January 2022 Newsletter
Important Updates
A Message from the Acting State Librarian
2021: A Year in Review
Photo of Tom McMurdo
What we will likely remember about the past year is that it was again dominated by COVID. As we look at favorable times ahead it is important to note that some incredible things happened amidst this strange and sorrowful year of 2021.

Thanks to the development of a safe and effective vaccine nearly all our Vermont libraries stayed open throughout the year, offering services to communities that need them now more than ever. A book to read, a movie to watch, an article to discover, or an internet connection to access online medical appointments, job interviews, or Zoom calls with grandchildren—libraries provide all of this, and more. Vermont’s library directors, school librarians, and library staff stayed on the job despite the risks. Libraries remain an important counterweight to the sea of misinformation, and they are vital to our personal and collective well-being.

2021 began with VTLIB issuing small federal CARES fund grants to improve wireless access at public libraries. These grants helped libraries keep wireless on 24/7, maintaining an important tool for many Vermonters to access the internet. Drive by any library, day or night, and you are likely to see folks in cars outside using that access. Libraries also purchased lendable laptops with these funds to help bridge the digital divide.

The Department of Libraries granted nearly a million dollars to public libraries from IMLS ARPA funds. This money is being leveraged to provide benefits directly to Vermonters by improving collections and computer access, and equipping libraries with COVID mitigation tools like portable air purifiers. The funding is also being used on purchases to support a variety of innovative programs, including maker space equipment like 3D printers, book bikes, library of things collections, and an array of outside gear—including a portable firepit—to extend the outdoor season.

These grants supplemented VTLIB’s core services. For example, we continued to expand our Interlibrary Loan Courier program, adding more libraries to that vital service. Unfettered, low-cost interlibrary loan opens the doors to the world to every Vermonter as one can borrow just about any book from a library both in and out of state.

Our Library Advancement division continued to provide consulting for libraries, answering questions and pointing folks toward resources. Our Library Certification and Continuing Education programs—all offered virtually during 2021—continued to grow beyond our expectations.

The Department’s twice weekly resource updates continued through 2021, providing immediate access to COVID-related resources and provided consistent messaging from VTLIB to the Vermont library community. We surveyed libraries regarding their open status, programs, and masking requirements for both staff and patrons. This data showed important trends in these areas and created a guidepost.

And, perhaps most importantly, the ABLE Library served blind and print disabled Vermonters throughout the year, providing audiobooks, Braille, and large print to a sometimes isolated and vulnerable population.

2021 was a year of change at the Department of Libraries. Personnel changes included our Governance and Management Consultant, Lara Keenan, departing this summer, followed by State Librarian Jason Broughton and his Executive Assistant, then the Contracts and Grants Administrator. In December, longtime employee Linda Bullard retired. Linda ran the documents distribution program, sending out new law books to agencies and departments throughout state government. 

We have some new faces at VTLIB. Karen Gravlin joined the team in July 2021 as our Library Consultant for Inclusive Services and the director of the ABLE Library. A new temp joined our Business Unit in November, followed by Lucie Fortier in December as our Contracts and Grants Administrator (she introduces herself in the section below.) We’ve hired a new Governance and Management Consultant whom we will introduce after we complete a few formalities. We’re recruiting now for a Technical Services Librarian/Cataloger, and the State Librarian search is nearing a conclusion.

Like just about everyone in the world in 2021, the Department of Libraries was defined by change this past year, much of it offering opportunities we wouldn’t have had in a regular year. It is important to take a moment to look back at what we achieved during the year, but we are excited to continue our essential work of supporting libraries in 2022!

Happy new year,

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.
Staff News
Lucie Fortier Joins VTLIB as Contracts & Grants Administrator
On December 6, VTLIB welcomed Lucie Fortier as our new Contracts & Grants Administrator! Lucie introduces herself below:

"I’ve been with the State for seven years. I started at the Department of Information and Innovation (now known as the Agency of Digital Services) for two years as an IT Procurement & Contract Specialist and then moved to the Office of Purchasing & Contracting (OPC) as a Purchasing & Contract Procedures Specialist. And now Libraries as a Contract & Grants Administrator!
I’ve worked in diverse fields ranging from the food industry, to entertainment, to consumer electronics. I have worked as Buyer/Inventory Management/Product Manager in the consumer electronics field. My work experience spans from customer service to organizational management. My background also includes twelve years in the music industry at EMI Music Canada based in Montreal, Quebec.
My interests range from music, reading, genealogy, creative arts, computers, movies and continually learning new things whenever I can."
VTLIB is Hiring!
VTLIB has an open position for a cataloguing librarian in our Technical Services Unit! For more information, visit: https://libraries.vermont.gov/employment
Department News
For State Employees
Vermont State Employee Book Club
The Vermont State Employee Book Club just completed its second round and was a great success! With 92 employees throughout state government, we had participants from 41 agencies and departments representing 12 of our 14 counties. The Book Club will be back in 2022, so keep an eye out on our newsletter (and the DHR newsletter) for more details.

In the meantime, you are not limited to our Book Club! If you would like to host a smaller book club in your own department and need books, please reach out to April.Shaw@vermont.gov. She can help coordinate interlibrary loan requests for multiple copies of titles for your groups. All you need is a title you are interested in and a point person to coordinate at your site.
Small & Rural Libraries
Inaugural Session of ARSL Professional Book Club
Book cover
The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) professional book club is here! All Vermont librarians, regardless of library size or ARSL membership status, are invited to the inaugural book club session: a virtual interactive discussion of Rebekkah Smith Aldrich’s landmark book Sustainable Thinking: Ensuring Your Library’s Future in an Uncertain World.
Sustainability may seem like a concept most relevant to large libraries with big budgets. However, much of sustainable thinking and action already takes place within the walls and communities of small libraries. As Rebekkah Smith Aldrich states, “How fortuitous for us all that what the world needs most right now is what libraries are already very good at.” The book club promises to be an opportunity for a rich exploration of how librarians can leverage skills and knowledge to create and support thriving and resilient communities. There will be two discussion times to choose from, March 29, 2022, at either 3:30pm or 6:30pm ET. Link to join will be posted on the ARSL website, https://www.arsl.org/conferences-events.
A discount code to purchase the book is available until January 31, 2022 for those who order Smith Aldrich’s book through the ALA Store: https://bit.ly/3t9EePN. To take advantage of this offer, use code “SusThin21” at checkout. The book is also available on Overdrive and Inter Library Loan.
Information & Access
Vermont Online Library Accessibility Update
As a part of Gale’s continuing efforts to improve accessibility, they have created additional Display Options for customization on document pages, including additional font choices (like OpenDyslexic); optional background colors; and line, word, and letter spacing so individuals can choose which style is easiest for them to read. 
This update went live on Friday, October 29 in Gale In Context and Gale OneFile products, Gale Books and Authors, Gale eBooks (text view), Gale Health and Wellness, and Gale Business: Entrepreneurship (the only Vermont Online Library resources that didn’t receive this update are Business Insights: Essentials, ChiltonLibrary, Gale Presents: Peterson’s Career Prep). For more information, check out this blog post: https://bit.ly/3JbNs3r. They have also updated their Gale Tools – Accessibility and Content Levels Quick Tips document: https://bit.ly/32sykO4.
News from CLIC, the Public Law Library
New Libguide – Civil Legal Resources by Subject Matter

After attending the recent Fall Meeting of the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE), which focused on the ways that technology could be used to bridge the access to justice gap, we at CLIC are more motivated than ever to focus our services on enhancing our citizens access to legal reference resources. As a start, we recently completed a new libguide that points Vermonters to civil (non-criminal) legal resources for common legal matters such as divorce, relief from abuse orders, and evictions among many others. The link to the guide is here:  https://libguides.vermontlaw.edu/civilmatters

The guide provides contact information for government agencies, non-profit organizations, and public service organizations that may provide legal assistance to Vermonters. In addition, the guide provides links to webpages that provide background information on the legal issues that patrons may be facing. We think that the guide will be a helpful resource for public librarians as they try and point patrons in the direction of civil legal resources.

But if you need further assistance with patron legal research questions, you can always “Ask a Law Librarian,” by calling (802) 831-1313 or emailing clic@vermontlaw.edu.
November 2021 Online Resources Usage Report
We’d like to share the November stats 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 November 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 – GRE Verbal Reasoning, HiSET Math, Praxis Special Education, Technical Writing, WorkKeys Assessments, Praxis Elementary Education, CLEP College Credit History, Praxis Special Education, PSAT Practice Test
  • Tutorials – Grammar Skills
  • Ebooks – Culinary Arts, Chemistry Review, MCAT, TABE
  • Computer Courses – Excel
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: American Government, Writing Basics, Relaxation 101, Pre-Algebra, Computer Literacy, Music Appreciation, Ancient Civilizations, Cybersecurity, How to Write a Grant Proposal, How to Draw, Dog Training
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 even read articles by issue from popular magazines, including The New York Times, Economist, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire.
Most Used Databases: Academic OneFile, Opposing Viewpoints, US History, General OneFile, Biography, News, Virtual Reference Library
Read more about Learning Express, Universal Class, or Vermont Online Library, or email Josh Muse with any questions.
Continuing Education
Congratulations to Our 2021-2022 CPL Grads!
The Department of Libraries celebrates the seven people who completed the requirements for the Certificate of Public Librarianship (CPL) program in December. They represent large and small libraries, municipal, incorporated, and community public libraries, and one academic library. Their geographic locations range from southern Vermont almost to the Canadian border, and their professional roles include library director, library assistant, youth services, and programming and events. As the certificate program continues to grow it is exciting to see the depth and diversity of participants, a description also applicable to the twenty-six people newly enrolled in the program since September 2021. There will be a celebration in the spring for all 2021-2022 graduates, and but until then, congratulations to Holly Dix, Tia McCarthy, Margaret Ramel, Caleb Rupp, Cerese Sanborn, Kimberly Wojnar, and Cal Workman.
November 2021 ILL Stats
Total number of requests: 4360

  • Books: 3980
  • Videos: 268
  • Audiobooks: 90
  • Music CDs: 10
  • Articles: 12

Top 5 requested audiobooks:

  • Millionaire Next Door (Stanley)
  • Heroes Are My Weakness (Phillips)
  • A Long Petal of the Sea (Allende)
  • Autobiography of a Yogi (Yogananda)
  • The Red Pony (Steinbeck)
Top 10 most requested book titles in November 2021 (with most requested titles at the top):
  • Skipping Christmas (Grisham)
  • The Salt Path (Winn)
  • The Inheritance Games (Barnes)
  • A Libertarian Walks into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (and Some Bears) (Hongoltz-Hetling)
  • Klara and the Sun (Ishiguro)
  • The Soul of a Woman: On Impatient Love, Long Life, and Good Witches (Allende)
  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (Tinti)
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (Wilkerson)
  • Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Ilibagiza)
  • The Yellow House (Broom)
Youth Services
Winter Reading Challenge 2022: Read for a Better World (All Ages)
Read for a Better World graphic
The Winter Reading Challenge: Read for a Better World (All Ages) is now open for participation through the Vermont libraries Beanstack page at https://vermont.beanstack.org/. The challenge will be open January 1 through January 31. This challenge is available for free to all Vermonters and could be a simple way for public libraries to engage readers this January!

Readers of all ages are encouraged to read for at least 20 minutes a day and log their minutes using the Beanstack website or the mobile app. Participants can read books of their choosing, log minutes, participate in simple activities, and earn digital badges. Participants are encouraged to explore diversity, empathy, and action through literature by choosing books and stories from an array of diverse authors and topics. 

For further information about the challenge, including reading lists and promotional materials, visit our website here: https://libraries.vermont.gov/WRC2022

Please reach out to Jonathan Clark with any questions about the challenge or Beanstack: jonathan.l.clark@vermont.gov
Youth Book Award Updates and Yearly Timeline
Logos of three youth book awards
The Vermont Department of Libraries has worked with the book award committees to create a streamlined timeline for all three Vermont youth book awards (the Red Clover Book Award, the Vermont Golden Dome Book Award, and the Green Mountain Book Award.)

All three book awards will operate on the same general timeline each year. This way, the library community will know when to expect the announcement of new nominees, voting opening and closing, and award winners.

Additionally, we will have the Vermont Golden Dome and Red Clover conferences on the same day in 2022 and going forward. Conferences will continue to be virtual for the foreseeable as it increases accessibility and allows more people to attend from any part of the state at no cost.

Please see the full timeline on the youth book awards page on our website: https://libraries.vermont.gov/bookawards

For more information please reach out to Jonathan Clark: jonathan.l.clark@vermont.gov
ABLE Library & Inclusive Services
ABLE Library & Inclusive Services Updates
ABLE Book Club

Please join the ABLE Library’s next virtual book club on January 19, 2022 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm for a facilitated discussion of the Vermont Humanities Council’s Vermont Reads book We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra (Sound recording book number: DB 095548). 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, January 5th 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. The 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.
ABLE Library Newsletter

Are you interested in finding out more about what’s going on at the ABLE Library? Email lib.ablelibrary@vermont.gov or call (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711 to receive a copy. You can also visit our website to access our latest newsletter, with updates for our patrons and partners, book recommendations from staff, and up-to-date programming information.
Governance & Management
Advocacy Tips & Resources for Budget Season
As you continue to work on budget presentations, Town Meeting presentations, and more, here are some tips and resources that may help:

  •  Try using words that will resonate with your Selectboard to help them hear better what you are saying and relate more to what you present. For example, rather than using the word “patron” or “user,” try the word “taxpayer” or “resident.”

  • Try breaking down budget requests by explaining how much the library costs per capita (i.e. per resident of your town.) Then compare that amount to something small you could pay for with that money vs. the wide variety of resources available at the library – to show the contrast. For example: If your budget request is for $30,000, and you have a town of 1,500 people: 30,000/1,500 = $20 per resident. That’s less than the cost of 1 hardcover book, or a dinner for two at a local restaurant, or 1 tank of gas. And $20/person gets you access to hundreds of books, magazines, audiobooks, and DVDs – plus online resources, wifi, public computers, educational programs/events, storytimes, research assistance, and more.

  • Try asking your patrons (of all ages) to take 5 minutes the next time they are in the library to share with you how the library has changed their lives and/or what they love about the library. After getting their (or parent/guardian) permission, record what they say using the camera on your cell phone. Ask a tech savvy patron, volunteer, or staff person to edit together the videos you record to create a 1-3 minute short recording to share with your community and the SelectBoard at Town Meeting or a SelectBoard meeting. There’s nothing like hearing from the taxpayers themselves why they value their public library.

A version of this article appeared in our February 2019 newsletter.
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Virtual Vermont Trivia

Join us Wednesday nights in January for our Winter Trivia Series! Each week has a different, Vermont-centric theme and you don't need an account (or pants!) to play. Free and fun for all ages. 

January 5 - Vermont Seasons 
January 12 - Famous Vermonters 
January 19 - Geography
January 26 - Vermont Happenings

Virtual Vermont History Day Workshop
January 12. 4 - 5 pm. Zoom.

Learn more about video production and making documentaries for National History Day projects in a joint webinar with partners at other New England History Day programs. John Taylor from National History Day in Maine and a guest presenter will provide helpful tips for students and teachers. Additional workshops will cover other pertinent topics. Educators and students from all locations are welcome.

Virtual Winter Speaker Series

Our series of virtual monthly talks led by scholars from around the country kicks off on January 19 at noon! The talks will take place on Zoom and cover a variety of topics.
"Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England” with Jean M. O’Brien. "Firsting and Lasting" argues that local histories became a primary means by which European Americans asserted their own modernity while denying it to Indian peoples. Drawing on more than six hundred local histories from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, Jean M. O’Brien explores how these narratives inculcated the myth of Indian extinction, a myth that has stubbornly remained in the American consciousness. 

Virtual Roundtable: Fundraising and Support
January 27. 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.

January 27: Fundraising & Support
Facilitator: Tori Hart, Director of Development
Contributors: Fern Mercure & Brent Garrow, Sheldon Historical Society; Pauline Guntlow, Pownal Historical Society

You have a great idea or a great project, now how do you get the money to make that happen? We’ll talk about gathering community support for your endeavors, as well as what you need to do to apply for grants in Vermont and beyond.