2018 Schedule

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2018

The conference was broadcast online on Friday, February 23, 2018 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 Director, Nebraska Library Commission; Judy Calhoun, ARSL Past President; Julie Elmore, 2018 ARSL Annual Conference Chair; Meredith Wickham, ARSL Marketing and Membership Chair. 


At Your Service: the Library as a Community Hub

Tim Lentz, Library Director, and Dave Millar, IT Program Manager, Midland University, Fremont, NE (FTE: 1400)

Midland University’s Luther Library serves the campus community in an exceptionally broad variety of services through our unique “help desk” or service desk model at our front desk: our student workers act as the first point of contact for IT assistance, Maintenance requests, Financial Aid questions, and, naturally, library services. Basically, they field any simple request immediately, and “filter up” more complex issues to the appropriate departments, whether that is the Librarian, IT staff or Maintenance employees.

This was partly born of our unique small-college atmosphere, where IT is housed inside the library, and partly out of a desire to increase our impact across the entire institution. This arrangement builds on and reinforces the library as a central hub and destination on campus: a true win-win for both the campus and the library.

This talk will open with a brief history of how our situation came to be, then we’ll pivot to identifying some of its strengths and benefits, and finally, discuss some possibilities for implementation of all or part of this system for small public and academic libraries alike. Q and A as time permits.


If You Feed Them, They Still Might Not Come: Piloting a Successful Library Open House at a Small, Liberal-Arts College

Lindsey Lowry, Electronic Resources Librarian, Lewis Library at LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA (FTE: 997)

In the fall of 2016, Lewis Library held our first annual Library Open House for incoming freshman. Based on examples from other institutions, we created a fun, welcoming event where freshman students came to meet the staff, see what the library offered, play games, and win prizes. Our first attempt at this event was not without its problems, and changes were made to the second iteration of the open house in the fall of 2017 to address them. In this presentation, hear the good, the bad, and the ugly of building this event and tips for hosting your own version at your institution.


Create a Culture of Opportunity! Best Small Library in America 2017: Boundary County Library

Craig Anderson, Director, Boundary County Library, Bonners Ferry, ID (Population served: 11,869)

Welcome to a world in which you are invited to Dream Big and Believe that positive steps are real, and that you can be a change agent in growing a strong, vibrant community.

Today, begin by Creating a Vision of Hope in yourself and those around you. From this vision, move to Develop a Solid Plan, with steps that lead toward success. Next, Foster Understanding in Stakeholders, then With Support, Move Forward to Your Goal – your shared Vision of Hope.

I look forward to joining you all as we share our time, our love of what a library is and can be, and our commitment to our community!

The Boundary County Library has been named the 2017 Best Small Library in America by Library Journal. Library Journal’s annual award, relaunched in 2017 with the support of sustaining sponsor ­Junior Library Guild (JLG, a division of LJ’s parent company, Media Source, Inc.), was originally created in 2005 to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of libraries serving populations under 25,000.

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round!

Creativity in a Box

Karen Fasimpaur, Volunteer/Project Coordinator, Portal Myrtle Kraft Library, Portal, AZ (Population served: 500)

This maker-focused project involved a series of face-to-face events, boxes of materials to be checked out from the library, and a web site with project examples, a place for participants to share, and ideas for things to make. The workshops included activities like tie-dyeing, cooking, and making natural personal care products. The kits include growing microgreens, paper crafts, digital photography, paper circuitry, and robotics.

This project emphasized cross-generational participation in our very rural community and had participants from aged 3 to 100. Partners included other branch libraries, local schools, and community organizations. Sustainability was a focus, and the project has resulted in a variety of exciting spin-off projects, including a local oral history project, in which stories of our residents are being captured digitally and shared online at www.makingandsharing.com.

This project is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Growing Together: Libraries and Homeschool Families

Kathy Hale, Director,  Savonburg Public Library, Savonburg, KS (Population served 103)

We saw significant growth in our library services by reaching out to homeschool families and starting a story time. Learn how we started, how we incorporated help from mothers and volunteers, and how we engaged multiple ages in story time. We’ll share various successful activities and some of the benefits to the children and to our library.

Student Access Cards: providing students with the tools they need to succeed

Lori Juhlin, Library Director, Hawarden Public Library, Hawarden, IA (Population served: 2,550)

Have you ever wondered how you can reach students and provide them with access to resources they may not have through their school? Hawarden Public Library Director, Lori Juhlin, will share how her library launched a program to provide every 6-12th grade student in the district with a Student Access Card, which provides access to all digital resources as well as limited checkout privileges. Policies and procedures for these cards will also be shared, as well as tips to promote this with your school.

Strategic Planning = Efficiency for the Small Academic Library 

Julie Pinnell, University Librarian, Cochrane-Woods Library, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE (FTE: 1781)

The director of a small academic library finds strategic planning has a large return on investment and raises the profile of the library on campus.

Getting the BAND back together

Edita Sicken, Instruction & Access Services Librarian, Manchester University, North Manchester, IN (FTE: 1,500)

BAND is a mobile app for bringing people together and allowing them a platform to communicate, share media, create events, and more. For the past two years, the Access Services desk at Funderburg Library has been using this app to coordinate the scheduling of and notices to our student workers (between 15 and 20 each semester). Since we began using BAND with our student workers, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the number of recorded tardinesses and missed shifts. It has also served as the most effective way to push important messages out to our student workers who often don’t check or respond to emails in a timely fashion. BAND is completely free to use and quick to set up and is a great tool for anyone supervising and scheduling part-time employees.


Get Your Community Moving: Physical Literacy Programs for All Ages

Jenn Carson, Library Director, L.P. Fisher Public Library, Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada (Population served: 5200) and Noah Lenstra, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC

The topic of physical literacy in libraries is certainly a growing and relevant trend. A survey conducted in Spring 2017 identified 18 public libraries in the Atlantic Provinces that regularly offer some form of movement-based programs, and an additional 79 public libraries elsewhere in Canada that offer these programs (Lenstra, 2017). In addition, past work shows that at least one fifth of public libraries have offered some sort of exercise class (Bertot et al., 2014). Evidence also suggests that more and more school (Barack, 2015) and academic libraries (Smith, 2016) also offer these programs.

Join presenters Jenn Carson and Noah Lenstra, who combined have over a decade of physical literacy program and research experience, as they deliver a multimodal production that includes a PowerPoint presentation, videos, handouts and some (optional) yoga stretches to get the audience into a body-positive state of mind. We will explore the neuroscience behind physical literacy, share case studies of what other libraries are doing (both academic and public), and offer links to program models. We will also discuss how to leverage community partnerships to start and sustain these types of programs. Some of the issues to be addressed include: marketing, staff and administrative buy-in, passive vs. active programs, funding sources, legal and liability issues, training, and modifications for patrons with exceptionalities. Participation in movement-based programs is valuable regardless of talent, ability, or experience; it has been proven that to increase physical literacy increases competence in other literacies, such as emotional, textual, oral/aural, digital and visual literacies.


Small Data Can Still Be Smart Data: How Outcomes Can Help Your Library

Pamela Bonney, Library Director, Winslow Public Library, Winslow, ME (Population served: 7551) and Samantha Lopez, Program Officer, Public Library Association, Chicago, IL.

Do you wish you could say more about your programs other than how many people attended? Do you know the impact your programs and services are having on your patrons? Learn how Winslow Public Library has measured patron outcomes using Project Outcome, the Public Library Association’s free, online outcome measurement toolkit. Winslow Public Library will also share what it learned from its experience, how they have used the outcome data, and reflections on how to improve its measurement process and data uses in the future. PLA staff will also share how small libraries can maximize the benefits of its free toolkit and how other small libraries have used the data to make programmatic improvements, create partnerships, inform strategic planning and increase funding.


Can You Hear Me Now? 

Lisa Valerio-Nowc, Library Administrator/Director, Royal Oak Township Library, Royal Oak Township, MI (Population served: 2,500)

My passion has always been in  advocating for libraries. Whether it be school, academic, rural or urban libraries, it has been my goal to get everyone on the band wagon to support every library I have found through the years that at a small library it is important to carry a big megaphone and speak loudly. In this session I will describe useful tips to getting local officials, businesses and citizens to hear your library’s message loud and clear. The outcome of this program should be attendees will find useful tips to communicate the important role their library has not only in the local community but to the surrounding communities as well.


More Than Summer Lunches–Social, Cultural, and Healthy Connections

Janet Reynolds, Librarian, Library District #2 of Linn County, and High School Librarian, Prairie View High School, La Cygne, KS (Population served: 2400)

Kansas was ranked at the bottom in providing summer meals to children. They began approaching libraries to fill in the gap. I didn’t want to just be a “feeding” station; I wanted to tie library programming to lunch. For the past three years, we have operated Storyteller Café, in the meeting room of the library and incorporated mentoring, read alouds, playing games. In addition, we brought in cultural entertainment, fitness, health, career speakers and free books to help make it more than just a lunchroom. We have transitioned from shelf-stable brown bag lunches to congregate meal, brought in daily, to self-prep, so I can talk about our experiences with those and how and why we’ve made changes, how we’ve involved the community , how we’ve fundraised. The good news is other libraries in the state have joined  and Kansas has moved up a couple places, so we are making progress with feeding. I’m the most excited about combining free lunches with free learning experiences. Summer slide is a well-known issue and if we can slip some learning in with the meals, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. It also gets children and families into the library and using it.

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