2022 Schedule

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2022

The conference was broadcast online on Friday, February 25, 2022 from 8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Central Time, via the GoToWebinar online meeting service.


Welcome to the Conference & Introductions

Christa Porter, Library Development Director, Nebraska Library Commission and Bailee Hutchinson, President, Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).


Genrefying the Small School Library

Sarah Jefferson, Library Media Specialist, Flippin High School Library, Flippin, AR (FTE: 350)

Do you work in a school library setting? Are your students browsing the fiction section aimlessly, only to pick out the same books every time, or grab something at random? Maybe genrefication is the solution! This session will provide insight into the processes, pitfalls, and payoff of genrefying a small school library. Attendees will have the opportunity for discussion and Q&A.


Ditching Dewey

Jennifer Garden, Library Director, Milledgeville Public Library, Milledgeville, IL (Population served: 1,327)

Many libraries are looking for alternatives to the Dewey Decimal Classification System. If you’re looking or even just thinking about it, come hear from a solo librarian who switched her entire library over from Dewey to an in-house adapted version of BISAC. This session will include tips, tricks, and notes to remember when ditching Dewey. Learn from someone who’s done it before instead of re-inventing the wheel. 


Crystal Queer: Creating Clearly Supportive and Inclusive Libraries for Communities of All Sizes

Allie Stevens, Director, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR (Population served: 5,000)

Explore how libraries of all types can continue to become safer, more inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ patrons. Topics will include current statistics about the dangers LGBTQ+ young people face, handling controversy and challenges, support resources and best practices for helping LGBTQ+ patrons and families, patron privacy considerations, and collection development ethics and policy. Take-aways will include a printable resource list, reader’s advisory materials, and a recommended reading list of 2020/2021 LGBTQ+ titles for all ages.

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this session has been canceled: “We are Left Out!”: An Example on How to Engage Virtual and On Campus Students Equally.

Leah Fitzgerald, Instruction and Outreach Librarian, Southworth Library, SUNY Canton, Canton, NY (FTE: 3,205)

With the start of the Fall 2021 semester, SUNY Canton found the student population to fall half on campus and half virtual with an almost 50/50 split. With an attempt to be “the best year ever”, there was a focus on providing students with a fun event almost every day, but mainly on campus. With the virtual students feeling left out, the goal of the Learning Commons, in terms of programming, became making all of our events accessible to all students. Using our Halloween Scavenger Hunt as an example, I will discuss the quick progress we made towards reaching our accessibility goal in a short period of time and what developed after our successful event.

Finding the Gold in the Garbage: Adventures in Re-organizing a Genealogy Room

Emily Morrison, Library Associate, Blair Public Library and Technology Center, Blair, NE (Population served: 10,000)

The Blair Public Library contains a room dedicated to genealogy/local history with many wonderful resources. However, after years of use and growth via donations from the community, the collection suffered from extreme disorganization, leaving it practically useless. Due to my background in history and interest in archives, I was tasked with re-imagining the space and turning it into a room where patrons can uncover their family history and discover the unique history of their community. In this presentation, I will discuss the re-organization process from the ground up and highlight some of the distinctive resources uncovered during the project.

ALL for Fun: Programming for People With Developmental Disabilities

Sherry Preston, Public Services Librarian, Gering Public Library, Gering, NE (Population served: 8,000)

Groups of people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers come in the library from time to time. Of course, everyone is welcome to visit the library with no specific purpose, but we felt this was a missed opportunity. We could design a program of some sort for them if we knew when they were coming. A patron helped us connect with the local Office of Human Development. They were happy that our library wanted to provide a monthly program for their clients. Gering Library’s new program, Adult Learners at the Library or “ALL for Fun,” is geared towards adults with developmental disabilities. The goal is to provide programs that are both educational and entertaining for this community.

Small Staff, Big Personalities – Managing Conflict in a Small Library

Marc Ross, Head, Hanley and Haskell Libraries, University of Pittsburgh Bradford and Titusville, PA (FTE: 1,300)

Small libraries often have small staffs. There are many positives to having a small staff–everyone knows each other, they work closely on projects together, and they work in close contact. All of these positives can be turned into negatives when a personality conflict arises. The conflicts in a small library get magnified, and unless they are addressed quickly, they have the potential to spiral out of control and move the library away from its central mission. This lightning talk will examine a personality conflict at a small regional academic library and the steps taken to address the conflict using cultural awareness, asset based strengths, library programming, and coaching/mentoring.


Citation Instruction & Support at a Small Academic Library

Deborah Tritt Harmon, Instruction/Reference Librarian and Associate Professor, and Brandy Horne, Instruction/Reference Librarian and Associate Professor, Gregg-Graniteville Library, University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC (FTE: 3,865)

Academic librarians at small institutions are uniquely positioned to serve as an outside voice in the area of citation standardization and support on campus. Through library instruction and individual research support, we see firsthand how a lack of consistency in citation requirements and expectations across the curriculum creates barriers to proper attribution and adds to students’ frustration and anxiety with research. Because ours is a small liberal arts campus with a robust library instruction program, our library liaisons have been able leverage their expertise to provide citation leadership and support across the curriculum. This session will discuss how our small team of librarians has successfully worked to improve citation consistency not only by creating and providing access to a variety of specialized citation support materials, but also through faculty collaborations and training, and library instruction and workshops for students. Looking at both challenges and opportunities, we’ll discuss how our efforts have had a meaningful and sustained impact on our campus community in ways that likely would not be possible at larger institutions.


Due to unforeseen circumstances ‘Robust Programming Made Easy’ has been replaced with:

In Search of the Perfect Potato Chip: Engaging First-Year Students with a Virtual Escape Room

Cali Biaggi, Online Learning Librarian, Doane University, Crete, NE (FTE: 2,500)

In this session, I will discuss a virtual escape room activity I designed for the first-year seminar classes at Doane University. In fact, it is more of a digital lock box activity using Google Forms. Students are asked to solve clues using a variety of resources on the library website to help an “unnamed professor” remember 4 separate “passwords” to access their “top-secret research.” This activity serves as an active start to a library one-shot, leads well into a discussion of how to search in databases, and could be adapted for a variety of class types.


Food in the Library: Reading & Feeding Your Community

Julie Elmore, Library Director, Oakland City – Columbia Township Public Library, Oakland City, IN (Population served: 3,830)

While some libraries have policies against having food in the library, the Oakland City – Columbia Township Public Library in Indiana embraces food and actively works towards incorporating it across many areas of programming in unique ways. Drive through food pick-ups, growing a vertical indoor garden, programming around food, and partnering with the regional food bank to distribute monthly supplemental food boxes to seniors are just some of the ways this library is helping to combat food insecurity in small and often hidden ways in their community. Julie will share tips about creating partnerships with community organizations and finding the grants to help make these food programs successful.


Stealth in Your Library – Small Changes to Better Serve Marginalized Communities

Mollie Beaumont, she/her/hers, Children’s Librarian, Walled Lake City Library, Walled Lake, MI (Population served: 7,000)

With more and more libraries receiving pushback regarding content on the shelves and in displays, and, sometimes programs, discover ways to diversify your library in subtle yet impactful ways. This program is geared to public libraries, often the recipients of said pushback.

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