2016 Schedule

The conference was held from 8:45am ’till 5:00pm CST on Friday, February 24, 2016.

Speaker bios can be found on the Speakers page.


Welcome to the Conference & Introductions

Christa Burns, Nebraska Library Commission and Jet Kofoot, Judy Calhoun, and Donna Eby, Association for Rural & Small Libraries


Transforming Your Library from Lovely to Lively!

Kathie Hogan, Program and Communications Coordinator, Powassan and District Union Public Library, Powassan, Ontario, Canada (Population served: 5,000)

Our lovely small town library was stagnant. And then we discovered programming! The patrons slowly started coming alive, and getting excited about the monthly schedule. We jumped on Twitter and Facebook, and the numbers starting rising rapidly. Even exponentially some months. Our programs started conservatively, with some sedate topics (conversational French, yoga, and a museum tour). Then we went BIG- how to raise backyard chickens (with a real chicken in tow), beekeeping (with hives present), craft beer (with beer tasting), ukulele night (with 50 ukuleles all at play), wine and cheese tasting, cocktail parties, murder mystery night, soap making, etc. Then community groups started coming to us for space. It seems the busier we got, the more our schedule expanded. I will present this ten step talk on how to revitalize your lovely library to a vibrant community centre!


The Road to Best Small Library Award: How Our Small Library Planned this Incredible Journey

Rosemary Cooper, Library Director, Albert Wisner Public Library, Warwick, NY (Population served: 23,647)

The Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick NY has been named the 2016 Best Small Library in America by Library Journal. The award, cosponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and now in its twelfth year, honors the top libraries serving populations of 25,000 or fewer people. Library Director Rosemary Cooper will talk about the process involved in preparing their application and what they learned about their Library in the process.


Dig Into Your History

Karyn Millikan, Branch Manager/Collection Manager, Tipton County Public Library, Tipton, IN (Population served: 18,000)

As part of the Dig Into Reading summer reading program, library personnel worked with girls in our community to “dig” into their family tree. The objective of the project was to give girls a sense of their heritage and where they came from through research their “past.” Each girl kept a journal of the information she located and decorated them like scrapbook. We held an end party to share this information with significant female(s) in their lives. I will present a step-by-step process on setting up this program in your library.

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round!

Leveraging the Power of Little

Hope Decker, Member library Liaison, Pioneer Library System, Canandaigua, NY (Population served: 1,400)

What if your library’s most valuable characteristic is the thing that you thought of as a disadvantage? Find inspiration, leverage your strengths and increase your library’s impact in the community by understanding the advantages of being a small library.

The John G. Neihardt State Historic Site

Amy C. Kucera, Executive Director, John G. Neihardt State Historic Site Research Library, Bancroft, NE (Population served: 1,500/year)

The John G. Neihardt State Historic Site is a unique destination in northeast Nebraska that includes historic site, educational center, library, museum, garden and more. As a small, rural library with an average of 1,500 visitors per year, we continue to grow in big ways. The library specializes in regional studies of poetry and prose, American Indian culture and Western History. Executive Director Amy Kucera spent her early years growing up in the Verdigre Public Library as her mom served as librarian. She has combined her experience as a writer with that of her continued cultural work in local tribal communities to create further opportunities for library development through experiences that explore the ever-vibrant Plains Indian culture and history with emphasis on indigenous language and stories woven into Neihardt’s life and works.

Easy Group Calendars

Karen Mier, Library Director, Plattsmouth Public Library, Plattsmouth, NE (Population served: 6,502)

The Plattsmouth Library has created a community calendar on teamup.com and shares responsibility for its maintenance with local business and non-profit groups. Access is limited by permissions so you can control who makes changes. Karen will explain how the library’s calendars and permissions work and talk about the adaptability of this calendar to other library uses such as scheduling staff, rooms, equipment, or other projects.

To the Big Stage on a Small Budget: From Special Collections to Archive 2.0

Julie Pinnell, Library Director, Doane College, Crete, NE (Population served: 2,100)

Ideas for using student employees and available digital resources to increase access and preserve archival legacy will be presented. These ideas grew from increased interest in Doane College’s Archives when staff and budget for making the primary resources available for research were in short supply.

Kickin’ Up Our Heels

MeMe Smith, Library Director, Schuyler Public Library, Schuyler, NE (Population served: 6,211)

“Kicking Up Our Heels” was a very successful fundraiser held last year in Schuyler, Nebraska. Modeled after the popular television show, the Library Foundation, Library Board of Directors, and helpful constituency held a great community event that that was the talk of the town for several weeks. We had entertainers, a dance-off, and a great mingling of our latino and anglo populations. We also raised $8000.00 for our building fund.


Learn More, Pay Less

Natalie Bazan, Director, Hopkins District and Dorr Township Libraries, Hopkins and Dorr, MI (Populations served: 4,600 and 7,400)

Have you always wanted to learn about the latest technology, how to create a disaster plan, updates on children’s programming or how to host a comic con? Join me to learn about free and low cost webinar and training opportunities available to everyone. Keep you, your staff and your board up to date on all the newest information without breaking the budget. Topics range from grants to RDA to programming ideas and much more. Please feel free to bring your favorite training websites to share!


Honoring the Past, Moving Into the Future

Adriane Herrick Juarez, Director, Park City Library, Park City, UT (Population served: 8,050)

The Park City Library recently underwent renovation on our historic high school, circa 1928, to develop a 21st Century library. The building’s history was preserved with reveals of historic brick, metal beams, and windows – while adding a coffee shop, digital media lab, high-tech community gathering spaces, increased youth services areas (including gaming), bookstore browsing displays, roving reference, and expanded study areas. Along the way, a commitment to preserving the history of the building allowed it to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places – blending the old and the new to create an innovative amenity and town treasure.


Reach Them, Teach Them: Having a Lifelong Learning Series in YOUR Library

Meg Wempe, Assistant Director & Adult Services Librarian, Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, Pagosa Springs, CO (Population served: 12,000)

Regardless of your library and town size, you can help with your adult patrons’ ongoing learning. There is a wide variety of ways in which we can accomplish this effort. Attend this workshop to learn about putting together a Lifelong Learning Lecture Series at your library – it doesn’t have to require a lot of staff time, effort, or money. Learn some tips and tricks to make it work at YOUR library.


Flip The Script: Changing the Direction of the Library

Dianne Connery, Director, Pottsboro Area Public Library, Pottsboro, TX (Population served: 3,333)

Learn how the rural library dramatically changed focus in the last 5 years—from book depository to community hub, and how they’ve turned outward to build relationships and try new ideas. Being at the fortunate point in time that the library was running out of money and volunteers, with no tax dollar support, created freedom to experiment without fear of failure. Successful leaders need to paint a compelling and inspiring picture of what that future will look like. This requires developing your own clear vision of where you want to go and providing meaningful guidance regarding how to move forward.

Comments are closed.