2013 Conference

2014 Conference – Handouts & Presentations

Materials are provided as Adobe Acrobat Reader format unless indicated otherwise.



Breakout Sessions

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

By Jennifer Milligan

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

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

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

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

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

By Michele Lawrence

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

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

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

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


Super Librarian! – Kathy Hale, Scholarship Winner

kathy scholarshipBy Kathy Hale

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

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

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

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

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


2013 – Program and Handouts

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

Full Conference Program (pdf)

See also:

Session Handouts

Answering Legal Reference Questions on a Shoestring
Paul Healey

Handout (pdf)

Community 3E
Gail Sheldon

Handout (docx)

Community Connections
Becky Baker

Handout (pdf)

Dazzling Displays on a Dime
Leah Krotz

Handout (pdf)

Establish a Seed Saving Library
David Mixdorf

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

Everyday Tools
Becky Heil

Handout (docx)

Excel at Rearranging your Library
Chris Rippel

Collection Manager
Shelf Shuffler

Family Read
Heidi Schutt

Handout (pdf)

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

Handout (doc)

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

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

Gaming & Game Programming in the Library
Josh Barnes
Jezmynne Dene

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

Geek Your Library
Jennifer Powell

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

Genealogy Basics for the non-genealogist Librarian
Sarah Uthoff

Handout 1 (pdf)
Handout 2 (pdf)

Inspired for Greatness
Heather Woody


Laughter for the Health of It
Wendy Street

Handout (pdf)

Makers, Mentors and More
Timothy Owens
‎Travis Porter
Kieran Hixon


Mind Mapping
Denise Anton Wright


No Cost Staff Recognition
Sheila Urwiler

Handout 1 (pdf)
Handout 2 (pdf)

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

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

Physical Change by Mental Change
Lola DeWall

Handout (docx)

The Power of One
Judy Calhoun
Anna Bates

Powerpoint (updated with Speaker’s notes)

Reader’s Advisory On the Run
Carolyn Petersen

Handout (pdf)

Refurbishing Reference
Terry Elsey


Shifting Sands…A Changing Library Landscape
Bonnie McKewon

Handout 1 (pdf)

Small Libraries Can Make Big Impact
Joan K. Weaver

Handout (pdf)
Handout 3 (pdf)

Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Valerie Haverhal

Handout (pdf)
Handout 2 (doc)

Tapping into Transnational Community Networks
John Thill

Handout (pdf)

Tech Tools: Get-er Done for Free
Kieran Hixon


Teen Programs That Pack a Punch
Hope Decker

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

Think Outside the Barn
Rachel Miller
Louise Greene

Handout (pdf)

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

Handout (docx)

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


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

handout (pdf)


2013 Conference Update

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

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

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

For information about lodging, our fee schedule, dates, etc., please see the following page on our website:  http://arsl.info/registration/

Preconferences and Tours

Preconference sessions and tours are filling quickly for this year’s conference. We’ve reached the registration limit for the Shifting Sands preconference and the evening Ghost Tour but you can still get in on the 3 remaining preconference sessions and the all day tour of Council Bluffs.  Remember, if you’ve already registered it’s not too late to add a preconference or tour to your registration. Read more about the preconference sessions: http://arsl.info/2013/08/pre-conference-presentations/ and tours: http://arsl.info/registration/#tours

Author Luncheon

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

Wednesday Welcome Reception

Dr. Spit and the Blues Mechanics

Dr. Spit and the Blues Mechanics

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

Final Plans

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

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

Pre-conference Presentations

NLSI_no_backgroundNASA’s “Explore: Marvel Moon” Hands-on Activities

Presenter: Eve Halligan, NASA Lunar Science Institute

Open the door to another world by providing hands-on science experiences for your community! Undertake hands-on NASA activities that are designed to engage children ages 8 to 13 and their families in the library environment and rely on inexpensive, fun materials. Receive NASA activity plans, resources – and lots of ideas! In this full day pre-conference, Eve Halligan from the NASA Lunar Science Institute will show you how to incorporate science education in your library programming.

Price: $65-Includes continental breakfast and boxed lunch
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Shifting Sands: A Changing Library LandscapeBonnie McK

Presenter: Bonnie McKewon, Iowa Library Services

Shifting Sands: A Changing Library Landscape” examines how trends affect libraries’ decision-making in meeting community needs. In this half day pre-conference, see how library spaces are being reimagined as creative gathering places. Look at how staff job descriptions are changing to meet workplace expectations. Discuss what fresh skills library trustees need to bring to the 21st century board table. And see how Planning for Results leads library staff and boards to respond to community needs. Yes, the sands are shifting, but good news – it’s not quicksand – we can best navigate a changing library landscape by working together!

This session is FULL.

Michael SauersVideo Book Talks: From Script to Screen

Presenters: Michael Sauers and Laura Johnson, Nebraska Library Commission
Laura Johnson
In this half day pre-conference, Michael and Laura will discuss the how and why of video book talks – and demonstrate making one, from writing your script, editing your video, and posting it online. If you want to engage your teens, market your book discussion group, or just encourage people to read, check out this easy, fun way to add book talks to your website.

Price: $35
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Head shot 1 (1) (2)Inspired for Greatness

Presenter: Heather Woody, Success Coach – Heather Woody Unlimited

Learn ways to motivate, influence and inspire the people within your team in order to keep them engaged, fulfilled and enthused about the work they are doing on a daily basis. These key intangibles are important in reducing turnover and increasing overall job satisfaction. People and their performance excel when they are able to add fun into their daily mix of tasks, projects and goal achievement. Learn ways to implement productive, performance enhancing fun into your library in this half day pre-conference and be empowered!

Price: $50
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

See more information about 2013 ARSL Conference

2013 ARSL Scholarship Recipients

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 thank you to the members of the Scholarship Committee for all of their hard work.  More than 90 applications were submitted and each committee member read each application as part of the evaluation process.   It is a lot of work with some very difficult choices as there are only 3 scholarships and so many worthy applicants. Thank you to:   Hope Decker, Julie Elmore, Judy Grandstaff, Valerie Haverhals,  Becky Heil and committee chair, Shirley Vonderhaar.

On behalf of the ARSL Conference Scholarship Committee we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Scholarships to attend the ARSL Conference this fall in Omaha, Nebraska.

ARSL Conference Scholarship Winners for 2013

Bernard Vavrek Scholarship
Michele Lawrence
Student at the University of Alabama and library assistant at North Suffolk Public Library

Founders Scholarship
Kathy Hale
Director, Savonburg Public Library

Ken Davenport Scholarship
Jennifer Milligan
Director, Sherrill-Kenwood Free Library

We look forward to sharing blog posts from Michele, Kathy and Jennifer 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.

2013 – Conference Presenters

See also:

Louise Alcorn pic (presenting with Christa Burns)Louise Alcorn has been the Reference Technology Librarian and webmistress at the West Des Moines Public Library since 1996. She presents at local, state and national library meetings and conferences on technology topics and has also authored two books on library technology topics for Neal-Schuman Publishers. Louise earned her MILS at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. She also has a B.A. in American Studies from Grinnell College. Louise participated in the second Iowa Library Leadership Institute in August of 2006. She is active in the Iowa Library Association, serving as Chair of the Public Relations Committee and the IT Forum. In 2009, Louise was elected to a three-year term on the ILA Executive Board, and currently chairs the ILA Bylaws Committee.  She fully embraces her love of all things gadget-y, but is also perfectly happy to curl up with a real, live, paper book.

Denise Anton Wright picBecoming a librarian is the second smartest thing that Denise Anton Wright ever did (the first was marrying her hubby).  During her 28 years in Library Land, Denise has worn many hats: as a youth services librarian, a librarian for a not-for-profit book jobber, an academic librarian, a public library director, and a system consultant.  She is currently the Public Library Administration Consultant for the South Central Library System in Madison, Wisconsin where she works closely with a wide range of public libraries.

Steve Arthur picSteve Arthur, Director of the Ellis Public Library  – Born and raised in Western Kansas as a farm kid and fed a steady diet of space exploration during the Apollo missions and built my first rocket in 1973 during what was considered the golden era of model rocketry.  I served eight years in United States Army Military Police, worked four years in civilian law enforcement, and briefly in the oil field. I earned a degree in history at Fort Hays State University and then became director of the Ellis Public Library in 2002 and established a rocketry program at EPL in 2007. This is the sixth year of the Big Creek Rocketry program and it shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to the library sessions, I offer this program to schools within the county as well as 4H and to 4H groups throughout Western Kansas during Space-Tech Days. This year, the program may expand into a collaborative venture with the Fort Hays State University’s Academy of Science as one of the STEM courses for elementary and high school students. My goal is simple; to offer a program to children that will engage them and provide them a means to build a working model rocket and at the same time, passively teach and build an appreciation for the sciences and history. So far, I have not been disappointed.

becky baker pic

Becky Baker, Library Director at Seward, NE, Scott Childers, Library Director at York, NE, and Lisa Olivigni, Library Director at Crete, NE have over 73 years of combined experience working in a variety of Nebraska libraries.  The three are colleagues and friends, though they have been known to use friendly competition between their communities to encourage greater library use.

Anna Bates pic (co-presenting with Judy Calhoun)

Anna Bates worked for the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library for 20 years. Since receiving her MLIS in 2007, she has worked as Assistant Director of the Stuttgart (AR) Public Library. As the daughter of a librarian, she was taught to cherish books, reading, and the local library. Her passion is to find ways to expand information access to her community and beyond.

Al Bennett picAl Bennett is Co-Principle Investigator representing ARSL in the Pushing the Limits project. He is retired from the California State Library, Sacramento, where he specialized in rural libraries and adult literacy in Library Development Services. He currently instructs glider flying in the Pittsburgh Soaring Club near his home in Pittsburgh, PA, among other activities that include other national library projects.

Andrea Berstler picAndrea Berstler is the Executive Director of Wicomico Public Library in Salisbury, MD.Her library system consists of both urban and rural libraries that serve a uniquely eclectic community made up of Eastern Shore watermen, poultry farmers, science and space workers, university professors and a large community of working poor. Prior to that she was the director of the Hankin Branch Library in Chester County, PA and the Village Library in Morgantown, PA.

A converted educator and business major, Andrea has found a surprising amount of information from both fields has come to her aid in her work as a library administrator.  Advocating that libraries consider themselves customer service businesses, Andrea challenges library managers to apply solid business principles in the running of their organization. She holds an MLS from Kutztown University and is working on an MLIS from the University of Maryland. Andrea has been published in the March 2013 Issue of RUSQ and in the work “The Entrepreneurial Librarian” (McFarland 2012). She has been honored to serve as the ARSL President for the last year.  She is a Philadelphia native, a dog lover and a life-long Phillies fan.

Jeremy Bolom picJeremy Bolom was born a Texan, and although he received his MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999, he has studied (Bachelor of Music from Centenary College in Shreveport), worked (not just in libraries), and lived (currently in West Monroe) in Louisiana long enough to lose his Lone Star State status.  For the past 11 years Jeremy has worked as the Head of Public Service for Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston, LA where he has weeded a lot of books, led a reference service revolution, created many materials displays, and started a crafting university.  An active member of the Louisiana Library Association Public Section, Jeremy enjoys presenting at its yearly conference.  2012 was a big year for Jeremy.  Not only was he honored as the Louisiana Library Association’s first Public Librarian of the Year (and, Lincoln Parish Library received library of the year!), but he also made his first national presentation at the annual conference of the Association of Rural and Small Libraries.  His greatest joy as a librarian is seeing those he’s mentored become enrolled in library school.  Outside work, you can find Jeremy enthralled with his “latest” hobby (currently bowling).  Other than reading (especially pop-up books), he loves chocolate, flea markets, and getting off early on Friday.

Christa Burns picChrista Burns is the Special Projects Librarian, Technology & Access Services, at the Nebraska Library Commission. She provides organization, training, and consultation for special projects, such as the Gates Foundation grants for libraries, E-rate, Learning 2.0, and group purchases of library products and services. Christa also coordinates, produces, and hosts the Commission’s weekly webinar series, “NCompass Live”. Before coming to Nebraska in 2000, Christa spent 8 and 1/2 years at Pace University in Westchester County, NY, starting as a Reference Librarian and working her way up to become Head of Research & Information Services. She received her MLS from the University of Albany School of Information Science and Policy, and her BA from the University of Binghamton in English Literature and Folklore. In her spare time, Christa is a gamer, bibliophile, floriculturist, amateur gourmet and cat minion.

Judy Calhoun pic


Judy Calhoun began her library career 20 years ago as a branch manager for the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library.   In 2007, Ms. Calhoun graduated from Florida State University with a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science.  In 2008 she became the Assistant Director of the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library, a five county 12 branch Library system and in 2012 she was named Regional Director.

Matthew CrossSince 1997 Matthew Cross has been working in the library field, from a student worker to his current position as the Library Technician at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library. He received his BA in Computer Science from Transylvania University in 2001. He was then the Cataloging Supervisor at the Transylvania University Library until 2008. In 2009 he became the Library Technician at Ak-Chin. There, along with knowing how to run everything electrical, he runs his Summer Reading program: Mad Science Mondays with Matt, keeps programs using technology running smoothly, and is busy planning his next STEM program using Lego robotics.

Sarah Day picSarah Day, Youth Services Director at the Dr. Grace O. Doane Alden Public Library, came to librarianship in a roundabout way. She learned to read when she was four and has loved books and reading her whole life. However, she never thought of making her love of books a career. Instead, she studied art and theater in high school and college, spending her days “coloring” and “playing pretend.” In 2007, she saw an ad in the paper looking for a Children’s Librarian at the Alden Public Library. Sarah inquired about the job description, and while she had never worked in a library a day in her life, the culmination of her life experiences made her more than well suited for the position. As a lifelong library user, she was familiar with the Dewey Decimal System and alphabetizing material. Sarah’s background in art and theater lent themselves well to crafts and programming. Working at a baby store meant that she was up-to-date on the latest research about early childhood development. And her personal preferred genre of reading — juvenile and young adult fiction — made helping younger patrons a snap! She is also quite technically minded, so learning the circulation system and aiding patrons on the computers came naturally to her. Needless to say, she got the job! For the past six year, Sarah has spent her time playing with and teaching kids of all ages, as well as sharing her expertise with her colleagues. She’s presented at least five times at conferences and has been invited to be one of the presenters for Iowa’s 2014 Summer Library Program workshops. She’s very excited to be with us this year and looks forward to meeting as many of you as possible!

Hope Decker picHope Decker is the director of the Cohocton Public Library, a small rural library in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes Region. Hope loves working in her library because she gets to interact with the whole community, but the teens hold a special place in her heart. She emphatically believes that everyone and anyone can start a teen program in their library, sometimes it just takes an idea and the courage to start.

Jezmynne Dene picJezmynne Dene is the Director of the Portneuf District Library, located in Chubbuck, Idaho, and serving all of District 25.  She has her bachelors degree in Southwestern History from the University of New Mexico and her masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Jezmynne is a patient and enthusiastic librarian and is active in her community.  Jezmynne enjoys enabling her staff to succeed and moving her library into the future while staying relevant and important to her library’s community of users.

Lola DeWall picLola DeWall has been Director of Pocahontas Public Library for 7 years with total library experience of 11 years.  Also worked with Preschoolers, 4-H youth and organizations.  Live in rural Iowa, married for 32 years to a dairy farmer, and have three children.  I enjoy reading, sewing, 4-H judging, crafting, and being church secretary.  According to my fellow Librarians my favorite pastime is making creative, monthly, physical changes in our library building and convincing them that change is fun!

Karen Drevo picFor more than twenty-five years, Karen Drevo has been the Youth Services Librarian at Norfolk Public Library, Norfolk, NE.  She thinks bringing people and books together is the best job in the world!  She does a wide range of collection development and programming for all ages.Karen has been an active member of the Nebraska Library Association for twenty-five years—serving on many different committees and has chaired the School, Children and Young People’s section of NLA and the NLA Intellectual Freedom Committee.  She is currently Chair-Elect of the new NLA Intellectual Freedom Round Table.  She has also served as Chair of the Nebraska State Advisory Council on Libraries.
Since 1995, Karen has volunteered considerable time on various committees of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) and has served multiple terms on the CSLP Board of Directors as Chair the CSLP Vendor Committee and Chair of the Copyright/Rules of Use Committee.  She has presented workshops in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas for librarians who speak little or no Spanish but  provide programming for young children from Spanish-speaking homes. Karen has also presented Every Child Ready to Read Workshops, teaches an Early Language and Literacy class at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, and portrays her Great-Great-Grandmother who homesteaded in Nebraska in 1867 for the Nebraska Humanities Council.

Terry Elsey picTerry Elsey is currently the Collection Development Librarian at Laurens County Public Library in Laurens, SC, where she began working 2 years ago when she received her MLIS degree. For many years previously, Terry was in regional management in the medical transcription and documentation industry. She loves being a librarian and because Laurens County Library is not a large library, Terry gets the chance to do a variety of tasks and to learn about many different aspects of library operations. Some of the things Terry does include handling interlibrary loan requests, selecting and ordering books and A/V materials, writing a collection development blog, being the lead staff person for our ILS use and upgrades, and working the Reference Desk while backing up Circulation, among other duties. Terry works  part-time as a Reference Librarian at a local college where she enjoys learning more about database searching, in particular. Terry is thrilled to be involved in a profession where the all our efforts are directed towards helping others find and benefit from information of all kinds.

Carrie Falk picCarrie Falk, is the Circulation Librarian at the Shenandoah Public Library in Shenandoah, Iowa.  She has been providing entertainment for the citizens of Shenandoah for over 13 years, starting out as the Teen and Technology Librarian and moving into her current position 6 years ago.  Carrie has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University and a master’s in Library Science from Emporia State University.  She began her library career as a volunteer page in the Children’s Department of her local public library, and has never looked back.

Larry Grieco pic (co-presenting with Al Bennett)Larry Grieco, director of the Gilpin County Public Library in Black Hawk, Colorado, obtained his MLS from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He has been an advisor from the outset in the Pushing the Limits Project.  He served two terms on the ARSL Board of Directors and has been active for years on both the local and national level in rural library matters.  He is also a member of the ALA Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee.

Val Haverhals picValerie Haverhals has been the director of the Hawarden Public Library in northwest Iowa for the past twenty-five years.  She began her library career in Hawarden and hopefully will end it there!  She has survived two building projects, implementing two circ systems, and being her own tech person.  As the director of a small public library, she feels the support and cooperation of the board, staff, city administration, and community are the keys to success.  Plus, you need to talk about your library whenever the possibility presents yourself.  Word of mouth is the best advertising. Plus, a positive attitude goes a long way in working and dealing with library users!In her spare time, she enjoys reading, a few online games,visiting  her three children who have long left the nest, plus spending time with her husband.  She enjoys dreaming about all the great cooking she hopes to try when she retires. She admits to being a HGTV addict and Food Network groupie.

Kieran Hixon PhotoKieran Hixon is passionate about rural libraries. His focus has been on open source software and low cost tech solutions for small rural libraries. He is currently a technology consultant on the edges of the digital divide for the Colorado State Library. He is known for his high energy and humor, and isn’t sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing. He lives on forty acres with 6 adults, 1 child, 6 dogs, 9 chickens, 3 turkeys and a myriad of feral cats.

Jamie Hollier picJamie Hollier is a project manager, entrepreneur, and consultant who is passionate about technology and how it can be used to create stronger communities. Jamie is the owner of Anneal, a consulting firm, and a partner at Commerce Kitchen, a web development, design, and marketing company and has been honored as a White House “Champion of Change”. Currently, Jamie is the project manager for DigitalLearn.org, an online hub for those who teach and support digital learners through a community of practice and a collection of training resources. Previous to that, she worked as the project manager for Colorado’s Public Computer Centers, which brought computers and training to 88 locations throughout Colorado and has provided access to over three million users. Jamie is also a board member for the Digital Public Library of America and consults for open government and startup communities in Colorado.

Craig Johnson_(c) Elisabeth ROGER_CROPPED2Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. The Cold Dish was a Dilys Award finalist and the French edition won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/BibliObs. Death Without Company, the Wyoming State Historical Association’s Book of the Year, won France’s Le Prix 813. Another Man’s Moccasins was the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award winner and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year, and The Dark Horse, the fifth in the series, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Junkyard Dogs won the Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick, and Hell Is Empty, selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year, was a New York Times best seller, as was As the Crow Flies. The Walt Longmire series is the basis for the hit A&E drama, Longmire, starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Katee Sackoff.Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

Kim Kietzman picKim Kietzman has worked in libraries of all sizes and worked in every area of library service. In 2004 she opened Iowa’s newest public library in a small town on the Mississippi and wore every hat until she left in 2007 to become a consultant to libraries in southeast Iowa. In that role she was immersed in the daily worries, frustrations and joys of running a thriving library in communities of 200 and up. One of her roles during this time was to provide facilitation of long-range planning for public libraries. Her work in planning and community engagement has led to a love affair with surveys, focus groups and planning for libraries. It takes all kinds in the library world, right?

Leah Krotz picLeah Krotz spent a lot of time in libraries as a child, but didn’t plan on making them her career.  However, when she married and moved to a small Kansas town, that’s the job she found!  She’s loved being director of the Belleville Public Library for the past 22 years.A University of Nebraska and KPLACE graduate, Leah has been very active in community economic development and rural issues, and believes that libraries are essential to the well-being of small towns.  Marketing the library, creating a fun and inviting atmosphere, and reaching out to the community have helped the Belleville Public Library be named a Library Journal Star Library for three consecutive years.

Lisa Lewis picLisa Lewis is the Director of Library and Community Services with the Huachuca City Public Library in Huachuca City, Arizona.  She started as an assistant librarian with a public school District and took the job as Director in Huachuca City in 2007.  Lisa has considerable knowledge working with children and states that this is her favorite part of her many responsibilities at the library.  She has also taken many continuing education classes in giving superior customer service and trains her staff regularly on best practices in this area.  Lisa also is responsible for multiple community events and loves being involved in these celebrations.

Amy McBride photoAmy McBride has been the Development Officer at the Montrose Regional Library District since 2006, and was President of its Board of Trustees before that.  She raised more than $800,000 in private and public grants to build the Naturita Community Library in 2009, and more than $200,000 since then to support programming at the Library.  Since 1991, she has worked with dozens of nonprofit groups and local governments to increase their organizational effectiveness.

Susan Mannix picSusan Mannix currently serves as the Director of the LeClaire Community Library. She has worked in a variety of library positions since her first job as a teen library page in 1977 and as a Director in Iowa & Illinois public libraries since 2002.   Susan has enjoyed mentoring fellow librarians for several years, especially in the area of improving relations with governing boards and local officials. In 2012, she was appointed to the Iowa Library Association’s Leadership Development Committee and currently serves as Interim Committee Chair (2013).

Rachel Miller picRachel Miller is Library Director at Forsyth Public Library in Forsyth, Illinois and previously was Youth Services Consultant at Rolling Prairie Library System.  Taking Think Outside the Barn @ your library Illinois to the Farm Progress Show (the Largest Outdoor Farm Show in the Country!), has given her a close-up view of how to promote small town and rural libraries in nontraditional settings.

South Sioux City library seedsDavid Mixdorf has been the director of the South Sioux City Public Library for 4 years. In that time the library has grown from around 150 programs a year to over 1500 programs this year. The library has been involved in the creation of community gardens, the SSC Farmers Market, beginning gardener classes and a community garden club. The library has also established a seed swap/seed saving library. Participants raise and save a variety of garden seeds and donate them back to the library. David has been gardening for as long as he can remember. He has been growing a wide variety of fruit and vegetable varieties over many years. His family has grown a certain variety of rhubarb and a variety of onions for over 100 years. Presently,  this year David has over 50 varieties of tomatoes and 8 varieties of peppers growing in his garden.

Maryann Mori picMaryann Mori has presented on a variety of topics at several national library conferences, including The Internet Librarian (2007), ALA (2008, 2009), PLA (2010), and ALSC (2012).  She has been published in Library Worklife, The Informed Librarian Online, Public Libraries, and elsewhere.  Her work has been included in ALA books, Social Networking Communities and E-Dating Services (IGI, 2008), and most recently in Serving Teen Parents: From Literacy to Life Skills  (Libraries Unlimited,  2011). She created and currently teaches an online course for the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) on the topic of information literacy.  Formerly a Teen Specialist Librarian for the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (Indiana) and Director of the Waukee Public Library (Iowa), Mori is currently a District Library Consultant for Iowa Library Services.  She completed her MSLIS from the University of Illinois in 2006.

IMLSTimothy Owens is a Senior Program Officer in State Library Programs at the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Prior to joining IMLS, he served as a Library Development Consultant at the State Library of North Carolina with a variety of responsibilities, including connectivity, library data, e-rate, and resource sharing. He served as a reference librarian at Duke University after starting his library career at Neuse Regional Library in rural eastern North Carolina. From 2007 to 2011, he served on the ARSL board (President: 2009-2010). He attended library school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also holds a Master’s in Music from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.

Paul Paladino pic (co presenting with Amy McBride)In 1991, Paul Paladino became Director of the Montrose Regional Library District, and within two years, the Montrose Library was named Colorado Library of the Year. He headed four successful elections to increase funding for the District, including one in 1996 to build a $6.1 million library in Montrose. In 2006, he focused on improving library services in Naturita, in rural western Montrose County, and led construction of America’s largest straw bale library, which won the 2010 Colorado Library Project of the Year, was named the Best Small Library in America by Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was awarded a National Medal by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Paul is a past president of the Colorado Association of Libraries and has served on numerous CAL and State Library committees. Educationally, Paul peaked early, having been chosen best All-Around Student in Mrs. Austin’s first grade class at Gilder-Giles School.  He went on to get a B.A. from the University of Dayton and an M.L.I.S. from Indiana University.

Cecily PetersCecily Peters is an enrolled member of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, grew up in the Ak-Chin and in 2012 graduated from Maricopa High School. During her high school career, she was a part of Ak-Chin’s Youth Council, started the Amerind Club, and was its president her Junior and Senior year. From December 2011 to December 2012, Cecily was Miss Ak-Chin, 1st Attendant. She is currently attending Central Arizona College for her Associates in Gaming Design while working full time at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library as a Page. She runs Anime Club and Gaming Idol, assists with Storytime Spectacular, and all of our current film projects.

Carolyn Petersen picAs assistant program manager for Library Development at the Washington State Library Carolyn Petersen concentrates her efforts on helping rural and tribal libraries develop.  Library board training and strategic planning efforts are a key part of what she does.  In the 20+ years Carolyn has worked in public libraries, she has experience in areas such as management, grant work, volunteer coordination, staff training, and reference service.  However, readers’ advisory is what drew her to the field in the first place and remains her favorite specialty.

Jennifer Powell pic (Geek your library presenter)Jenny Powell has helped public library staff and leaders engage with their local communities and start important conversations for the past four years with her work as a field manager for OCLC’s Geek the Library community awareness campaign. Jenny was recognized as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker earlier this year and her experience providing one-on-one library support gives her unique insight about library advocacy and community engagement.

Melissa Powell picMelissa  Powell has worked for over 30 years in libraries as a paraprofessional and degreed professional, in addition to a 4-year “retirement” to learn about the book & publishing industry.  She teaches Basic Cataloging Skills for Lyrasis, and the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) and conducts cataloging training for the AspenCat Union Catalog, (Koha-based ILS).Additionally Melissa is the Webcast Producer for Publisher’s Weekly, and the Editor of the Biblio Tech Review, an international library technology newsletter. She received a B.A in History and a Masters in Library and Information Studies at Northern Illinois University and has additional training in coaching and communications.

LRainie - LgLee Rainie is the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, a non-profit, non–partisan “fact tank” that studies the social impact of the internet.The Project has issued more than 350 reports based on its surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives.Lee is a co-author of the new book Networked: The New Social Operating System, a book about the social impact of technology that was written with Barry Wellman.He also is a co-author of Up for GrabsHopes and Fears, Ubiquity, Mobility, Security, and Challenges and Opportunities – a series of books about the future of the internet.

Prior to launching the Pew Internet Project, Lee was managing editor of U.S. News & World Report. He is a graduate of Harvard University and has a master’s degree in political science from Long Island University.

Sally ReedSally G. Reed is the Executive Director of United for Libraries. Begun in early 2009 with the merger of Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) and the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA),  United for Libraries brings together Trustees and Friends into a partnership that unites the voices of citizens who support libraries to create a powerful force for libraries in the 21st Century.Prior to joining FOLUSA in 2001, Reed served as the Director of Libraries for the Norfolk Public Library in Norfolk, VA, where she worked closely with the Friends and Trustees to increase library funding and coordinate a strategic plan to build a new central library and two anchor branch libraries. Reed has also served as the Director of Libraries in Ames, IA, Middlebury, VT, and Northampton, NH.

She has written numerous articles and books for the field of librarianship, the most recent of which include 101+ Great Ideas for Libraries and Friends (Neal-Schuman, 2004),  Making the Case for Your Library (Neal-Schuman, 2000) and the second edition of her book Small Libraries: A Handbook for Successful Management (McFarland, 2002).  Reed has presented programs and lectures to Friends groups and librarians in over 200 cities and towns across America as well as internationally.

In 2000, Reed was the recipient of the Herbert and Virginia White award given annually by the American Library Association to recognize success in the promotion of libraries and librarianship.

Chris Rippel picChris Rippel, MLS Florida State University, is system consultant for the Central Kansas Library System in Great Bend, Kansas. I prefer posting “stuff” online to see what grabs people.  “Mouserobics” mouse self-tutorial has been translated into numerous languages including Tagalog. “What Libraries Can Learn from Bookstores” was selected as a Library Link of the Day and republished in an Australian library magazine. The compilation, “Things That Make Libraries Look Stupid” was republished in The Whole Library Handbook 4.  My 2013 ARSL presentation introduces two tools I hope will help librarians.

heidi-schutt picHeidi Schutt is the Library Director of Muir Library in Winnebago, Minnesota. She also serves on several committees within the regional library system. Like many other small-town librarians, she does not have a specific area of expertise, but loves the transformation of the library during the Summer Reading Program. When not at the library, she is volunteering in town, taking her energetic dog for walks and digging in her vegetable garden.

Gail Sheldon picGail Sheldon has been the director of Oneonta Public Library in Alabama since 2009. She was hired as the director two months after starting her master’s degree program in Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. Gail works hard to keep the programs her library offers fresh, inventive, and relevant as well as community-minded. She is currently serving as a member of the ARSL Board of Directors.

staritaJoe Starita is Pike Professor of journalism at the University of Nebraska College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Previously, he spent 14 years at The Miami Herald – four years as the newspaper’s New York Bureau Chief and four years on its Investigations Team, where he specialized in investigating the questionable practices of doctors, lawyers and judges. One of his stories was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. Interested since his youth in Native American history and culture, he returned to his native Nebraska in 1992 and began work on a three-year writing project examining five generations of a Lakota-Northern Cheyenne family. The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge – A Lakota Odyssey, published in 1995 by G.P. Putnam Sons (New York), won the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Award, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history and has been translated into six languages. Starita’s latest book – “I Am A Man” – Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice – was published in January 2009 by St. Martin’s Press (New York) and has recently gone into a fourth printing.

The book tells the story of a middle-aged chief who attempted to keep a death-bed promise to his only son by walking more than 500 miles in the dead of winter to return the boy’s remains to the soil of their native Nebraska homeland along the Niobrara River. En route, the father unwittingly ended up in the cross-hairs of a groundbreaking legal decision in which a federal judge in Omaha declared – for the first time in the nation’s 103-year history – that an Indian “is a person” within the meaning of the law and entitled to some of the same Constitutional protections as white citizens. This book was chosen as Lincoln’s 2010 “One Book-One Lincoln” selection and as Nebraska’s 2012 “One Book-One Nebraska” statewide community reading project and is being developed into a feature-length film. In July 2011, Starita was given the Leo Reano national civil rights award by the National Education Association for his work on behalf of Native Americans.

Mary Beth Stenger, director of the Southern Area Library.Mary Stenger is the Director of Southern Area Library in Lost Creek, WV.  Southern Area Library was selected as the Best Small Library in America for 2013 by Library Journal  with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation presenting a $20,000 award to the library for its selection.Mary became director on July 1, 2010.  Since that time the library has increased its programming by 888%.  Our computer usage increased 32%.  The number of visitors through our doors increased 156%.Prior to becoming director, Mary homeschooled her three sons, and she is currently homeschooling her daughter.  Mary graduated from West Virginia University in 1984 and is a CPA who worked for Peat, Marwick, Main.

Jeffrey StofferJeffrey Stoffer is the Librarian Assistant at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library. Jeffrey worked at Phoenix Central Library for three years in the Youth Services Department. He is best known for creating an innovative super hero puppet show and library tour program starring Readerman. He also created a program called Comic Collab, in which he taught teens how to draw comics. For the past four years Jeffrey has been creating programming for the Ak-Chin Community. His newest projects include Library TV, Dark Readings and a Movie Club Program. Check out his work at youtube.com/akchinlibrary.

WendyStreet picWendy Street has been the director of the Pella Public Library since 2002, and has been a librarian since 1987.  She is active in the Iowa Library Association and is currently serving as the Treasurer of the Iowa Library Association Foundation.  Wendy received her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa.

John Thill picJohn Thill is a librarian specializing in Local History and Spanish Language Services at the Napa County Library, a system serving wine country’s vintners and hotel workers alike.  He holds a Master’s Degree from San Jose State University and has over ten years of experience working in both large urban libraries and rural systems.  He also runs the Spanish language collection development blog Accidental Bibliotecario, which aims to help English speaking library personnel purchase materials for their Spanish speaking populations.

Sheila Urwiler picSheila Urwiler has worked in libraries for five years, and is currently the director of a 4-branch system in northwest Indiana. She has extensive experience in training and leadership in various organizations and businesses.  Last year, she helped found the Starke County Literacy Council and this year is working with other community leaders on the “Moving Starke County Forward” initiative to improve education and health outcomes in the county.

Sarah Uthoff picSarah S. Uthoff is the director of the Oxford Public Library in Oxford, Iowa and serves as a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College. Uthoff is just as at home handing original documents for primary research as she is trouble shooting a technology problem, she has recently fallen in love with social media (especially her Trundlebed Tales podcast). Genealogy librarian by default at most of the libraries she has worked at, her genealogy basics program has proved consistently popular around the region. Uthoff is also a respected national authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder and is Vice-President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association, runs the listserv for the Country School Association of America, and is Foodways Resource Chair for the Midwest Open Air Museum’s Coordinating Council (a living history organization). Find her online http://about.me/sarah_uthoff

Joan Weaver picJoan Weaver has been the director of the Kinsley Library for the past 16 years.  In previous lives she was a high school English Teacher, owner of an advertising agency, fiber artist, and storyteller for the Kansas Arts Commission, all of which daily help her wear the many hats of a small library director.   In 2012 the library won the Ebsco Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service for its online “One-Stop Shop” showcasing the history of its home county, with resources gathered from historians, architects, computer programmers, newspaper editors, the librarian and volunteers.  Joan also was awarded the Polaris Innovation in Technology John Lliff Award for her “nimble efforts with a 2.1 FTE staff, volunteers and community partners to create a library website that also highlights community resources and information.”

Paul Healey picPaul Healey serves as Senior Instructional Services Librarian at the Jenner Law library of the University of Illinois College of Law. He teaches Legal Research and Advanced Legal Research courses in the law school, and also teaches courses on legal materials, information ethics, and library administration at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. He holds a JD in law and MA in library and information science from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in library and information science from the University of Illinois.

Paul is considered a national expert on librarian professional liability and on legal issues pertaining to pro se library users. He is author of the books Professional Liability Issues for Librarians and Information Professionals (Neal-Schuman Press, 2008), and the forthcoming Legal Reference for Librarians: How and Where to Find the Answers (ALA Editions, 2013). His articles have been published in Law Library Journal, the National Law Journal, and AALL Spectrum, among others, and he is a two-time winner of the American Association of Law Libraries Call for Papers competition.

Paul is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, where he chairs the governance committee. He is also active in the American Association of Law Libraries and spent six years as Editorial Director of AALL Spectrum, the official magazine of the organization. Paul has been a featured speaker across the U.S. and Canada on legal and library related topics.

Prior to becoming a law librarian, Paul practiced law for seven years in Dubuque, Iowa as a partner in the firm Healey & Peters, Attorneys, and was a seminar presenter on legal and business topics for Inherent, Ltd.
See also:
See also:

Conference Logo

Aimee Fisher, a graphic arts student from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD,  has kindly created a conference logo for the 2013 ARSL Conference!

Conference Registration Now Open – ARSL 2013

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

So, hopefully, you’ve found a ride to the ARSL 2013Conference. Now is the time to register, apply for a scholarship and check out (no pun intended) the sessions being offered. The conference planning committee is excited about this year’s conference, and we’re sure you will be too!

First things first, however; make sure you have the correct dates on your calendar, your GPS is set for the correct location and you’ve reserved a room. The conference will be held September 25th–28th at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.

The hotel is currently accepting reservations so book your room today.

  • Make reservations via phone at 800-222-TREE (8733), or by calling the hotel directly at 402-346-7600 (Attendees must mention “ARSL” for the $99 conference rate)

  • Or place your reservation via the ARSL Personalized Group Web Page

  • Don’t pay more than $99 / night (plus tax / fees) for a room! Our contract covers our guests under this rate during, and also three days before and after, the conference, as available (please note that rooms may be sold out — all over town — Saturday night).

Now that you have a place to stay, go and register for the conference, sign up for one of the exciting pre-conferences (offered on the 25th) and a fun tour.

Meals provided:

  • Mixer (Wednesday evening)
  • Breakfast (Thursday morning)
  • Lunch (Thursday)
  • Breakfast (Friday morning)
  • Lunch (Friday)
  • Brunch (Saturday mid-morning)


  • Michael Sauers and Laura Johnson – Video Book Talks
  • Keliann Laconte – NASA Explore Marvel Moon
  • Bonnie McKewon – Shifting Sands: A Changing Library Landscape
  • Heather Woody – Inspiring Small Libraries

Be sure to register early for pre-conference sessions as space is limited.

  • Tours

    • On, In, Up & Down Tour of Council Bluffs: Tour public art, parks, historic Dodge House, Union Pacific Museum in Council Bluffs. Eat lunch at Dixie Quick’s restaurant (featured on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives!).
    • Spooky Sights and Scary Nights! Council Bluffs Ghost Tour: Do you believe in ghosts? How do you get rid of a ghost? Attend the Council Bluffs Ghost Tour and you’ll find out!

What, you don’t have the money in your budget to pay for the conference!? Apply for a scholarship.

The paper work’s out of the way.  Now you can relax and take some time to peruse the information about the awesome keynote speakers and breakout sessions.

  • Keynote Speakers

    • Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
    • Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director of ALA’s United for Libraries
    • Mary Beth Stenger, director of the Southern Area Public Library, and winner of the 2013 Best Small Library in America award from Library Journal
    • Craig Johnson, will be the featured speaker at the Author Luncheon
    • Joe Starita, Nebraska author of “I am a Man:” Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice
  • Breakout Sessions

    • Too many to mention them all but here’s a sampling
      • The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Librarian

      • Dazzling Displays on a Dime

      • Chocolate Orgy & More Fun, Free Community Involvement Programs

      • Excel at Rearranging Your Library

      • I Didn’t Know Directors Had To Do THAT!

      • Innovation on a Shoestring

      • No Cost Staff Recognition

      • The Power of One

      • Super Hero Leadership

      • Tech Tools Get-er Done for Free

You should be set-to-go, but if there’s something I missed you might find the answer on our Conference FAQ page.

Wow, you’ve got a ride (hopefully) and a hotel room. You’ve registered for the conference, a pre-conference and a tour. Your scholarship application is in the works, and you’ve scrutinized the offerings for keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Go take a nap; you deserve it!!

State Library Agency 2013 ARSL Conference Scholarships

Again this year, we’re learning of state library agencies making scholarship opportunities available to librarians in their state! In addition to these state-provided scholarships, ARSL has opened up the application process for three ARSL scholarships.


The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) is pleased to announce the formation of 2 grants for this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Omaha, Nebraska from September 26-28, 2013. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), in conjunction with APLS, provides up to $1,500 reimbursement for registration, travel, hotel and meals for each grant recipient.

Criteria for grant applicants:

· Must work in an Alabama public library
· Never attended an ARSL Conference before
· Have a library service population of less than 25,000
· Have a willingness to network and share
· Agree to write a 1-page article (300 word minimum) for APLSeeds by November 1, 2013.
· Agree to speak at the October 17th Administrators’ Meeting about your conference experience
· If not the head of a library, supervisor approval of the application is required

Completed applications must be postmarked by June 14th, and grant winners will be announced by July 1st. 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 or for download here. Reimbursement forms and receipts must be returned to APLS by October 11th. Any questions should be directed to Denise A. Wetzel at dwetzel@apls.state.al.us or 800-723-8469, ext. 3949.


The California State Library is again sponsoring up to 30 rural and tribal library staff scholarships for the ARSL Conference in Omaha this year. A message and application were sent to library directors on June 5 describing the process to use to potentially secure a scholarship for themselves and/or a staff member. Questions? susan.hanks@library.ca.gov or carla.lehn@library.ca.gov


Please find the application for first time conference attendees from Idaho here: http://libraries.idaho.gov/files/2013CE1stTimeConfGrtApp20130126Ktay.pdf Due July 31, 2013.


Montana State Library is offering 3 scholarships for Montana librarians from small (under 10,000 service population) libraries and/or tribal libraries to attend the conference. Please contact MSL’s Statewide Training and Development Specialist, Jo Flick, with questions. Her email is jflick@mt.gov.


The Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) will be targeting all of the funds available this year for Continuing Education and Training Grants toward grants to Nebraska public library staffers to attend the ARSL Conference. We hope to send about 35 to 40 Nebraska librarians to the Conference.

The grant will cover virtually all the expenses of attending the conference—registration, mileage, lodging, and meals.

See all the details and get the application form at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/Grants/CE/CETGConferenceMain.aspx.

The application deadline is July 3, 2013.

New Jersey

The New Jersey State Library is awarding one $1,000 scholarship to attend ARSL. Application due by July 31, 2013.

North Carolina

The State Library of North Carolina is now accepting applications for scholarship funds to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Omaha, Nebraska from September 25-28, 2013.  Since there are limited funds available, this is a competitive scholarship.  Priority will be given to first time conference attendees in libraries serving rural/small populations.  The brief essay question about benefits of conference attendance will also be weighted heavily in the awards.

The scholarship will cover:

  • conference registration (which may include a one-year membership)
  • hotel lodging
  • airfare

The State Library will pay conference registration up front.  Grant agreements between the State Library and the awardees’ library will cover hotel and airfare not to exceed $750 based upon receipts submitted.  All other expenses such as meals, ground transportation, parking, or other incidentals are the responsibility of the staff person and/or library.

The application is available online –  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ARSL2013 and will close on July 30, 2013.  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Jeffrey Hamilton at 919-807-7417 or jeffrey.hamilton@ncdcr.gov.

North Dakota

The North Dakota State Library offers a CE grant award for the attendance of two public librarians to the annual meeting of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) conference. Each award will be for an amount not exceeding $2,000. The funds provided by the CE grant may be used to cover the costs of registration, travel, hotel and meals (per diem). Eligible costs shall be payable based on the travel cost policies of the State of North Dakota. Funding for the two awards is made possible through the use of Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) received by the North Dakota State Library. The grant award amount will be paid post conference and reimbursement will be based on the provided copies of qualifying expenses. Selection for the award of the CE grant will be made based on an  essay submitted by the applicant. For more information on the CE grant and to download a copy of the application please go to: http://library.nd.gov/grants/ARSLgrant.pdf.

The awarded applicants must meet the minimum criteria specified on the application. For full consideration, applications for the CE award must be received by the North Dakota State Library before July 19, 2013. Announcement of granted awards will be made no later than August 1, 2013.  See: http://bit.ly/176n9Hq for details of the upcoming September 25-28, 2013 conference in Omaha, Nebraska.


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 Omaha Nebraska  from September 26-28, 2013. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) provides conference registration plus up to $850 reimbursement for travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient.  It is up to the recipient to make all travel arrangements.

The scholarship’s criteria for applicants include:

  • Must work in a Pennsylvania small or rural public library
  • Never attended a previous ARSL Conference
  • Willingness to network and share
  • Agree to participate in a Webinar to present what you learned to PA librarians
  • If not the head of a library, the supervisor must approve the application

Please complete this application.  It should be completed and sent to Bonnie Young no later than Monday, June 10.  Please let Young know if you have any questions.


For information on the Utah ARSL Scholarship, visit: http://library.utah.gov/grants/arsl2013.html
Application Deadline May 30, 2013


The Washington State Library, thanks to funding from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), is making full scholarships available for rural and tribal library staff to attend the 2013 conference of the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), which will be held from Wednesday, September 25 – Saturday, September 28, 2013, in Omaha, Nebraska. Scholarships will include all conference fees, transportation, and other expenses.

Eligible applicants must:

Work at a small and rural library (serving 10,000 or fewer), or in a tribal library in Washington State;
Be a first-time attendee at the ARSL conference;
Demonstrate a willingness to share knowledge gained from conference attendance with fellow library/district staff through a webinar, printed article, blog post, etc.;
Show how conference attendance will help to meet the library’s goals as they relate to the eight LSTA priorities (www.sos.wa.gov/quicklinks/LSTA-8);
Attach authorized (signed) permission to the application.

Deadline for applications: Friday, May 31, 2013. To apply, contact Carolyn Petersen at carolyn.petersen@sos.wa.gov, 360.570.5560, or toll-free at 1.866.538.4996.


Wisconsin’s Division for Libraries and Technology will award four scholarships at $750 each to support first-time attendees who work in Wisconsin libraries to the ARSL conference. Qualifications, information and the online application is available here: https://forms.dpi.wi.gov/se.ashx?s=56301B2D244BABDC and applications are due 7/15/2013.


The Carol McMurry Library Endowment will offer any Wyoming library worker up to $1500 to attend this or another conference: http://will.state.wy.us/mcmurry/indivgrants.html

Applicants can contact Jamie Markus (jamie.markus@wyo.gov) if they have questions about the application.

2013 – Breakout Session Descriptions

See also:

21st Century iBrary
Matthew Cross
Ak-Chin Indian Community Library

For the past four years the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library has prided itself with using new innovative methods to teach digital media and 21st century skills. Our presentation is about telling our story and is meant to inspire others to think outside their box for programming at their libraries.

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Librarian
Sarah R. Day
Dr. Grace O. Doane Alden Public Library

I describe our after school program (a 3 week rotation of games, crafts, and movies) and explain how anyone can implement a similar program at their library, no matter their size. In the second half of my program, I teach a simple craft.

Answering Legal Reference Questions on a Shoestring
Paul Healey

Reference questions seeking legal information are fairly common, but most rural and small libraries do not have the materials, or the expertise, to answer such questions. This presentation will explain the ins and outs of answering such questions, including potential legal issues in providing help. We will also look briefly at the array of legal materials and resources available for free on the Internet.

Ask Them…The Right Way: Creating Community Surveys
Kim Kietzman
Altoona Public Library

Writing questions for community surveys that get responses and results is frequently something libraries pay someone else to do – at great expense. Get tips and tricks to create your own!

Build Library Awareness by Engaging Your Community
Jennifer Powell

Jenny Powell, Field Manager for OCLC’s Geek the Library community awareness campaign, will use the experience of libraries participating in this free program as a platform for a broader discussion about the importance of library personnel getting out of the library and into the community to make connections, build relationships and educate the public about the library’s important local role. Jenny will inspire with examples of library leaders and staff who successfully engaged the local community.

Cataloger as SEP Expert
Melissa Powell

The cataloging database is the foundation of the library’s web presence and as such drives traffic to the pertinent information in the PAC. How well are you ranking your resources for your users? Discussion of access points, notes, and subject headings. Essential for copy catalogers and frontline staff as well.

Community 3E: Innovative Programming/Community Involvement
Gail Sheldon
Oneonta Public Library

The presentation describes the initial conception, and continued organization and presentation of Oneonta Public Library’s two annual premier events – our Public Safety Fair: “Don’t be Lucky – Be Safe” and Haunted Library: “Terror in the Stacks”. These events are part of the Library’s Community 3E initiative (Education, Engagement, and Entertainment).

Community Connections
Becky Baker
Seward Memorial Library

A panel discussion on various ways to help the library connect with the community, especially the business community, in ways that don’t cost too much! Summer promotions and more will be included.

Dazzling Displays on a Dime
Leah Krotz
Belleville Public Library

Displays don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Learn to create captivating displays, using everyday objects and fun themes to bring your library to life. You’ll see tons of pictures to get your creative juices flowing, and go home with resources and practical tips for creating displays that dazzle!

Jamie Hollier
Public Library Association

Information session about the Public Library Association’s DigitalLearn.org, an IMLS funded project launching in June 2013. Digitalearn.org is an online hub for digital literacy support and training, with a special focus on rural and small libraries. Included in DigitalLearn.org are self-directed trainings for end-users and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers.

Establish a Seed Saving Library
David Mixdorf
South Sioux City Public Library

Describes how to establish a seed saving library for minimal expense.

Excel at Rearranging Your Library
Chris Rippel
Central Kansas Library System

Eventually, librarians need or want to rearrange their libraries. Rearranging bits of paper is tricky. Chris Rippel demonstrates using Excel to easily create a variety of patron-friendly layouts. It’s free, quick to learn and use, and perfect for small libraries.

Family Read – Family-Centric Reading Program
Heidi Schutt
Muir Library

This summer, a few libraries in southern Minnesota are trying a new style of a summer reading program. We are compiling family-oriented resources to create a FamilyRead program that involves and encourages entire families to read together and talk about what they’re reading. We want to share our resources and results.

From Cozy to Exotic:  Not your typical library program
Carrie Falk
Shenandoah Public Library

Will share programs that work at our library and make suggestions for people, organizations and local businesses you can partner with to enhance programs and save costs. We’ve had everything from a car cruise to a gadget zoo to Saturday craft day projects. Will include many more examples and pictures.

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

Learn how the Montrose Regional Library District raised $1 million to build a National Medal-winning library in Naturita, Colorado (population=546), and how it raises at least $30,000 annually to sustain it.

 The Future is Now
Andrea Berstler
Wicomico Public Library

With the technology landscape constantly shape-shifting, libraries must respond as futurists to changing patron needs. Learn strategies on how to remain relevant, if not core, to your community’s needs by providing the means and support for patrons to create and innovate. Rural and small libraries with limited resources can become community innovation incubators, by providing patrons access to transformative technologies and by creating the space for new ideas to be explored. From makerspaces to editing suites to digital learning labs, libraries are empowering and impacting their communities, now and in the future.

Gaming and Game Programming in the Library
Josh Barnes
Portneuf District Library

Got game? Come and explore the many types of games, consoles, and programs available to make your library the hottest place on the block. We’ll also discuss ways to get started: everything from the equipment you’ll need to getting your library’s management on board.

Genealogy Basics for the Non-Genealogist Librarian
Sarah Uthoff
Kirkwood Community College Library

Librarians have to take on many unexpected roles. One of these is the preserver of local history and sidekick in people’s quest to find their family tree. This session will give you the background knowledge to help you help your patrons find the right track.

Hitting It Out of the Park:  Leadership and Advocacy
Valerie Haverhals
Hawarden Public Librrary

The presentation combines library leadership and advocacy to ensure that your library is newsworthy, active, and partnering with groups in the community.

I Didn’t Know Directors Had To Do THAT!
Maryann Mori
Iowa Library Services

Would-be directors often have misconceptions about the role of director, and many newly-appointed directors are surprised to learn exactly what their job description means when they start the job. Understand the joys and challenges of becoming a director, and gain practical tips for finding help when help is needed.

Innovation on a Shoestring
Christa Burns, Nebraska Library Commission
Louise Alcorn, West Des Moines Public Library

Libraries everywhere are dealing with tight budgets and shrinking staff. Small and medium libraries are particularly hard hit by these issues. How are these libraries maintaining a respectable level of technology and library service innovation with little or no money and staff? They are starting new programs, bringing in new resources, and developing new partnerships. This session will highlight some very creative responses from small and rural libraries in middle America.

Into the Wild Blue:  Initiating an Educational Rocketry Program in Your Library
Steven Arthur
Ellis Public Library

Six year successful and growing program of rocketry. taught to kids in the community, other locations in the county as well as to other communities in Western Kansas. It is presented at 4H Space Tech Days, have offered this program to boy scouts and girl scouts and have been approached to offer it in surrounding schools. Program is a collaborative effort between the library and county extension, provides passive remedial instruction in sciences, and has grown exponentially. Annual launch is attended by the community and is a fixed feature in local fair. Kids develop a sense of pride when launching a rocket they built. City made proclamation to declare Ellis ʺRocket Townʺ each year at annual launch. Also supported by local businesses.

Laughter for the Health of It:  Using therapeutic laughter in library programming
Wendy Street
Pella Public Library

I am a Certified Laughter Leader and do library outreach programs that incorporate information about the health aspects of laughter as well as laughter exercises. My presentation will include how to do a Laughter Club, how to incorporate laughter exercises in library programming, and participation in an actual laughter session.

Makers and Mentors and More
Timothy G. Owens
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Looking for new ways to reach teens without breaking the bank? Get ideas to adopt and adapt from the maker movement, learning labs, and more, by exploring projects supported with federal LSTA funding. Leave with tips and tools for engaging teens on a shoestring budget.

Mind Mapping Your Library, Mind Mapping Your Life

Denise Anton Wright
South Central Library System

Mind Mapping is an incredibly powerful visual tool that was first popularized by Tony Buzan in the 1960s. Since that time Mind Mapping has been successfully used as a planning model in a variety of library settings. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with Mind Mapping to achieve both professional and personal goals.

No Cost Staff Recognition

Sheila Urwiler
Starke County Public Library System

Our staff are our best resource for marketing, advocating and providing outstanding service; with limited budgets and time, we don’t always appreciate them as much as we should. This presentation will discuss low- and no-cost ideas for implementing a staff recognition program, and empowering staff to appreciate each other.

Pew Panel
Lee Rainie

This panel discussion will offer follow-up information regarding data presented in Lee Rainie’s opening keynote presentation.  Those interested in learning more about applying the data to their own situations and libraries won’t want to miss it.

Physical Change by Mental Change
Lola DeWall
Pocahontas Public Library

Marketing your library to appear fresh and new on a budget. How many times have you said, ʺI can’t do anything to change the appearance of my library. This is the only way it works.ʺ Ideas presented to physically market your library to the community. (Design on a Nickel)

The Power of One
Judy Calhoun
Southeast Arkansas Regional Library

Running a one-person library can be a daunting task. In the Power of One, we will show how you can transform from mild mannered librarian to Super Librarian! Discover your superpowers to unleash skills that will help to make your life easier and more efficient.
Topics that will be included are: Time Management, working well with others: board members, volunteers, Friends, etc., financial Matters, technology Issues and more!

Pushing the Limits
Al Bennett

Larry Grieco, Director of the Gilpin County Public Library in Colorado

Pushing the Limits is entering the fourth and final year for funding by the National Science Foundation. Twenty rural libraries offered four programs each in 2013 for their communities featuring reading, viewing project-developed videos and discussions involving local scientists. Leaders from participating libraries will describe their activities. The additional rural library grantees will be in introduced. The future of the program after 2014 will be discussed.

Reader’s Advisory on the Run
Carolyn Petersen
Washington State Library

This presentation is aimed at the librarian who is too busy to read everything he/she would like to, but still wants to keep abreast of adult reading trends so they can recommend materials for their patrons. Topic covered: book awards, best seller lists, internet sites to follow, How to judge a book by its cover.

Refurbishing Reference
Terry Elsey
Laurens County Public Library

  • Survey holdings in reference
  • Decide reference depth and breadth with typical update periods
  • Include decisions on print vs eresources such as ebooks and databases
  • Make reference policy
  • Significantly weed print collection, possibly move to circulation, local history collection, discard or update
  • New signage, print placement
  • Arrangement of databases on website

Small Libraries Can Make Big Impact
Joan K. Weaver
Kinsley Public Library

The small, rural library can stay relevant by being instrumental in preserving their community’s heritage through oral histories. Presentation will show how small libraries can follow the example of the Kinsley Library (recognized throughout Kansas and as a two-time 2012 ALA award winner) in gathering, preserving and making accessible the lives of 66 citizens. See ʺPatchwork of Dependencyʺ, ʺPatterns of Changeʺ, and ʺ1979 Tractorcade to D.C.ʺ at www.kinsleylibrary.info

Start a 1,000 Books B4K Program at Your Library
Karen Drevo
Norfolk Public Library

Learn how to launch a ʺ1,000 Books Before Kindergartenʺ stealth program at your library to ensure kids enter kindergarten ready to read, reinforce parents’ role as their child’s first teacher, instill the lifelong love of reading in young children, encourage frequent visits to the library, and boost your circulation–all on a shoestring budget.

Super Hero Leadership
Lisa Lewis
Huachuca City Public Library

ʺEMPOWERʺ your library by developing ʺSUPERHEROʺ leadership skills. Channel your inner superhero and lead your library through difficult challenges such as budget, innovative programs, community outreach, staffing difficulties and much more. You will leave this presentation armed with all the tools necessary to conquer the world!!! (maybe a slight exaggeration).

Tapping Into Transnational Communities
John Thill
Napa County Library

This program examines the way in which transnational communities, those based on extended families and hometowns within a country of origin, can be used to create specifically tailored library services that reflect the true demographics of a library’s Spanish speaking community. The presentation will include tips on identifying transnational communities within a service area by using internet resources and on-the-ground cues and how to utilize this information in collections and programming.

Tech Tools Get-er Done for Free
Kieran Hixon
Colorado State Library

Join Kieran as he unpacks his toolbox full of 25+ free tech tools that you will be able to use at your library with a flick of a mouse.

Teen Programs That Pack a Punch
Hope Decker
Cohocton Public Library

Every library can provide teen programs that teens will love; “If you build it they will come”. Three simple programs will be presented (Extreme Cupcake Decorating, Ultimate PB&J Challenge and Duct Tape Crafts). At the end participants can share their own teen programs, pit falls of teen programming and brain storm solutions.

Think Outside the Barn @ your library
Rachel Miller
Forsyth Public Library
Louise Greene
Richland Community College

Advocate for small and rural libraries in the festive atmosphere of a fair, farm show, or community event. Bring “Think Outside the Barn@Your Library” to your area and connect with patrons on their turf. These venues are perfect to remind people with rural roots what libraries do for them.
What will participants learn from this program?
1. What resources are needed to be a presence at a fair, farm show, or community event.
2. How to operate a booth including staffing, decor, and visitor interactions.
3. How to uncover local opportunities to promote your library

Working Together: The Library Director’s Relationship with Library Trustees & City Government
Susan Mannix
LeClaire Community Library

Maintaining effective & productive relationships with the Library Board of Trustees, City Government & City Administration can be among the Public Library Director’s most important and challenging roles. Join in a discussion on how a Director can confidently and successfully manage these pivotal professional relationships.

Weeding: The Good, The Bad, and the Mustie
Jeremy Bolom
Lincoln Parish Library, Ruston, LA

Weeding is not a dirty word! Change your attitude about weeding and take charge of your collection. Learn the essential steps to make your collection more useful, comfortable, and attractive for your users.

See more information about 2013 ARSL Conference including Registration.

See also:

2013 – Preconferences

See also 2013 Breakout Session Descriptions.

Michael Sauers and Laura Johnson – Video Book Talks

In this hands-on pre-conference, Michael Sauers and Laura Johnson from the Nebraska Library Commission will take participants through the process of creating short videos for their libraries. They will teach participants why they should be using video in their libraries and go through the entire process of video creation. Learn how to create a video from start to finish by scripting, recording, editing and posting the video online. Participants will leave with a video of their own creation by the end of the workshop.

Price: $35
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Keliann Laconte – NASA Explore Marvel Moon

Open the door to another world by providing hands on science experiments for your community! Undertake hands-on NASA activities that are designed to engage children ages 8 to 13 and their families in the library environment and rely on inexpensive, fun materials. Receive NASA activity plans, resources – and lots of ideas!

Price: $65-Includes continental breakfast and boxed lunch
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Bonnie McKewon – Shifting Sands: A Changing Library Landscape

In this pre-conference, see how library spaces are being reimagined as creative gathering places. Look at how staff job descriptions are changing to meet patron expectations. Discuss what fresh skills library trustees need to bring to the 21st century board table. And see how Planning for Results leads library staff and boards to respond to community needs. Yes, the sands are shifting, but good news – it’s not quicksand – we can best navigate a changing library landscape by working together!

Price: $50
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Heather Woody – Inspiring Small Libraries

Learn ways to motivate, influence and inspire the people within your team in order to keep them engaged, fulfilled and enthused about the work they are doing on a daily basis. These key intangibles are important in reducing turnover and increasing overall job satisfaction. People and their performance excel when they are able to add fun into their daily mix of tasks, projects and goal achievement. Learn ways to implement productive, performance enhancing fun into your library.

Price: $50
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25
Times: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

See more information about 2013 ARSL Conference

2013 Conference Registration Now Open

The Conference Planning Committee is pleased to announce the opening of registration for the September 25-28, 2013 ARSL Annual Conference to be held at the Doubletree in downtown Omaha, NE. Start the process by following the link listed on the registration page of our website, here: Registration Overview Page.

Be sure to take advantage of early bird member pricing (membership pays for itself if you’re coming to conference), and also the special events that will soon sell out, such as:

  • Preconferences scheduled for Wednesday, September 25th (featuring 1 full day and 3 half-day options)
  • Tours (featuring your choice of a full day tour of several local sites filled with history, shopping, and a famous restaurant for lunch, or an evening ghost tour!)

Our conference will feature the following keynote speakers, in addition to a wide variety of breakout sessions:

  • Thursday opening keynote: Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center
  • Thursday luncheon: Mary Beth Stenger, winner of the 2013 Best Small Library in America Award
  • Friday opening keynote: Joseph Starita, award winning author and American Indian history scholar
  • Friday Author Luncheon: Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, featured on A&E’s hit television program
  • Saturday closing keynote: Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director of United for Libraries

In addition to all of these excellent speakers, we invite you to join us the evening of Wednesday, September 25th from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Omaha Public Library (just over a block from the conference center) for a welcome reception complete with music, an array of foods originating in Nebraska, a cash bar, and excellent company. Conference registration includes all meals (this also includes the Author Luncheon) from Wednesday evening’s reception through Saturday’s brunch), with the exception of Thursday and Friday evening, when you are invited to sign up for the “dine-around” of your choice at conference. Thinking of bringing a guest, or the whole family? This year, we are offering a meal package option for the conference, and also an author luncheon ticket for those who are not registering for the full conference. Your guest is welcome to join you at our meal events, thanks to this provision. There is plenty to see and do in the area, and our hotel offers a free shuttle to local attractions. Take a look at www.visitomaha.com for more information.

With a low registration fee, conference rate hotel rooms at $99 per night, free wireless Internet, and a free airport shuttle, this is a great opportunity to network with peers from all over the country, and take in a conference devoted entirely to the needs of those from small and/or rural libraries.

We hope to see you in Omaha!

Tena Hanson
2013 Conference Co-Chair on behalf of the Conference Planning Committee

Don’t be Left Behind, Find a Ride to the 2013 ARSL Conference

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

Row a boat, charter a bus, catch a plane, drive a car, hire a taxi, ride a train, rent a truck do whatever it takes to get to the 2013 ARSL Conference in Omaha, NE. The conference will begin with pre-conferences & tours on Wednesday, September 25, tentatively scheduled from 1:00-5:00 PM with a welcome reception that evening from 7:00-9:00. The full conference will begin at 8:00 Thursday morning, September 26, and will run through noon Saturday, September 28. The conference hotel (Doubletree by Hilton) is open for reservations and conference registration will be opening April 12. Additional conference and hotel information including room rates and conference fees can be found on the ARSL web site http://arsl.info/registration.

The conference planning team is excited to announce that Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, will serve as our opening keynote speaker Thursday morning. Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director of ALA’s United for Libraries, will be our closing keynote on Saturday. Also, Mary Beth Stenger, director of the Southern Area Public Library, and winner of the 2013 Best Small Library in America award from Library Journal, will address our group to tell her story. Craig Johnson, of Longmire fame (http://www.craigallenjohnson.com/) will be our featured speaker at the 2013 Author Luncheon, held on Friday September 27.  Those in the area who wish to attend this event alone can purchase tickets for $40.  Those registered for conference will find that this event is included. We are very excited about the conference programs in 2013! We look forward to announcing additional keynote, pre-conference, and breakout session speakers as they are confirmed.

If you’re thinking about bringing family or friends, there is plenty to keep them occupied in the Omaha / Council Bluffs area while you are busy soaking up our excellent sessions. Our conference, this year, has built in a meal plan option for those who wish to attend only the meal events. For $160 your guest(s) can attend all meal functions, which includes the Wednesday evening reception, breakfast and lunch both Thursday and Friday, and brunch on Saturday.

While you’re in Omaha, plan to spend some time exploring this great city full of history, culture and adventure. Walk across a swinging rope bridge suspended over a tropical rainforest at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. Hop aboard historic train cars at The Durham Museum. Climb in, on, and through everything imaginable at the Omaha Children’s Museum. Step into pioneer life at the Mormon Trail Center. Explore more than 100 acres of botanical beauty at Lauritzen Gardens, and marvel at exquisite works of art inside the Joslyn Art Museum. Boys Town is a national treasure featuring an expansive campus, historic chapel and museum. El Museo Latino is the first Latino art and history museum in the Midwest, and Love’s Jazz and Art Center captures the heritage of jazz in an area where Duke Ellington, Count Basie and others once played. To learn about more things to do in the Omaha / Council Bluffs area visit the Convention and Visitors Bureaus for Omaha and Council Bluffs.

Grab your oars, buy your tickets, tune-up your car, or hire your ride so you’ll be ready to travel to the 2013 ARSL Conference in September. It promises to be an educational and fun event that focuses specifically on the needs of rural and small libraries.

Call for Presentation Proposals for 2013 ARSL Conference

The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) is pleased to announce that proposals for break-out session presentations as well as pre-conference sessions for the 2013 Conference to be held in Omaha, Nebraska, September 26-28 are now being accepted.

Proposals for these 1-hour sessions and 4-hour pre-conference sessions can be submitted using our online form found at the link below. Pre-conference sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, September 25th.

Click here to access online form.

The deadline to submit proposals is February 17, 2013. All those who submit a proposal will be notified whether or not their proposal was accepted by March 8, 2013.

Our theme for this year’s conference is entitled “Empowering Small Libraries.” We welcome all proposals that can benefit small and rural libraries in any way but would love to see proposals that include some of the following:

  • Think Outside the Box” Ideas that go beyond book clubs, book sales, story times and other commonly-practiced library programs and services.
  • Leadership
  • Advocacy
  • Community Engagement
  • Outstanding Youth Services

We remind presenters that presentations need to be geared toward the small and rural library audience. Practical, hands-on, and how-to formats are preferred. This is not the proper venue for post-graduate dissertations or marketing products and such proposals will not be considered.

All proposals will be reviewed and chosen by the Conference Programming Committee. Awarded presenters will receive ONE complimentary conference registration per presentation selected. (i.e. a team of three presenters working on one presentation will receive one complimentary registration).

We look forward to your submissions and good luck!

Lisa Lewis
Conference Programming Committee Chair

2013 ARSL Annual Conference Announced

We are pleased to announce that the 2013 ARSL Annual Conference will take place September 25-28, 2013 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Omaha Downtown in Omaha, Nebraska.


  • Wednesday, September 25, 2013:  Preconferences & Welcome Reception
  • Thursday, September 26, Friday, September 27th, through approximately 12:00 pm on Saturday, September 28:  Full Conference
  • Saturday afternoon, September 28 – Sunday morning, September 29:  ARSL Board Meeting


  • DoubleTree by Hilton Omaha Downtown in Omaha, NE. Website:   http://www.doubletreeomahadowntown.com/
  • Rooms will be $99 (plus tax)
  • Within walking distance of Omaha’s Old Market, featuring “unique shops, boutiques, pubs, restaurants and entertainment in a historic neighborhood. Shop bookstores to bakeries, art galleries to antiques, clothing to collectibles, then dine in one of more than 30 area restaurants. Accessible.”  (Taken from www.visitomaha.com.)

Perks for our guests include: 

  • Complimentary parking in attached garage
  • Complimentary wireless internet service in guestrooms and meeting space
  • Complimentary airport and local shuttle

Reservation Information:

  • The hotel is ready for reservations via phone at 800-222-TREE (8733), or by calling the hotel directly at 402-346-7600 (Attendees must mention “ARSL” for the $99 conference rate)
  • Place your reservation via the ARSL Personalized Group Web Page

As always, you can find the latest information about our upcoming conference on our website at http://arsl.info.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Tena Hanson
2013 Conference Co-Chair and President-Elect

2012 ARSL Conference Recap

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.

The P Factor

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.

Zoom, zoom! – Hope Decker, Conference Scholarship Winner

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!

Hope Decker
Cohocton Public Library

Kate Skinner – Conference Scholarship Winner

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.

Thank you.

Kate Skinner

(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.)

Julie Elmore’s Conference Experience

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!

Conference Survey

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.

Andrea Berstler
President – ARSL