponsoring these ALA 2012 events. If you’ll be traveling to Anaheim in June, we hope to see you there!
Advocacy and Fundraising for your Rural or Tribal Library
June 23, 1:30-3:00pm
Rural and tribal libraries around the country are overcoming budget and funding challenges using resources and toolkits that provide step-by-step approaches to advocacy and fundraising efforts. Learn from taskforce members who created ALA’s Frontline Fundraising Toolkit; gain insight into successful legislative advocacy efforts that build local support, use online tools and create networks to reach rural legislators; and hear how libraries are using the newly updated Small But Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library Toolkit and the Guide for Building Support for your Tribal Library. Learn how to build a network of support in the community, how to collaborate with other libraries and how to market your library essential to the community.
Presenters: Jennifer Peterson, Board Member, Association for Rural & Small Libraries, Chair, ALA Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee; John D. “Danny” Hales, Jr., Retired Director of Suwannee River Regional Library; Peter Pearson, President, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and Lead Consultant for Library Strategies Consulting Group; Janice Kowemy, Librarian/Director, Laguna Public Library, New Mexico and President-Elect, AILA.
Rural and Small Libraries Build and Connect Communities, part of the 2012 Diversity and Outreach Fair
June 23, 3:00-5:00pm
The Association for Rural & Small Libraries, Inc. (ARSL) provides a network of people and materials to support rural and small library staff, volunteers, and trustees, assisting them to integrate the library thoroughly with the life and work of the community it serves. Through ARSL’s annual conference, webinars, newsletter, and an active listserv, ARSL members share programs, strategies and unique approaches to building strong communities. Learn how ARSL members from rural libraries around the country are building community connections which keep libraries at the center of their community’s educational, cultural, economic, and civic live. And we invite ARSL members attending ALA to stop by and join this informal gathering of rural librarians!
Building and Sustaining Strategic Plans and Partnerships in your Rural or Tribal Community
June 24, 10:30am-12:00pm
The success of a rural library depends on effective strategic planning and sustained community partnerships. Come learn more about the facets of planning and partnerships including the basics of writing and implementing a strategic plan for a library of any size, how to ensure successful community outreach, and how to collaborate with city and county managers through strategic community partnerships. Understand the characteristics of a community centered library, how to assess needs and identify outreach target group, and learn tips on choosing a project and partners. Hear about national initiatives working to develop frameworks to help libraries develop their strategies with community partners. Use your strategic plan to help make big decisions, “sell” your goals to key partners, and be able to prove your success over time.
Presenters: Ron Carlee, Chief Operating Officer, International City/County Management Association; Andrea Berstler, President-Elect, Association for Rural and Small Libraries, and Director Wicomico Public Library (MD); Dr. Yunfei Du, Principal Investigator, PEARL (Promoting & Enhancing the Advancement of Rural Libraries) Project, University of North Texas.
The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Nominating Committee seeks current ARSL members willing to serve as board members for the Association. If you are interested and believe that you have both a commitment to rural and small libraries and a willingness to serve, please carefully review the job description and application for ARSL board members found here.
Sonja Plummer-Morgan, immediate past president and nominating chair shares:
From personal experience, I found service on the ARSL Board rewarding for many reasons. I met dynamic, diverse library staff from all over the country at our annual conference and during the year, formed lasting professional networks, felt as though I made a positive difference in the lives of rural and small library staff, and built leadership skills that I used to improve my community.
Interested members should send completed applications to Carla Lehn (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 27, 2012.
Additionally, there are opportunities for you to volunteer for the Association that are not Board positions. To learn more about ARSL and its many committees or to discuss particular gifts or skills that you believe would benefit the Association, see Get Involved.
Join us for the 2012 Annual Conference of the Association for Rural & Small Libraries when we “Celebrate Libraries.” This year’s conference will be held September 27 – 29 at the Sheraton in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Highlights include keynote presenter, Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS and lunch with keynote mystery author Margaret Maron. Join us for a Welcome Reception on Wednesday evening, September 26, when we’ll celebrate the 200th birthday of the State Library of North Carolina, our conference partner. The scheduled workshops will cover a number of relevant, current issue topics such as using social media, E-books, advocacy for your library, event and programming topics and much more. A full schedule of workshops will be available shortly.
The hallmark of the ARSL conference has always been that the workshops and speakers address real world, practical issues facing small and rural libraries. This emphasis allows the Association to focus its conference on the needs of this unique set of library directors, staff, board members and consultants and offers not theories but real world solutions, tried by their peers in other areas of the country. The 2012 conference committee has been working hard to continue that commitment and hopes that those working in rural and small libraries will make attending this year’s conference a priority.
Conference hotel room rates are $139 per night (plus tax) and can be made by calling the Sheraton Raleigh Downtown at 800-325-3535. Be sure to identify yourself as an attendee of the Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference. Hotel rates include internet access in all rooms. Those flying into the Raleigh airport should make arrangements with a shuttle company for the 20 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. There are several companies available including Super Shuttle (No conference rates are available for this ground transport).
Early Bird Rates for members will be $220 per person, non-members $275 per person. Early bird rates are good until midnight, Friday, August 31st, 2012. Regular rates for members will be $280 and for non-members $350.
Conference rates include admission to all conference events including:
- Wednesday, September 26, Welcome Reception
- All workshops
- General sessions
- Thursday breakfast
- Friday breakfast & author lunch
- Saturday lunch
- Plus occasional refreshment breaks
Online Registration will open soon and additional information including a conference schedule will be released shortly. Conference updates and additional information will be posted online at www.arsl.info.
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) has become a member of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition. The mission of the SHLB Coalition is to improve the broadband capabilities of schools, libraries and health care providers so that they can enhance the quality and availability of the essential services they provide to the public and underserved populations more effectively.
At the invitation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an ARSL representative was part of recent meetings with the SHLB Coalition and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding a comprehensive reform of its Universal Service Fund (USF). In late October, the FCC announced creation of a new Connect America Fund with a $4.5 billion annual budget to help expand high-speed Internet to rural America over the next 6 years. A key project goal, something the SHLB Coalition helped assure, is universal availability of modern networks capable of providing voice and broadband service to anchor institutions such as rural libraries.
John Windhausen, SHLB Coalition Executive Director, said, “The SHLB Coalition applauds the FCC for ensuring that recipients of USF support must serve the broadband needs of community anchor institutions in rural America. We are particularly pleased that anchor institutions are given an opportunity to participate in the design of the broadband networks serving their areas, and that recipients of USF funding must include the anchor institutions served in their annual reports. Providing rural schools, libraries, health care providers and other community anchors with affordable, high-capacity broadband will go a long way toward improving educational opportunities, medical care and economic growth in rural America.”
The SHLB Coalition emphasizes that public libraries make wired and wireless broadband connections available to the public at no charge. These connections allow people to submit job applications, apply for e-government benefits, participate in distance education and complete school homework assignments, with the additional benefit of support from on-site professional librarians.