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Through ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative, 567 libraries nationwide have received grants of up to $3,000 to support community engagement efforts. After examining reports from 443 of the participating libraries, we categorized the topics of discussion to identify common themes.
When the staff at Waimea (Hawaii) Public Library learned that the county of Kauai needed their community’s feedback on development plans for a new 417-acre parcel of land, they saw an opportunity to continue the library’s engagement work. What the library staff could not have known was that it would also be an opportunity to be part of helping a community regain trust in its leaders.
One of the major issues small and rural libraries faced during the pandemic was planning programs while complying with local health guidelines. These libraries often have limited indoor space, making it difficult to maintain social distance when bringing in large groups of participants. The communities they serve may also lack reliable internet access, limiting access to virtual programming.
A makerspace — for anyone who isn’t yet aware — is a collaborative workspace where people have the opportunity to construct or explore just about anything they can imagine.
The goal of a library makerspace is to let patrons learn through hands-on experimentation and from collaboration with others. And yes, that CAN be achieved in a small library. Griswold Public Library, located in a small town of about 1,000 in southwestern Iowa, is proof.
Meservey, Iowa, is a tiny, rural town of just 240 people. We have a church, a bar, a post office … and my little library. There isn’t much to do in town as far as entertainment goes, so the library tends to serve as a community hub — we are one of the only local sources of free events and programming.
Drawing from her decade of experience as the director of a small, rural New York library, Hope Decker will offer tips and tricks to help you maximize your library's event space, ranging from design tricks to how to make the space itself seem larger. She will also share innovative program ideas that are perfect for tiny areas.
Participants of this session will: