Collaborative Institute for Rural Communities & Librarianship


CIRCL is a think tank by, for, and of the rural library community and aligned partners.
It is a coordinated network developing participatory research, policy recommendations,
and culturally-responsive advocacy strategies to amplify rural libraries and promote sustainable rural librarianship. 

CIRCL Guiding Principles


CIRCL marshals the global to support the local. Locally develop solutions are best, as they know their community and culture. CIRCL will provide guidance and resources, but only in true partnership with local communities.

Compassionate rigor

Compassionate rigor is at the heart of the work. While CIRCL will have clear advocacy work, it is based on rigorous research which will also yield actionable policy (local, regional, national). This research is objective or unbiased, but intellectually honest that is created with communities and takes into account their values.

build through partnerships

CIRCL builds through partnerships. Where great partners exist in a region or an area, CIRCL will promote and support. Where there are gaps, CIRCL will work with partners to build. In all settings CIRCL will listen, identify trends, and share them widely.

Featured Project: State Libraries and AI Technology

This prospectus calls for the creation of a limited term working group of state libraries and relevant stakeholders to explore the varied roles state libraries in the use of AI and in their support of efforts around workforce development in AI. Rather than a one-time event, the working group will be a facilitated process with CIRCL gathering data, building an environmental scan, and interviewing library staff to provide a focused explorations of the topic with participating state librarians.

Recent News

AI Literacy and Public Sector AI are a Match (Libraries in Response)

"Ever more systems of artificial intelligence – with apparent inescapability – are being established in ever more parts of our lives, cultures, and societies. CPDP2024 puts accelerating complexity of AI at the centre stage, with the underlying question: Is AI...

Our Members

  • University of Texas at Austin iSchool
  • Brightsail Research
  • Texas Woman’s University
  • Pottsboro Area Public Library
  • Texas State Library & Archives
  • Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL)
  • University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Smithville Public Library
  • Colorado State Library
  • Cresco Public Library
  • Syracuse University iSchool
  • Illinois Heartland Library System
  • Georgia State Library
  • New York State Library
  • Syracuse Univerity iSchool
  • Plum Lake Public Library
  • Amigos Library Services
  • Louisiana State University
  • Jarrell Community Library
  • Illinois Library Association
  • Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
  • Iowa State Library