A listing of all ARSL materials relating to current and past conferences. The most recent posts are listed first, while additional conference materials are further down the page.

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 ( 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 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? or


Please find the application for first time conference attendees from Idaho here: 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


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

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 - and will close on July 30, 2013.  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Jeffrey Hamilton at 919-807-7417 or

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:

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: 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:
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 (;
Attach authorized (signed) permission to the application.

Deadline for applications: Friday, May 31, 2013. To apply, contact Carolyn Petersen at, 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: 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:

Applicants can contact Jamie Markus ( 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, an IMLS funded project launching in June 2013. is an online hub for digital literacy support and training, with a special focus on rural and small libraries. Included in 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

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 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

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 ( 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:
  • 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

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

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 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 –

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

Staying Connected with #ARSL12 Conference

Even if you’re not traveling to Raleigh this week for the ARSL Conference we want to use this opportunity to extend our networking opportunities. Help us collaborate and share ideas! There are a number of ways you can stay connected. Some folks are posting to the Facebook event page  or others are connecting through our main ARSL Facebook page. If you’re posting to Twitter, be sure to tag with the conference hashtag #ARSL12 and follow ARSL’s Twitter feed. And we look forward to seeing conference goers adding photos to the ARSL Group on Flickr. We look forward to the week ahead, connecting with old friends, making many new ones and we’ll do our best to post updates for those unable to join us. The conference program has been posted and we’ll continue adding presentations and handouts to the site in the coming weeks.

2012 – Program and Handouts

Click here to open a PDF of the full 2012 Conference Program

General Session  – Thursday, September 27th
General SessionFriday, September 28th
Keynote FridayA Vision of 21st Century Libraries (PDF) – Susan Hildreth
General SessionSaturday, September 29th
Closing SessionKeynote (PDF) – Dr. Ron Carlee

Adult programming on a limited budget – Molly Keating

  1. Adult programming on a limited budget (PPT)
  2. Adult Programming (PDF)

Aiming at a Moving Target: Ebooks in Libraries – Diana Weaver

  1. Favorite Resources (DOC)

Best Small Library – Julie Hildebrand

  1. Best Small Library (PPT)

Building Community Partnerships - Kari May

  1. Building Community Partnerships (PDF)

Celebrate with a Successful Family Literacy Event! – Rosemary Chance

  1. Family Literacy Event Plan Questions (DOC)
  2. Picture Books for Family Literacy Events (DOC)
  3. Celebrate with a Successful Family Literacy Event! (PPT)

Community Impact Planning – Michael Kumer

  1. Community Impact Planning (PPT)

Curation vs. Creation: the Evolution of the Public Library into the 21st Century – Kieran Hixon & Judy VanAcker

  1. Action Plan (PDF)
  2. Outcome Based Resources (PDF)

De-clutter Your Collection – Becky Heil

  1. DeClutter (PPT)
  2. DeClutter (PDF)

Easy Advocacy – Gail Santy

  1. Advocacy Resources (DOC)
  2. Crafting Your Message (DOC)
  3. ECL Talking Points (PDF)
  4. Evaluating Your Efforts (DOC)
  5. How will you deliver the message (DOC)
  6. Library message worksheet (DOC)
  7. Library Advocacy Trading Cards (PDF)
  8. Parking lot speech (DOC)
  9. Sustained advocacy (DOC)
  10. Tips for Talking with Your Legislator (DOC)
  11. Tips for Working with the Media (DOC)
  12. worksheet – Audience (DOC)
  13. worksheet – Goals (DOC)
  14. worksheet – Plan (DOC)

Ebooks and Audiobooks: What the Vendors didn’t tell Us – Colleen Eggett

  1. eBooks and Audiobooks (DOC)

The Entrepreneurial Librarian - Andrea Berstler

  1. The Entrepreneurial Librarian (PPT)

Going Google – Leah Kulikowski

  1. Cheat Sheet – Getting Started with Google Drive (PDF)

Google Apps for Libraries – Jezmynne Dene

  1. Google Apps for Libraries (PDF)

It’s Your Birthday – Lauren Drittler

  1. Customer Service Training Information (PDF)
  2. Goals and Procedure (PDF)
  3. Personal Goals Sheet (PDF)
  4. Survey Sheets For Patrons (PDF)
  5. Tally Sheet (PDF)

Knock Their Socks Off! Advocating For Your Rural Library  – Angela Glowcheski & Julie Forkner

  1. Knock Their Socks Off! (wiki)

Mentoring as a subversive activity: growing community leadership – Jennifer Peterson

  1. Mentoring as a subversive activity (PDF)

Pages and Stages - Sheryl Siebert

  1. Pages and Stages (PPT)

Perfecting Your Presentations – Jamie Matczak

  1. Perfecting (PPT)

Promoting Your Library Using Social Network Media – Yunfei Du

  1. Promoting Your Library Using Social Network Media (PDF)

Razzle Dazzle ‘Em: the Glitz, Glam, and Gusto of Material Displays – Jeremy Bolom

  1. Razzle (PPT)

Reinventing libraries: new model for a new world – Molly Rodgers

  1. Workbook

Shakin’ the Money Tree – Susan Wolf Neilson & Elena Owens

  1. Shakin’ the Money Tree (PDF)

Sharing the Best of the Web: Creating Online Resource Guides for Your Patrons – Jane Sandberg

  1. Sharing the Best of the Web (PDF)

Signature Events for Small Libraries – Cassie Guthrie

  1. Planning Worksheet (PDF)
  2. Sample Budget (PDF)
  3. Signature Events for Small Libraries (Prezi)

Silver Surfers on the Web – RoseAleta Laurell

  1. Assessment of Computer Skills Example (PDF)
  2. Hand out example Setting up a Gmail Account (PDF)
  3. Resource lists (PDF)

Social Media Tools – Denise Wetzel

  1. Social Media Tools (PPT)

Strategic Planning on a Shoestring – Lana Gardner

  1. Strategic Planning (PPT)
  2. Strategic Planning Plan Outline (DOC)
  3. Strategic Planning Resource list (DOC)
  4. Strategic Plan survey (DOC)
  5. Strategic Plan swotform (DOC)

Surviving (and Thriving) During Challenging Times – David Singleton

  1. Surviving (and Thriving) (PPT)

Volunteers: The Core of Your Library – Dee Crowner

  1. Title page (DOC)
  2. Volunteer policy (DOC)
  3. Application for Volunteer Service (PDF)
  4. Teen Volunteer Application 2012 (PDF)
  5. TAG Brochure 11 (PDF)
  6. Recruitment of volunteers (DOC)
  7. Types of volunteers & Pros and Cons (DOC)
  8. Benefits for volunteers (DOC)
  9. Things to remember (DOC)

What do I do now? – Don Reynolds

  1. So…..What do I do now? (PDF)

The World is Yous Oyster – Mel Hager

  1. The World is Your Oyster (PPT)
  2. Hey Y’all (WMV)
  3. Hunger Games Party Promo Cut (YouTube)
  4. Imma Teen At The Bean (YouTube)
  5. Teen LockIn October 2011 (YouTube)
  6. Thriller Zombie Lockin (YouTube)
  7. YAYA and John Green (WMV)

Conference Registration Information

The Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference Planning Team is excited to announce the opening of registration for the 2012 conference in Raleigh, NC, and the availability of a preliminary conference schedule! The conference begins on September 26 with preconferences and an evening reception and continues through lunch on September 29. All items can be found on our website on the following pages:

On the Registration Information page you will find instructions as to joining the association (which will save $55 off the cost of full-conference registration for non-students), and instructions that will help you navigate our online store when purchasing your conference registration. You may pay online, or select the billing option.

We hope you’ll peruse the preliminary schedule under Program Information to see all of the exciting speakers and sessions we have planned, and stay tuned as more details are finalized. As always, if you have any questions about the conference, please contact us at

Looking forward to seeing you all in Raleigh!

Update on the Preconferences at ARSL 2012

We are pleased to report that today we have expanded our capacity for the pre-conferences due to popular demand!

Pre-conference sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, September 26th and the full conference runs from that evening’s reception through two full days on Thursday and Friday and closes at 12:30 PM on Saturday, September 29th.

As follows please find pre-conference registration availability as of August 22:

  • “A New Model for a New World” with Molly Rodgers and Lyn Hooper:  3 spaces left!
  • “Community Impact Planning” with Michael Kumer:  25 spaces left!
  • “What Do I Do Next” with Don Reynolds:  4 spaces left!

A reminder about registration and reservation deadlines:

The Early Bird Registration deadline for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference is fast approaching;  you have only until August 31st to get the best rate on this year’s fantastic conference in Raleigh, NC!  To take advantage of early bird pricing, register here:

The hotel reservation deadline (to take advantage of the conference rate of $139 / night plus tax) is August 28th.  Our official conference hotel is the Sheraton Raleigh Downtown (  Please register by calling 800-325-3535, and be sure to identify yourself as registering for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference.  Our hotel this year offers free internet access and much more!

As always, you may direct questions about the conference to us at

2012 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 a special thanks to the ARSL Scholarship Committee for their work in selecting scholarship recipients.

ARSL Conference Scholarship Winners for 2012

Bernard Vavrek Scholarship
Juliette L. Elmore
Student, Clarion University and Library Director, Oakland City-Columbia Township Public Library, Indiana

Founders Scholarship
Hope Decker
Cohocton Public Library, New York

Ken Davenport Scholarship
Kate Skinner
Library Manager, Chewelah Public Library, Washington

We look forward to sharing blog posts from Juliette, Hope and Kate when they share about their conference experience!

And thank you to the state library agencies who are providing additional scholarships for rural librarians to attend the conference in September.

ARSL 2012 Conference Keynote Speakers

Susan Hildreth

Director – Institute of Museum and Library Services

On January 19, 2011, President Obama appointed Susan Hildreth to be director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Hildreth had been the city librarian in Seattle for the past two years. Her nomination to her new post was confirmed by the US Senate by unanimous consent on December 22, 2010.

Before moving to Seattle, Hildreth served for five years as California’s state librarian, a position to which she was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Previously, Hildreth was at the San Francisco Public Library, where she served as deputy director and then city librarian. Her background also includes five years as deputy library director at the Sacramento Public Library, several years as Placer County’s head librarian, and four years as library director for the Benicia Public Library, all in California. She began her career as a branch librarian at the Edison Township Library in New Jersey.

Hildreth was active in the American Library Association, serving as president of the Public Library Association in 2006. She has a master’s degree in library science from State University of New York at Albany, a master’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University, and a bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Syracuse University.

Margaret Maron

North Carolina Author

Photo Credit: Joseph Maron

Margaret Maron is the author of twenty-six novels and two collections of short stories. Winner of several major American awards for mysteries (Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity), her works are on the reading lists of various courses in contemporary Southern literature and have been translated into 16 languages. She has served as president of Sisters in Crime, the American Crime Writers League, and Mystery Writers of America.

A native Tar Heel, she still lives on her family’s century farm a few miles southeast of Raleigh, the setting for Bootlegger’s Daughter, which is numbered among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. In 2004, she received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for best North Carolina novel of the year. In 2008, she was honored with the North Carolina
Award for Literature. (The North Carolina Award is the state’s highest civilian honor.)

Dr. Ron Carlee, DPA, CM

Chief Operating Officer for ICMA, the International City/County Management Association

Dr. Carlee holds a Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA) and is an adjunct professor of public policy & public administration at the
George Washington University.

Before joining ICMA, Dr. Carlee worked in local government for over 30 years in diverse, senior executive positions. From 2001 to 2009, he was County Manager of Arlington, Virginia.

Dr. Carlee has been involved with public libraries in a variety of capacities, most recently working on projects with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the various library associations to help increase the leadership capacity of library staff to support a broad, community-based mission.

Preconferences at ARSL 2012

Three great preconference sessions are taking place on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in Raleigh, NC.

Your biggest challenge:  choosing just ONE!!

Preconference sessions are $50.00 and will run from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the conference hotel (room assignments to be determined later).

There are 3 options:

Community Impact Planning!

With Michael Kumer, Principal of Boards Made to Order, Pittsburgh, PA.  This session is geared towards library directors and library board members.

If you are overwhelmed by conflicting ideas about planning, then this is the session for you!  Michael will show you new ideas regarding how libraries can create the future by crafting, monitoring and constantly updating exciting, relevant plans.  This session will be “hands-on” in that Michael will demonstrate how you can replicate this model at your next library board meeting.  It will include the creation of  exhilarating Vision, Mission and Values statements as well as the core strategies that lead to their implementation.

Michael has several years experience with libraries and library boards.  He is an exceptional facilitator and is often called upon to help organizations achieve consensus.  He is a frequent speaker on the topic of community leadership at local, regional and national conferences.  Michael is dynamic and very passionate about creating great library boards!

A New Model for a New World

With Molly Rodgers and Lyn Hopper.  This session is geared towards system (district or regional)  administrators, library directors, State Library staff & liaisons.

Hear how rural Pennsylvania’s Wayne County, when faced with gaps between funding and demand, between the past and the future, REINVENTED themselves to create a new model of library service.  Learn how this process has made their county group “more hopeful, more unified and more focused.”  With Georgia based consultant Lyn Hopper, Wayne County’s process has been turned into a workbook approach to help libraries who want to follow a similar process to reinvent themselves.  This session will include the who, what, why and how in Wayne County as well as decisions they made and the lessons they have learned.  Molly & Lyn will also provide an overview of the workbook tool and how it can be used at other libraries/systems around the country.

For many years, Molly Rodgers served as a board member and president of a small library board in Northeast PA.  Circumstances leading into a library referendum propelled her from board president to library director of a different library in the same county.  After successful passage of the referendum, Molly became both library director and system administrator.  Molly earned her MLS from Southern Connecticut State University in 2002, one of the first two 100% online  MLS graduates at SCSU.

Lyn Hopper works as a library consultant from her home in the north Georgia mountains.  She has more than 25 years’ experience with Georgia public libraries, serving most recently as Assistant State Librarian for Library Development at Georgia Public Library Service.  Her experience includes a total of twelve years as director of two multi-county library systems.  She is the author of the Georgia public library board manual, Tools for Trustees.  In 2012, she received ALA’s “Elizabeth Futas  Catalyst for Change Award.”  Lyn has a Master’s Degree in Librarianship from Emory University and completed her Specialist’s degree at Florida State in 2010.

What do I do Next?

With Don Reynolds.    This session is designed for directors and trustees of rural and small libraries to:

  • Identify the current trends and issues impacting local library services;
  • Review innovative local library services;
  • Learn how to innovate and market local library services;
  • Determine steps for real-world, immediate “how-to apply tomorrow” what was learned.

Don B. Reynolds, Jr. is the retired Director of the Nolichucky Regional Library, a service agency of the Tennessee State Library & Archives.  He was a founding Director of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries and its past president.  Over the years, he has served on every rural committee in the American Library Association (chairing the Public Library Association special committee on service to rural libraries) as well as the Notable Books for Children committee, Newbery-Caldecott committee, and the Young Adult Services Division Board of Directors.

Please join us for another great ARSL Preconference!

To register:

State Library Agency 2012 ARSL Conference Scholarships

We’re thrilled to see state library agencies making scholarship opportunities available to librarians in their state! In addition to state-provided scholarships, ARSL has opened up the application process for three ARSL scholarships.

Alabama Public Library Service Scholarships

The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) is pleased to announce the formation of 2 scholarships for this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 27-29, 2012. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), in conjunction with APLS, provides up to $1500 reimbursement for registration, travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient.

The scholarship’s criteria for applicants include:

  • Must work in an Alabama public library
  •  Never attended an ARSL Conference before
  • Library service population is less than 25,000
  • Willingness to network and share
  • Agree to write a 1-page article for APLSeeds
  • Agree to speak at the October Administrators’ Meeting about the Conference
  •   If not the head of a library, Supervisor approval of the application

Completed applications must be mailed and received at APLS by May 14th, and scholarship winners will be announced by June 29th. It is up to the recipient to make all travel arrangements. Applications are available on the APLS website ( under Homepage Quick Links. Any questions should be directed to Denise A. Wetzel at or 800-723-8469, ext. 3949.

Arizona State Library

The Arizona State Library offers continuing education scholarships of up to $1,000 for full-time Arizona library staff members to attend the ARSL conference.

See Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Scholarship Information for more information.

California State Library Scholarships

The California State Library is pleased to announce that it will provide scholarships for California Rural Library and Tribal Library directors and staff to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina  September 27 -29, 2012. This conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn and build practical knowledge, skills, and connections with other rural library staff from across the country.

Who is eligible?

Directors, librarians and other library staff members who work in a rural or Tribal library, and those who are responsible for planning and/or performing public service and programming in a rural or Tribal library.

What will the scholarship cover?

These scholarships will cover conference registration, airfare, hotel, and transportation to and from the airports.  All California scholarship recipients will be required to pay for membership in ARSL in order to register for the conference at the member rate.

What is required for the scholarship request?

All scholarship requests are to be submitted by rural or Tribal library directors on their own behalf or on behalf of a staff member. Deadline for submission is June 15, 2012.

For further information and application form, contact Carla Lehn,

Montana State Library Scholarships

Montana is providing three scholarships for librarians to attend ARSL! Applicants (directors or staff) must work at either a small Montana public library (service population 10,000 or less) or a tribal library.  This should be the applicant’s first ARSL Conference.  Applicants should be willing to network and share information gathered at the conference.  Scholarships are up to $2,000 to be used for conference registration fees, travel, accommodations and meals.  Any expenses over $2,000 must be provided by the applicant. Applications are due by July 2, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified by July 10, 2012.

See Montana Scholarship Application for more information.

State Library of North Carolina Scholarships: Raising the Bar

The project goal is to enhance library services in often underserved communities by promoting and inspiring excellence in service at rural and small public libraries across the state. Grant funds will support registration and lodging for 80 librarians to attend the 2012 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference held in Raleigh, NC on September 26-29, 2012.

Public library staff members will provide a statement describing how the skills and information they receive through conference attendance will benefit their library users and co-workers.

Awardees are expected to:

  • Fully attend the conference sessions, during the conference
  • Demonstrate how library users and co-workers benefited from their attendance, after the conference.

Who May Apply?
Public library staff from state-aid eligible libraries may apply. Priority may be given to those who have not previously attended an ARSL conference and/or to those in library systems serving small/rural populations.

Funds Will Cover:

  • Conference Registration (may include one-year membership)
  • Hotel Lodging

Participants will register individually; the State Library of North Carolina will make all lodging arrangements.
All other expenses including meals, transportation, parking, and any other incidental costs are the responsibility of the applicant and/or library.

How Do I Apply?
Complete the online application. The application deadline is Wednesday, August 1, 2012.

What is Raising the Bar?
Raising the Bar is a State Library program that enhances library services by promoting excellence in North Carolina’s libraries through supporting professional development opportunities for eligible library staff.

Questions? Contact Lori Special at 919-807-7425 or

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

North Dakota State Library Scholarships

The North Dakota State Library is extremely pleased to offer a Continuing Education grant opportunity for two librarians to attend the upcoming September conference of the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). Applicants must work at a rural or small North Dakota public library (service population 25,000 or less). Applications must be received at the North Dakota State library by July 1, 2012. Announcement of granted awards shall be made no later than July 16, 2012.

See North Dakota Scholarship Application for more information.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Libraries Scholarships

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries is pleased to announce the formation of four scholarships to attend this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 27-29, 2012. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) provides conference registration plus up to $800 reimbursement for travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient. It is up to the recipient to make all travel arrangements. Find application and criteria here and submit applications by Monday, July 2.

West Virginia Library Commission Scholarships

The West Virginia Library Commission (WVLC) is pleased to announce the formation of 2 scholarships to attend this year’s Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 27-29, 2012. Funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), in conjunction with WVLC, provides up to $1000 reimbursement for registration, travel, hotel and meals for each scholarship recipient.

The scholarship’s criteria for applicants include:

  • Must work in a West Virginia public library
  • Never attended an ARSL Conference before
  • Library service population is less than 20,000
  • Willingness to network and share
  • Agree to write a 1-page article for a future WVLC newsletter
  • Agree to speak at an upcoming seminar/webinar about the Conference or a specific subject area of interest related to a conference session
  • If not the head of a library, Supervisor approval of the application

Completed applications must be mailed and received at WVLC by May 31st, and scholarship winners will be announced by June 30th. New! See Announcement of Scholarship Winners.

Utah State Library Scholarships

The Utah State Library (USL) offers the UPLIFT Professional Excellence Grant to persons employed in Utah libraries for advancing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individual library employees to better serve their patrons. USL and the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) funds these grants. Up to four grants will be awarded to pay for conference attendance in Sept. 2012 in Raleigh North Carolina. Online application must be completed by July 17, 2012. Application and additional information available on the Utah State Library website.

This was the first year that the Utah State Library offered a grant to individuals from rural libraries to attend ARSL. They offered four grants, and the participants submitted an article about their experiences. Here is a link to the blog that has their thoughts about the ARSL conference:


West Virgina Library Directors Awarded Scholarships

Press Release from West Virginia Library Commission

CHARLESTON. Two library directors in the state have been awarded scholarships by the West Virginia Library Commission to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference to be held this September in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Mary Stegner, Director of the Southern Area Library in Lost Creek and Rosanne Eastham, Director of the Tyler County Public Library in Middlebourne were selected from applicants across the state. In return for their scholarships, Stegner and Eastham agreed to share their learning experience with other librarians in the state.

The Association for Rural and Small Libraries was founded several years ago to provide networking and education opportunities for librarians from small public libraries and librarians from rural, isolated areas. Tyler County and the Southern Area libraries are among the smallest and somewhat isolated, with Southern Area being the smallest public library in West Virginia in terms of service population.

Using federal funds from the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, WVLC developed these two scholarships to the ARSL conference just this year to improve library services in rural parts of the state. Applicant libraries had to serve a population of 20,000 persons or less.

For more information, contact John Paul Myrick, Director of Library Development at WVLC, 304-558-3978 or email at

Additional Scholarship Information

Hey Ya’ll

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

I am starting to get excited for the conference!
Thanks Melissa ‘Miss Mel’ Hager, Children’s Librarian in Alexander County Library

Also, check out Miss Mel’s Testimonial!