Project Team

The Southern Tier Library System (STLS), a cooperative public library system serving Allegany, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties in the southern finger lakes region of New York state, serves as the lead agency and home to Rural Library Service & Social Wellbeing. For more information on STLS research, education, and development initiatives, visit

Margo Gustina – Principal Investigator. Margo is the Special Projects Librarian for the Southern Tier Library System. In her former role as the New York Library Association Rural Libraries Roundtable President, Margo became deeply concerned with the ways in which those with regulatory and policy development power disregarded the unique strengths of small communities. Margo brings a passionate and honest curiosity the data in this and all projects with which she is associated. For more about Margo’s other projects, visit

Hope Decker. Hope works for project partner institution Pioneer Library System (NY) as Member Library Liaison. Hope holds her MS in science education and brings her keen and critical intellect to her varied inquiry projects. As a member of the research team, she interviewed over a hundred community members, is a practiced listener and facilitator, and guides our instructional ambitions.  Connect with Hope through LinkedIn.

Eli Guinnee. The State Librarian of New Mexico, Eli appreciates the cultural vitality and richness of even the most remote communities. His research interests include regenerative design and development, and formal and informal community computation systems. His current projects include the Indigenous Digital Archives, Libraries as Launchpads, Communities+Libraries, and the New Mexico Poet Laureate Program & Poetry Center. Visit the New Mexico State Library for more on their work.

Research Advisors

Rick Bonney – Retired director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Public Engagement in Science Program and founding editor of the journal Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, Rick Bonney has guided the the Rural Library Service & Social Wellbeing project through each of the team’s most pivotal methodological decisions. Now a Visiting Scholar at Cornell, Rick serves as a methodology and assessment consultant to numerous projects around the world.

Bharat Mehra

Cynthia Nikitin

Madeline Pena

Meredith Wickham

Local Library Partners

Susan Greene – Jaquith Public Library, Marshfield, Vermont.

Kate Kozior – Clifton Community Library, Cranberry Lake, New York.

Emilie Braunel – Plum Lake Public Library, Sayner, Wisconsin.

Chelsea Price – Meservey Public Library, Meservey, Iowa.

Jerianne Davis – Helveltia Public Library, Helvetia, West Virginia.

Pam Brown – State Line Public Library, Pine Forest Library System, Mississippi.

Tonya Delphous – Elk River Public Library District, Elk River, Idaho.

Rick Styre – Elk River Public Library District, Elk River, Idaho.

Isabel Trujillo – El Pueblo de Abiquiu Cultural Center and Library, Abiquiu, New Mexico.