The Settlement Library Project™

The Settlement Library Project™
"Providing educational and service opportunities for the people of the mountains, while keeping them mindful of their heritage."

The Rosetta Stone of Librarianship: the Unconventional Rural or Solo Library

What is a Rosetta Stone?

It is a clue, breakthrough, or discovery that provides crucial knowledge for the solving of a puzzle or problem. This type of rural library is designed to meet the specialized needs of present-day rural life.

The backbone of librarianship can be seen in the small libraries that populate rural/urban America. Our rural or solo libraries may not be well funded, well stocked or glamorous, but they house the foundations of our national life through the contribution and preservation of some of our most beloved ideals: 
  • the maintenance of the family as a social institution; 
  • the cultivation of independent self-reliance; 
  • and neighborliness, or "community". 
Your library in your rural community has a responsibility to your residents in a manner that the metropolitan libraries don't, and cannot emulate: that of appreciating the accumulated knowledge and experience of the past that characterizes your library user. This attitude constitutes the "eclectic" library I am always advocating on this blog. Unlike the metropolitan institution, I am persuaded that the role of the rural or solo librarian is to become a trained and equipped social scientist who enjoys working with people directly, and helps to instigate a link between what is generically defined as human capital and economic well-being.

The rural or solo librarian in an unconventional/eclectic library does his/her best to find ways to satisfy the needs of their community.

The Rosetta Stone of rural librarianship is the connection with the community in order to present programs and services that they will not only attend, but also enjoy and benefit from.

In this way, the eclectic rural library provides clues, breakthroughs, or the discovery of crucial knowledge for the solving of social, economical, national, international, healthcare and employment puzzles or problems.

So how do we make our rural or solo library our library user's Rosetta Stone?

The easy fact is simply through our carefully selected staff, carefully designed and well-thought-out services, and our user populations known here as "communities". Tapping into our human resources and local history can create a better future for our rural or solo libraries.

What I consider as the last puzzle piece in Appalachia, and in all rural communities, is the initiation of  a 'Settlement Library'. It includes the establishment of cultural community information centers in rural communities as a library outreach initiative by utilizing the very present skills and knowledge of local residents. A ‘Settlement Library’ is a trusted neighborhood think-tank, equitable source for civic thinking, and clearinghouse for community-wide resources -- and . . .

The Rosetta Stone of Librarianship

Click on keywords in the Cloud below to access simple, tried and true suggestions that will transform your rural or solo library into an Eclectic, Unconventional Settlement Library within your community.

Image: Copyright © 2004–2017 Florida Center for Instructional Technology. ClipArt ETC is a part of the Educational Technology Clearinghouse and is produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida.

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Remembering the Old Home Place of Rural Appalachia

Remembering the Old Home Place of Rural Appalachia
by PL Van Nest - used by permission (click on image to access collection)