2023 Schedule

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2023

The conference was broadcast online on Friday, February 24, 2023 from 8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Central Time, via the GoTo Webinar online meeting service.


Welcome to the Conference & Introductions

Christa Porter, Library Development Director, Nebraska Library Commission and Jennie Garner, President, Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL).


Ch Ch Changes: Redesigning Spaces with Students in Mind

Kelly Ansley, Library Director, Frank and Laura Lewis Library, La Grange College, LaGrange, GA (FTE: 650)

What happens when you become the Director of a Library that hasn’t made any changes since the 1980’s, a Campus-wide Efficiency Review gets underway, COVID hits, and your staff are resistant to change? Over the course of three years you bring your library back to the center of Campus while getting your staff on board! Join me as we discuss moving and weeding books, redesigning outdated spaces, giving up space, and doing what’s best for the students.


Library Playgrounds

Dena Ratliff Warren, Director, Trimble County Public Library, Bedford, KY (Population served: 8,800)

Incorporate play and fun into library services through outdoor playgrounds. Learn how to plan, build, and maintain playground equipment.


Programming Opportunities for Adults with Disabilities

Sarina M. Bower, Library Assistant, Jersey Shore Public Library, Jersey Shore, PA (Population served: 5,694)

Our library piloted a program during Summer Reading 2022 for adults with disabilities after seeing that this portion of the population is vastly underserved. I organized a separate fundraiser to fund the program and I was able to run the whole program on a budget of less than $300. We read picture books each week, adding in some nonfiction and even poetry. Every week we had a sensory activity or a craft with everything centering around the summer reading theme. I will share how we accomplished this program on a shoestring budget in hopes that other libraries will be able to serve these adults that are often left behind.

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round!

Expanding Access to the Arts with a Library Artist-in-Residence

Amy Jo Ellefson, Adult Programs Coordinator, Baright Public Library, Ralston, NE (Population served: 6,494)

This session begins by answering questions about the potential benefits of arts programming in libraries and ends with a full description of how the Baright Public Library applied for, received, and used a grant to provide arts programming in partnership with a local writer and artist. Information about finding an artist for your library community, accessing grant funding, and using census data to complete grant applications will be sprinkled throughout the session. Questions are encouraged!


Kim Priest, Director, Mary Cotton Public Library, Sabetha, KS (Population served: 2,500)

With a $3500 literacy grant from Dollar General, we started a collection of grade level books and items that are printed in Open Dyslexic font to encourage dyslexic children (and adults) to read for enjoyment and added other children’s books explaining what it means to be on the autism spectrum. In addition we educate anyone who is interested about converting digital books to the open dyslexic font on tablets and computers. The Dyslexic & Autistic Reading Enjoyment collection has been well accepted by the families, teachers and kids dealing with these situations. It is more fun to read grade level books in a friendlier font. These books help eliminate the stigma that comes when a person is working hard at reading but struggling to find age appropriate stories.

Integrating Academic Writing, Research, and Reading Support for Teacher Education Students

Raymond Pun, Academic & Research Librarian, Alder Graduate School of Education, Redwood City, CA (FTE: 300)

In this lightning presentation, the speaker will highlight how a solo librarian interacts and supports 300 graduate students who are preservice teachers/teacher education students. The focus of this presentation is to highlight critical services supporting new graduate students in developing academic writing, reading, and research skills remotely as they start their academic journey and career in teaching.

Using Technology to Cope with the Workload

Faizhal Arif Santosa, Academic Librarian, Polytechnic Institute of Nuclear Technology, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (FTE: 493)

Since the pandemic, the Nuclear Polytechnic Library has transformed to provide various online services, including changing the semi-conventional system. The shortage of librarians is a problem with the current workload, as many things need to be done during this transition period. I will share my experience using data science knowledge gained from a workshop to reduce workload and make work easier using machine learning.


Book Challenges and Intellectual Freedom in a Small Library

Heather Biedermann, Head Librarian, South Central College, North Mankato, MN (FTE: 2,746)

Book challenges are impacting libraries all around the country. What do you need to know in a small library to deal with these challenges with empathy and courage? How do you get the support you need to handle these when time is at a premium? Join the discussion about how other small libraries like yours are handling challenges, intellectual freedom issues, and how you can get started preparing for book challenges in your community.


We Want Snacks, Too!: Adapting a Big Outreach Program for a Small Library

Jessica Swaringen, Undergraduate Instruction & Outreach Librarian, Lane Library / Georgia Southern University Libraries, Savannah, GA (FTE: 4,621)

This presentation will be about adapting a snack cart initiative from Georgia Southern University’s Henderson Library on the main campus that services 17,000+ students, to Lane Library on the Armstrong campus that services less than 5,000 students. The snack cart initiative began at Henderson Library in spring 2022, and for the fall 2022 semester, the outreach librarians expanded the initiative to the smaller Armstrong campus. We found that although what works for one large library does not necessarily work for a smaller one, it’s possible to creatively adapt such a project to fit a new environment.


Effective Staff Evaluations Made Easy

Jackie Mills, Library Director, Mt. Angel Public Library, Mt. Angel, OR (Population served: 3,400)

Are you responsible for evaluating staff at your library? Would you value knowing about some tips and tricks that a long-time librarian has developed over the years to streamline the process and make it a valuable experience for everyone involved? At this workshop, you will learn about methods employed by Library Director Jackie Mills that can be utilized by anyone who is responsible for evaluations. You will leave with ideas, vocabulary, and worksheets that you can implement immediately as you seek to effectively and efficiently evaluate your employees in ways that benefit your staff, and most importantly, your patrons.


No Zombies Were Harmed in the Making of This Teen Event

Amanda Winkler, Youth Services Manager and Chelsea Foust, Assistant Director, Morton-James Public Library, Nebraska City, NE (Population served: 7,900)

After COVID restrictions further beleaguered engagement with tweens and teens, we wanted to put on an event that would reach this demographic and strengthen the library’s relationship with the neighboring middle school. Enter zombie prom! We expected an attendance of around 50, but 120 teens showed up! In this session we cover the phases from idea generation and planning to putting on the event, including what went right, what went wrong, and what we plan to keep or change for next year.

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