Get Inspired: 5 Ideas From the Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference

ImageDon Reynolds, retired director of the Nolichucky Regional Library in Tennessee, presented a 4-hour Association of Rural and Small Libraries pre-conference session “What Do I do Next?: A Work Plan for the Director of a Rural and/or Small Public Library.” His presentation focused on ways library staff can "find the community’s pulse, assess its health, and address the needs of its residents."

As summarized by Linda Orsted at the ARSL Blog, here [bold phrases are my emphasis] are Don's suggestions:

  • Get out in the community. Library leaders should spend at least 10% of their time outside the building. Find out what business leaders are doing and what kind of information they need. Talk to official and/or perceived community leaders about the library as a community commons.
  • Find library fans to help you get the word out about how wonderful the library is. Don quotes Will Rogers: “Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.”
  • Look at past winners of Library Journal’s Best Small Library award. Get inspired to try something innovative, and then apply for the award for your library. (The library director of the Independence, KS library spoke at the conference about winning the award.)
  • Don’t get lost in the digital divide. Make sure you know about emerging technology and implement its use in your library. (Don winks and suggests hiring a sixth grader as your technology coordinator.)
  • Be customer-friendly in everything you do at the library, and around your community, for that matter. Your next patron, donor, or advocate might be standing behind you in the grocery line. Can it hurt to return their books to the library for them?

Get more great ideas from Don by reading his handout [PDF], and gain more inspiration from other presenters' ARSL conference program PowerPoint slides and handouts.

The Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference was held September 27-29, 2012 in Raleigh, NC.

Source: 2012 ARSL Conference Recap