Small and rural libraries play a critical role in connecting community members to vital resources and programs. Each year nearly 30 million Americans are served by the nation’s approximately 4,000 rural library systems. This number illustrates the value that local communities place on library services. Small and rural libraries are the heart of the community they serve. Like their counterparts they are a place of information, a community hub connecting people to people offering safe havens for their users while providing the range of information resources needed to live, learn, govern, and work. Often overlooked and underrepresented, rural libraries make up approximately 40% of all public libraries in America.
Representing Small and Rural Libraries' Interests
Recently I was asked to take over management of the Illinois Library Association’s SARL forum. The forum represents the interests of small and rural libraries in Illinois. It will provide a space for staff at all levels to start conversations, exchange ideas, and to discuss issues of particular interest to small and rural libraries. As the Assistant Director of a public library district serving approximately 4,955 people located in western Illinois, I understand the feeling of wearing multiple hats one day to the next while feeling disconnected and underrepresented at conferences and in workshops.
We Need Your Help
That is why we need your help. If you associate with working for a small and or rural library, we want to you to share your input. The Small and Rural Libraries Forum Facebook group was created to help us connect as we grow the forum based off the interests and needs of its members. If you want to be a part of something bigger than you while helping to create a collective for creative exchange, then we want to hear from you!
You Should Join the SARL Forum If You...
- You care about the growth and development of useful library services
- You support opportunities for the continuing education of members
- want to collaborate with other library and non-library groups to support both organizations' mission
- advocate for rural and small libraries at the local, state, and national levels
We want you to share your input in order to create a forum that best reflects the interests of its members. Help us help you by providing a voice for all the underrepresented small and rural libraries of Illinois.