March 2021 Newsletter
Important Updates
VTLIB Distributes Grant Funds
VTLIB Completes Computer & Internet Access Grant
The Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) recently partnered with the Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB) to fund grants of $1,500 to 98 public libraries in Vermont. Many libraries already have their share of the $147,000 in hand and will be using the money to improve computer and internet access in their communities.
Many Vermonters find that the barriers to internet service are too great to overcome. Cost of service and devices to get on the internet, lack of service in their area, and unfamiliarity with technology can keep people on the wrong side of the digital divide. This problem existed before COVID and the need has only increased in the last year. With so many necessary services now primarily accessible online, connecting everyone to the internet is more important now than ever.

VCF recognizes this problem and saw a ready partner in VTLIB. With 185 libraries, Vermont has among the most public libraries in the U.S. By teaming up with libraries, other organizations can reach almost every community in the state. VCF saw this grant as a way to enhance the work of the Communication Union Districts (CUDs) that are working to build high speed fiber optic networks throughout Vermont. These grants can be used in a wide range of ways to improve patrons’ access to computers and the internet: buying new public computers, lendable laptops/Chromebooks, or 4G hotspots; improving the network or WiFi at and around the library; and even mundane accommodations that help patrons use computers during COVID, like canopies, air purifiers, picnic tables, and outdoor electrical outlets. The grant purchases allow libraries to improve access to services they are already offering, when they are needed more than ever. These improvements will be useful throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Because this grant was limited to public libraries that are located in CUDs, VTLIB will be offering a similar grant of $400 per library, which will prioritize libraries who weren’t eligible. These grants will use federal CARES funds, and should open in the next few weeks. They will likewise help improve computer and internet access for Vermonters. You can find more information about these grants here:
Computer access can make a huge difference in someone’s life, whether it’s finding a job, connecting with services, or just getting more familiar with how to use one. This VCF/VTLIB grant will make a real difference on the ground for many Vermonters.
Department News
For State Employees
Vermont Online Library
Every state employee can use Vermont Online Library (VOL) to access a wide range of accurate and well-researched information online. The service has resources for all ages and levels, from general interest to academia. It includes newspaper and magazine articles, DIY car repair, books & authors, entrepreneurship, and much more. You can also access articles from The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Economist, National Review, and others. Though the articles are not formatted as nicely as their print counterparts, they have all of the text without a separate subscription.

All you need to do is get a state library card ( and then follow this link for Vermont Online Library:

Please contact April Shaw ( with any questions about VOL.
Special Populations & ABLE Library
News from the ABLE Library
If you, or someone you know, is blind or has a visual impairment, print disability, or has trouble holding books or turning pages, check out the ABLE Library (—housed at the Vermont State Library. The ABLE Library connects patrons of all ages to the services of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled and offers a collection of large print and digital talking books featuring all genres, print braille picture books, as well as audio-described DVDs.

We are in the process of adding several new Large Print titles to the collection. Highlights include Promised Land by Barack Obama and Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. Vermont Author Archer Mayor’s book Orphan’s Guilt features the old-time favorite character Joe Gunther. Other adult titles include:

  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • An Irish Country Welcome by Patrick Taylor
  • Shadows in Death by JD Robb
  • Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett Graff

We are also adding several juvenile titles:
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
  • Endurance: My Year in Space and How I Got There by Scott Kelly
  • The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate and Patricia Castelao
  • The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

The ABLE Library welcomes new members to its Virtual Book Club. The book selection for the March 17, 2021 meeting is the award-winning The Underground Railroad [sound recording] by Colson Whitehead (DB 85212). Please contact the ABLE library to find out how to get a copy of the book. Email or call (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711.

The ABLE Library staff is also happy to work with care and rehab facilities to provide access for residents. To receive services, which are free to qualifying Vermonters, fill out and submit the Application for ABLE Library Services ( Don’t hesitate to contact the ABLE Library staff for help: or (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711.
January 2021 ILL Stats
Total number of requests: 5107

  • Books: 4624
  • Videos: 358
  • Audiobooks: 114
  • Music CDs: 3
  • Music Scores: 6
  • Articles: 2
Top 10 most requested book titles in January 2021 (with most requested titles at the top)
  • The Vanishing Half (Bennett)
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Wilkerson)
  • So You Want to Talk About Race (Olou)
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Speaking (Cain)
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo (Lefter)
  • The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living (Wiking)
  • Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise (Reichl)
  • West with the Night (Markham)
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Stevenson)
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
CLOVER Stats for Calendar Year 2020
The annual CLOVER summary for 2020 has been posted on our website here:
Small & Rural Libraries
Asset Based Community Development
A cohort of three Department of Libraries staff and two Vermont public librarians are attending the Public Library Association's Leadership Lab: Embedding EDI in Library Leaders. After the training is completed at the end of March, the cohort will share what they have learned with other Vermont librarians in VTLIB CE sessions. At this halfway point in the training there is already one takeaway that is so relevant to small and rural libraries and communities that it warrants being shared on its own. Two of the sessions so far have focused on Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). Just as the name says, this is a system that approaches community change and development from the perspective of the community’s unique assets rather than its deficits. This approach also gives autonomy to people who would potentially be affected by a project, so that its planning and implementation comes from them. There are enormous and complex ways this can be applied to community development, but one place libraries can start is by applying it to the dilemma, “We want to help but aren’t sure how.” For a concise intro to ABCD, watch this five-minute video:
Information & Access
News from CLIC, the Community Legal Information Center
Keep an eye out for your CLIC care package! In March, we're sending a packet to every public library in Vermont, with promotional materials for your library and patrons.
The Community Legal Information Center has some great legal information resources for you. Check out the Vermont Librarians' Legal Information Toolkit for some hot tips and free resources for assisting patrons with their law-related quandaries:
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 at:
Do you or your patrons need help using these legal databases? Request a virtual reference appointment, where you can also access HeinOnline. 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.
Continuing Education
Department CE Collaborations & Niche Academy
The Department of Libraries Continuing Education program has been thriving so far in 2021 partly due to partner organizations presenting training sessions for librarians. As libraries strive to expand the ways they meet community needs, working with subject matter experts from outside the library field helps address the dilemma public libraries often face: “We want to help but aren’t sure how.” Recent collaborations have been with the Vermont Law School Community Legal Information Center (CLIC) and the White River Junction VA Medical Center, and in March VTLIB will host a webinar by Carmina Garciadealba, an Outreach Specialist with Vermont 211. A recent collaboration with the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) will result in a series of library programs throughout the state during April, which is Fair Housing Month:

Recordings of these and other recent VTLIB webinars will soon be moved to VTLIB’s Niche Academy platform. Niche Academy also contains hundreds of webinars on a variety of topics, and it is proving to be an effective tool for organizing VTLIB’s Certificate of Public Librarianship core courses as well. Content is divided into separate “Academies” depending on users, with the Certificate program, Youth Services, and Friends and Trustees each having a dedicated Academy. The Academy with the most content covering the widest range of topics is Vermont Library Staff. Users can select content in the Academy most relevant to their library work and/or view a combination of the total content from all Academies here: New content is added to Niche Academy frequently, so users are encouraged to check it often for new webinars or when they have a new continuing education need. There is no access fee to Niche for Vermont librarians, trustees, and volunteers. Please contact Joy Worland ( with questions or for more details about Niche Academy.
Youth Services
Summer Reading Updates
It's that time again! Join us the second week of March for our annual summer reading workshops, and don't forget to submit an application for a summer programming grant by March 14!

Summer Reading Essentials Workshop - March 10, 1:00-3:00 pm (Virtual via Teams)
If you are new to summer reading programming or are looking to refresh your program, please join us for this overview of the 2021 Summer Reading program.

Summer Reading Plan and Share Workshop March 11, 1:00-3:00 pm (Virtual via Teams)
Join VTLIB for a summer reading planning and brainstorming session. Hear from other libraries about potential summer reading programming, and work togeteher to plan your summer programming.

For more information and to register for these workshops, visit:

Apply Now for a 2021 Summer Programming Grant!

$200 are available to every public library in Vermont to support 2021 summer programming. We have expanded the use of funds to include the purchase of items to support programming in addition to paid vendor programming. Applications are due by March 14. Find more information and the application here:
Call for Red Clover Book Award Reading Committee Member
The Red Clover Book Award Reading Committee has an opening for one committee member! If you have a passion for and experience with picture books, please consider applying to be on the committee and help shape Vermont's children's-choice picture book award.

The deadline to apply is April 5, 2021. Please visit the Red Clover page on our website for more information about the award and how to apply:
Governance & Management
Ongoing Trustee Trainings
Whether trustee boards have welcomed new members as a result of Town Meeting or have enjoyed an unchanged board over the past few years, Lara encourages trustees to consider incorporating mini-trustee trainings into regular trustee meetings. Intentionally setting aside 10-20 minutes every meeting to brush up on trustee knowledge, learn about library trends, or remind the board of foundational documents and philosophies (such as the board’s bylaws or the ALA Freedom to Read Statement) can keep the board focused on its duties, orient new members, remind everyone of their important work, and help the board recommit to the essential role it plays in its community.
Ideas for mini trainings:

  • Ilsley Public Library Trustee Board President Joe McVeigh recorded a short video for the 2020 VTLIB Trustees and Friends Conference titled “Do-It-Yourself Trustee Training” in which he describes how their board has incorporated ongoing trustee training into every board meeting:
  • Lara recorded her basic trustee training and separated it into 5 videos, each between 8 – 29 minutes long. Trustees can watch one of the videos outside a meeting and bring questions or a summary to discuss at a meeting, or schedule time during a trustee meeting to watch and discuss one of the videos. Find the videos on VTLIB’s Trustees and Friends page under “Core Materials:”
  • Pick sections of the Trustee Manual to discuss/review at each meeting:
Lara is available to join trustees at a virtual meeting to answer questions, lead conversations on a wide variety of topics, or do a focused training to dive deeper into any the materials she covers in her videos (and/or other topics of interest). She can join for a short mini-training or a longer training/conversation, depending on the board’s needs. Trustee boards interested in having Lara join them are encouraged to contact Lara to discuss their needs and schedule a date/time:; 802-798-2480.
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
MAR 09, 2021 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM on ZOOM

Do you have a family heirloom quilt? A beloved wedding dress? Some favorite clothes from when your kids were younger? Learn how to properly pack them away and address some basic preservation concerns with VHS Collections Manager Teresa Greene and Executive Director Steve Perkins.

Members: $5/class or $10/series 
Non-members: $10/class or $20/series

MAR 10, 2021 - MAR 11, 2021 | 1PM - 3PM

Visit the museum's tourist cabin and learn about leisure activities in the early 1900s. Also available as a virtual class.
MAR 16, 2021 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM on ZOOM

Do you have a family silver set? Pewter keepsakes? Brass candlesticks or lamps? Learn how to properly handle them, pack them away, and address basic preservation concerns with VHS Collections Manager Teresa Greene and Executive Director Steve Perkins.

Members: $5/class or $10/series 
Non-members: $10/class or $20/series

MAR 18, 2021 | 12:00 PM on ZOOM

This monthly series featuring Vermont scholars will cover new research and ideas about the Green Mountain State. March 18, 2020: Third Thursday: Third Thursday: The Graphic Reach of Emma Willard. With Susan Schulten.

MAR 23, 2021 | 12:00 PM on ZOOM

What types of communications and messaging are today’s members and donors expecting? We’ll discuss some of the successful (and perhaps not so successful) ways we’ve been communicating, as well as trends for the future.

MAR 23, 2021 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM on ZOOM

Do you have family scrapbooks? Shoeboxes full of old love letters? Piles of family snapshots? Learn how to properly handle them, pack them away, and address basic preservation concerns with VHS Librarian Paul Carnahan and Executive Director Steve Perkins.

Members: $5/class or $10/series 
Non-members: $10/class or $20/series