Day 2 of the Rural Libraries Conference is now officially complete and I cannot even begin to adequately explain about how wonderful it was and the fun I had while learning more about the LIS field.

This morning’s keynote session, Powerful Interactions: Taking Inspiration from Small and Rural Libraries, was presented by Saroj Ghoting an Early Literacy Consultant — it was so packed full of interesting and useful that I didn’t want it to end. Here are some of the notes I scribbled down in my notebook:

  • A common theme between small and rural libraries — besides serving diverse communities — is the number of partners and collaborative projects within their communities. Ghoting showed a graph that indicated that the small and rural library has almost double the partners/connections with their community than their suburban and urban counterparts.
  • I need to check out the book Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Massee.
  • Librarians are social entrepreneurs. 
  • A statistic from the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS): 57% of libraries service a population of 10,000 or less.
    • In Michigan, that would be a Class 3 agency or smaller. 
      • Class 3 = 7,000 – 11,999
  • Her presentation touched on two facets to early literacy emergence: learning to decode + reading is understanding the meaning.
  • Singing text actually slows down the language which helps kids to learn the soft sounds of the words.
    • The whole room of about 200+ read aloud the text of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. It went relatively fast.
    • Next, the whole group sang aloud the same text. It went much slower. 
  • It’s more important for the interaction around the book to be positive rather than long. 
  • A book is a discussion starter.
  • Factual books actually tend to produce more interaction and discussion; however, parents/teachers/caregivers need to mix it up. 
  • A toddler at the age of 2 will know 5x’s as many words than their counterparts who’ve been spoken to only a little. 
  • On a budget (aren’t we all)? Consider creating your own magnetic literacy toy by using laminated pictures with magnets glued to the back and cookie sheets! (I loved this idea.) 
  • I also loved the idea of hanging different mirrors with an emotion on the endcaps — kids will love making faces in the mirror!

My break-out sessions were as follows: Digital Resources and the Rural Library: Not as Simple as It Seems presented by Dr. Robert P. Holley, Got GLBT? presented by Melanie Earley, and Thingamabobs and Doodads: Tech Support IS Reference presented by Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly.

Digital Resources and the Rural Library: Not as Simple as It Seems

  • This session touched on a lot of the concepts and topics that Dr. Holley presented in his Collection Development class. 
  • Having the opportunity to see Dr. Holley actually present really made me wish I would’ve taken a face-to-face class rather than just online format. (He has a great sense of humor which is difficult to fully appreciate online.) 
  • Many of the databases in which libraries subscribe might contain content that would never be considered for purchase if it was in print format. 
  • Also worth considering: digital resources might consist of content that was previously weeded by the library.
  • Memorable Dr. Holley quote: “One of the major points — Amazon wants to take over the world.”
  • Participant point: “Digital resources can provide opportunities to access to information that wasn’t previously available in Large Print format.”


  • Great presentation! It was mostly a literature survey and review. Free books were available thanks to generous publishers. 
  • I was very disappointed by how few people attended this session. The ‘why’ questions — why didn’t they attend — currently bumping around in my head actually make me feel sick and dizzy. 

Thingamabobs and Doodads: Tech Support IS Reference

  • These ladies could have a comedy show. Highly entertaining! 
  • Mary Kelly quotes:
    • “I do everything at my library including moving the dead deer out of the parking lot before story time.”
    • “We are bartenders with books instead of booze.”

Another passion of mine: library architecture. I got a complete charge out of looking through the design books of architect Alyce D. Riemenschneider — she reworked and refreshed a butchered Carnegie Library and the photos gave me goosebumps. I plan on following her work by touring libraries in which she has redesigned and built. (Note: she’s merging with Quinn Evans Architects.)

I’m off to dinner…