Jennifer Johnson-Spence standing in front of a shelf of children's books in her library.

Jennifer Johnson-Spence

Director, Cooke County Library, Gainesville, Texas

I joined ARSL in 2008 and haven’t regretted it one bit. Since then I’ve watched ARSL grow and grow, both in membership and notability.

There are several real benefits to being an ARSL member. One huge benefit is the list-serve where you can ask any question and someone can either provide an answer or point you in the right direction. The ideas and wisdom you can gain just by reading the email responses are worth the membership. The list-serve distills the fear of being alone. In fact you soon learn you’re not alone at all.

Another membership benefit is the ARSL conference. My first ARSL conference was held in Sacramento, CA. While attending the conference, I knew that I had found the right organization and group of colleagues who understood my concerns and issues I was experiencing at my library. One of the things I love about the ARSL conferences is that we get to learn from each other. I belong to many other library organizations and have been lucky enough to attend many conferences, but the knowledge I gain when I’m at an ARSL conference is more relevant and beneficial. Plus I love seeing all my friends and colleagues from around the country.

No matter how overwhelming your work situation might be, you always know that ARSL members have your back and will tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it. This is a blessing especially in the current times when our jobs change daily. I would highly recommend becoming an ARSL member. It’ll change your work and personal life!


Joyce Baker

Library Manager, Coolidge Public Library, Coolidge, Arizona
I have been a member of ARSL for eight years. Our library has benefitted from every single conference I have attended. Thanks to a library in WY, we expanded our Summer Learning Program to include our Adult Center, preschools, and our Parks and Rec Kids Kamp. We built a StoryWalk® thanks to a presentation by Noah Lenstra from Let’s Move in Libraries. We used presentations from several libraries to develop a tracking system that helps us make sure everything is prepared for our programs. We instituted the Project Outcome surveys for our programs thanks to another workshop from PLA. I could give you more than 20 examples like this but what it all comes down to is that I have met librarians who are managing libraries just like ours through conferences and the List-Serv. Thanks to ARSL, I know we aren’t alone. There are hundreds of other librarians happy to share their knowledge!

Jennie Garner

Library Director, North Liberty Library, North Liberty, Iowa 
The best part of this organization is the membership! The first year I went to the ARSL Conference in Raleigh, NC, I knew I’d met my tribe. Smart, creative librarians doing amazing work across the US. The networking alone makes conference worth attending and the top-notch sessions each year are icing on the cake. The librarians I met in Raleigh, and the growing circle each year since, have become some of my closest friends. I know I can rely on them throughout the year for their expertise when I have issues at my own library that I need to work through or need fresh ideas. The member e-list is always helpful and filled with professionals willing to provide information and advice. 


Amy Golly

Adult Services Librarian, North Liberty Library, North Liberty, Iowa
I’m relatively new to ARSL and have been happy to engage with the association and other members through the virtual round tables this spring and summer which have facilitated much needed discussion around timely topics such as equity, staff health and self-care, and service to patrons without internet access. I’ve gained valuable resources and inspiration to innovate services and programs from colleagues who encounter similar challenges which can be unique to small and rural libraries. I look forward to virtually attending my first ARSL Conference this year and I hope this provides more opportunities for connection with colleagues and information sharing.