ARSL Conference Notes – September 2014On September 3 – 6, I attended the ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries) Conference in Tacoma, Washington and found it to be a very worthwhile experience. Well organized and complete with good food and a great setting, the conference offered a number of break-out sessions helpful to small/rural libraries.
On Thursday and Friday, we had breakfast and lunch speakers and 3 breakout sessions each day. On Saturday, Clancy Pool (Library Journal Para-librarian of the Year) gave a dynamic presentation – From Farm Wife to Cover Girl - about bringing a new spirit and library to her small town of about 500 people in Washington State’s Whitman County. While all the speakers gave interesting addresses, Clancy’s was a great one with which to conclude the conference.
A few points I noted from her talk include:
- People like to donate to specific things.
- Look for resources to improve your library.
- Find a mentor and be a mentor.
Uniquely Connected: Expanding Community in 21st Libraries (Speaker Karen Archer Perry at Thursday's Breakfast)Karen stressed that libraries sit at the junction of knowledge, service, and communities, and that she thinks “librarian super powers will save the world.” These powers, or tools for change, include trust, knowledge, technology, and place.
Points I noted:
- If you want to get people into your library, get out into the community and meet people where they are.
- Only 23% of the public says they really know what’s going on at their library.
- People love the core services that libraries offer.
- People need help navigating to things of meaning to them, and librarians can do this.
- Librarians are America’s digital literacy corps.
- eReader tablet growth is significant, yet 62% said they didn’t know libraries loaned eBooks.
- Create an experience, not a product. (This was a prominent theme throughout the sessions I attended. My take on this concept is that we focus on service, and the product follows.)