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ArLA News Archive June 2021

ALA ARSL Transforming Communities Grants

25 Jun 2021

The American Library Association (ALA) invites library workers to apply for the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant.

Up to 100 libraries will be awarded in this round of grantmaking, part of ALA’s longtime community engagement initiative. Library workers may apply online for grant funding by September 16 at

Participating libraries will receive training in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to 21st-century librarianship. Library workers will complete a free ALA e-course on basic facilitation skills; host at least one conversation with community members on a chosen topic; and receive $3,000 to support community engagement efforts. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, including staff time and collections and technology purchases.

Libraries that previously were awarded LTC: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grants are eligible to apply for additional funding to expand their previously awarded projects.

Over 500 public, academic, school and tribal libraries representing 48 U.S. states have been awarded in the past year. View the full list. Examples include:

  • Jaffrey (New Hampshire) Public Library hosted a discussion following a virtual panel about gender identity that helped dispel myths and overcome differences.
  • Pottsboro (Texas) Area Library led talks about emergency preparedness after a winter storm left their community without electricity and water for days.
  • Working with local teens, Anne West Lindsey District Library (Carterville, Illinois) facilitated a conversation with local leaders that helped the community keep at-risk young people fed.

In September 2020, ALA announced plans to award nearly $2 million to small and rural libraries in 2020 and 2021 to help them address issues of concern in their communities. Up to 650 U.S. libraries in small and rural communities will receive $3,000 to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment. The initiative is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries.

The opportunity is open to libraries serving small and/or rural communities in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines small communities as those with a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and rural communities as those more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area.

Since 2014, ALA’s community engagement initiative, Libraries Transforming Communities, has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is offered in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL).

June Member Spotlight: Ron Russ

22 Jun 2021 1:57 PMRonald Russ (Administrator)

Ron Russ

Announcing June’s ArLA Member Spotlight

We’re honoring Ron Russ, Electronic and Public Services Librarian of Arkansas State University-Beebe, this month.

"Ron's selfless dedication to keeping ArLA's web-based services running is invaluable,” according to his nominator. “His work makes so much possible - from event registrations to membership renewals to news updates to email announcements, and everything in between. Next time you ‘see’ him in a virtual meeting, give a shout-out to Ron Russ for all the work he does keeping ArLA on the Internet!” The person who nominated him wishes to remain anonymous.

Do you know an ArLA member who is working on an amazing new project? OR someone who deserves praise for their dedication and hard work to advance the library field?

Nominate them at for a Spotlight feature here on Facebook! Unsure if someone’s a member? Feel free to check the directory at 

Amber Gregory Named 2021 Library Journal Mover and Shaker

8 Jun 2021

Congratulations to Arkansas State Library's Amber Gregory! She has been named 2021 Library Journal Mover and Shaker in the Advocate category. The full article can be found here:

Karen Russ Research Award 2021

4 Jun 2021

Each year the UA Little Rock Ottenheimer Library awards the Karen M. Russ Memorial Award for Excellence in Research in recognition of Karen’s contribution to the university and profession. The $500 award is given each spring to the UA Little Rock student who best utilizes, applies, and/or visualizes government information in their research.

The winner of the award this year was Josiah Johnson for his research project examining the economic impact of the television show, Small Business Revolution, on the winning town. Additional information on Johnson’s research can be found at the library website.

The Karen Russ Award was made possible by generous donations by members of the library community. Thanks to all who made this possible. Karen was a long-time ArLA member who served on the executive board as well as writing the "What's Up? Docs!" column for Arkansas Libraries.

$15 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Grants Now Available for Library and Museum Services

4 Jun 2021

IMLS recently announced a new competitive funding opportunity for libraries. The grant will provide direct support to address community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist with recovery. (Note: This grant program is not part of the American Rescue Plan Act Grants to States program that the Arkansas State Library is distributing through sub-grants to public libraries.)

The application deadline is June 28.

You can read more about it on the latest blog posting on the ASL News Blog. You can link to it through the State Library’s News page.

ArLA Annual Conference - Call for Session Proposals

2 Jun 2021

Save The Date: Towards New Horizons 2021 Conference Logo

The Arkansas Library Association Annual Conference will be held beginning Tuesday, October 12, through Friday, October 15, 2021. This year’s conference will be hosted virtually using the online event platform Whova. The conference theme is “Towards New Horizons,” aligning with the ArLA Presidential Initiatives for 2021, and the Conference Committee welcomes proposals demonstrating how Arkansas libraries and library staff are working to move their libraries, patrons, and communities towards new horizons, overcoming challenges related to COVID-19 and other events and exploring future opportunities and innovation. Session proposals will be accepted beginning March 4, 2021, and the deadline for submissions is July 15, 2021.

For more information, view the CPF Information Sheet at To submit a proposal go to For more information, contact Rachel Shankles, ArLA Conference Committee Chair at

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