News & Updates from the

Rural Libraries Round Table  

Thank you to Margo Gustina & Tom Vitale!

Voting for RLRT Officers Begins October 1st

At this year's NYLA Conference, we will have a change in Rural Libraries Round Table leadership. Tom Vitale, RLRT's Vice President is unable to finish his term. Read his lovely resignation letter here. RLRT thanks Tom for his service, including two years of successful NYLA Conference programming, the coordination of our meetings and events, as well as assisting in scholarship efforts. 

RLRT President Margo Gustina's term comes to an end at NYLA Conference this fall and she will not be seeking re-election. The call for nominations for the offices of President, Vice President, and Secretary has gone out and will close September 30th. Voting through the NYLA Vote portal will begin October 1st. You'll need to sign into the NYLA website as a member and the link to vote can be found here, or in your account.

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners!

Suzanne Macaulay of Bristol Library and Jessie Miglus of Ulysses Philomathic Library have won this year's very competitive RLRT Scholarship to attend the 2017 NYLA Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs. For more information on the scholarship (to help you keep it in mind for next year), see below.

RLRT Scholarship for NYLA Conference 2017

The Rural Libraries Roundtable (RLRT) of NYLA is pleased to offer two Conference Scholarships to encourage rural librarians (professional degree not required) to participate in the 2017 NYLA Conference in Saratoga Springs, November 8-11.

Each award is $500.00, which includes full conference registration (badge for all non-ticketed events, trade show access, and one ticket to the Inaugural Banquet), up to three nights in a hotel (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and/or Friday night available), and an organizational membership in RLRT for your library if it is not already a member

Recipients of this scholarship need only to cover their own meals (except for dinner on Friday night) and transportation costs to attend the conference. All hotel, registration, and membership costs are covered by RLRT up front, so confirmation and attendance is vital.

Award recipients are selected by the RLRT Scholarship Committee. 

The two successful applicants will need to attend the conference for all the days for which they booked hotel rooms and allow their photo to appear in the RLRT newsletter, The Best!. The scholarship winners must also volunteer time to serve at the RLRT-NYLA Conference booth.

Meet Up Time! Rural Resources Symposium

It was so good!

To view Betsy Kennedy's slides from her dynamite keynote, click here. Betsy also shared that the non-profits in her community had coordinated an ROI study of non-profit benefits. You can view the outcome of that partnership by clicking here.

To read a little more about the day and see photos, check out The Best! #40.

Here is what our vision for the day was:

For libraries in communities facing big challenges with dwindling resources, collaboration can be the key to expanding capacity. We can't do it alone! RLRT has invited non-profits and other community agencies to join our conversation, so get ready for new ideas, new perspectives, and new partnerships.

This experience is designed to maximize your time workiing together to practice collaborative problem solving. There will be no homework  - we only ask that you arrive with an open mind.

Plan for our Time

[MEMBERS ONLY: 10:45 am - Brief business meeting to talk conference and do RT actions to pay for conference booths & things]

11 am - Arrival. Snack and coffee. Chatting. Name tag getting

11:30 am - Impact!

12:45 pm - Break

1 pm - Betsy Kennedy: Collaboration & Risk are Behaviors We Can All Do

1:50 pm - Eat & Talk to the People

2:30 pm - Problem Solving - together

3:30 pm - Wrap Up - What do we have, how are we gonna share it


RLRT Scholarship for NYLA Conference 2016

We received many qualified applicants for the Rural Libraries Round Table scholarship and the committee was really very torn. You are all so amazing!  We might start a fundraising campaign so we can offer more conference scholarships in the future. This year's deserving winner is Kathy Stempel. Kathy is the Assistant Librarian for Youth Services at Berne Public Library. She is committed to actively using all that she learns at conference to serve your community of 2,800. You'll read more about her in her newsletter item in November's The Best!

RLRT Officers change at NYLA Conference 2016

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Officers Election this summer. The two seats in contention were Vice-President & Treasurer. At our meeting as part of NYLA Conference, Tom Vitale will begin as Vice-President & Program Chair and Carole Kupelian will continue as Treasurer for the Rural Libraries Round Table. RLRT would like to thank Leona Chereshnoski for her years of service organizing RLRT programs at NYLA and for being a founding member of the roundtable. Our deepest gratitude to you Leona for your advocacy and dedication in the cause of rural librarianship. 

Get ready to run! May 2017 seats open will be for President and Secretary. All terms are two years.


Drafting the RLRT Action Plan 2016-2017

The planning session held in Hammondsport was super fun - it is so good to see you all! The hard work of the folks there resulted in the prioritization of 4 goals for action and groups were formed to see the goals accomplished:

? Mentorship 

? Representation of ALL Rural Library Types (special, historic, school, academic, law)

? Increased Participation/Engagement of Rural Libraries in NYLA

? Trustee Inclusion in RLRT

As we draft the Strategic Action Plan 2016 - 2017, we'll be checking against NYLA's Strategic Vision and RLRT's Purpose Statement to make sure that our actions are in support of our purpose and NYLA's Mission (NYLA leads, educates, and advocates for the advancement of the New York library community).

Consider getting involved! Building a mentorship program, finding creative ways to reach isolated non-traditional libraries, building communities of support between trustees and directors, media specialists, and county law librarians - this stuff is hard work. Share your expertise and your time to break down barriers and improve rural communities all over our state through advocacy and support. Contact RLRT President Margo Gustina to get involved in one of our action groups (gustinam at stls dot org).

Thank you everyone who joined us in beautiful Hammondsport at the Fred & Harriett Taylor Memorial Library to discuss the next Rural Libraries Long Range Plan, visit with colleagues, and learn a little something about how libraries can partner with the US Green Building Council. A full report of all that happened, along with a request for best dates for our fall virtual meeting, will come out by Tuesday, May 31st.  The minutes will be posted on the Minutes page (click Boards & Officers, then Minutes in the left sidebar), as well.

A big thank you to our event sponsors, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System and Souther Tier Library System and our gracious hosts, the Fred & Harriett Taylor Memorial Library.


Every issue of The Best! is available here: The Best! List

People who aren't members of the RLRT can access and subscribe to our newsletter because we want to build the feeling of support and shared purpose among rural communities. We do encourage every library to look at NYLA's Organizational Membership structure - it's equitable and accessible to libraries with even the most modest budgets. For more information on how an organizational membership works, contact

Rural Libraries Roundtable

Share ? Learn ? Advocate

Annual Report to Membership  

January 2016

Who we are      
We are a group of librarians, trustees, volunteers, and members deeply committed to building the regenerative power of rural libraries and the communities they serve.
Our purpose statement reads that we enable librarians, library managers, friends, and trustees of rural libraries to keep in touch with each other. It seems like such a simple thing in a time of constant connection, but anyone working in a small rural library knows the feelings of isolation that can make time with colleagues of similar interest and experience absolutely necessary to the energy needed to do this work.

Goals – How we did and where we’re going

At the last RLRT Long Range Planning session, the members developed a set of Goals to strive for by 2015.

Goal: To provide quality programming to enhance and build upon excellence in management and governance of rural libraries.

The RLRT has sponsored at least two programs each of the last three years, including:

  • NYLA 2015: Communities not Collections
  • NYLA 2014: You Can Do a Book Festival
  • NYLA 2013: Libraries and Literacy Coalitions: Essential Partners

Goal: Improve knowledge, respect and advocacy for rural libraries and their directors and staff.

Have you ever thought about sharing your skills and experience with another library director, manager or staff person as a mentor? Building a network of reliable mentors for people new to working in rural libraries is one of our priorities in 2016. Contact Margo Gustina ( for more information on getting involved.

Goal: To expand and build upon the membership of the Rural Libraries Roundtable and to provide opportunities for networking and recognition.

You work in and/or advocate for library services to rural communities? Join RLRT! We’re growing every year and 2016 is going to be our strongest year yet. Become part of a network of librarians and supporters committed to sharing, learning, and advocating!

Goal: Explore and create marketing and public relations tools that benefit the roundtable, promote advocacy and build awareness of rural libraries issues and accomplishments.

Our webpage and newsletters were our first steps. The Rural Libraries Roundtable is ready to expand its reach. Help us show the isolation busting effects of social media by joining our marketing team. Contact Tom Vitale ( for more information.

Let’s get together

The Rural Libraries Roundtable meets quarterly – twice by call (standing committee check in and opinion seeking) and twice in person (party!).
  Join us in person: May 23rd from 1pm to 5pm in the beautiful Keuka Lake region at the Fred and Harriett Taylor Memorial Library in Hammondsport. Register your attendance here: Additional details to follow soon.

Become a member

Membership in the roundtable is a mere $5.00 which comes with a newsletter, excellent meetings, and the knowledge that you are partnering with advocates for rural communities. At this time, the only way to get this done if you have a current NYLA membership (if you don’t:, is to make a check payable to The New York Library Association for $5.00, memo should read RLRT Membership, and mail it to 6021 State Farm Road Guilderland, NY 12084. 

Long-Range Plan (2008 - 2015)