2017 Schedule

The conference was held online on Friday, February 24, 2017 from 8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Central Time via the GoToWebinar online meeting service.

Speaker bios can be found on the Speakers page.


Welcome to the Conference & Introductions

Christa Porter, Library Development Consultant, Nebraska Library Commission

Judy Calhoun, President; Vicki Bartz, Vice President; and Meredith Wickham, Co-chair, Marketing & Membership Committee; Association for Rural & Small Libraries


Social Media for a Small Library

Monica Tidyman, Director, Stromsburg Public Library, Stromsburg, NE (Population served: 1172)

Small libraries don’t have a social media manager, you ARE the social media manager! I’ll share tips on the ins and outs of setting up an account on three of the more popular sites; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, how they connect, and how to make sharing across multiple platforms easier. I’ll also share our successes and failures and what works in our community. I’m not a social media expert, just passing on what I’ve learned.


Good Looking Out: Crucial Feedback from Students

David Gallin-Parisi, School Librarian, St. Anthony Catholic High School, San Antonio, TX (FTE: 400)

SACHS Library is constantly gathering feedback from students. Gathering student voices is crucial in making the library feel like their home or his/her “place”. This presentation is about the ways I’ve gathered feedback from students and faculty. Hear about the pros and cons of getting feedback via an “official survey”. Also get techniques for gathering feedback using face-to-face, conversational, and open-ended methods. Finally as a bonus feature, learn ways to connect with students and feature their voices in the library in new ways.


Best Small Library in America 2011: Naturita Community Library

Susan Rice, Library Coordinator, Naturita Community Library, Naturita, CO (Population served: 525)

The Naturita Community Library was named the 2011 Best Small Library in America by Library Journal. The award, cosponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, honors the top libraries serving populations of 25,000 or fewer people. Library Coordinator Susan Rice will talk about what it was like to receive the award and what has been happening at the library since then.

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round!

PROWL the Library: An Introduction to Library Services

Kelly Ansley, Library Director, and Katie Shepard, Reference and Instruction Librarian; East Georgia State College, Swainsboro, GA (FTE: 2400)

Engaging students in a small academic environment can be quite a task. At East Georgia State College, we created PROWL, Practicing Research On Campus With Librarians, an engaging activity that is completed much like BINGO. Join us to learn more about our PROWL assignment!

Adventures in Serving Populations of Under 100

Mia Boynton, Head Librarian, Monhegan Memorial Library, Monhegan, ME (Population served: 60-600 – varies by season)

The Monhegan Memorial Library is a unique library in a unique place: Monhegan, Maine, a mile-long island, 12 miles out to sea. Known as “the artist’s island,” Monhegan is famous for its hiking trails and art colony, inspiring the likes of Rockwell Kent and Edward Hopper. It’s also one of only a handful of year-around communities on un-bridged islands, with a one-room schoolhouse and a life that still revolves around the seasons. The population we serve is likewise unconventional even among small libraries: in the summer, our town has a population of around 600, but for the rest of the year we are a community of barely 60 residents. How can a Library serve two distinct groups of people? What are the challenges and what are the opportunities inherent in being isolated? And, why is having a library in such a community important? In this talk, I will share with you some of the successes and setbacks I have encountered while running this very special library.

Cake at the Lake!

Sherry Brecheen, Director, Onalaska Public Library, Onalaska, TX (Population served: 1742)

Located in the “Heart of Lake Livingston,” Onalaska Public Library may be small, but we use every inch to our advantage. Being the second largest lake in Texas, we attract a tourist and retirement population. Many visit the library looking for a way to “pass a good time” while relaxing at their lake retreat. All know we have books, but creating a special treat for visiting family is the perfect way to make lasting memories. No need to travel back to the city for supplies. We have a variety of donated bakeware to check it out. So, come have some Cake at the Lake!

Life Stories: Community Engagement through Oral History

Dan Galway, Library Manager, Ponoka Jubilee Library, Ponoka, Alberta, Canada (Population served: 7500)

Life Stories is a program born of the idea that everybody has a story to tell. This has been proven to be true, at least in the small town of Ponoka, AB. By reaching out to community members to inform our choices, the staff at the Ponoka Jubilee Library has been able to host relevant and engaging guest speakers through speaking nights that evolve into a conversation between speaker and audience. This type of program highlights the necessity for library staff to be connected to the community in order to plan our programs accordingly.

Share the Gift of Reading

Traci McKeon, Librarian, Pleasanton Public Schools, Pleasanton, NE (Population served: 270)

Encouraging students to read during the Holiday break can be a challenge, but everyone loves the thrill of unwrapping presents.  By combining these two elements you can generate some excitement in the early weeks of December by wrapping up library books for your students to check out during Christmas break, and reap the rewards of your efforts when the students return to school in January. This project takes some pre-planning but the two fold lesson at the heart of the project makes it well worth your time and effort.


Cultivating an Active Learning Community at the Library

Danielle Dion, Director of De Paul Library; Ashley Creek, Access Services Librarian; Lindsay Schettler, Special Collections & Content Management Librarian; University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, KS (FTE: 1600)

Learn how a small university library’s proposal for the 2016 Steelcase Education Active Learning Center grant beat out 790 other institutions to become one of six higher education institutions to receive the award. Since the creation of the new Steelcase Active Learning Center in August 2016, there have been over 200 events/classes/sessions held in the space – over 20 different departments have now taught in the space. Faculty senate meetings, student orientations, admissions events, multiple lunch and learns, athletic training sessions, weekly yoga sessions, makerspace events, technology training sessions, gaming sessions, and student life events have also been held in the space.

The presenters reflect on the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned in an engaging, innovative, and unique session. Participants will be encouraged and invited to share strategies for active learning for teaching and learning, how to engage the campus community in seeing new spaces as their own, and ways to find external funding. An online toolkit of active learning and strategies created by the facilitator will be shared with the participants.


What Is It Like to Work as a Prison Librarian?

Mary Rayme, Librarian, Huttonsville Correctional Center, Huttonsville, WV (Population served: 1135)

In this session I will talk about my day-to-day routine as a prison librarian in rural Appalachia– a description of my average day in a medium-maximum security institution that is all male. While this type of library work may not be for everyone, I have found the rewards and challenges to be rich and multi-layered. I hope to discuss what it is like to work with the incarcerated and to touch on the similarities and differences between prison librarianship and other types of library environments.


Digitize It Yourself: A Method of In-House Digitization

Amanda M. Shepp, Library Director, Marion H. Skidmore Library, Lily Dale Assembly, Lily Dale, NY (Population served: 2000)

Make in-house digitization of fragile materials a snap with the BlackBox DIY Digitization Chamber! In this session, step-by-step instructions will be given on how you can build your own DIY Digitization Chamber, along with a demonstration of how it is used, and examples of finished digital images created using the Chamber process. The DIY Digitization Chamber is perfect for smaller institutions with limited budgets that want to create digital content, institutions with rare or fragile materials that need to be digitized in-house, and institutions with collections of 2D and 3D objects. Come see how easy creating digital objects can be!


Gold Nuggets: Mining Your Community for New and Exciting Programs

Jane Somerville, Director, Stanley Community Library, Stanley, ID (Population served: 252)

Every community has its own gems, folks with amazing talents. Utilizing the talents of your local people, forge partnerships within your community to provide excellent (and inexpensive!) programs.

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