Rural Library Network

What is the Network?

The Rural Library Network is a cradle to career initiative that provides participants the opportunity to grow knowledge via online webinars and training in core principles of place-based work. It also offers a forum to grow relationships and connect with practitioners working in libraries across America’s rural communities. Membership in the network is free.

Conversations For Action

Our monthly webinars, called Conversations for Action, enable members to learn best practices from experts in place based approaches to community change. Partners for Education and Save the Children have committed to creating opportunities for individuals working in rural libraries to share ideas, experiences and practical advice to improve educational opportunities in rural communities. Each month, we will host a webinar featuring a conversation with people committed to serving the needs of rural students.

Each webinar is recorded and made available on this site (see below).

October 2021: Regina Washington, director of Rural Impact Networks at Partners for Education, was joined by Asia Hadley, the director of Partnerships with Candid. Asia elevates Candid’s impact through cultivating relationships with key stakeholders, fundraising regionally and providing perspectives on philanthropy.

Many libraries lack resources and support for their innovative projects and community solutions. This conversation focused on the free Visualizing Funding for Libraries mapping platform. Participants will have access to a wealth of data about who has funded libraries and learn how to access and use this data tool and other Candid resources.

September 2021: Lesley Graham from Save the Children US was joined by two experts who have use SEL concepts in their work with students. Rachelle Finck, Director of Social-Emotional Learning, Guidance, & Counseling within the Taylor Independent School District, TX and Deborah Ehler-Hansen, Librarian at Fair Haven Union High School in the Slate Valley Unified School District, VT. The discussion was on social-emotional learning and practices to implement within your own library.

August 2021: Dr. Regina Washington was joined by Theresa Davis, an educator, storyteller, poet, author, poetry slam champion and the host of the award-winning open mic Java Speaks. She has performed on stages across the nation as a poet and keynote speaker. The conversation focused on using art to engage young people and the community around culture and academic achievement.

July 2021: Dreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education, facilitated a conversation with expert Emilie Castle of the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent not-for-profit designated by the FCC that administers the Universal Service Fund on the FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund available to schools and libraries.

June 2021: Regina Washington, Director of Rural Impact Networks at Partners For Education, was joined by Joseph Collins, from Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, Kelly Reddin, from LEGO Education, and Justin Barkley, from TLL Temple Memorial Library to discuss collaborative models for STEM and Libraries.

May 2021: Lesley Graham, Senior Director of Community Impact at Save the Children, was joined by Ashley Wagers from Jackson County Public Library, Tamsyn Oakes from Save the Children, and Dorothy Weintraub from Scholastic. They talked about summer initiatives.

March 2021: Candace Radoski, Vice President of Network Engagement Partnerships at FirstbookKathy Zappitello, President Association for Rural & Small Libraries; and Sarah Ostman, Communications Manager, American Library Association joined us to discuss new resources, funding opportunities, and professional learning opportunities available to Rural Library Network members. 

February 2021: Lesley Graham, senior director of community impact at Save the Children, and Dreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education, were joined by librarians from several rural communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities created by Covid-19.

January 2021: Jennifer Garner, Mark Shriver and Shane Garver from Save the Children joined us to share why they are invested in the work of rural libraries and to announce the creation of the Rural Library Network, a cradle to career initiative offering online training in core principles of place-based work.