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Almost as a rule, librarians love acronyms/initialisms and associations. What’s even better is that, as a rule, associations are known by their acronyms/initialisms!

Enter ARSL – The Association for Rural and Small Libraries. This association, an affiliate of ALA, was founded in 1982 and works to “create resources and services that address national, state, and local priorities for libraries situated in rural communities.”

Browsing the website, I can see that ARSL’s annual conference may be of interest, but its member-benefits are otherwise a little lite. With ILA, PLA, and potentially YALSA all vying for attention, I can’t say whether ARSL will be able to count me as a member anytime soon. However, it could be nice to be a member of an association whose other members share the particular joys and challenges of rural librarianship.


As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day today, let’s remember the positive environmental impact of libraries:

  • Shared Resources – Using shared resources reduces overall consumption and waste
  • Education – The PLA points out that “environmental literacy is a part of information literacy”
  • Community Building – Libraries serve as a nexus for the community in a way that few other institutions can claim. All demographics walk through our doors allowing partnerships to form the serve to create health communities, which can lead to a healthy environment
  • Third Place – Neither home or work, libraries are a third place for patrons, providing a social outlet and a gathering place. This puts libraries in a position to lead by example by implementing recycling programs, encouraging energy and water conservation, and using green building techniques where possible

If you have anything to add to this list, please do!

*Image by Kevin Muckenthaler and courtesy of Wikicommons.