The 2021 Association for Rural and Small Libraries conference, themed “The Biggest Little Library Conference,” is almost here!
This year’s conference will be a combination of in-person and select virtual sessions. The ARSL Conference Committee is in the process of building the schedule and selecting keynotes. Be sure to check the official 2021 ARSL Conference page for the most up-to-date conference information.
Early bird registration begins on Wednesday, July 7
Registration rates are very affordable. If you are not able to attend in person, the virtual price is a bargain. Check out the schedules and program descriptions below:
When I attended in 2018, there were so many presentations I wanted to see and, despite a few being repeated, I ran out of time to see them all. Looking at the preliminary schedule for 2021, there is something for everyone. You might have the same problem of not being able to attend every session you want to attend, because there are so many great ones. The pre-conference workshops look fantastic. They include planning library space; what will be different in a post pandemic library; and effective staff development on any budget. This year’s presentations look to be practical and reflect what libraries are doing and what obstacles they are facing. Topics include: telehealth visits in the library; mental health and libraries; tweens and STEAM; and re-thinking summer reading. There is also a leadership institute track during every session.
If you have a chance to attend in-person, it’s an awesome time to network with other librarians. There are libraries out there that only have one staff person, which is why this group is so important. It can be very lonely working by yourself, but having the support and guidance of this group is amazing. There are many informal times to gather including a welcome reception, dine-arounds and roundtables. When I went in 2018, the dine-arounds were a wonderful time to try out local restaurants along with fellow attendees. I met some very cool librarians from states all over the country, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. There was such an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie among attendees who shared successes, encouraged each other and learned new things from passionate professionals.
In 2020, the ARSL conference was entirely virtual. I was able to attend virtually last year and found the conference app, Whova, to be very nice. You could watch the sessions either on your computer through the Whova website or on your mobile device through the conference app. On this year’s schedule, there are a few sessions which are both virtual and in-person and some are virtual only. A new feature called Spark Talks is included this year. All of the topics look amazing and very relevant. Last year, attendees were able to view the sessions they missed. Hopefully, this will be an option as well for this year.
Whether you can attend virtually or in-person, this is one of the very best library conferences I have attended. I highly recommend attending this conference; you will not be sorry you went. Hope to “see” you there!
In case you want to start planning, the location for 2022 is to be decided, but 2023 will be in Wichita, Kansas.
The Association for Rural and Small Library organization is approved for LEU/TLEUs. Which means their conference is automatically approved for LEU/TLEU credit. If you need further information, please consult the state library’s Approved Training Provider page or contact certification program director at the Indiana State Library, Cheri Harris.
This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.