News

Webinar: Best Small Library in America 2012

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.

View Webinar Archive


2012 ARSL Board Election Results

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:

Tena Hanson
Library Director, Estherville Public Library
Estherville, Iowa

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:

Lorie Womack
Washington Library Branch Manager
Washington, Utah

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.

 

Gail Sheldon
Director, Oneonta Public Library
Oneonta, Alabama

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.

Tameca Beckett
Adult Services Assistant, Laurel Public Library
Laurel, Delaware

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.

Lisa Lewis
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.

 

Carolyn Petersen
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.


ARSL 2012 Conference Keynote Speakers

Susan Hildreth

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.

Margaret Maron

North Carolina Author

Photo Credit: Joseph Maron

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.


Preconferences at ARSL 2012

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/


State Library Agency 2012 ARSL Conference Scholarships

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 dwetzel@apls.state.al.us 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, clehn@library.ca.gov

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.

See North Carolina Scholarship Application for a pdf of this information or complete online application.

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/

 


West Virgina Library Directors Awarded Scholarships

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 john.p.myrick@wv.gov.

Additional Scholarship Information


Hey Ya’ll

Hey Ya’ll – Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference 2012

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!


Pushing the Limits: Twenty Pilot Libraries Selected

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 lcrowe@califa.org.


ARSL Sponsored Events at ALA 2012

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.


Nomintating Committee Seeks Board Members

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 (clehn@library.ca.gov) 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.

2012 Board Application »


Celebrate Libraries: 2012 ARSL Conference

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.


ARSL Joins the School, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition

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.


“Pushing the Limits” Announcement and Application

ARSL members are encouraged to apply for the Pushing the Limits pilot grants!

Real People, Real Lives

Pushing the Limits: Making Sense of Science

A Reading, Viewing, Discussion Series for Rural Libraries

Application deadline: March 5, 2012

Date posted: January 18, 2012

I.  Program Description

The CALIFA Group (a California-based library consortium) presents Pushing the Limits: Making Sense of Science:  a Reading, Viewing, and Discussion Series for Rural Libraries. This program extends the building blocks of science literacy to two new audiences:  rural librarians and adults in the communities they serve.

Pushing the Limits

Since the beginning of time, humans have imagined and achieved ways to push the boundaries of the physical world.  We want to be stronger, smarter, and more aware, and we create stories to bring those dreams to life. But many of those stories are no longer just stories; and with great new advances in science and technology, we are finding ways in which all of us are able to push the limits every day.

The Pushing the Limits public programs will explore these ideas through a discussion led by a STEM professional (science, technology, engineering, math) and the local librarian, using a blended science café and book club model that integrates feature film quality videos and a recommended (popular) book reading. The overarching theme is one of real people, real stories, and real science.

The program will launch with 20 pilot sites (stage 1) and using feedback from the pilot phase, will expand to 100 additional rural public libraries (in stage 2). It 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, Dawson Media Group and Oregon State University.

In phase one, 20 pilot public libraries in the United States will receive a grant of $2,500, program materials including videos, and will participate in an on-site training program in fall 2012, Portland, Oregon.

More information: http://califa.org/limits.php

To complete the online application: http://bit.ly/xA4Am4

Online applications must be submitted by March 5, 2012.

II. A programming grant opportunity: Engage your rural community in science adventure

The CALIFA Group is opening a national search for 20 rural libraries to join as pilot sites in a grant project funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal is to strengthen adult science programming and resources in small and rural public libraries and to enhance public interest and involvement in STEM topics– science, technology, engineering and math.

Your application will have a narrative component. Before you compose the narrative part of this proposal, we strongly recommend that you read these guidelines carefully. If you do not, your proposal is unlikely to be competitive.

PROPOSAL NARRATIVE

Please write a brief narrative describing your plans for hosting Pushing the Limits:  Making Sense of Science: a Reading, Viewing, and Discussion Series for Rural Libraries.

  • Describe your program plan, including overall goals, description of target audience(s), any plans for related programs, and name(s) and role(s) of your partner(s). (When possible, include letters of support from any partner.)
  • Provide the name and title of the local project scholar, the scholar’s highest degree, and his or her discipline. In lieu of academic credentials, discuss his or her knowledge of science and why he/she would be a good choice for project scholar.  (Note: Applications without a confirmed project scholar will not be considered.)
  • Describe the publicity efforts that will be used to attract participants.
  • Describe the methods that will be used to evaluate how well your program met its goals and objectives.
  • Summarize your library’s commitment to adult programming in general, including any prior successful programming, if any.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

If selected, you will be required to submit a Program Schedule, indicating proposed dates, times and projected attendance for the Pushing the Limits series of programs.


Call for Submissions!!

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries invites workshop submissions for the 2012 Conference to be held in Raleigh North Carolina, September 28th- 30th.
The workshop proposals can be submitted using our online form found at this link below. We are accepting applications for ½ day pre-conference proposals as well.
http://tinyurl.com/ARSL2012presenters
The deadline for submitting the form is February 17th, 2012.  All presenters will be notified whether their workshop was selected or not by March 2nd, 2012.
We remind presenters that workshops 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.
All proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Presenter Committee. 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).

We look forward to your submissions and good luck!

Judy Van Acker
Conference Presenter Chair


PEARL Project: Community Outreach by Texas Rural Libraries

These rural Texas communities know their libraries! Through the PEARL Project (Promoting & Enhancing the Advancement of Rural Libraries), the University of North Texas is working with 105 rural libraries in Texas to enhance the role of public libraries in their communities. With funding from the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust, the three-year project is addressing the roles of the small rural library as:

  • A community resource.
  • A gathering place for people.
  • A facilitator for community partnerships.

The project’s team includes Louise Greene, ARSL board member and secretary, who is one of the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) students who serves as a mentor to the project’s rural librarians. Dr. Robert S. Martin is also a part of the project team and he will be presenting on the PEARL Project at the Small but Powerful Forum for Winning Big Support for your Rural Library at ALA Midwinter.

A core component of the project are the Community Outreach Plans. Each plan has a detailed step-by-step action grid that describes how to complete a program with community partners. Programs among the more than two dozen plans now available in .pdf format include: game day, summer reading for teens, homebound delivery, reaching low income patrons, developing a local history collection, offering ESL classes and more. Each plan was written by a librarian in a rural community in conjunction with PEARL grant students and is designed to heighten the visibility of the library within the community and improve library servies. The plans are proven workable models. New plans are added continually as they are written.

Find out more about the project and browse the Community Outreach Plans, and if you’ll be in Dallas for Midwinter, please come to the Small but Powerful Forum. And if you won’t be there, urge your regional or state representatives to join on your behalf!

And special thanks to the PEARL Project and staff for their support as ARSL Annual Conference Sponsors in 2011!


Newest ARSL Board Members

Some of you may have met our newest board members in Frisco but we wanted to be sure to introduce them to all in the ARSL community. Please say hello to Lorie, Sharon and Paul; they bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to the board.

Lorie WomackLorie Womack – Roosevelt Library Branch Manager, Roosevelt, Utah

Rural libraries are expected to provide a wider variety of services with a limited availability of resources. It is critical that we learn to tell our story and provide the services needed by our patrons. As rural librarians we need to be advocates for the services we provide with elected officials and the community members we serve.

Michie, SharonSharon Michie – Steele Memorial Library Branch Manager, Wayne County Public Library, Mount Olive, North Carolina

My passion for the ARSL extends beyond our mission- it comes from personal experience. Attending the conference in past years has given me practical knowledge and ideas to transform my community. We may be leading small libraries, but they can be mighty! The ARSL sponsored me in last year’s ALA Emerging Leader program, and I am eager to give back to our close-knit community of rural librarians.

Healey, PaulPaul D. Healey, JD, PhD – Senior Instructional Services Librarian and Associate Professor of Library Administration, Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Law Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I believe strongly in the need for vibrant libraries in small communities, because libraries provide a bedrock of literacy, and a gateway to the larger world. I am very interested in how the delivery of information services is changing in an increasingly digital world, and in the particular challenges and issues that those changes create for libraries that may not have the resources and access of their large community counterparts.

Also elected to a second term were Steve Seale and Donna Brice.

See full list of your current ARSL board members»


ARSL Announces 2012 and 2013 Conference Locations

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries announced the locations for their 2012 and 2013 Annual Conferences today. The 2012 ARSL Annual Conference will be held at the Sheraton Raleigh, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 28, 29 and 30, 2012. The Sheraton Raleigh is located downtown, within easy walking distance to restaurants, museums and other entertainment. Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar today.

The ARSL partner for the 2012 conference will be the State Library of North Carolina. In 2012, the State Library will be celebrating their 200th Birthday. In light of this landmark, the theme for the 2012 conference will be “Celebrate Libraries”. ARSL hopes you will make plans now to join us and help us blow out the candles on the birthday cake. Information about conference rates and registration will be available shortly.

The 2013 Annual Conference will be held in the Council Bluffs (IA) / Omaha (NE) area in September of 2013. Conference partners for this event will be the Iowa and Nebraska (The Iowa Small Library Association and representatives of the Nebraska library community are co-hosting). Further details will be announced as they become available.

Designed for those who work for small and rural libraries, the ARSL conference features practical, peer-led workshops and keynote speakers who are leaders in various areas of librarianship. Additionally, the conference’s after hours activities are a wonderful time for library staff, directors and trustees to network, share ideas, and encourage one another in an informal setting.

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries is an organization dedicated to the positive growth and development of libraries. ARSL believes in the value of rural and small libraries and strives to create resources and services that address national, state, and local priorities for libraries situated in rural communities. Created in 1982 by Dr. Bernard Vavrek, Director of the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, ARSL became an independent entity in 2007. ARSL is an ALA Affiliate organization. For more information on the association including contact information and how to join, visit our website at www.arsl.info.


ARSL Brochures

Thanks to the Membership Development Committee, and to our partners at the ALA OLOS Office, for their great work in the creation of the new ARSL Brochure! The brochure can be downloaded as a PDF here. All are welcome (and encouraged!) to share with others in your networks to bring more members into the fold!

If you would like to order brochures and/or conference badge ribbons to share at your state / regional conference, we will soon be ready to accommodate you. Please email your request (along with desired quantity, delivery date, and address) to committee chair Carolyn Petersen at carolyn.petersen (at) sos.wa.gov.

ARSL Brochure

Please also feel free to use these About ARSL Slides to help promote the association at your local events or information booth.


2011 ARSL Scholarship Recipient Experience (and why you should attend next year)

I was very lucky to have been selected as the Ken Davenport Scholarship recipient for the ARSL 2011 Conference held in Frisco, Texas. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to be part of something I had never experienced. My experience was eventful, fun, and slightly overwhelming. Not overwhelming in a bad way, but overwhelming in the sense that I walked away with about a million new ideas and stories that I wanted to share.

In addition to working in a smaller library, I am also an Information Technology Rural Librarians Master’s Scholarship (also known as ITRL) Program Recipient at the University of Tennessee. The scholarship is made possible by the Rural Library Professionals as Change Agents in the 21st Century Grant provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. I mention that, because there were really two reasons I felt that this conference was important for me to attend. It aligned perfectly with my current education focus and could help me in my current library position as the Information Specialist at the Lumpkin County Library in Dahlonega, Georgia.

The group sessions were everything from inspirational to entertaining. Linda Braun spoke to us about moving forward and being willing to leave things behind as libraries move toward being a community center and less of a book repository. Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes, otherwise known as the two guys behind the comic strip ‘Unshelved,’ reminded us of the humor that can be found in the daily life of working in a library.

My favorite part of the conference was the variety of breakout sessions offered. This gave each individual the ability to explore different topics that were appealing to them or their library situation. These topics covered everything from grant writing tips, adult programming with no money, library signage, and getting teens in the library. And trust me, that is in no way an extensive list of topics. The breakout sessions were well run and presenters were excited to share whatever lessons they could pass along.

But even if there had been no group sessions and no breakout sessions I still would have walked away with more library knowledge than I showed up with. Having the opportunity to speak and interact with librarians who are in similar library situations as your own is an experience in itself. Bring up one topic, such as computer classes at the library and you immediately get 10 responses from 10 different people. Everyone comes willing to share about how things happen at their library. You learn very quickly that there are multiple ways to do one thing at a library and believe me there are ideas out there that have never crossed your mind.

I hope everyone takes full opportunity of the 2012 Conference – which I believe will be in Raleigh, North Carolina. Please pass the word around about ARSL. It is an amazing organization that works hard for the members and offers so much in the way of learning and growth. If you have never attended an ARSL conference before, please take the opportunity to apply for a scholarship for the 2012 Conference. Come to share or come to learn – you will end up walking away from your experience having done both.

Thank you again to ARSL for the scholarship opportunity and for presenting an awesome conference. Hope to see you next year!

Angela Glowcheski
Lumpkin County Library, Dahlonega, GA
angela.glowcheski@gmail.com


ARSL Conference Raises Hopes and Concerns

[Jeff D. Saunders was one of this year’s ARSL Conference Scholarship Winners. Thank you Jeff, for the excellent post!]

In my application essay for the Bernard Vavrek Scholarship the big justification I had for attending the ARSL 2011 Conference was sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas relating to our work at the Information Institute on the North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA) and Florida Rural Broadband Alliance (FRBA) Middle Mile Projects. While NFBA and FRBA are more concerned with bringing better Internet connection speeds to rural Florida, the Institute’s task was a needs assessment of different community anchor institutions, libraries, schools, police departments, etc. and to give recommendations on how NFBA and FRBA could tailor their programs to get said anchor institutions to adopt broadband connections.

Of course, in the process we happen to get a pretty good picture of the state of technology use in rural and small libraries throughout Florida. So I must admit I had an ulterior motive for attending the ARSL conference, to gauge the situation at other rural and small libraries across the country. Through the presentation panels and conversations with some wonderful librarians I came away feeling a lot better about the world as most told me they recieved E-rate, had technology plans, were part of some type of consortium to pool resources for technology, and understood how free access to technology at their library provided a huge value to their community.

What was most concerning was the fact many believed it didn’t matter what value or impact the library had on the community to local administrators or politicians. Some noted the fact that despite the overwhelming support from the community and evidence of the importance of the library, funding got cut anyway. It is something that is downplayed, or not mentioned at all, in library schools today. The fact that despite best efforts and overwhelming empirical evidence libraries, especially rural and small libraries that are the backbone of public libraries in this country, are vulnerable to political ideologies.

We like to think we live in a time when access to information and continuing education for all are accepted as basic needs. Of course, all you have to do is turn on Fox News and you can see that is not the case. Libraries find themselves in a constant political battle with those who do not understand the purpose for them or the role they play in the community, one that everyone I talked to either mentioned or had an opinion on. It is also something that is not mentioned in library schools. Professors, at least most, shy away from explicit discussion about politics and the way it affects libraries. While it was normally the first topic of conversation with the librarians I had the pleasure of meeting at ARSL.

In terms of specific things I took away from the conference, the comments of one Director at the “Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library,” panel who noted the lack of an IT standards system for libraries. This is something extremely interesting to me as I spent the summer hearing pretty much the exact same thing from library directors in Florida. Why there are no standards for the types of technology in libraries is due to a number of factors. For one it is difficult to say what is best for all libraries given the different contexts, situtations, and communities libraries exist in. Second, the power of who decides what the standard is, or more importantly what vendors’ product will be the standard, is a highly contentious proposition. For example, you can imagine the controversy it would cause if the ALA set the standard OPAC system with one company and not another. However, providing general guidelines on what kind of connection speed a library of a certain size should have or the most advantageous number of computers for a library that serves a certain population size are more general questions that do need answering. These are also questions that will be largely answered through forces far outside of the libary’s control.

Libraries are somewhat caught in a shifting paradigm as they become more centered around technology and a new service role. It is unclear, especially to those like me just entering the field, how things will shake out. But I am certain of one thing after my attendance at ARSL, rural libraries are extremely adaptable, more so than their larger urban counterparts, and will profit most from their dedicated and highly skilled staff. When I tell other MLIS students I am interested in working in rural and small libraries they often give me a quizzical look and immediately ask, “but why?” It is pretty understandable. Most in my generation are more concerned with getting a high paying job in some city somewhere and library students are no exception. However, after attending ARSL I am more than ever enthusiastic about joining the rural and small library community.

Jeff D. Saunders
Research Associate
Information Use Management and Policy Institute
The Florida State University
Master’s Student
School of Library and Information Science
College of Communication and Information
The Florida State University


Kansas comes to ARSL on the bus, again!

As in past years, many ARSL attendees were fortunate to receive scholarship funds to attend the conference by organizations within their state. A special thank you to those Conference Scholarship Providers for 2011 who made the conference a possibility for so many attendees!

The seven regional library systems in the state of Kansas have provided scholarships AND transportation to ARSL’s annual conference since the 2009 conference in Gatlinburg, TN. We asked them to share a bit about their bus adventures.

ARSL 2011 Kansas Bus

The day began with a picture, a birthday request from Wendy Mitchell, Director of Clay Center Carnegie Library in Clay Center, who asked everyone to pose in their Kansas Geek the Library t-shirts. They celebrated her birthday with cupcakes on the way to the conference! Wendy is in the front row, furthest right.

Kim Rutter shared:

SEKLS pays for the bus cost for everyone in our region who wants to go to ARSL. In addition, we have four $400 scholarships to cover conference costs for library staff who sign up first and $150 scholarships to help with expenses for later enrollees. People who are going to ARSL for the first time get first shot at the big scholarships. In spite of the bus breakdown on the way back from Gatlinburg, in the first year of the magic bus, library directors and staff in Southeast Kansas have continued to board the bus to Denver and to Frisco and have benefited from the camaraderie with their counterparts from around the state. Nothing like spending 7-8 hours on a bus together to forge friendships! I highly recommend this mode of travel to other states: our bus dropped us off right at the front door of the hotel with our luggage. No baggage being dragged over tarmac, no luggage carousels to wait on, no airport shuttles or taxis to cope with…did you notice how the Kansas people just rolled right off that bus and straight into the gaming mixer? We might not have had the reputation as party animals before now, but all this bus travel has changed that!

Carol Barta shared:

NCKLS scholarships cover registration only, so our librarians appreciate the bargain of riding the bus. And did you know that buses are the most environmentally friendly way to travel long distances? They are even greener than trains. And the bus driver had decorated the bus with bunting and flags in honor of 9/11 and our trip home.

The best thing about riding the bus is having someone else drive. We didn’t have to pay attention to where we were, or stress about finding exits and reading maps. We arrived without being worn out from travel and even got a nap or two on the way home. Though we did practically meet our quotas of talking for the week on the bus alone.

And what better way to build bonds between librarians in your state! These Kansas librarians connect and collaborate throughout the year based on the connections they make on the bus. But as Chris Rippel from CKLS shared, in some cases, “What happens on the bus, stays on the bus.”

Thank you to all our Kansas ARSL members! We may not see the Kansas bus make it all the way to North Carolina next year, but perhaps another state will step up and fill a bus?!


Shoe Shopping with Librarians

[Thank you to Jan Williams, Director of the Russell Public Library, Kansas, for her guest blog post!]

I recently attended the ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries) Conference in Frisco, TX. I was fortunate to attend several very helpful and informative sessions which I know will help me and my staff be the best library we can be.

But the most important thing I learned wasn’t in one of the sessions or talking to one of the presenters. I learned a very important lesson shopping for shoes.

I have very small feet and finding shoes that fit has always been a challenge for me. One of my goals during my off-time was to find a pair of decent shoes to replace the worn-out, uncomfortable ones I was wearing.

The first night of shopping at the mall produced nothing but sore feet while on my quest for shoes. Several of my colleagues offered help but I found nothing within my price range.

The second night, I had only forty-five minutes in which to find the elusive perfect shoe before the mall closed. One of the librarians discovered that one of the department stores was having a big shoe sale so four of my CKLS colleagues got it in their heads that we were going to find shoes no matter what!

One of our system consultants was amazing as she swooped through the aisles honing in on perfect shoes. I’m sure the sales people thought me someone very important to have all these people helping me. I finally found some shoes but I also learned a very important lesson.

Librarians are in the business of helping. Every one of those women that were shopping with me were like bloodhounds on the trail. They were determined to find what they were looking for and weren’t going to give up until they found it. They did that for me and I know that’s what they do for their patrons because that’s the kind of people they are.

Aren’t all of us like that? Isn’t that why we do what we do? The nature of a librarian is to help; not giving up until we squeeze every bit of information out of whatever source we have. It is essential to make our patrons feel important by going above and beyond to find what they need.

That attitude, that drive, and that thirst for knowledge will always be needed and appreciated by our patrons and by our communities. That is what will keep libraries vital and thriving into the twenty-first century and beyond.

Jan Williams
September 2011


Member Power

One of the highlights of our year as an organization is always the conference.  The opportunity to see old friends and the possibility for making new ones creates an excitement that cannot be duplicated by other events.  Perhaps because we are a association of library staff who are, for the most part, isolated during the year, or perhaps because our work in small communities gives us insight into the power of face-to-face networking, the conference is always a big deal.  I cannot encourage you strongly enough to do what you can to be there.

But beyond the 3 days that make up the annual conference, I encourage you to become active in this, your organization; for this is your organization.  A place where those serving as a vital element in the life of their community can communicate, and sometimes commiserate, about their situations.  Where you can “pick the collective brain” for solutions, and resources from those who are doing what you are doing, in the next town down the road.  ARSL is an organization for you, powered by it’s members.

At the conference and for several weeks after, we will be issuing a call for committee members. As a growing organization, with an all volunteer board, we rely on the help and participation of our members.  If you are in Texas for the conference, stop by the table we will have set up with committee information and see what part you can play.  If you cannot come to Texas, look for that same message over the listserv.  There is a piece to this puzzle that has your name on it. Get involved.  It is the best way to assure that the ARSL remains your organization, carrying your message and speaking with the voice of rural librarians everywhere.


But can you afford to not be there?

My library, like libraries everywhere, has had to evaluate and re-evaluate and re-re-evaluate where we are putting our money.  One of the pluses to dwindling funds is that it forces you to select what is truly important, which of your community’s needs are of utmost priority?  Programs, collections, staff salaries, outreach, facilities . . . where should the money go?  Too often, one of the first line items to be cut is staff training.  Seen as a nice plus, more often than not, boards and even library staff do not place this item in the top tier for funding.  Instead, it is something that is done if there is money. I say that philosophy is hogwash. In person training provides opportunities that no other training can offer, and it is vital to the growth of your library.

Training, especially in this day and age of fast changes and even faster technology, is a necessity, not a want or a desire – a must have necessity.  And for those working in isolated, rural or small libraries who do not often have access to in-house or collobrative training, it is even more urgent.  Think of the benefits of an in person training day – you get your batteries recharged, you get to talk to and hear about wonderful, new and exciting ideas that others in your situation are accomplishing and ask them how did they do that?  You have the chance to build your network of experts whom you can contact over the next year and bounce ideas off of and share opportunities for online training.  It is a time to immerse yourself, even for a day, in the pool of “What we could do”. 

The ARSL conference is coming up in a month.  This conference is designed for you – the library staff and board members working in small, rural, perhaps isolated places who want to infuse some new ideas, network with new friends and ask quetions of those who are doind what you want to do.  I know that budgets are tight, that travel money is difficult to come by, but I believe that you will not find a better bang for your buck.  There is little Theory here – it is substance, practical and down to earth.  I encourage you to talk to your board, your Friends, your rich uncle and get yourself to this conference.  It is an investment in your professional life and in the life of your library that I believe you will find pays big returns in the coming months.  You can not afford to miss this opportunity.

See you in Frisco, Texas!