Okay, alright, I admit it… I am a small and rural library
junky connoisseur. I love little libraries. I like how different they are from each other; how they meet the quirky aspects of their community’s needs. I like the innovative ways they initiate projects with a little budget and a lot of passion. I recently went to the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) 2011 Conference in Frisco, TX. Colorado’s own Susan Rice, from Naturita, presented the keynote. With folks like Susan, it is no surprise they were the Best Small Library in America.
I listened to quite a few stories of libraries while I was at the conference. Stories about cutbacks and about communities pulling together, but mostly the stories I heard were about people – library staff and community members - creating programs, spaces, and services.
I also had the chance while I was there to find a librarian from Austin, Texas and thank her. See, a long (very long!) time ago, I was a patron at a small eastside branch library in Austin, Texas. Well, I was less of a patron and more of a punk kid living in an abandoned warehouse using the public library for the restroom and air conditioning. You know that saying about random acts of kindness? Well, that is what those librarians provided me… and I have tried to pass it on (or live up to it).