Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6, eISBN: 978-1-78743-111-9

ISSN: 0065-2830

Publication date: 10 November 2017


(2017), "Prelims", Real, B. (Ed.) Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 43), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. i-xvi.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

Half Title Page

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

Advances in Librarianship

Series Page

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by: Brian Real

  • Advances in Librarianship Volume 43

  • Advances in Librarianship Editors

  • Paul T. Jaeger, University of Maryland, Series Editor

  • Caitlin Hesser, University of Maryland, Series Managing Editor

  • Advances in Librarianship Editorial Board

  • Denise E. Agosto, Drexel University

  • Wade Bishop, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • John Buschman, Seton Hall University

  • Michelle Caswell, University of California, Los Angeles

  • Sandra Hughes-Hassell, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • R. David Lankes, University of South Carolina

  • Don Latham, Florida State University

  • Ricardo L. Punzalan, University of Maryland

  • Lynn Westbrook, University of Texas

Title Page

Advances in Librarianship Volume 43

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by: Brian Real

Public Services Librarian, Calvert Library, Prince Frederick, MD, USA

United Kingdom – North America – Japan India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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First edition 2018

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-78743-111-9 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-78743-253-6 (Epub)

ISSN: 0065-2830 (Series)

Editor’s Dedication

I have learned basically everything I know about public libraries through two major parts of my life: my work as a Public Services Librarian with the Calvert Library, a rural public library system in southern Maryland, and my work as a research associate on the Digital Inclusion Survey at the Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. This book is dedicated to my colleagues at both organizations—and especially Professor John Carlo Bertot of iPAC—as I would not have the knowledge or skills needed to oversee this volume without them.

I would also like to acknowledge my wife, Dr. Sarah Cantor, whose love and support has been essential in guiding me through writer’s block and other crises, both major and minor.


About the Contributors ix
Editors’ Introduction to the Advances in Librarianship Series
Paul T. Jaeger and Caitlin Hesser
1 Introduction: Rural Public Libraries in Academic and Political Contexts
Brian Real
2 Rural Libraries and the Human Right to Internet Access
Claire Petri
3 Rural Public Libraries in America: Continuing and Impending Challenges
Brian Real and R. Norman Rose
4 Exploring Rural Public Library Assets for Asset-Based Community Development
Karen Miller
5 A Gap Analysis of the Perspectives of Small Businesses and Rural Librarians in Tennessee: Developments Toward a Blueprint for a Public Library Small Business Toolkit
Bharat Mehra, Bradley Wade Bishop, and Robert P. Partee II
6 Rural Librarians as Change Agents in the Twenty-First Century: Applying Community Informatics in the Southern and Central Appalachian Region to Further ICT Literacy Training
Bharat Mehra, Vandana Singh, Natasha Hollenbach, and Robert P. Partee II
7 Defining Community Archives within Rural South Carolina
Travis L. Wagner and Bobbie Bischoff
8 Exhibiting America: Moving Image Archives and Rural or Small Libraries
Jennifer L. Jenkins
9 Rural and Small Libraries: The Tribal Experience
Jennifer L. Jenkins, Guillermo Quiroga (Yaqui), Kari Quiballo (Sioux), Herman A. Peterson (Diné), and Rhiannon Sorrell (Diné)
Index 219

About the Contributors

Bobbie Bischoff <>, University of South Carolina, is a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Bobbie has earned an AGS in history from Brazosport College (TX), a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies from the USC–Lancaster, and an MLIS from USC–Columbia. She has extensive experience as a teacher-librarian in Charleston County and has also worked as a mechanical engineering technician in the Nuclear Power Industry and as an aquatics director at Leroy Springs Recreation Complex. Her research interests are at the intersection of archives (as a memory institution), management of the record, the cultural pursuit of knowledge to facilitate memory, and the transmission of memory within the material culture. In addition to her work as an aquatics instructor, she developed and taught numerous professional development courses in Charleston County School District and was an adjunct instructor at Charleston Southern University, where she developed and taught the first Web-based technology course.

Bradley Wade Bishop <>, University of Tennessee, is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Bishop’s research focus is on geographic information (GI) organization, access, and use, and his educational focus is on bolstering the curation, preservation, and metadata creation of GI. He has published several articles utilizing GI systems as a tool in the analysis of public libraries. He has published works related to public libraries in Library and Information Science Research, Public Libraries, Public Library Quarterly, Government Information Quarterly, Library Quarterly, Library Trends, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, College and Research Libraries, and Portal: Libraries and the Academy.

Natasha Hollenbach <>, University of Tennessee, is a recent graduate from the master’s program in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Hollenbach was a student assistant hired to conduct action research with rural libraries in the Southern and Central Appalachian region.

Jennifer L. Jenkins <>, University of Arizona, is a professor of English at the University of Arizona. Jenkins teaches film history and theory, literature, and archival practice at the University of Arizona. She is the founder of Home Movie Day Tucson and regularly lays student hands on film of many gauges. She is the outgoing director of the Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium. Since 2011, she has been Curator of the American Indian Film Gallery, a digital humanities project that seeks inclusive repurposing of mid-century films about Native peoples of the Americas. In a process termed “tribesourcing,” we invite Native narrators to record new audio files for the films in indigenous or/and European languages to provide culturally competent counter-narratives to the films, thereby expanding access and enriching the collection’s information base. In 2017, this project was awarded funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Bharat Mehra <>, University of Tennessee, is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Mehra’s research examines diversity and intercultural communication, social justice in library and information science, critical and cross-cultural studies, and community informatics or the use of information and communication technologies to empower minority and underserved populations to make meaningful changes in their everyday lives. Mehra has collaborated with racial/ethnic groups, international communities, sexual minorities, rural librarians, and small businesses to represent their experiences and perspectives in shaping the design and development of community-based information systems and services. He primarily teaches courses on public library management, collection development, resources and services for adults, diversity services in libraries, and grant development for information professionals.

Karen Miller <>, University of South Carolina, is a doctoral candidate in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Karen’s work as a graduate assistant for the IMLS-funded Assessing the Economic Value of Public Library Collections and Services: A Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis project led to her research interest in the assets of rural public libraries and their potential investment in community development initiatives. A doctoral candidate with a cognate in statistical analysis, Karen is currently writing her dissertation. In addition to her MLIS degree from the University of South Carolina, Karen also holds a JD from the University of South Carolina School of Law and an MBA from a joint Furman University/Clemson University program.

Robert P. Partee II <>, University of Tennessee, is a recent graduate from the master’s program in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Partee II was a student assistant hired to conduct action research with rural libraries in Tennessee. He completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in biology and a pre-medicine focus. While working on his graduate degree at the University of Tennessee, Partee II focused on team science and participated in collaborative efforts to address scientific challenges that leveraged the expertise of professionals trained in different fields. Partee II has plans to pursue a career in medicine either as a scientist or a practicing physician.

Herman A. Peterson <>, Diné College, is college librarian at Diné College, the tribal college for the Navajo Nation, where he supervises three libraries in two different states. Formerly he worked as the Head of Reference and Instruction and Associate Professor at Morris Library of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. Dr. Peterson is the author of The Trail of Tears: An Annotated Bibliography of Southeastern Indian Removal as well as several articles, conference presentations, and over 50 book reviews.

Claire Petri <>, York County Libraries, is the coordinator of the Salem Square Library, York County Libraries, York, PA. She coordinates services and programming for children and adults, including one-on-one computer and Internet assistance to the many local residents who have limited technology access at home. She also coordinates partnerships with local agencies and nonprofits to offer workforce development opportunities, job search support, and ESL classes. Claire’s career and education have focused on the power of libraries and librarians to connect people of all backgrounds with resources that will empower them to transform their lives and communities. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland, where she specialized in Diversity and Inclusion.

Kari Quiballo <>, University of Arizona, is a doctoral candidate in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Arizona. She is currently working as a Research Assistant in the UA James E. Rogers College of Law and at the Native Nations Institute (NNI) on the U.S. Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN). Quiballo’s research examines epistemic injustice in nontribal archives, libraries, and museums (ALM), resulting from a lack of knowledge American Indian law and policy and legal identity within U.S. law of ALM professionals. Quiballo’s master’s degree is from the UA School of Information. She is a Knowledge River Scholar (KR), which is a singular scholarship program at UA focusing on American Indigenous information issues. While a KR scholar, her research focused on the commodification of information and the resulting privatization and commercialization in ALM. Her work has also concentrated on the control non-Native-run institutions have over Indigenous cultural information and identity.

Guillermo Quiroga <>, Old Pascua Museum and Yaqui Culture Center, is the director of the Old Pascua Museum and Yaqui Culture Center and Pascua Yaqui Tribal member. He has over 25 years of executive administration experience in the educational, nonprofit, and profit sectors. He is a graduate of the University of California with a degree in sociology and earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Arizona, where he is an Alumni Achievement awardee. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur with a focus on Nation Building while President and CEO of Native American Botanics, Inc. He has lectured, mentored, and taught other start-ups, as well as executive-level entrepreneurs. He created problem-solving curriculum for elementary, middle, high school, and community college educators while directing programs at the UA Eller College McGuire Entrepreneurship program. He successfully authored several small business innovations research (SBIR) grants and other federal, state, local, and private grants totaling over $8 million.

Brian Real <>, Calvert Library, is a public services librarian for the Calvert Library, a public library system in rural southern Maryland. He holds a Master of Library Science (2011) and PhD in Information Studies (2015) from the University of Maryland, where he currently teaches graduate courses in public libraries and reference services. During his graduate studies, Brian worked under Dr. John Carlo Bertot on several cycles of the Digital Inclusion Survey, a national-level study of how public libraries use information and communication technologies to benefit their local communities. He is the author of numerous academic journal articles on public libraries and film archives for venues including Library Quarterly, Public Library Quarterly, and The Moving Image. Brian served as the lead author of the report Rural Libraries in the United States: Recent Strides, Future Possibilities, and Meeting Community Needs, which was published by the American Library Association in summer 2017.

R. Norman Rose <>, Wagner School of Public Service, is a graduate of NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. He is a veteran of wrangling messy data sets, planning and managing surveys, conducting data visualization, and writing. He has worked for the City of New York and for the American Library Association on the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study and Digital Inclusion Survey. He also founded and continues to manage the popular SB Nation sports site Rumble in the Garden. Currently in New York State, he develops professional development workshops for public service workers.

Vandana Singh <>, University of Tennessee, is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Singh’s research interest areas are the use of information technology for learning in work places as well in distance education, computer supported cooperative work, human computer interaction, and information systems. Singh has received multiple research grants from federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and United States Geological Society. Her work has been published and recognized in several national and international conferences and journals.

Rhiannon Sorrell <>, Diné College, is an instructor and digital services librarian at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation. Born to Kinłichíí’nii (Red House People) and Ta’neezahnii (Tangle People) Clans, Rhiannon has an interdisciplinary background in English and Information Literacy instruction, creative nonfiction, special collections and archival services, and Web and user experience design. Rhiannon’s current research interests include incorporating traditional knowledge systems in information literacy, STEM in the Tribal College Library, and alternative forms of Native nonfiction.

Travis L. Wagner <>, University of South Carolina, is a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Travis also received a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from USC’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, where they continue to serve as a lecturer. Their major research area focuses on the role socially constructed identities play within the information organization practices of visual image catalogers, with particular focus on representations of diverse gender identities. Some other research areas for Travis include a re-examination of and advocacy for overlooked visual media, incorporating service learning into SLIS classrooms, and the deployment of queer theoretical interventions into knowledge management practices. Travis also spends time working closely with multiple community archives within Columbia, South Carolina, helping organizations create cost-effective strategies for the digital preservation of archival content.

Editors’ Introduction to the Advances in Librarianship Series

Through a combination of economic changes, political forces, and technological changes, libraries now find themselves in a position of meeting ever-increasing community needs and filling roles that otherwise would go unmet in key areas of economic and workforce development, health and wellness, education, civic engagement, and fostering and supporting open governments, among much else. Despite often decreasing financial support, the growing political pressures to reduce support for public goods such as libraries, and the voices claiming that Google has made libraries obsolete, libraries of all types—public, school, academic, and special—have never been more innovative, more community focused, and more in demand than they are now.

Libraries play significant roles in digital literacy and digital inclusion, online education, provision of social services, employment skills, and even emergency response. They are creating partnerships with local government agencies and nonprofits to address local needs. They adopt and innovate with new technologies and expand their services and materials through new channels provided by emerging technologies, from online reference to the curation and management of digital resources. At the same time, libraries serve as a primary support structure for social justice and human rights by fostering and promoting inclusion, access, and equity for individuals, for their communities, and for society as a whole.

The Advances in Librarianship book series offers a completely unique avenue through which these major issues can be discussed. By devoting each volume—often in the range of 100,000 words—to a single topic of librarianship, the series volumes devote a great amount of consideration to a single topic. By including contributors who are library professionals, administrators, researchers, and educators from many different places, the series volumes bring an unparalleled range of voices to these topics of librarianship. And by exploring these topics as broad issues with a wide range of societal impacts, these volumes not only inform those within the library profession, they inform community members, policymakers, educators, employers, health information professionals, and others outside of libraries who are interested in the impacts of libraries.

The ability to address current and future issues from both practice and research perspectives at great depth makes this series uniquely positioned to disseminate new ideas in libraries and to advocate for their essential roles in communities. To ensure the most current and future utility, each volume includes contributions in three areas: (1) current best practices and innovative ideas, (2) future issues and ways in which they might be prepared for and addressed, and (3) the large-scale societal implications and the way in which the focus of the volume impacts libraries as a social institution.

This volume of Advances in Librarianship focuses on the importance of rural libraries and community archives to their communities. The majority of communities in the United States are rural, and they frequently have greatly reduced access to many services—from healthcare to broadband—available to urban and suburban communities. Many rural communities do have a library, and these libraries provide innumerable services and contributions to their communities. Yet, in the library and information science professional and academic discourse, rural libraries receive far less attention than seems appropriate given how numerous they are and how central they are to their communities. This volume is intended to help fill that gap, presenting a range of perspectives demonstrating the unique value and impact of rural libraries and community archives in their communities.

Ultimately, volumes in this series share innovative ideas and practices to improve overall library service and to help libraries better articulate their vital and myriad contributions to their communities. The range of library impacts can be seen in the recent volumes in the series, which have explored such important topics as library services to people with disabilities, libraries as institutions of human rights and social justice, and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the field. Forthcoming volumes will be devoted to socially innovative programs in libraries, library services for LBGTQ populations, the pedagogical roles of academic libraries, and new approaches to MLIS education. As fewer venues publish materials related to library practice, education, and research and many of the journals formerly devoted to library research have shifted their focus more to information issues, the Advances in Librarianship book series is an unwavering venue devoted to documenting, examining, exchanging, and advancing library practice, education, and research.

Paul T. Jaeger, Advances in Librarianship Series Editor Caitlin Hesser, Advances in Librarianship Managing Editor University of Maryland