The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library

Data You Can Use

Here is an annotated list of further resources you can use to garner support for your library:

Keeping Up With…Small and Rural Libraries

All libraries, including small and rural libraries, have challenges and concerns. This article examines some of the problems facing small and rural libraries, suggests some methods for meeting those challenges, and discusses the importance of keeping up with library developments in these institutions. Issues discussed include staffing, funding, professional development, resources, and leadership. Also included is a list of additional resources.

"Keeping Up With... Small and Rural Libraries", American Library Association, September 21, 2016. (Accessed November 15, 2016)

America’s Public Libraries

More significant than ever, public libraries are continually changing and transforming to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Included in the article are statistics (2007-2015) showing how library usage has evolved over the years and a Pew Research Report (2013) on “How Americans Value Public Libraries in their Communities.” This blog post, by Erin Allen, from the Library of Congress Blog, May 5, 2016, is based on the cover story from the May/June 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. The original article was written by Yvonne Dooley, reference librarian in the Science, Technology and Business Division and president of the D.C. Library Association.

The State of America’s Libraries

This report, issued annually since 2006 during National Library Week by the American Library Association Public Awareness Office, in conjunction with other ALA offices, serves to educate the public about important trends and significant issues confronting America’s libraries. Archives to earlier reports can be found here, as well.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 6

The American Library Association is often asked to answer questions about public libraries: How are they used, who is using them, and what do people think of them? This ALA Library Fact Sheet is designed to help answer these questions. It contains information from recent studies that document public library use and opinions held by individuals about public libraries.

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The mission is the IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. A search for “Rural Libraries” on the IMLS site provides articles, research briefs and state by state current and cumulative data about the impact of libraries in rural communities.


Launched in 2003 as a program of OCLC Research, WebJunction is free and accessible 24/7. As well as creating and providing training for library staff, WebJunction “designs and delivers transformational programs that connect public library service to community needs such as lifelong learning, health and wellness, and economic success.” According to Web Junction statistics, more than 70 percent of all U.S. public libraries have participated in their programs and projects. Included topics are in the areas of leadership, staff training, library service, and technology.


Lights, Camera, Advocacy: Digital Storytelling for Your Library

How can you tell your library’s story to increase public support? Develop a compelling story for your library, and leverage it to show your impact in the community. This presentation archive includes list of technology tools to develop top-notch video-based stories.  Created by Crystal Schimpf (Library Consultant, Kixal) & Ginny Mies (Senior Content Manager, TechSoup for Libraries) Presented at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference in Fargo, North Dakota, October 28-29, 2016.

The Impact Survey

The research staff at the University of Washington Information School created the Impact Survey to provide public librarians with data that informs how their patrons use library technology and related services and how to improve services to provide more positive patron outcomes.

The Edge

Created for use by public libraries, the Edge is a comprehensive collection of tools aimed at providing librarians and library spokespersons with the data and “talking points” to successfully advocate for resources that will provide better access to improved technology and library services. The Edge toolkit consists of national technology standard benchmarks for public libraries, an online assessment tool to evaluate current services, recommendations and planning ideas, a list of selected resources to support successful library programming, training in interpreting and using Edge findings effectively and templates for reporting and sharing to the importance of library technology services to library constituents and community leaders.

ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy & Outreach Services

Click on Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds for advocacy, best practices, publications, funding, and other resources.

Association for Rural & Small Libraries

Open to librarians, support staff, governmental officials, trustees, friends of libraries and people interested in the growth and development of rural libraries.

American Indian Library Association

A membership action group that addresses the library needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services

Resources include reports and other publications to support bookmobiles and outreach services.

ALA Office for Library Advocacy

The Office for Library Advocacy provides tools and publications to help you advocate for your library. Includes information on ALA Presidential advocacy initiatives, including Frontline Fundraising and Frontline Advocacy.

ALA Communications and Marketing Office

Provides tools and resources for libraries of all types, including sample publicity materials in English and Spanish, a Communications Handbook for Libraries, an Online Media Relations Toolkit and more.

ALA Washington Office

Check here for information on funding and other national issues of concern to libraries. The Legislative Action Center makes it easy to contact your senators and representatives. Also follow District Dispatch, ALA Washington Office’s blog, which covers events in Washington from the library perspective.

United For Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees,  Advocates, Friends and Foundations

Information, resources, and tools for trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations.

Articles, quotes, and facts about libraries as well as calls to action and opportunities to get involved.

Kids! @ your library® Campaign

Check out tools, tips, and ideas for reaching out to parents and children with the message “So much to see. So much to do @ your library®.” Sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA.

Public Library Association

Look under Issues & Advocacy for campaign toolkits and resources for public libraries.

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