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Scholarship Report: Tara Johnson – Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference 2019

Event: Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference — Burlington, VT – September 5-7, 2019

Attendee: Tara Johnson – Director, Lanesboro Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?
The ARSL mission statement promises: “The Association for Rural & Small Libraries provides resources and support that empower those in small and rural libraries to deliver excellent service for their communities.” Every session that I attended helped me to aspire to “do more better.”

What was your favorite session you attended and why?
“The E’s of Libraries demonstrating your library’s value.” The E’s are Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Engagement for Everyone, Everywhere! This session helped me create a story to share when I advocate for libraries. Remember, you are always the ambassador for your library even when you are off duty!

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?
Libraries are an Essential Service!

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?
“Let’s GLOW!” a glow-in-the-dark story time. This will be fun with the preschool group and switched up for “tweens” and teens.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?
Absolutely, library directors and library staff need encouragement and inspiration to meet the challenges and the changing needs of their jobs. The ARSL conference offers great sessions with new apps, ideas and tools, plus time with colleagues who remind us that we are not alone and that we can do this!

Scholarship Report: Ingvild Herfindahl – Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference 2019

Event: Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference — Burlington, VT – September 5-7, 2019

Attendee: Ingvild Herfindahl – Director, Dodge Center Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

ARSL is a fantastic conference. All the other librarians are from small and rural libraries, so ideas presented are able to be used at my library without having to worry about scaling down for time, money, space, and staffing. In addition to the sessions, ARSL gives me the ability to network with directors of other small libraries around the country and bring their ideas back to better my own library and community.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

There were many sessions that were very interesting and useful, but the session “Open Your Library Space to Discovery and Imagination” is immediately applicable to what I am doing at my library. They discussed different ways to rework your library space for more hands-on learning and dramatic play, all done with a small amount of space and a limited budget.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

There are thousands of other librarians all around the country dealing with similar situations in their own libraries. Many of them have come up with creative ideas for programs or problems that we all face.

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

There are many ideas I plan to implement, but at the top of my list are some of the free tools that I learned about in the “Innovation on a Shoestring” session. These include online tools for photo sourcing, graphic design, meeting room management, surveys, and project management.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would recommend ARSL to every director in a small or rural library. It is energizing being with others who can relate to your issues and situations. And since the sessions are able to be implemented in your own library without much translation, it gives you a whole list of ideas that you can implement as soon as you get home.