August 2021 Newsletter
Important Updates
Grant Opportunities
ARPA Grant Deadline for Public Libraries Quickly Approaching
The Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) ARPA Grants to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases application deadline—August 9th, 2021—is quickly approaching. This no-match grant makes a minimum of $2,000 available to eligible Vermont public libraries for purchases of non-construction equipment. The Department of Libraries (VTLIB) encourages public libraries and their municipalities to view the IMLS ARPA award as a straightforward way to obtain additional funds to benefit their library, town, and community. To help with the grant application, VTLIB offers office hours, an extensive FAQ, and a dedicated contact form and listserv. Additionally, the department created a one-page information sheet that addresses some of the questions municipal leaders have about the grant:

You can find more information and the grant application on our website here: (
VTLIB Selected as Northeast Engagement Hub by ALA
The Vermont Department of Libraries has been selected by the American Library Association (ALA) as the Northeast Engagement Hub to support the work of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative. This grant initiative trains librarians working in small, rural communities to facilitate community engagement projects. LTC is currently in its third round, with a September 16, 2021 application deadline for this round (see link to the application at the bottom of this article.)

The first two rounds funded 517 libraries across the country, including 32 in Vermont. The purpose of the Engagement Hubs is to convene grantee libraries in regional communities of practice, building regional cohorts of grant recipients that empower community engagement work and regional collaboration beyond the timeframe of the grant. The Vermont Department of Libraries is proud to join the ranks of other Engagement Hubs, including the Arizona State Library, Califa (a nonprofit library consortium of California libraries that also does work nationally) and WiLS (a Wisconsin-based library nonprofit collaborative in offering this work in regions throughout the country) to help facilitate community engagement work in library communities. For more information about Libraries Transforming Communities, visit:
Department News
For State Employees
State Employee Book Club: A Huge Success!
In January 2021, with support from the Vermont Reads Program hosted by the Vermont Humanities Council, VTLIB proudly launched a new program for Vermont State Employees: a book club! In an effort to bring together employees from all departments across the state 75 copies of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas were offered and sent out throughout February and March.

The original plan was to schedule a discussion session with state employees and a discussion facilitator at the end of April. The interest in this book and the book club was met with such overwhelming success we scheduled four sessions to accommodate every person who was interested. We exhausted our supply of copies and had employees with their own copies reach out to join the conversation.

Some statistics from the Spring 2021 session of the Vermont State Employee Book Club:

  • Over 100 employees participated

  • More than 18 departments/agencies were represented

  • 12 of the 14 counties in Vermont were represented

The overwhelming success of this program shows that there is interest, and the program will continue. Keep an eye out in our next newsletter for further details on the next title!
ABLE Library
Updates from the ABLE Library
ABLE Book Club

The ABLE Library is always happy to welcome new members to its virtual book club. The book for the September 15, 2021 meeting (2:00-3:00pm) will be The Best American Mystery Stories, edited by Louise Penny (Sound recording book number: DB 93727). Please contact the ABLE library to find out how to get a digital or large print copy of the book. Email or call (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711.
BARD Pilot Program

We are participating in a pilot program through the National Library Service (NLS) to give feedback on new BARD Mobile interface prototypes this fall. This will assist the NLS in their efforts to better meet different patron needs. Several ABLE Library patrons have volunteered to participate in this program – we are grateful that they’re willing to help make a difference in NLS services across the country!
Memorable Times Café

Memorable Times Online, the virtual memory cafe partnership between Central Vermont Council on Aging and the ABLE Library of the Vermont Department of Libraries, will be happening once again on Wednesday, August 4th. The program is designed to include and delight care partners living with memory loss. Registration is required to receive the link to this even, which will be held on ZOOM on Wednesday, August 4th, from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Contact Barb Asen at CVCOA for more information or to register: or 802-476-2681.
Survey on Serving Patrons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Do you serve patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing? We would like your feedback! We are currently working on ways we can support Vermont libraries improve services to our Deaf community and are soliciting input from you. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey:
Information & Access
News from CLIC, the Community Legal Information Center
CLIC logo
DIY Legal Research

Vermonters who are representing themselves in court or researching a legal issue can create a free, temporary account with Westlaw and Fastcase. Details and instructions are at:
Librarians: remember to bookmark our handy Legal Information Toolkit so you’re ready the next time someone pops into your library with a law-related question:
Need more help?

Request documents via email, borrow books from our collection (, make a virtual reference appointment with a law librarian, or get tips on how to effectively search for information on your topic. Email, or call and leave a message on the Ask a Law Librarian line, 802-831-1313.

CLIC is housed and administered at the Vermont Law School library and funded through a grant from the Vermont Department of Libraries.
MHEC Plans Overhaul of Site
In the next few months, the Massachusetts Higher Educastion Consortium (MHEC) is planning changes to make their website and the process of purchasing items easier for you. The website that provides those great discounts on everything from books to furniture, carpeting, appliances, vehicles, and so many more things will be more user friendly.
Libraries, governments, and non-profits in Vermont can save a lot of money through this multi-state purchasing pact. If your library is not already a member, start here: If you are a member, we encourage you to think about everything that you buy and see if you can save money through MHEC. MHEC holds many contracts with dozens of vendors. There are new companies and products added regularly. Check it out!
MHEC’s Ryan Kidder joined us for an informational webinar on August 3rd to assist those receiving grants through ARPA funds. It was successful and informative. Better still, it is recorded and you can watch it here later this week:
June 2021 ILL Stats
Total number of requests: 4244

  • Books: 3846
  • Videos: 311
  • Audiobooks: 68
  • Music CDs: 13
  • Articles: 4
  • Music scores: 2

Top 5 requested DVDs:

  • Grey's Anatomy (All Seasons)
  • Jazz
  • The Canterville Ghost
  • Call the Midwife (Season 9)
  • Bye Bye Birdie
Top 10 most requested book titles in June 2021 (with most requested titles at the top):
  • The Vanishing Half (Bennett)
  • The Rosie Project (Simsion)
  • Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth (Smarsh)
  • The Midnight Library (Haig)
  • The Song of Achilles (Miller)
  • Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia (Ford)
  • Watership Down (Adams)
  • A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II (Purnell)
  • Beautiful Ruins (Walter)
  • The God of Small Things (Roy)
Continuing Education
Upcoming VTLIB CE
The late summer/fall Continuing Education schedule is starting to be populated with workshops covering a range of topics. Check the August calendar for a session on how to use the Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) to make the most of library ARPA grants. Other topics in August include an overview of how public libraries can support members of their communities enrolling in Vermont Health Connect, and how to start a Girls Who Code club at a library. Core courses for the Certificate of Public Librarianship meet in September and October. September will also feature a panel of public librarians sharing their experiences working with their library boards to receive wage and benefit increases that create a more positive and productive staff and board experience and improved library services for the entire community. Details and registration for these and all Department of Libraries Continuing Education can be found here:
Small & Rural Libraries
Scholarships Available for ARSL Conference Virtual Sessions
VTLIB will be sponsoring twenty Vermont public library personnel to attend the virtual component of the 2021 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference! Full guidelines and the application for funding are on the Department website (, and the application deadline is August 12, 2021.

This opportunity was made possible by Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Governance & Management
Effective Board Recruitment for Trustees and Friends
Need some new blood on your board? United for Libraries – the section of the American Library Association for trustees and friends – has some tips to recruit new trustees & friends.

  • Evaluate Your Current Board: What community connections, qualities, personal styles, and areas of expertise already exist on your board – and what are you missing (and thus should recruit for)?

  • Reduce Barriers: Can the meeting time and place be flexible to accommodate different schedules? Can members participate electronically?

  • Make Meetings Efficient, Productive, and Meaningful: Focus on action items during the meaning that move the work of the board forward in meaningful ways. Make sure everyone is allowed to contribute and is taken seriously.

  • Make it Easy to Join or Donate: Provide ways for members to join and donate online.

  • Develop an Elevator Pitch: Find focused and memorable ways to describe what the board does, the impact of its work, and its future plans so that others can easily understand what you do and envision themselves as part of your work.

  • Invite People Personally: Many people are never approached directly and asked to join library trustee or friends boards. Ask potential members in a way that makes it easy for them to say “yes” by personalizing your request so that it matches what the potential member will value. Example: If they are parents of young children, talk about how the board’s efforts support childhood literacy and community engagement.

  • Use Creative Events/Fundraisers as Recruitment Tools: Look for library events and fundraisers that bring the community together. Use those efforts to emphasize the work of your board and the need for community members to contribute to this important work. Talk about the meaningful engagement these events foster.

  • For more tips, see the United for Libraries “Toolkit for Engaging New and Active Library and Friends Volunteers”: (PDF). This Toolkit offers good tips for recruiting trustees, friends, and library volunteers.

This article was originally published in our February 2020 newsletter.
Youth Services
Resilient Together: Building School and Public Library Partnerships
Are you considering a collaboration between your school and public library to maximize your impact on your community? Are you part of an existing collaboration and wondering how to expand?

VTLIB is sponsoring 10-14 Vermont public library staff and 10-14 school librarians to attend the Library Journal & School Library Journal three-week virtual training: Resilient Together: Building School and Public Library Partnerships (

This course will explore the many benefits of the school and public alliance to drive equitable access to information, improve community outcomes, and achieve learning goals, with an emphasis on digital partnerships and how library collaborations have evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees will learn from the experts how to find partnerships, develop a plan of action, and enact your plan through live keynote sessions, an interactive online classroom environment, and live Office Hours with an expert in the field.

Sessions will be on Wednesdays Oct 13, Oct 20, Oct 27 2021, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET. Applications must be received by 11:59pm September 5, 2021. Application guidelines and link to the application form can be found here:
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Online Exhibits:

"As in Your Conscience": Voting in Vermont

"The War of Ideas": Wartime Propaganda Posters

When Women Lead: Governor Madeleine Kunin of Vermont

Innovation in Vermont 

Snelling Room Artwork 

The Vermont Black History Database

The Vermont Women's History Database