Recommended for Small & Rural
Library Staff

With more than 150 educational programs, PLA Conference offers a sometimes overwhelming amount of options. With the help of the PLA Conference Program Committee and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, we’ve selected some programs that might be of special interest to staff of small and rural libraries. To search programming by keyword, track, date, or presenter, visit the PLA 2014 Program page.


Demonstrating Success through Outcome Measures and Community Scans – CONVERSTATION
Thursday, March 13, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Many public libraries struggle in demonstrating how their programs and services improve their communities. Meanwhile, other non-profit organizations are becoming skilled at showing how their services create jobs, raise income levels, and increase graduation rates. Learn how to conduct community scans to better understand the needs of your residents and practice developing outcome measures to determine whether your library is successful in improving your community.
Facilitators: Brett Lear, Martin County (Fla.) Library System; Jennifer Salas, Martin County Library System

Filtering out Internet Censorship: Advocacy, Professional Ethics, and the Law – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 2:00–3:15 PM

While overzealous blocking of Internet content has landed a number of libraries in court, other libraries are facing public pressure to install restrictive filters and adopt policies that go far beyond the blocking of obscene materials. Meanwhile, CIPA forces some librarians and trustees to make a difficult choice between upholding core values and accepting funds that enable the library to receive internet access.
Presenters: Deborah Caldwell-Stone, American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, Chicago, Ill.; Sarah Houghton, San Rafael (Calif.) Public Library; Jonathan Kelley, American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom; Candace Morgan, Freedom to Read Foundation, Chicago, Ill.; Eric Suess, Marshall (Idaho) Public Library

Learning, Community and Content: What’s Happening at IMLS – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 4:15–5:15 PM

Are you interested in early learning partnerships? Can makerspaces support STEM learning and community engagement? How can we make content conveniently accessible? How can we make sure our communities are digitally connected? Susan Hildreth and IMLS staff will discuss current priorities and grant opportunities available to libraries. Learn how to make the most of federal grants and the information and research IMLS has to offer.
Presenter: Susan Hildreth, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C.

Difficult Decisions and Tough Times: Policy Survival Tips – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Policies can either be a lifeline for library staff if written properly or cement boots if they are non-existent or poorly written. Using real life experiences and role playing, the panel will discuss the need for good policies that meet your library’s mission. Policies discussed may include disruptive patrons, arrested employees, unattended children, and conflict of interest.
Presenters: Sara Dallas, Southern Adirondack Library System, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Lauren Moore, Southern Tier Library System; Painted Post, N.Y.; Amanda Travis, Onondaga County (N.Y.) Public Library

Outcomes Made Easy: 7 Steps for Success – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 4:15–5:15 PM

In an era of budget cuts and service reductions, it has never been more important to articulate the value of your library’s services to stakeholders, including funders. One of the best ways to do this is to share outcomes—aka how the library is making a difference in the lives of your customers. Learn seven basic steps to measuring outcomes, from identifying the need to presenting the results in order to successfully tell your story.
Presenter: Michele Gorman, Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library

Develop Powerful Public Computing Programs with Low- to No-Budgets – CONVERSTATION
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

“My library has public access computers. Now what?” This session will layout low-to-no-cost solutions to digital divides in your community and share exciting ways to attract new patrons around technology. Facilitators will organize discussion around case studies of urban, suburban, and rural libraries with innovative programs, partnerships, and services designed to address community technology needs—everything from job searching to genealogy. Join us to shape your own programs, partnerships, and initiatives!
Facilitators: Kate Williams, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Champaign, Ill.; Noah Lenstra, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library & Information Science

Libraries Supporting Citizenship in the Digital Age – PROGRAM
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

Libraries play a pivotal role in helping Americans make informed choices about their lives, work, and health. Users increasingly need not only good, up-to-date information but also the skills to navigate digital resources in order to make the best choices. IMLS has consistently worked with other federal agencies to help make civic literacy information and training readily available to librarians in topics including financial literacy, education, health, pathways to citizenship, digital literacy, and economic and workforce development. Learn about IMLS’s digital and civic literacy activities, and its partnerships with federal agency partners USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).
Presenter: Maura Marx, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C.

Collections/Tech Services

Under the Radar: Good Reading You May Have Missed – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

There are many books that hover below the cutoff for awards and “best of” lists. This panel will highlight titles that flew under the radar that should be on the reading radar—new and upcoming titles in the areas of young adult literature, beach reads, science fiction, and horror.
Presenters: Kelly Fann, Tonganoxie (Kans.) Public Library; Naphtali Faris, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; Brad Hooper, Booklist, Chicago, Ill.; Kaite Mediatore Stover, Kansas City Public Library; Jessica Moyer, University of Wisconsin, Menomonie, Wisc.; Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, Portage (Mich.) District Library

Making a Collection Count – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 4:15–5:15 PM

Make your collection count! This session talks about the overall quality of a library collection. This includes the benefits and methods of taking a physical inventory, analyzing collection procedures and workflows, and the life cycle of a collection. Most importantly, learn how to measure a collection’s quality. Our holistic approach to collection management will help all types and sizes of libraries to keep pace with the demands and expectations of their communities.
Presenters: Holly Hibner, Plymouth (Mich.) District Library; Mary Kelly, Lyon Township (Mich.) Public Library

Tweaking RDA: Experiences in Making it Work – PROGRAM
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

RDA implementation loomed for so many years, that many libraries postponed even thinking about it. Very quickly, the March 30, 2013, implementation date arrived and left many public libraries wondering where to begin. Learn how various libraries implemented RDA, trained staff, and even trained several other libraries in the process. We’ll also discuss the results of implementation and provide suggestions on how other libraries can implement RDA.
Presenters: Mary Ann Abner, Jessamine County (Ky.) Public Library; Teanna Weeks, Cleveland Heights-University Heights (Ohio) Public Library


Want Collaboration? Engage Your Community – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 4:15–5:15 PM

Community engagement isn’t just patrons and partners! We’ll discuss progress and lessons learned in year two of an IMLS grant to create an engagement model. We’ve blogged our journey, created a rich toolkit, and tackled the elusive metrics and measurement piece. We’ll share the capacity building and cultural shift necessary to get headed in the right direction. Omaha is a better place and OPL is well on the road to becoming an essential community service.
Presenters: Theresa Jehlik, Omaha Public Library; Cheryl Gould, InfoPeople Project; Sam McBane Mulford, ideation • collaborative; Linda Trout, Omaha Public Library

Throw Out the Map: Sustainable Thinking for the Future of Libraries – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 4:15–5:15 PM

Many outsiders question the viability of today’s libraries in light of rapid technological advances. While change is inevitable, what may need to change the most is how you think and talk about what your library is and why it exists. The attitude you have about the existing situation will help you see opportunities that can help your library move forward and secure operating funds.
Presenters: Rebekkah Aldrich, Mid-Hudson Library System, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.


How to Ruin Your Library’s Reputation in 10 Easy Steps! PR Essentials 
Wednesday, March 12, 9:00 AM–12:30 PM

Alienate your users, your community AND key stakeholders! Unfortunately, it’s easier than you may think! Learn the fundamentals of publicity and awareness raising—from the inside out; effective ways to cultivate positive word-of-mouth in your community; and how to communicate when and where it matters most—in the library, in writing, and online. How to register
Presenter: Rebekkah Aldrich, Mid-Hudson Library System, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

We Geek Advocacy: Using Lessons from Turning the Page and Geek the Library – PRECONFERENCE
Wednesday, March 12, 9:00 AM–12:30 PM

This program will focus on the connection between Turning the Page (TtP) and Geek the Library, and how lessons from both can inform effective advocacy and community engagement activities. Participate in breakouts and develop action items to implement in your library. Previous participation in Geek or TtP is not required. How to register
Presenters: Jennifer Powell, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio; Bill Harmer, Chelsea (Mich.) District Library; Mary Hirsh, Public Library Association, Chicago, Ill.

Signature Events for Small Libraries – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 2:00–3:15 PM

From “chocolate in the stacks” tastings to 5K runs to off-site literary dinner parties, small libraries are getting creative in offering signature events that raise funds and create friends. This session will be a “show and tell” of library fundraisers, with quick tips on how to get started in your community.
Presenters: Jeff Davignon, Walworth-Seely (N.Y.) Public Library; Cassie Guthrie, Pioneer Library System, Canandaigua, N.Y.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Building Partnerships in Small Rural Communities – CONVERSTATION
Thursday, March 13, 2:00–3:15 PM

Come discuss ideas on forming relationships with nonlibrary organizations that have the same goals as a library. The two facilitators have experience forming relationships with organizations such as Rotary, Tift County Theatre, Literacy Volunteers, churches, the YMCA, the school system, the Department of Labor, the local college, the Society for Creative Anachronism and others to build programming and advocate for the library.
Facilitators: Victoria Horst, Tifton-Tift County (Ga.) Public Library; Deborah Moorman, Irwin County (Ga.) Public Library

Working Effectively with Friends Groups – CONVERSTATION
Thursday, March 13, 2:00–3:15 PM

Friends groups can be tremendous advocates for libraries and they raise lots of money, too! In fact, the latest survey from United for Libraries found that Friends groups across the country raised an average of $50,000 per year! Sometimes, though, working with Friends can be difficult. This session will provide an opportunity for librarians to discuss and share best practices in working with Friends and provide solutions for those whose Friends aren’t all that friendly.
Facilitator: Sally Reed, United for Libraries, Philadelphia, Pa.

Innovation, Outreach, and Partnerships: Ways to Make Your Library Discoverable! – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Hear about the New Jersey State Library’s “It’s time… to rediscover your library!” campaign, and learn ways to make your library discoverable. This session will provide an overview of various innovative program ideas, tips and tricks, and offer real world case study examples. Attendees will also learn new ways to expand their reach into their local communities through strategic outreach and partnerships.
Presenters: Peggy Cadigan, New Jersey State Library, Trenton, N.J.; Tiffany McClary, New Jersey State Library

Does This Display Make Me Look Fat? The Truth about Merchandising – PROGRAM
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

If you pass a store with an unkempt exterior, do you walk in? If you enter a store and see piles of things in disarray, do you stay? Merchandising matters, and not only for retail. It’s more than making displays, yet it’s not difficult. It requires staff time, but it’s fun. Having inviting signage and displays increases usage. Learn tactics, hear success stories, and see colorful photos of good examples from around the world.
Presenters: Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential, Medford, N.J.

Serving Adults

Five Million and Counting: Serving Patrons with Alzheimer’s and Dementia – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Over five million Americans are already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and this number will increase as Baby Boomers age. Libraries can play an important role in directly enriching the lives of diagnosed people, using stimulating and engaging materials already in their collections. Come and learn ways your library can serve this often forgotten population.
Presenters: Linda Altmeyer, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, Indianapolis, Ind.; Miriam Lytle, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, Ill.; Ann Moore, Schenectady County (N.Y.) Public Library; Mary Beth Riedner, Gail Borden Public Library District

Readers’ Advisory in a Mobile, Social World – CONVERSTATION
Thursday, March 13, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Attract tech savvy readers using mobile and social technology. This discussion covers the best social booksites of today and explores how libraries are successfully using social sites to provide Readers’ Advisory and connect with library users.
Facilitators: Gina Becker, St. Louis County (Mo.) Library; Anna Huckeby, St. Louis County Library

Local History Tourism: Ghosts, Graveyards, and QR Codes – CONVERSTATION
Friday, March 14, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Tours, publications, and free collaborative websites are all great ways to get local history information to the public. Learn how to research, digitize, and team with community partners for project implementation. See examples of successful projects from Halloween ghost walks to self-guided tours using smartphone technology.
Facilitators: Jennifer Gregory, Boone County (Ky.) Public Library; Bridget Striker, Boone County Public Library

Top 5 of the Nonfiction 5 – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Floundering at the desk when asked for a book you might not be familiar with? What if it’s nonfiction? Get a “go-to” list for books/authors of popular nonfiction for leisure readers. RA experts showcase five top nonfiction areas for readers (science/nature, self-help, food/home, memoirs, and pop culture) and what every librarian should know about them: the top five books, up-and-comers, and trends.
Presenters: Kaite Mediatore Stover, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; Jessica Moyer, University of Wisconson, Menomonie, Wisc.; Barry Trott, Williamsburg (Va.) Regional Library; Rebecca Vnuk, Booklist, Chicago, Ill.; David Wright, Seattle (Wash.) Public Library

Libraries Mean Business: Supporting Local Economic Development – CONVERSTATION
Friday, March 14, 2:00–3:15 PM

With more than 64% of all new jobs in the US being created by small businesses, communities that support their entrepreneurs help drive economic growth. Libraries play a big part in economic recovery by providing the support, information, and planning tools needed by local businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations. Come learn about innovative ways your library can connect with your business community. All types/size of libraries are invited to bring success stories and promotion examples.
Facilitators: Deb Biggs-Thomas, Michigan eLibrary, Lansing, Mich.; Jeff Regan, Gale-Cengage Learning, Farmington Hills, Mich.; Randy Riley, Michigan eLibrary

Let’s Discuss Book Discussions – CONVERSTATION
Friday, March 14, 4:15–5:15 PM

Thinking about starting a book discussion at your library? Want new ideas for your current discussion program? Have trouble finding discussion questions? Come talk with book discussion leaders about ways to start a book group, how to select titles or find discussion questions, learn about other successful programs, and trade ideas for ways to change up or expand into other types of discussion groups.
Facilitators: Neil Hollands, Williamsburg (Va.) Regional Library; Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County (Mo.) Library District; Rebecca Vnuk, Booklist, Chicago, Ill.

Serving the Underserved: Patrons with Special Needs in Your Library – CONVERSTATION
Friday, March 14, 4:15–5:15 PM

Whether large or small, rural or urban, all public library communities serve patrons with special needs. Developing an awareness and sensitivity to patrons with disabilities is crucial for providing top-notch library service. Come participate and articulate as we “conversate” about your library’s special needs services.
Facilitator: Renee Grassi, Glencoe (Ill.) Public Library

Movies for Millennials: Core, Classic, and Cult Videos for 15- to 30-year-olds – PROGRAM
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

Millennials, our adult patrons thirty years old and younger, are not acting like traditional adults, especially when it comes to movies and television. The New Adult category is developing in the widening gap between Young Adults and Adults, and selection needs to adapt. We will suggest choices for your collection that lets you start a dialog to tap into the word of mouth discussion among your local New Adults about their just-discovered favorite movies.
Presenters: Bill Edminster, McHenry (Ill.) Public Library; Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library

Cheap and Easy: An Introduction to Passive Programming
Saturday, March 15, 10:30–11:30 AM

Are you short on programming funds? Does your staff struggle to find time to program? Would you like to showcase collections and services or promote community initiatives? If so, then it’s time to add passive programming to your repertoire! Discover what passive programming is and how to do it well. Return to work with ideas that will allow you to design activities suitable for all ages, from kids to seniors, and even intergenerational audiences.
Facilitator: Emily Wichman, Clermont County (Ohio) Public Library

Serving Youth

Out of the Closet and onto the Shelves: GLBTQ Literature for Today’s Teen – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Learn about the Rainbow Book List and Stonewall Book Awards offered by ALA, and how these two resources can assist librarians in selecting materials with GLBT content that will appeal to teens. We’ll also discuss other classic works of GLBTQ literature and will help attendees build a diverse and popular collection.
Presenters: Ingrid Abrams, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Peter Coyl, Dallas (Texas) Public Library; Joel Nichols, Free Library of Philadelphia, Penn.

Beyond Duct Tape Wallets: Dynamic, Effective, and Community-Centered Teen Programs – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 2:00–3:15 PM

Seeking new life for programs in your teen department? Trying to jumpstart teen programs with small staff and little experience? Join this panel of four seasoned teen programming librarians to find out how you and your library can create and maintain successful, dynamic, and cheap teen programs for a wide range of users. It can be done and this session will help you launch your next generation of programming for teens today!
Presenters: Kelly Jensen, Beloit (Wisc.) Public Library; Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County (N.M.) Library System; Andrea Sowers, Joliet (Ill.) Public Library; Katie Salo, Melrose Park (Ill.) Library

Dinosaurs, Dogs, and Dump Trucks: Informational Text for Young Learners – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 4:15–5:15 PM

As educators work to engage emerging readers and build language and literacy skills, they are faced with the challenge of selecting quality informational text for young children. In this session you will learn why it is important to share informational text with our youngest learners, how to select good titles, and ways to incorporate these books into many different learning opportunities.
Presenters: Lisa Sensale Yazdian, Boone County (Ky.) Public Library; Cindy Yeager, Boone County Public Library

Instant Recess: Get Moving at the Library – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 4:15–5:15 PM

We’re bringing recess back. Participants will dance, take part in a California snowball fight, and work together as part of a high energy Instant Recess session led by a public health advocate, PE specialist, and public librarian. At the end of the session, attendees will have exercised for thirty minutes (more physical activity than most adults get in a week) and are ready to lead ten minute Instant Recess breaks at their libraries.
Presenters: Chikarlo Leak, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, Calif.; Melissa McCollum, County of Los Angeles (Calif.) Public Library; Jesus Mejia, Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital, Torrance, Calif.

Public Library-School Library Collaboration to Save Money and Meet Goals – CONVERSTATION
Thursday, March 13, 4:15–5:15 PM

Partnering with school librarians can save you both time and money. How can you meet the needs of your own library with scarce resources? Tap into the expertise of the “librarian network” to discuss how you can foster community partnerships, reach young adult audiences, promote the public library, and become indispensible to your school communities. Dazzle your director with success stories of your collaborations that help students to reach standards, inspire teachers, and impress administrators.
Facilitator: Cherie Pandora, Bryant & Stratton College, Akron, Ohio

Wee Be Jammin’: Using Music to Promote Early Childhood Literacy – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Think you can’t provide low-budget musical programming because you don’t play an instrument? Think again! Learn how to include music in programming with and without musical talent. The benefits of musical programming are many: it’s all-inclusive, can be adapted to any age, can be used for children with special needs, and is multigenerational.
Presenters: Amy Holcomb, Northbrook (Ill.) Public Library; Julie Jurgens, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library; Maggie Masterson, Fremont Public Library, Mundelein, Ill.; Parry Rigney, Park Ridge (Ill.) Public Library; Courtney Schade, Des Plaines (Ill.) Public Library; Lora Van Marel, Orland Park (Ill.) Public Library

Creating Lifelong Library Users One School at a Time – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 2:00–3:15 PM

Presenters will share three different models of school/public library collaboration and their strategies for building partnerships. Learn about the benefits for all stakeholders: schools, libraries, educators, librarians, students, and taxpayers! All three models leverage scarce resources while increasing educator and student access to library materials. In particular, each example increased the use of resources that support the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and found ways to maximize purchasing power.
Presenters: Sarah Batt, Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Library; Maggie Jacobs, The New York (N.Y.) Public Library; Tricia Racke Bengel, Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library

Off the Shelf: Free Science Programming @ your library – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 4:15–5:15 PM

Libraries are offering more science programming each year, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy and 21st century skills such as critical thinking and innovation. The National Library of Medicine is committed to supporting K–12 science education by providing FREE reliable resources designed to help introduce, reinforce, and supplement science curricula. Whether working alone or in partnership with a local museum and/or science center, these resources will support and enhance your library’s programs.
Presenters: Linda Morgan Davis, Albuquerque/Bernalillo County (N.M.) Library; Cheryl Rowan, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region, Houston, Texas

Guerrilla Storytime: Training and Advocacy for Storytime Professionals – CONVERSTATION
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

What do you do when a parent answers their cell phone in storytime? Join us as we tackle this problem and more at Guerrilla Storytime! We will introduce the training and advocacy potential of Guerrilla Storytime before sharing storytime tips and tricks, then we’ll open the floor with some great challenges for you to try. Whether you have questions or just want to meet storytime colleagues and learn new techniques, all are welcome!
Facilitator: Brooke Rasche, La Crosse (Wisc.) Public Library

Read Out LOUD! Active Learning at the Library – PROGRAM
Saturday, March 15, 9:15–10:15 AM

Play is more than just fun! Through play, children develop a foundation for lifelong learning, stretch their imagination and learn important social skills. This session will cover the research and rationale behind play-based learning and the role it can have in a public library. Participants will leave this energetic presentation armed with specific ideas to revamp their traditional storytime programs to include play-based activities on any budget.
Presenters: Melissa Dragoo, Hamilton East Public Library, Noblesville, Ind.; Molly Mrozowski, Hamilton East Public Library

Spaces and Places

Facilities 101: The Secret Life of Your Library Building – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 2:00–3:15 PM

Is your photocopier plugged into an orange extension cord? Do you stockpile story time puppets in a little room with gray wall boxes marked High Voltage? Do your restrooms flood whenever two toilets flush at the same time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this program will help demystify the inner workings of your building and give you practical advice on how to fix or avoid common facility problems.
Presenters: Michael Gannon, Prince George’s County (Md.) Memorial Library System


Training a Cracker Jack Staff on a Peanuts Budget – PROGRAM
Friday, March 14, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Looking for cost-effective ways to keep staff on top of the latest trends in service and technology? We’ll discuss affordable methods for staff development: peer-led training sessions; independent learning; staff “experts;” core competencies; and library-wide customer service training.
Presenters: Cynthia Lopuszynski, Crystal Lake (Ill.) Public Library; Penny Ramirez, Crystal Lake Public Library; Lauren Rosenthal, Crystal Lake Public Library; Julie Zukowski, Crystal Lake Public Library