February 2022 Newsletter
Important Updates
A Message from the Acting State Librarian
Proposal for Use of ARPA Capital Funds for Public Libraries
Photo of Tom McMurdo
Vermont takes pride in having the highest number of public libraries per capita in the United States. With 185 public libraries, there is one in the center of almost every Vermont town. These libraries do all the things we think of like lending books, holding story time for aspiring readers, providing internet access, and putting vetted information into people’s hands. But they also provide space for meetings of all sorts, lend tools and recreational equipment, give teens a great place to go for game nights and clubs, and generally serve as the heart of their community – and have been doing so for many, many years, often in the exact same building where the library was founded.

Because many public libraries are housed in these aging or antique buildings, they present unique challenges for upkeep. A 19th century slate roof on a brick turret may look beautiful and stately from outside, but a hidden leak can rot the supports and cause damage that may cost as much as the library’s book budget or staff salaries. It isn’t just structures. Aging boilers and HVAC systems plague our libraries. This was highlighted in a January 20th article in the Addison Independent, “Ilsley leaders hoping boiler will hold on,” detailing how the systems in Middlebury are failing and the library does not have the funds to replace them. Ancient windows, cracked tiles, cracked floors, broken stairs, inadequate accessibility—all of these things add up to a tremendous need for capital funds for Vermont’s public libraries.

The Vermont Department of Libraries submitted a proposal for the use of ARPA Coronavirus Capital Funds to the legislature as part of Governor Scott’s proposal to the legislature in January. This proposal would make $15 million in funds available for construction grants to public libraries over the next 4.5 years. US Treasury guidelines for these funds specifically single out libraries as recipients because COVID has made it even more clear that a significant portion of people get their internet access through their local library–whether inside the building, or in their cars in the library parking lot. Employees have braved COVID over the last two years to keep library services and doors open at the vast majority of public libraries, and those libraries should be as accessible and safe as possible for staff and patrons.

Libraries are absolutely vital for so many Vermonters in many ways. We are optimistic that the legislature will see the wisdom of supporting them through these ARPA Coronavirus Capital Funds. It is a win for everyone.

Beyond this request, there is a lot happening at VTLIB this month. New State Librarian Catherine Delneo begins her tenure on February 14th. We are all looking forward to that!

Read the articles below to learn more about the exciting goings on at VTLIB!

Happy February,

Tom McMurdo
Acting State Librarian

P.S. Don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns; my email address is thomas.mcmurdo@vermont.gov.
VT Dept. of Libraries Announces Agreements for Improved eBook Access Statewide
The Palace Project logo
VTLIB is pleased to announce agreements with two eBook and eAudiobook content providers, LYRASIS, Inc. and Baker & Taylor. Both vendors provide a huge range of eContent from a wide variety of publishers. VTLIB contracted with LYRASIS, Inc. to provide free access to their Palace app to all Vermonters through their local public libraries. The Palace app aggregates eBook and eAudiobook content from multiple vendors into a single interface, increasing access, ease of use, and appeal.
Palace will launch with a large collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks already in place. The Palace app will access content from Baker & Taylor as well as from Listen Up Vermont! (LUV), the statewide eBook and eAudiobook platform administered by the Green Mountain Library Consortium (GMLC). “We are excited about this effort to simplify eBook and eAudiobook access across multiple collections. It improves the ability of GMLC, the Department of Libraries, and individual public libraries to efficiently share resources in our continued work to meet Vermonters' digital needs” says Wendy Hysko, President of GMLC. “We are pleased to partner on this effort.” 

We are excited to roll out this product to Vermont public libraries over the next several months!

For the full press release, visit our website: https://libraries.vermont.gov/Palace

This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Vermont Department of Libraries.
Staff News
Catherine Delneo Appointed as Vermont State Librarian
Photo of Catherine Delneo
On January 19, Governor Phil Scott announced the appointment of Catherine (Cathy) Delneo as our new Vermont State Librarian!

Cathy is a native Vermonter who has spent the last several years as the chief of branches at the San Francisco Public Library. She is excited to return to Vermont, and we are excited to have her! Cathy's first day at VTLIB will be February 14.

Read more about Cathy - and find the link for her recent interview on Vermont Public Radio's "Vermont Edition" - on our website here: https://libraries.vermont.gov/Catherine_DelNeo
Department News
For State Employees
VTLIB Services for State of Vermont Employees
The Department of Libraries supports the information needs of all state employees through a variety of services, including:

  • Reference assistance for Vermont laws as well as any other topic a department or state employee may be researching
  • Requesting articles and books over interlibrary loan from libraries across the country
  • Access to the Vermont Online Library databases (as well as training sessions for your department if requested)
  • Access to Universal Class, with over 500 online classes on many topics ranging from accounting and office skills to DIY home projects.

Please reach out to your librarian, April Shaw, at April.Shaw@vermont.gov for assistance with any of these services or any questions!
ABLE Library & Inclusive Services
ABLE Library & Inclusive Services Updates
ABLE Book Club

New participants are welcome to join the ABLE Library’s virtual book club. The book for the March 16, 2022 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm will be A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers (Sound recording book number: DB104764). Please contact the ABLE Library to find out how to get a digital copy of the book and register for the discussion. Email lib.ablelibrary@vermont.gov or call (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711.

Memorable Times Café

Join the Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) and the ABLE Library on Wednesday, March 2nd from 10:30 to 11:30 am for another Memorable Times Café. This program was created to spark pleasant memories from the 1950’s and 1960’s to get participants talking and having fun. It is specially designed for people living with memory loss to attend and enjoy along with their care partner. This program is free and warmly welcomes new participants. Please contact Barb Asen at CVCOA for more information or to register: basen@cvcoa.org or 802-476-2681.

Who Is Eligible for ABLE Library Services?

The ABLE Library serves Vermonters whose visual or physical impairment prevents them from reading standard print material. But did you also know that people with reading disabilities, including dyslexia, may also be eligible? If you have questions about who can qualify for ABLE Library services, please call or email us at (802) 636-0020 or lib.ablelibrary@vermont.gov for more information. 
Youth Services
2022 Summer Programming Grants
The Department of Libraries is pleased to once again provide grants to support a wide array of library programming for children, teens, and families during the summer. This year we will be offering $300 to Vermont public libraries to purchase materials and hire paid performers for in-person and virtual programming! 

The 2022 Summer Programming Grant application will open February 16. We invite you to join us the same day for the grant info session to learn more about the application and reporting process and get some ideas on how to spend grant funds. This info session will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. Find registration and access information here: https://libraries.vermont.gov/services/continuing_ed

In the meantime, you can review the updated Summer Programming Grant Guidelines on the VTLIB Summer Programming Grant page. This page is also where you will find the link to the grant application when it opens: https://libraries.vermont.gov/services/VTLIB_grants/summer_program_grant

There are numerous - perhaps "oceans" - of possibilities for using these grant funds, so please join us on February 16 to learn how to apply!
2022 Summer Reading Workshops & Manual Access
Join us the second week of March for our virtual summer reading workshops!

The Summer Reading Essentials workshop on Tuesday, March 8 from 1:00-3:00pm, will provide an overview of the 2022 summer reading program, including: 2022 Oceans of Possibilities theme & CSLP resources, program ideas, and information from community partners. Presenters will include Christy Mihaly, author of the new book Water: A Deep Dive of Discovery; Luke Kralik, Executive Director of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP); Duncan McDougall, Executive Director of the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF), and Kathryn Wrigley from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

The Summer Reading Plan & Share workshop on Thursday, March 10 from 1:00-3:00pm, will be an opportunity to brainstorm and hear from other libraries about potential summer programming including: outdoor programming, partnerships, summer meal programs, and more!

You can find registrations links for both summer reading workshops on our CE web page: https://libraries.vermont.gov/services/continuing_ed

As a reminder, the CSLP online manual access code was shared on the Youth Services list-serv originally on 11/08/2021 and again on 2/01/2022 with the information about summer programming grants. You can also email Jonathan Clark (jonathan.l.clark@vermont.gov) to get the access code.
Information & Access
News from CLIC, the Public Law Library
Focus – Tax Assistance for Vermonters
Both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Vermont Department of Taxes officially opened their tax filing seasons on January 24, 2022. There are a number of ways for Vermonters to get help with their tax filing obligations.

Free eFiling Options for those who will prepare their own returns, but want to file electronically:



Free Tax Preparation Services:

Tax Forms – Download or Order Paper Forms:

If you need further assistance with patron tax or other legal reference questions, you can “Ask a Law Librarian” by calling (802) 831-1313 or emailing clic@vermontlaw.edu.
December 2021 Online Resources Usage Report
We’d like to share the statistics for the online resources offered by the Department of Libraries. Learning Express and Vermont Online Library are free to all libraries (public, school, or academic), while Universal Class is only available to public libraries.

Our latest report, featured below, represents usage in December 2021. For more in-depth statistics, please contact Josh Muse (joshua.muse@vermont.gov).

Learning Express - Provides training for workplace, academic, and job-hunting skills. It offers training for occupation exams, skills for school, exploration of careers, resume and interview help, and more.
Most Used Resources:

  • Tests – GEC in Spanish, ACCUPLACER College Placement Tests, Algebra, CDL Exam, Praxis Special Education, EMT Practice Exam
  • Tutorials – Grammar Skills, Writing Skills
  • Ebooks – SAT Math Success, Aprenda Rápido, ASVAB, CDL Test Prep, Statistics Success, Becoming a Caseworker
Universal Class - Offers a wide range of online courses (from business to cooking, computers to social work) that are led by a real instructor, and that can be completed at your own pace.

Most Active Classes: Autism 101, Typing & Keyboarding, Computer Literacy, Genealogy, Excel, Accounting & Bookkeeping, Basic Math, Learning HTML, Python Programming, Ancient Civilizations

Vermont Online Library - Covering everything from magazine and newspaper articles to DIY car repair and business help, Vermont Online Library can help with any topic. Users can (with a bit of work) even read articles by issue from some popular magazines, such as The New York Times, Economist, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Highlights for Children, National Review, and Runner's World.

Most Used Databases: Academic OneFile, Opposing Viewpoints, General OneFile, Biography, News, OneFile Select, Business, High School

Read more about Learning Express, Universal Class, or Vermont Online Library, or email Josh Muse with any questions.
Continuing Education
2022 Librarian Empowerment Series
In January, the Department of Libraries offered the first workshop in the "Librarian Empowerment Series." The goal of the series is to give librarians training and tools about a range of topics that both help them grow as creative library professionals and celebrate and name the work they are already doing. January’s topic was on attracting funding to libraries. It was recorded and will be posted on Niche Academy and the VTLIB YouTube channel. Future topics will include leadership, HR, grant writing, labor, staffing, and more. February and March workshops are posted on the VTLIB CE page: https://bit.ly/3giR7PJ.

All future workshops will also be posted there as they are finalized. The February workshop has some pre-workshop homework: a tool to develop a personal mission statement (https://bit.ly/3ANiVVX) and a tool to assess leadership style (https://bit.ly/3L3HlyS). People are welcome to come to the February workshop even if they did not do the pre-workshop work, as additional topics will also be covered. These workshops are open to all library staff, regardless of title or position.
December 2021 ILL Stats
Cover of Homegoing audiobook
Total number of requests: 4288

  • Books: 3873
  • Videos: 305
  • Audiobooks: 87
  • Music CDs: 16
  • Articles: 6
  • Music Scores: 1

Top 5 requested audiobooks:

  • Homegoing (Gyasi)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Skloot)
  • Changes (Butcher)
  • The Madness of Crowds (Penny)
  • The Great Hunt (Jordan)
Top 10 most requested book titles in December 2021 (with most requested titles at the top):
Cover of Furia
  • Homegoing (Gyasi)
  • The Island of Sea Women (See)
  • Disappearances (Mosher)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Skloot)
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Kimmerer)
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words (Williams)
  • The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek (Richardson)
  • Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl (Slaght)
  • Furia (Méndez)
  • The Dutch House (Patchett)
Small & Rural Libraries
Small & Rural Libraries Virtual Roundtable
The winter Vermont Small & Rural Libraries Roundtable will meet virtually Friday, February 4, 2022, from 10:00-11:30am. The theme this session will be collaborations among small libraries. A few collaborations will be featured, and all are welcome to join the discussion of the benefits of collaborations, the logistics for making collaborations successful, what topics are conducive to co-hosting by two or more libraries, and other innovative ideas that may come up! This will be held on MS Teams. Registration and access information can be found on the VTLIB CE page: https://bit.ly/3giR7PJ
February TRAIN Session with ARSL
The February Association for Rural & Small Libraries TRAIN (Training, Roundtables, and Informational Networking) session will be Thursday, February 17, 2022, at 2:00pm. The topic will be food insecurity. Ideas will be exchanged about possible partnerships, communication plans, libraries as food hubs, and more. This will be a chance to join a national conversation about how libraries can support people in their communities who are experiencing food insecurity. Registration will be open soon and the link will be on this page: https://www.arsl.org/arsl-train
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Winter Speaker Series: "Black Politics in the Yankee Republic, 1775-1860"
February 16. 12 pm. Zoom.

Vermont was one of four Upper New England states where African Americans enjoyed full political equality, voting, and participating in party politics from the Revolution through the Civil War. This talk by Professor Van Gosse will explore that political world, with special attention to notable Black Vermonters like Lemuel Haynes and Alexander Twilight. 

Van Gosse is a Franklin and Marshall College Professor of History, and author of The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America, From the Revolution to the Civil War.  

Register for this and other Winter Speaker Series talks here: https://form.jotform.com/213334591950153

Virtual Roundtable: Board Recruitment & Retention
February 24. 12 pm. Zoom.

Join the Vermont Historical Society and our League of Local Historical Societies & Museums (LLHSM) for online lunchtime discussions this Winter. We’ll be exploring a variety of topics, with an emphasis on best practices and information to help address expected challenges and opportunities in 2022. Bring your questions, experience, and sandwich to the Zoom room. Free and open to everyone, pre-registration appreciated.

February's roundtable: As small (often all-volunteer) organizations, local historical societies & museums rely on great board members. At a time of aging populations and societal upheaval, we’ll discuss potential ways to attract and retain enthusiastic and skilled trustees.

Register for this and other virtual roundtables here: https://form.jotform.com/213335505791152

Virtual Talk: Whose History is Preserved?
February 28. 7 pm. Zoom.

Museums and cultural institutions preserve and promote history. In recent years practitioners in the field have begun to ask whose history is preserved and what impact that has on historical interpretation. Have you included stories about minorities and Indigenous peoples in your exhibits and publications? Have you invited speakers to talk on diverse topics? In this guided discussion, Lindsay Houpt-Varner (executive director of the Rokeby Museum) will explore the preservation of an African American church and how this project brought to light regional inequities in the objects and stories preserved in prior decades. Cyndy Bittinger (author & historian) will share her research into Black Vermonters and women’s activism, and how she worked with volunteers to obtain archival materials to write a book.

Free & open to everyone. Registration appreciated. This is a special virtual program as part of the League of Local Historical Societies & Museums (LLHSM).