British Columbia Library Association

You know you work in a rural library when…

By Various

We asked rural library workers in BC and beyond to tell us what makes the rural library landscape unique. Here’s what they had to say!


You know you work in a rural library when…

you know all your patrons by name!
   Heather Gloster – Youth Services Librarian at Prince George Public Library in Prince George, BC

the chicken crawl starts at the library.
   Beverley Rintoul – Director of Rossland Public Library in Rossland, BC

a family member of one of the patrons in the building calls you to ask their ____ (husband, daughter, son, etc.) to pick up some milk on the way home from the library.
   Lynn Amann – Children’s Librarian at Rossland Library in Rossland, BC

patrons take off their shoes at the door.
   Wendy Wright – Director of Smithers Public Library in Smithers, BC

tax drawn funds are incredibly low, and donated funds are incredibly high.
   Carmen Oleskevich – Library Manager at Pender Island Public Library on Pender Island, BC

one of the “kids” at storytime has cloven hooves and a tail.
   Wendy Wright – Director of Smithers Public Library in Smithers, BC

you can greet everyone who enters by their first name.
   Lynnda McDougall – Library Assistant at Smithers Public Library in Smithers, BC

rogue cows have at some point managed to break loose and find their way to your overflow parking.
   Aubrey Walker – Assistant Librarian at the Jake Epp Library in Steinbach, Manitoba

every spring the most animated conversations in the library lobby involve the local delicacy: fiddleheads. There is much exchanging of bags of greens for cash in the lobby and parking lot. Apparently the library is a good meet-up spot for bartering over foraged food. Which is awesome.
   Jenn Carson – Director of LP Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, New Brunswick

a child brings a piglet to storytime for show and tell!
   Melanie Hetrick – Children’s Librarian at Tillamook County Library in Tillamook, Oregon

you’re asked to sponsor a cornhole team at the big countywide cornhole competition.
   Jane Scheppke – Assistant Director of Crook County Library in Prineville, Oregon

a patron brings you a pint of coffee mocha ice cream and eats it with you at the counter because they know you had a bad day.
   Denise Willms – Director of Port Orford Public Library in Port Orford, Oregon

you can hug your patrons and tell them to make themselves at home.
   Tina Hager – Library Director at Betty Foster Public Library in Ponder, Texas

you have to walk around horse droppings to get inside your library. This only happened once, at our old location.
   Gary Nagllich – Library Director at Worden Public Library District in Worden, Illinois

you call to order a book and they recognize who you are by your voice.
   Elizabeth Willis – District School Librarian in Greenfield, Illinois

someone runs into you at the local grocery store and asks if they can give you their find money to clear up their account.
   Jacqueline Wells – Library Director in Villa Grove, Illinois

no matter where you go – grocery store, park, restaurant, etc., you hear, “Hey, it’s the library lady!”
   Krystal Gulley – Library Director / YA Librarian in Harrisburg, Illinois

crickets outnumber your patrons on a slow day!
   Donna Schaal – Library Director at Argenta-Oreana Public Library District in Oreana, Illinois

they call you at home on a Sunday because their child needs research for a project due on Monday. You can’t say no because now they know you are at home and besides you live for customer service, even on your days off.
   Donna Cunningham – Library Director at Athens Municipal Library in Athens, Illinois

when you have a cornfield in your backyard and a Farmers’ Market in your front parking lot.
   Janet McAllister – Director of Rochester Public Library District in Rochester, Illinois

the tractors and wagons roll past your front windows on the way to the elevator! We sweep corn chaff drifts away from the doors. The farmer brings you bags of sweetcorn and your favorite patrons bring you homemade apple butter and hot salsa!
   Diane Sinclair – Library Director in Williams, Iowa

you overbuy hunting, fishing, and farming books but still don’t have a single one on the shelves.
   Katie Ellis – District Librarian at Sullivan County School District in Laporte, Pennsylvania

your interlibrary loans have DVDs about learning to horseback ride and your coworkers are training their donkeys to come and be library ambassadors.
   Hillary Johansen – Librarian at Thomaston Public Library in Thomaston, Maine

when patrons [from a previous library job] call the library during banned books week to ask how they can participate… in the book banning.
   Ashley Graves – Director of Clark County Library in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

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