Rural Librarians Gather in Raleigh

Jennifer Peterson /

Nearly 400 conference attendees gathered in lovely Raleigh, North Carolina for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries 2012 Annual conference. ARSL board member and WebJunction community manager, Jennifer Peterson, was there to take it all in! Thanks to all the folks who stopped by the WebJunction table in the exhibits area. Jennifer handed out over 150 Project Compass workshop workbooks and heard from libraries responding to workforce recovery needs in their communities. She enjoyed talking about WebJunction programming and services with both old friends and new meeting many new rural librarians. The grand prize in the exhibits auction was an Amazon gift certificate provided by WebJunction. We were thrilled that the winner was Jenniffer Stephenson (second from right), a WebJunction member who [Photo: Jenniffer Stephenson, director, Greenwood-Leflore Public Library System (second from right) wins exhibitor grand pize with Jenny Powell, Jennifer Pearson and Jennifer Peterson] participated in the Project Compass Convening in Washington, D.C. last year. As always, it was great to connect with OCLC colleagues, Jenny Powell and Jennifer Pearson, who shared information about Geek the Library the next table over.

Conference presentations have been posted to the ARSL site along with slides from outstanding keynotes. IMLS director, Susan Hildreth shared in her keynote data about communities served by rural libraries and provided an informative overview of the many grant-funded projects demonstrating IMLS's commitment to libraries in the 21st century. [Thanks to Jamie Matzcak for sharing her notes and a podcast from Susan's presentation]. And in the final not-to-be-missed keynote on Saturday morning, Ron Carlee from the International County/City Management Association provided an inspirational and entertaining presentation showcasing successful leadership and partnering qualities as well as highlights from the work ICMA has been doing to support the great work of libraries.

Thanks to Library Journal for covering the conference and for sharing the Best Small Library in America 2012. A special thanks to conference chair and ARSL’s new president, Andrea Berstler along with the conference committee, volunteers, presenters, exhibitors and participants for a fantastic conference!

The ARSL board met following the conference and exciting plans are already in place for next year’s conference in Omaha, in the first-ever ARSL conference hosted in collaboration, by two states: Nebraska and Iowa. Dates and additional details will be shared by ARSL in the coming months.

If you work in a small or rural library and are not yet a part of ARSL, find out more this amazing group of people on the ARSL website, connect with members on the ARSL Facebook page, review all the great #ARSL12 conference tweets, and check out conference photos added to the ARSL Group on Flickr