PEARL Project

The PEARL Project (Promoting and Enhancing the Advancement of Rural Libraries)

The PEARL Project was sponsored by the Priddy Foundation from 2011-2016. The project is completed but the mission of PEARL continues. This will be a community portal about the progress of our rural public libraries. 

This sites also hosts the legacy Community Outreach Plans and link to the UNT rural library graduate and undergraduate academic certificates.


  • Design a Community Outreach Plan Template.
  • Assist 105 librarians in creating a Community Outreach Plan.
  • Create a resource center Web site.
  • Develop a virtual community among rural librarians.
  • Provide annual workshops and forums in rural librarianship.
  • Fund five post-graduate students to get a Certificate of Advanced Study in rural librarianship.
  • Provide each participating library a $1,000 Milestone Award for completing an outreach project.


The Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas received funding for a three-year project to enhance the role of the public library in targeted rural communities in Texas. The project will address the roles of the small rural library as: 

  • A community resource.
  • A gathering place for people.
  • A facilitator for community partnerships.

In addition, it will provide avenues of library training and peer interaction for rural library staff.The project will assess how this collaborative model for community outreach enhances the effectiveness of rural library service in Texas.


The PEARL Project is funded by the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust. The Priddy Charitable Trust has focused on liberal arts education, pre K-12 public education, community health care, and rural public libraries.


The mission of the project is to strengthen the public library as an essential part of community life in rural Texas communities.


The goals of the project are to:

  • Enhance community cooperation between the target libraries and governing agencies, civic organizations, educational and social institutions, community leaders, and local residents.
  • Create individualized Community Outreach Plans for target rural libraries and train staff in plan implementation.
  • Create a web based resource center of Community Outreach Plans and other resources useful to rural librarians including social networking tools to foster a virtual community.
  • Provide educational opportunities for rural librarians through semi-annual meetings and workshops.


The four basic needs this project addresses are:

  • Need for strategic community partnerships between rural libraries and other community organizations. 
  • Need for a peer support group and peer interaction among rural librarians. 
  • Need for community outreach web based resources developed specifically for rural librarians. 
  • Need for specialized educational opportunities for rural librarians.