August 2019 Newsletter
Department News
Vermont Libraries Are Grant Gurus
Two Vermont Applications Selected for IMLS Grant
Two Vermont applications were accepted for the Institute of Museum and Library Services' (IMLS) Accelerating Promising Practices (APP) for Small Libraries grant ( . Orleans Elementary School in Orleans, VT received over $35,000 to transform their school library into a learning hub for students and foster collaboration between the school media specialist and teachers/staff. The Jaquith Public Library in Marshfield, VT, in partnership with the Marshfield Historical Society, received over $42,000 to do an oral history project in their community.

For more information what these two Vermont libraries will be doing with their funds, visit:
Five Public Libraries Receive Funding for Workforce Development
Five public libraries in Vermont were selected to receive funding from Libraries Lead with Digital Skills ( ), an initiative of the American Library Association and Public Library Association, sponsored by Grow with Google ( ). The goal of the initiative is to ensure that public libraries across the nation receive ongoing access to free tools and resources to help everyone across America grow their skills, careers and businesses.

Vermont’s newly awarded libraries will integrate Grow with Google programs into events or ongoing workshops to address the needs of their communities, including resume preparation, job searching, digital literacy, and more.

Congratulations to the following libraries for being selected: Bennington Free Library, Burnham Memorial Library (Colchester), Fletcher Free Library (Burlington), Hartland Public Library, and Norman Williams Public Library (Woodstock).

For more information about the libraries' grant-funded projects, visit:
For State Employees
VTLIB presents another speaker for the state employee speaker series "Tuesday Talks." This month's talk will be held on August 20 from 12-1pm in the Pavilion Auditorium.

Our August speaker will be Laurie Stavrand and the topic is “Focus on Vermont’s Refugee and Resettled Populations.” Laurie Stavrand is the Community Partnership Coordinator at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, part of a national network that breaks through social, cultural, and economic barriers so previously interrupted lives can flourish. Ms. Stavrand will speak about the resettlement programs/populations in Vermont as well as the organization’s mission and services.
For more information, please see the event poster here: . Please feel free to share the poster and event information in your departments. For more information please contact April Shaw at .
Tuesday Talks is a speaker series presented by VTLIB during the lunch hour one Tuesday each month. The topic and speaker will change each month, but will always be relevant to events or trends in Vermont that affect State Employees. All Tuesday Talks are open to members of the public as well.

Recordings of Tuesday Talks will now be made available through a partnership with Onion River Community Access (ORCA.) July's talk “The Paradox of Development in Twentieth Century Vermont” is now available to watch here: . Previous months' recordings and information about future Tuesday Talk programs are available on our website: .
News from CLIC, the Public Law Library
As you know, CLIC offers free legal information and research guidance to all Vermonters. (If you didn’t know before, now you know. And be sure to tell your neighbor!) But what does this mean? Let’s take a deeper look at the resources and services available:

  • Members of the public have off-site, online access to limited legal reference services via our website, which includes links to our collection of research guides.
  • Members of the public may use our ASK A LAW LIBRARIAN service for legal reference assistance. Please note: library staff does not conduct legal research or provide legal advice. The information the library staff provides is intended as a reference only. Call (802) 831-1313 or email
  • Members of the public may use our walk-in services during an on-site visit. During an on-site visit to CLIC, individuals have access to:

  • Legal Research Databases (including Westlaw and LexisAdvance)
  • Vermont Legal Materials
  • Legal Self-Help Books
  • Academic Research Databases
  • Environmental Databases
  • The VLS Library’s General Collection
  • Computer, Printer, Scanner, Photocopier, Fax Machine
For hours, driving directions to campus, or additional information, visit our website:
Continuing Education & Small/Rural Libraries
Public Library Director Summit flyer - October 23, 2019
Save the Date: 2019 Public Library Director Summit

October 23, 2019 - 9:00am-4:30pm
Vermont State House, Montpelier

The Public Library Director Summit will be an interactive, intimate experience for public library directors, senior managers, and leaders to discuss library services, listen to updates and notifications, connect with VTLIB employees, and meet fellow colleagues from across Vermont. During the summit public library administrators and top managers will be exposed to some exciting new projects, state government information, and hear from fellow directors who are doing innovative things within their communities.
Continuing Education

The fall is busy with CE offerings, with more being added as they come up, all listed on our website. One to take special note of is the second part of the Basic Public Library Administration course on October 29. This workshop will focus entirely on budget and will feature guest presenter Gary Deziel. Mr. Deziel is a professor for the UVM Extension program and has an MBA and human resources training. He is also a library trustee, so he has an abundance of knowledge and different perspectives regarding the financial side of libraries. Hopefully he will be offering other CE for us, too! In the meantime, if there is room, people who are not in the Certificate of Public Librarianship (CPL) program are welcome to attend the October 29 workshop.

More generally, any workshop we host (except the core courses for the CPL program) is always open to all Vermont librarians. This includes folks currently enrolled in the CPL program, those who already have a certificate or an MLIS, or those who have been working in Vermont libraries a week - or 25 years! In fact, we are continually working on providing more CE opportunities for experienced librarians through specialized topics and more in-depth treatment of standard library topics. Keep a lookout for advanced cataloging, diversity training, and health literacy opportunities, among others, on our website:
Small & Rural Libraries
Here is an article about helping seniors with technology that will most likely resonate with a lot of staff in Vermont libraries. This is not necessarily new information, but is gathered succinctly and contains some good reminders and pointers. I especially like this: “seniors … typically want to accomplish a specific task with technology versus taking a deep-dive into all the bells and whistles.”

And because working in small libraries requires both patience and fortitude, have you ever wondered which New York Public Library lion you are?
Special Populations & ABLE Library
Taking Space - Sarah Potok, MFA
It all started with the hanging plant. My head crashed into what is normally empty space above a pedestrian walkway. A plant hangs from the corner of a restaurant awning, dangling into the intersection of two main sidewalks. My guide dog is not trained to watch for plants hanging over the middle of a sidewalk we typically traverse daily. 
    My immediate response is anger. One more obstacle, one more ridiculous imposition on an already difficult task of walking blind. But my anger is easily matched and surpassed by the man who rushes out of the restaurant to chastise me for hitting his plant. Quite obviously he has missed the point, but his yelling creates a scene for spectators I can only imagine because I can’t see. Is he using this as leverage for his anger, a way to humiliate me and win the moment?
    Several days later, a slew of new plants hang from every awning support at this same restaurant.
    I walk away from the hanging plant incident angry. But very quickly I am more interested in the platforms we took in our anger. I mull over the difference between a man’s anger and my own. Did he get anywhere? Did I? Did anything come of it?
    Advocating for my right to take up space in this world, standing my ground and voicing my needs, sometimes establishes me as pushy and inconvenient. Not good female traits. But really, how horribly inconvenient would it be to not hang those plants in the sidewalk space intended for walking, let alone walking blind?
    Spend a day blindfolded. Spend a day in a wheelchair. Everyday activities become either inaccessible or time-sapping, stressful, and sometimes publicly humiliating. Find a bathroom that can fit a guide dog or a wheelchair. Does the time double or triple? Do you bump into or run over many feet on the way? Can you find or reach the light switch, toilet paper, faucet, soap or paper towels?
    The right to occupy space feels elusive at times. Do I deserve this right or need to earn it, or is it already mine simply because I am alive?
    My existence as a disabled person shouldn’t require apology for being in the way. I disavow the attitude that I’m taking other people’s space and need to be pushed or pulled to the side. Maybe the next time someone thoughtlessly hangs a planter or two or six in my path, the offending party will alter or replace their behavior with accommodation.

Sarah Potok is our ABLE Library intern.
Quick Links
  • US News & World Report ranks Vermont as the State “With the Most Equality” in Employment, Education and Income:

Governance & Management
New & Updated Laws Passed by the VT Legislature or Acts Enacted by the Governor in 2019

Several new and updated laws were passed in the 2018-2019 legislative session, but few of those laws directly affect the work of public libraries. Nevertheless, Lara wanted to pass along a few notifications and give you some links to read a bit more, if you are interested.
A few new laws or acts that are tangentially (and in some cases more directly) related to libraries:

  • Columbus Day renamed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day (S.68 - VT will no longer have a Columbus Day holiday on the 2nd Monday in October. Instead, it will have a holiday called Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the 2nd Monday in October. Whether or not your library takes that day as a holiday, some libraries might want to have displays, programs, or other educational resources available. If you do take this day as a holiday, you will want to update your personnel and/or policy manuals to reflect the name change.

  • Legal age of buying and using cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and other tobacco products raised from 18 to 21 (S.86 - This act increases the legal age for possessing and purchasing cigarettes, “tobacco substitutes” (e-cigarettes), and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age. Effective September 1, 2019. Lara provides this only as a “heads-up” for you.

  • Single Use Plastic Ban (S.113 - Starting July 1, 2020, restaurants and stores will be prohibited from providing single-use carry out plastic bags, single-use straws (unless requested), single-use stirrers, or an expanded “polystyrene food service product” (commonly known as Styrofoam). Lara provides this only as a “heads-up” for you, as you may receive comments from patrons should you give out or use plastic bags, straws, single use utensils, Styrofoam bowls/cups/plates – even though doing so would not be illegal for libraries at this point.

  • Broadband Deployment (H.513 - – This act invests in expanding broadband connectivity throughout the state. According to the press release from the Governor’s Office: In total, the state invested an additional $1.5 million to these initiatives, which includes:

  • Support for rural broadband solutions through a new Broadband Innovation Grant Program;
  • Creation of a new Broadband Expansion Loan Program to provide alternative broadband providers with capital that recognizes start-ups in this field;
  • Investment in the Connectivity Initiative to provide access to Internet service in unserved or underserved locations;
  • Support for municipalities with technical assistance grants through the ThinkVT Innovation Program; and
  • Creation of a new Broadband Technical Assistance Specialist to provide outreach and support to rural communities with broadband projects.

  • Act 46 School Mergers & College Closings – While these issues are not necessarily new this legislative session, Lara has heard from several libraries – both joint school/public libraries and public libraries – that the prospect (or reality) of local schools closing and/or local colleges closing is having a huge impact on their communities – and thus on their libraries. Such large-scale impact events provide an opportunity for libraries to engage deeply with their communities to find new ways to serve and new needs to address.

  • Appointment of Xusana Davis as the state’s first executive director of racial equity - Davis will work with state government agencies and departments to identify and address systemic racial disparities and support the state’s efforts to expand and bring diversity to Vermont’s overall population. This could have an impact on how the State views itself, how communities view themselves, and what we believe Vermont to be for ourselves and our tourists/visitors. Press release:

Lara Keenan, Governance and Management Consultant, regularly emails articles/information like the update above on the Trustees and Friends List Serv. If you’d like to be a part of this list serv, email Josh Muse at and ask to be put on the Trustees and Friends list serv (and give him your name and the library to which you are connected).
Youth Services
Save the Date: Red Clover Book Award Conference
Mark your calendars! The 2019 Red Clover Book Award Conference will be held on Friday, October 11, at VTLIB in Barre. Registration information and an agenda are coming soon!
Read, Move, & Learn with StoryWalk ®
Join VTLIB and StoryWalk® founder Anne Ferguson on August 29 from 10am-12pm for a workshop about creating, funding, promoting, and implementing a StoryWalk® in your community. Learn from other Vermont librarians who have used the program and leave with some best practices and fresh ideas!

Go here for more information and to register:

For more information about StoryWalk®, visit:

2 CEU will be given for this workshop. This workshop will be recorded for future viewing.
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Visit the New VHS Website!

We’ve just relaunched the VHS website with a brand-new look and feel. The new website features a simplified site structure and navigation; a clean, yet flexible layout; mobile compatibility; increased accessibility; and a content management system that will allow us to adapt to any future website requirements. Visit our FAQ page about the update for more information:
Vermont Banjo Afternoon
August 3, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Vermont History Museum, Montpelier, VT

Join the Vermont Historical Society and Young Tradition Vermont for an afternoon of music with a side of history. In 2017, the Vermont Historical Society was gifted a rare early 1900s banjo made by the Bacon Banjo company of Forest Dale (Brandon) Vermont. We’ll be exploring this intriguing item with 3 young Vermont musicians: Carling Berkhout, Ada Schenck, and Loula Zeichner. Each musician will play a few selections of their own choosing, with their own instruments, and if possible, using the restored Bacon banjo. A unique opportunity for anyone interested in music history & tradition in Vermont.
Vermont History Trivia
August 10, 1:00 to 2:30 pm
Vermont History Museum, Montpelier, VT

Do you know about the unusual animal fossil discovered in Charlotte in 1849? What about how Vermont got its name? Put your knowledge to the test and learn some fascinating new history facts with an exciting afternoon of Vermont History Trivia! This family-friendly event is open to individual players and teams, history buffs and novices alike! Refreshments and check in will begin at 1:00, and the competition will begin after players have formed teams and a brief introduction at 1:20. Trivia is free with the price of admission at the Vermont History Museum. 
VHS in Your Community

We continue to travel the state this summer with both our Local History Engagement Sessions and our Community Conversations centered around the themes in the book “Repeopling Vermont” by Paul M. Searls. We’ve had wonderful conversations, community input, and dialogue everywhere we’ve gone. Join us at one of the upcoming events to lend your voice to the discussions. Details on dates and locations are on our calendar.