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.

Our monthly webinars, called Conversations for Action, enable members to learn best practices from experts in place based approaches to community change. Each webinar is recorded and made available on this site (see below).

Network members are also eligible to apply to join our Rural Library Fellowship. We are seeking individuals working in rural public libraries who are interested in increasing third-grade reading outcomes. The fellowship offers:

  • Professional development to support increasing reading outcomes
  • Connection with a peer learning community
  • A stipend to offset time, materials or other costs associated with participation
  • Full cost scholarship for travel expenses to attend any in-person leadership development opportunities
  • A $5,000 award from Save the Children to implement strategies for increasing grade level reading

For more information, contact Program Manager for Rural Impact Wendy Johnston at

Fellowship Overview

Conversations For Action

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.

Click here to register for upcoming events. You can view previous Conversations by clicking on the images below.

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.

Rural Library Summit Sessions

If you missed the breakout sessions during the Rural Library Summit, you can now view each session below: