I was able to attend the ARSL conference for the very first time this year with the help of the UPLIFT Professional Excellence Grant. I would like to give a big thank you to the Utah State Library for awarding me this honor.
The conference was really an “eye-opener” for me. I was able to connect with other librarians dealing with issues similar to mine. I attending many classes that gave me information I felt would benefit my library and our patrons. I enjoyed the ideas and camaraderie with the other librarians.
I found that the classes were tailored specifically for small libraries on a budget and the ideas received from ALL of the classes I was able to attend were things I could actually implement reasonably quickly. I didn’t feel like I was gathering bits & pieces of a class and trying to tailor it my own library.
I did learn that we have not had enough staff training on safety. I attended a class called “The Black Belt Librarian” and was amazed that I hadn’t thought about more training on this subject! I realized that even though we are small and a bit off the beaten track, we should think of training on all levels so that we are always prepared no matter what.
I am grateful that I was given this opportunity to attend this conference and am planning on adding it to my budget to attend in the future. For any of the small libraries in Utah, THIS is the conference to attend!
Director, Eagle Mountain Public Library
There’s always so much to think about in public libraries today, but if I could consider the top three trends, I would say:
1. Collaboration is huge. We are busy meeting the public’s information needs in different, more dynamic, more effective ways now, and it’s all about collaboration. Ask yourself, what does the fire department and the library have in common? Then decide: both are involved in public awareness of fire prevention. Then decide together on a booth, a display, a night where the fire chief comes and speaks at the library, on safety in the home, or whatever else may come into play. People can have fun with this one, it can be sort of like solving a riddle. Better yet, use your long range plan to decide with whom to collaborate (first choice, actually).
2. We are retooling our library spaces to be much more customer oriented. We enjoy style, adequate space for people to meet or work or just relax, ample lighting, views of the outdoors, maybe even something to nibble on while we’re there. Though I only have a couple of grievances with Melvil Dewey, he is now old school in favor of bisac (bookstore model) cataloging.
Betsy Erickson, Library Director of the Ephraim Public Library in Ephraim Utah, went to the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference in Raleigh NC, Sept. 26-29, 2012, through a grant sponsored by the Utah State Library. This is what she wrote on the experience.
“I can remember a time, many moons ago when I was just a little girl, oh about eight or nine years old, when I could not wait for Saturday night to come and all the fireflies would come out littering the warm outdoor air with their blinking yellow glow.
‘Our family would gather in the backyard, jars in hand and search and catch these wonderful magical fireflies. My older sister was stealthy at it where I was more like a bull in a china cabinet running left and right screeching with delight. My parents were off to the side, with their cool glasses of lemonade chuckling at the two of us, I’m sure.
‘The best part for me was having those little bugs light up my room that night. In preparation, I would fill the jar with twigs and leaves and just a little bit of water. I really thought I could make them comfortable in their new fabricated home and hopefully they would live. It never failed to make me sad waking up the next morning to see my glowing little friends at the bottom of the jar not glowing anymore. My only solace was I knew I could do it again next week.
Danielle Rasmussen, Director of the Garland Public Library in Utah, shares her thoughts about the ARSL conference she attended in Raleigh NC in Sept. 2012. She received a grant from the Utah State Library to attend.
I went to “A Model for a New World” with Molly Rogers and Lyn Hopper and they talked about re-inventing libraries, how to provide great service to our patrons, shrinking budgets with greater demands for services, and how to do more with less.
One of the things that made an impact on me was the way they had an open discussion among all the libraries. We learned more about what we are all going through and how each of us deals with different budget issues and morale.
We learned how to decipher the core values at our library and what our timeless purpose is. The workbook they provided gave me a lot of insight into things that need to be changed in our library. All in all it was a great class.
Patrick Bodily, the Library Director of the Richfield Public Library in Richfield Utah, attended the ARSL Conference in September 2012, through a grant sponsored by the Utah State Library. Here are his thoughts on the conference.
“I was one of the lucky few who were able to go to the annual conference for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) in Raleigh, North Carolina, thanks to a grant funded by the Utah State Library. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my time as Library Director, and I would recommend to anyone that can that they make it to the ARSL conference next year. At the conference, you are surrounded by other people with a passion for libraries and want to make our services better and patrons happier. It is a great reminder that the problems and challenges that we face here in Utah are also being faced across the country.
‘One of the sessions I got the most out of was entitled “De-Clutter Your Collection: Tips for Weeding Library Collections.” The presentation covered reasons why we weed, as well as excuses that we make for not weeding. In the Richfield Public Library, where I work, space is an issue. This presentation helped me to make sure that I wasn’t just weeding for space; I was weeding items from the collection that were no longer useful to the patrons that I serve. Again, I would like to give a big thank you to the Utah State Library for making attendance of ARSL possible.”