Association of Rural Libraries Conference

Burlington, Vermont – September 2019

I just want to thank CLRC for awarding me the Professional Development grant that allowed me to travel and attend my first ARSL conference.

I was able to meet people from all over the country, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and even here in New York. 

I attended very engaging and informative workshops. Here are just a few of them.

At our library, I currently facilitate a book club and attended Book Club Reboot: Creative Twists on the Reading Groups We Know and Love.  I was looking for some new ways to find and make our reading selections.  I took away a few ideas and discussed them at our meeting following the conference.  I also visited the Reading Group Choices vendor booth where I received some copies of their books to use at our library.  These books are very helpful for finding books that would be appropriate for our group, these also include discussion questions to get you started.  

Adult Programming: Beg, Borrow, Steal. In this workshop, we learned how to offer simple and engaging programming on a limited budget.  Ask for help, borrow supplies and network with other libraries. Passive programming was also featured, these programs can be done with little to no money.  

Tap Into Employee Engagement with the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.  Being a supervisor I felt this would be a helpful workshop to attend.  We need to have our staff be productive, but they also need to feel appreciated which will help build morale, increase productivity and create a positive work environment. Your staff will want to come to work and do a good job every day.  

During the Welcome Reception at the Fletcher Free Library I was able to share some of the things we do and experience at our library and also hear from others and their experiences.  I was also able to tour the library and do a little of the coloring program they had set up.   

 A few other highlights included visiting the South Burlington Public Library. 

Hearing speeches given by:

Susanne Schmidt, a standup comedian, master storyteller, and national speaker.  She spoke about her first experiences going to her library and what libraries meant to her.

Sandra Boynton, a beloved American Cartoonist, Children’s author & songwriter.  She has written & illustrated 60 children’s books, including Barnyard Dance & Snuggle Puppy. And has sold more than 70 million copies and has been on the New York Times bestseller list. She was a very fun and engaging speaker. 

Chris Bohjalian, critically acclaimed novelist. He also spoke about his love of libraries and what they meant to him. I have not read any of his books as of yet, but I definitely plan on it after hearing him speak.  He is also very popular with several of our patrons and staff.

It was truly a joy to be able to attend this conference and network with other attendees.  

Thank you again for this opportunity. 

Jenee Gerardo

Sr. Library Clerk, Dunham Public Library

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