2020 Schedule

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2020

The conference was broadcast online on Friday, February 28, 2020 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; Jennie Garner, Association for Rural and Small Libraries Board Secretary.


We NEED each other! Partnering with Local Organizations to Benefit Youth

Macey Lackaff, Library Director, Rock County Public Library, Bassett, NE (Population served: 575)

One grant can change the world…or at least it can change a summer reading program! Learn how we applied for a youth engagement grant and partnered with another organization in town to provide an “Out of This World” summer reading program!


Holiday Break at the Library!

Monica Tidyman, Director, Stromsburg Public Library, Stromsburg, NE. (Population served: 1170).

In 2014, Stromsburg Public Library decided to hold special events each day of the Holiday Break to help out families that may have bored kids at home. They started simple with Brick Building Days, Movie Days, Craft Days, and Game Days. These special days have evolved and changed each year with this year being the biggest yet! They have also started holding these special events on early out days and other no school days. Library Director Monica Tidyman will share a simple description of each day and some of the more unusual ones they’ve come up with.


Wizards and Jedi and Gamers, Oh My! : Library Con on a Limited Budget

Katelyn Baroody, Assessment and Instruction Librarian, and
Liz Santobuono, Library Instructional Support Associate,  Mildred & Louis Resnick Library, SUNY Delhi, Delhi, NY (FTE: 3,100)

The Resnick Library at SUNY Delhi held its first Library Con in October 2018 and it has since grown into a successful annual cross-campus collaboration. Events have included lightning talks and panels, local vendors, escape rooms, virtual reality, and more! This talk will discuss how to make the most of a limited budget to leverage resources and create a fun atmosphere. Join presenters Liz Santobuono and Katelyn Baroody as they discuss lessons learned while bringing their “brainchild” to life as well as their plans for future Library Cons.

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round!

Can a New Library Webpage Overcome Small Library Challenges?

Carrie D. Adams, Senior Consultant, Baptist Health Science Libraries, Jacksonville, FL (Population served: 9,000)

Solo- and small-staff libraries must “do more with less” in order to provide services to patrons. In today’s health care environment, information resources are essential to providing exceptional patient care.  Usability of online library resources is crucial for the needs of practicing clinicians in order to provide immediate access to evidence-based information. This presentation will describe a technology project undertaken by the Baptist Health Science Library to provide an improved user experience, which entailed overcoming a number of different hurdles including knowledge- and skills-deficits, technology challenges, and navigation difficulties. The project that incorporated user feedback and usability testing to design a new library web page to assist clinicians.

Growth Mindset and Staff Development

Betsy Davis, Director, Moundridge Public Library, Moundridge, KS (Population Served: 2,000)

Fail is no longer a 4 letter word. Learn about motivation and encouraging a growth mindset in your staff.

Prom Dress Giveaway!

Jodi Fleurie-Wohlleb, Librarian, Groton Free Public Library, Groton, VT (Population served: 1,000)

The Groton Free Public Library transforms a corner of it’s Library each year to host all things “Prom” for the young gals in our community! We believe that every prom dress deserves a second trip around the dance floor, and every girl deserves to feel beautiful on her special day regardless of resources! The Community rallies to gather dresses, shoes and jewelry all to be distributed free of questions and costs to anyone who would like to come! Learn how YOU can offer this opportunity in your Library.

Surviving Science Liaison Work as a Non-Scientist

Cali Neuberger, Online Learning Librarian & Liaison to the Sciences, Perkins Library, Doane University, Crete, NE (FTE: 3,470)

It’s common among librarians to find former humanities majors serving as science liaisons, and I’m no exception. In this lightning talk, I will describe my experience developing trust with science faculty members and students. Over the last year and a half, I have faced challenges and successes as a brand new librarian working in with unfamiliar subject areas. I’ll discuss what’s worked for me to overcome those challenges and achieve more successes.

Community Connections: Working with Schools, Libraries, and Local Partners to Make Big Things Happen

Michelle Shea, Education Librarian, University Library, Texas A&M University – Central Texas, Killeen, TX (FTE: 3,470)

The university library at Texas A&M University – Central Texas serves a small study body within a military town. The area is predominantly lower to middle income, so we strive to provide free services and programming for people in the community. We achieve this goal by partnering with local school districts, libraries, colleges, and organizations. In this lightning session, I’ll give examples of our collaborative programs, talk about our library consortium meetings, and offer tips for how to connect with local groups.


Fitness, Food, & Fun with Seniors (citizens that is)!

Janet Reynolds, Librarian, Library District #2 of Linn County, LaCygne, KS (Population served: 2,400)

When the senior meal site closes and the senior population in your area is growing, what is a library to do, but try to meet the needs of those patrons? 

In 2018, we received word that the senior meal site was closing and that Meals on Wheels would be limited. We knew we couldn’t do something every day, but we had to do something. Like Summer Meals for Kids, we didn’t want to be just a “feeding” station, so we began to brainstorm and plan programs which started in September 2018 as a pilot program. We started out with 25 people attending and haven’t looked back, our biggest groups have been over 60 seniors participating. We structured the same as Summer Meals, doing a self-funded program. We have received donations, some small grants and commitments from area folks to make sure the program is a success. Thanks to a comment by Dr. Noah Lenstra, I found out about the Geri-Fit program pilot and we joined that. Now we were programming three days a week. We’ll talk about all of that and more during our time together on Big Talk  Hope you can join us and get some good ideas!


Thriving Together – Copper Queen Library: Best Small Library in America 2019

Jason Macoviak, Library Manager, and Alison Williams, Library Program Coordinator, Copper Queen Library, Bisbee, AZ (Population served: 5,575)

Copper Queen Library has been named the 2019 Best Small Library in America by Library Journal. Library Journal’s annual award, with the support of sustaining sponsor ­­Baker & Taylor (B&T), was originally created in 2005 to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of libraries serving populations under 25,000.


Libraries: Spaces to Unite and Empower Communities

Taylor Atkinson, Deputy Director, and Rieta Drinkwine, Director, Union County Library System, Union, SC (Population served: City of Union: 8,000. FTE: University of South Carolina Union Campus: 687)

In 2018, by using unique and creative solutions, the Union County Carnegie Library completed its first renovation since 1985 and has seen a 40% increase in usage resulting from this new inclusive partnership facility. This facility is the first of its kind in the state, with hoteling office spaces for non-profits; our new facility partners include: Workforce Development, Safe Passages, Safe Homes, and Union Cancer Services. This panel discusses the processes for identifying and establishing community partnerships, designing a space to accommodate a range of needs, grants and non-traditional funding sources, and the new programs and initiatives the library is spearheading, including Mental Health First Aid training, becoming the academic library for the University of South Carolina Union campus, and incorporating the United Way of the Piedmont’s Union County non-profit center, providing vital services for our most vulnerable populations. 


How to Create a Textbook Donation Program to Build Course Reserve

Erin Merrill, Instruction & Outreach Librarian, Giovale Library, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT (FTE: 2,215)

Course reserve is a great way to reduce the cost of college for our students. However, due to limited budgets, it can be difficult to build a large collection for students to take advantage of. By creating a Textbook Donation Program, students can pay it forward by making their textbooks available for other students to enjoy via the library course reserve. This session will walk through the benefits of a Textbook Donation Program, discuss potential roadblocks of creating a program, and provide a basic outline for participants to start a program at their own institution.

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