December 2020 Newsletter
Important Updates
A Letter from State Librarian Jason Broughton
Hello everyone,
2020 has been a year unlike any of us have seen in our lifetimes. From our standpoint at the Vermont Department of Libraries, we believe the best way to navigate through these challenging times is to have resilience, empathy, and a bit of humor. As we look at the year ahead, we should understand that things may not return to normal until there is a safe, effective, and widely distributed vaccine. Libraries will be impacted for a while to come, and we will continue to do our best to help support the great work that our libraries do.
The Department has been busy this year doing a variety of engaging things for libraries of all calibers, state government, and providing access to resources. As both the federal and state fiscal years have closed, I would like to provide an overview of the work we have conducted over the last year:
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department has ramped up its direct support to libraries through guidance and best practices, bi-weekly resource updates, and consultations on responding to the situation as it developed. Along with sharing daily updates from the Vermont Department of Health, a comprehensive COVID resource portal was created that contains information on reopening guidance, curbside delivery guidelines, helping libraries navigate budgetary concerns and updates from the Agency of Commerce & Community Development;
  • The Department has purchased a number of items from CARES Act funding by way of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). We received only $58,384.12 in funding by this appropriation. We provided plexiglass shields, sanitizer, books, and other materials to over 100 libraries in the first distribution round. The department staff just completed a second round to distribute disinfectant and wipers for libraries as we prepare for another surge of COVID-19 heading into the winter season. From this same funding we will be releasing a grant for technology equipment upgrades for libraries in 2021;
  • We provided two grants totaling $18,500 to GMLC for eBooks and audiobooks. These funds came from both federal LSTA fiscal year 2019 funds and also CARES Act funds received through IMLS. We are working to secure more funding to assist libraries with eBooks and audiobooks. We also issued two grants totaling $1,508 to the Vermont Historical Society for promotion of their virtual museum programming and are working on identifying additional funding opportunities for libraries and museums;
Round #1 PPE distrbution in Barre.
Round #2 PPE distribution in Williston.
  • Despite the vacancy of the special populations consultant and ABLE Library manager position, the ABLE Library staff continued to provide uninterrupted service throughout the entire time that other entities were shut down by COVID-19. In addition to receiving countless letters and calls from grateful patrons, the ABLE Library staff won state and federal praise for continuing to serve a population severely impacted by COVID. To recognize the role the U.S. Post Office played in service continuation, the ABLE Library staff, the Vermont Association for the Blind, and the National Library Service honored our Barre mail carrier and the U.S. Post Office in Barre, VT with certificates of appreciation;

  • We pivoted from a mostly in-person continuing education model to creating online opportunities for improved and broader access, and held successful conferences for book awards, our 2020 Trustees & Friends Conference, regional library meet ups, and webinars through our Microsoft Teams platform;

  • We offered Interlibrary Loan service without interruption throughout the COVID emergency and we successfully transitioned the courier service to a new vendor which allowed us to add more libraries to the service;

  • We provided research and resources to state government, task forces, working groups, committees, and the Governor’s Office. We also connected and assisted a variety of state entities and NGOs in providing information to communities by way of the libraries. These include, but are not limited, to the Department of Taxes, Secretary of State’s office, Agency of Administration, Agency of Natural Resources, and Agency of Education, as well as the UVM Extension Office, NOFA-VT, CVOEO, Rooted in Vermont, and a host of other organizations;
State Librarian Jason Broughton with USPS mail carrier Rob Tucker.
  • We continue to provide information for understanding how to discuss race, racial unrest, trauma, urban versus rural, and politics. The department has had an impact on helping move conversations into mutual understanding versus one of anger or fear of the other across Vermont. We have risen to the occasion with book sets, webinars, and conversations. We crafted a booklist and resources for alliesI myself have been on a number of programs for libraries discussing race, my time in Vermont as a minority, and as a black man in the library profession;
  • The Youth Services section of the department launched Vermont’s first virtual summer reading platform that also has the capability to be used for other events and initiatives for the next few years. This section also led the process of renaming Vermont's middle-grade book award, which is now the Vermont Golden Dome Book Award;
  • The department provided library resources about unemployment, general health & wellness, suicide prevention, substance use, creative use of poems, and materials through our connections with the Vermont Humanities Council and the Vermont Arts Council. We continued to build partnerships and collaborate with the Vermont Library Association and the Vermont School Library Association to offer programming that benefits Vermont;
  • We promoted the legal services of the Vermont Law School's Community Legal Information Center (CLIC) for vulnerable Vermonters;
  • We worked to promote the 2020 Decennial Census to ensure as many Vermonters as possible were counted;
  •  Lastly, we continually promoted Vermont libraries as players on the state, regional, and national stage by obtaining grants to help create and grow state-wide programs, actively taking part in nationally relevant conversations, obtaining speakers who propel these conversations forward, and providing opportunities for Vermont libraries to share and engage in these conversations with their communities.
My deepest thanks to you out in the field for the creativity and care you put into your work to provide access to your libraries despite the challenges we’ve all experienced over the last year. I am immensely grateful for my team and the outstanding work they do each day. I am thankful that, together, we can serve the Vermont library community and, by extension, the people of Vermont.
With deep appreciation to the Vermont Library Community during this historic time,
Jason Broughton
State Librarian
For State Employees
Update to RBDigital and eBooks for State Employees
In September 2020, VTLIB was notified that RBDigital, the resource we use to provide eBooks and eAudiobooks to state employees, was bought by an investment company. The company is now migrating all content and users to their other eBook platform, Overdrive. Many state employees may be familiar with Overdrive already as several public libraries in Vermont already have a subscription to that resource.
Unfortunately, we are not able to combine our resources with the pre-existing subscription that public libraries have. This means that there will be two separate instances of Overdrive for any state employees who already access Overdrive through their local public library.
We are scheduled to have all of our content migrated to the new platform on December 16th. At that time any titles you currently have checked out on RBDigital will still be available until their due date. Once the due date has passed, you will need to check out the title in Overdrive if you want continued access. Additionally, no holds or reserved lists will be carried over to the new platform.
We will be sending out updates as the migration progresses, but please reach out to April Shaw at with any questions!
Learning Express – Training for Helping Others
If you work with other Vermonters and are assisting them with job resources, EBSCO has an upcoming webinar entitled Maximizing Learning Express's Job and Career Resources During COVID-19. The session takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 2-3 pm, and focuses on using Learning Express’s resources to help those impacted by the current economic crisis. It will describe the most relevant resources for helping job seekers explore careers, prepare for occupational exams, and build workplace skills, as well as share tips for optimizing Learning Express. Learning Express is available to all Vermonters via their local libraries. It’s also available to Vermont state employees through the state library. Register here-
Special Populations & ABLE Library
The ABLE Library is excited to announce a new service we’re currently piloting: Duplication on Demand (DoD). DoD allows us to load multiple books and magazines onto the digital talking book cartridges that traditionally only accommodated a single title. This is clearly a huge improvement for our patrons as they will have much better access to more materials. Patrons also won’t need to rely as much on Interlibrary Loan when we don’t have a title in our collection. This innovation also translates into a logistical and financial benefit as it reduces the burden on our local mail carriers and saves postage. Long term we will be able to save space as well since this allows us to reduce the physical collection. Please call or email us if you, or someone you know, is interested in DoD.
We invite you to join the January ABLE Library Virtual Book Club which happens on January 20, 2021 from 2:00-3:00pm. The book selection is Laura Spinney's Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World (DB090071). Please contact Sara Blow ( for access information, or if you need a copy of the book. 

We are proud to collaborate with the Central VT Council on Aging to offer the Memorable Times Cafe online on Wednesday, December 2, 10:30-11:30am. We invite persons with memory loss and their care partners to join in from the comfort and safety of home to share stories, memories, music and community. These social events will take place monthly over Zoom. For more information or to obtain the link to join the session, please contact Barb Asen via email at

If you are currently in possession of any of our extra large mail bags, please return them to us as soon as possible. Thank you.

The ABLE Library ( provides services to the blind, visually impaired and print disabled, as well as to state supported institutions. We have a collection of large print, digital talking books, print braille picture books, as well as audio-described DVDs. Braille services are available upon request. We currently are enrolling new patrons. Please submit the Application for ABLE Library Services ( if you are a new patron. Don’t hesitate to contact the ABLE Library staff for help: or (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711
Continuing Education
Niche Academy & More

There will be an introduction and overview of the Department of Libraries’ new platform for online training, Niche Academy, 10am on Tuesday, December 15th. Niche Academy is populated with trainings for the Certificate of Public Librarianship program as well as trainings on a wide range of topics relevant to librarians at all stages of their careers and working in different types of libraries. Content is created by VTLIB, other state libraries, public libraries from all over the country, and other vendors and is accessible to Vermont library staff with no fee. The webinar on the 15th will highlight content and instructions for access.

The CE calendar continues to fill, with the Certificate core administration course beginning in January, and several one-hour webinars on topics including fair housing, museum collections at libraries, database use, trauma-informed library services, and resources for libraries about cannabis. New trainings are added regularly, with details and registration links on the Department CE website page.
Help Job Seekers Explore Careers
Learning Express – EBSCO has an upcoming webinar entitled Maximizing Learning Express's Job and Career Resources During COVID-19. The session takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 2-3 pm, and focuses on using Learning Express’s resources to help those impacted by the current economic crisis. It will describe the most relevant resources for helping job seekers explore careers, prepare for occupational exams, and build workplace skills, as well as share tips for optimizing Learning Express for your patrons. A recording will be available to everyone who registers. Learning Express is available to all libraries in the state, whether public, academic, or school. It’s also available to Vermont state employees through the state library. Register -
Small & Rural Libraries
Kudos to Vermont's Libraries
Libraries throughout Vermont continue to be flexible and responsive to their communities as they consistently offer a high level of service to their patrons during unstable times. Libraries are efficiently moving into safe service models during the current virus surge with the benefit of experience, having adapted earlier in the pandemic and learned what works. Library staff and patrons alike are now accustomed to curbside pickup of books, DVDs, crafts, as well as less traditional items (for example, a ukulele kit with instrument, instructional materials, and a tuner!). Library programming continues, and creative solutions exist to the challenges of community members who rely on the public library for technology: contactless printing, WiFi extended beyond the library building, tech support via telephone or instruction using shared screens. Library fans look forward to once again experiencing the vibrancy of a library building active with spontaneous conversation, lively children at story time, and a warm place open to all, but it is heartwarming and inspiring to see how much of the core public library service and culture is intact, made possible by an amazing cohort of Vermont librarians.
Youth Services
Vermont Golden Dome Book Award
Vermont students have spoken: The new name for the middle-grade book award is the Vermont Golden Dome Book Award. We had an amazing committee of students, librarians, teachers, and VTLIB board member/staff who guided the process. Congratulations to the students at Dothan Brook School for submitting the winning entry! We are beginning the process of creating a logo which we will share out in a variety of formats as well as new book labels.
New Reading Challenges on Beanstack
Check out the new reading challenges on Beanstack! We have challenges for all the book awards: Red Clover (grades K-3), Vermont Golden Dome Book Award (grades 4-8), and Green Mountain Book Award (grades 9-12) as well as 1,000 Books before Kindergarten (Ages 0-5). There are more challenges coming this winter so stay tuned for more information. Visit Beanstack here:

All Vermonters can register and participate in the reading challenges for free! If you need more information about Beanstack check out our info page ( which has user login information, video tutorials, and promotional materials. Feel free to reach out to Jonathan Clark ( if you have any questions or need more information.
Governance & Management
Volunteer, Trustee, and Staff Recognition and Appreciation
How can we show our appreciation and recognize efforts during this season of “Saying Thanks,” stay connected while distanced, and continue building essential relationships while gatherings are prohibited?
Even more importantly: How can we ensure that our method of appreciation/recognition will:

  1. be meaningful for volunteers, staff, and trustees,
  2. help them feel appreciated, and
  3. recognize the importance of their work to the success of the library? 
Tips and ideas for recognition/appreciation during COVID-times:
If you are planning an online gathering, consider the following recognition ideas:

  • Share success stories (e.g., a volunteer, staff member, or trustee challenge that resulted in triumph).
  • Make space during your event for expressions of appreciation between volunteers, staff, and trustees.
  • Mail a thank-you gift to each person with a note to keep it sealed until a specific time during the event when everyone will open their gift together.
“Volunteer recognition can be public or private and should be appropriate to the person and [their] contribution. Most of all, it should be honest and demonstrate some particular insight into what that person has done.” (From
GetFullyFunded suggests starting with “The Basics” (

  • Handwritten notes with personal notes of appreciation.
  • Homemade cards.
  • Thank-you video thanking the volunteer for something they did.
  • Phone call from a Board member.
Using your phone, capture a 30 or 60-second video message from one of your patrons thanking the volunteer, trustee, or staff member by name and sharing how their work has personally impacted the patron. (From
Gather letters or video-messages of support from patrons and share those messages to celebrate the important work of your volunteers, staff, and trustees.
Other ideas:

  • Have an annual "Design the Volunteer T-Shirt" contest.
  • Have a "Volunteer/Trustee/Staff Member of the Month" and post their personal story on your webpage or social media.
  • Create special edition library swag only available to trustees, staff, and volunteers.
News from CLIC, the Public Law Library
Due to the ongoing pandemic and rise of COVID-19 cases, the Vermont Law School library building remains closed to the public. However, all Vermonters can help themselves to legal information on the web. Start your search at to find free resources. If you have a specific legal information question, contact us via email at, or call and leave a message on the Ask a Law Librarian line, at 802-831-1313.
We are in the process of creating new services to provide more remote access to legal materials for Vermonters, including interlibrary loan, and reference consultations via video chat. If you are a public librarian in Vermont and have patrons with legal questions, or if you would like an overview of the legal research process, you can make an appointment with Sarah at CLIC to discuss strategies to help your patrons. Make an appointment by email:

Visit CLIC's website for more information:
Total number of interlibrary loan requests made in October 2020: 4487

Books: 4053
Videos: 297
Audiobooks: 114
Music CDs: 10
Articles: 13
Top 5 requested audiobooks

  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (Simonson)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston)
  • Delusion in Death (Robb)
  • Crazy Rich Asians (Kwan)
  • An Echo in the Bone (Gabaldon)
Top 10 most requested book titles (with most requested at the top):

  • The Nickel Boys (Whitehead)
  • The Fire Next Time (Baldwin)
  • One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey (Proenneke)
  • The Little Paris Bookshop (George)
  • How to be an Antiracist (Kendi)
  • I Was Anastasia (Lawhon)
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (Richardson)
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (Larson)
  • My Family and Other Animals (Durrell)
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Vuong)
Holiday Dates in CLOVER
If your library is closed over the holidays (or for a vacation, etc.) please put Holiday Dates in Clover so that requests to borrow items do not get hung up at your library.
To set holiday dates, you just need to log in to Clover and go to Staff Dashboard > ILL Admin Menu > Participant Record. Then click the Holiday List button at the top center of the screen and it will jump you to the section to enter holiday dates. A video walkthrough of this is also included in the Participant Record Basics tutorial video: Holiday Dates begins at the 1:23 mark.
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Third Thursday: The Devil's Cabinet with Jason Smiley
December 17, 12:00pm

During the mid to late 1800s, the Eddy Family became world-renowned as spirit mediums with the alleged ability of generating full-bodied spirit manifestations or "materializations" of the departed. People traveled from all over the world to Chittenden to witness these phenomena for themselves. Some came with the hope of seeing and speaking to their own departed family members. Others came as skeptics, hoping to debunk the family's alleged powers as "humbug". By 1874, the family was so well-known that Chittenden started being referred to as "Spirit Vale". To this day, there are many who believe that the family had genuine supernatural abilities. The family and the story has ties to P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, Queen Victoria, and President Lincoln. 

History for Homeschoolers: Farms and Stores

Travel back to the early 1800s to learn about Vermont's economy.

History for Homeschoolers programs are recommended for children ages 7 to 12 ( Space is limited; pre-registration is required. $8.00 per child or $6.50 per child for VHS members and families with 3 or more participating children. Also available as a virtual class. For more information, contact or call (802) 828-1413.


When Women Lead: Governor Madeleine Kunin of Vermont 

This digital version of the exhibit at the Vermont History Museum contains everything you see in-person, plus additional information about Vermont's first female governor!

Innovation in Vermont

This born-digital exhibit features objects from the VHS collection that help tell the story of technology and problem-solving in Vermont. One object from the exhibit is on display at the Vermont History Museum and will rotate monthly.

As in Your Conscience: Voting in Vermont 

A look back at voting in Vermont over the course of the state's history. This exhibit features posters and flyers from 1834-2006 in three categories: ballots (unlike today, ballots were printed by the political parties), instructions to voters on how to cast their ballots, and appeals to voters’ civic duty when selecting a candidate or confronting a controversy. Many of the items in the exhibit were created by partisan campaigns, but others were purely educational.