November 2020 Newsletter
Important Updates
VTLIB Distributes Another Round of PPE
During the last week of October, VTLIB staff Jason Broughton, Jonathan Clark, and Janette Shaffer hit the road for round 2 of our personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution. After distributing sneeze guards and hand sanitizer to libraries during the summer, we determined—through a survey—that disinfecting supplies would be the items most needed for this second distribution. We loaded up our van and traveled to St. Johnsbury, Poultney, Williston, and Putney to distribute disinfectant and wipers from the parking lots of our host public libraries. We also used our Barre location—expertly staffed by Jennifer Johnson—as a distribution site. We ultimately gave out 250 gallons of disinfectant and 400 packs of wipers--all obtained with CARES Act funding passed on to us by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

What we love most about these PPE runs is that we get to connect with librarians from all over the state face to face—a rarity these days. It’s great to hear how creative they are in keeping services going, bringing circulation numbers to record highs.

Thanks to our host libraries for offering their spaces and shelter on these cold and wet distribution days.
Masked, gloved, and ready to disinfect! A librarian picks up supplies in Barre.
A librarian packs her trunk after picking up supplies in Putney.

Top photo: Janette Shaffer and a librarian at the Williston distribution.
A librarian crosses her t's and dots her i's at the Poultney distribution.
Annual Report for Public Libraries
We will be offering two online trainings for the Annual Report for Public Libraries in November. Also known as the Public Library Survey, the report is completed annually by libraries nationwide, and includes data on revenue, expenses, holdings, circulation, programming, and more. The data is submitted to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and is ultimately made available to the library community and members of the public. This year, the report will have quite a few changes to capture data during the pandemic. Introduction to the Report (Monday, Nov. 16, 10 am-12 pm) is for folks who are new to the report, or who want to go through the entire process, as well as COVID additions. 2020 Report Changes (Wednesday, Nov. 18, 10 am-12 pm) is for librarians who are just interested in this year’s changes. Please sign up for either at our Continuing Education page ( Both sessions will be held via Microsoft Teams, and will be recorded. Please contact Josh Muse ( with any questions.
11th Annual Agricultural Literacy Week: Building Resilient Communities
Announcing Agricultural Literacy Week 2020: Building Resilient Communities! (November 16-19, 2020)

Tune in for this week-long (virtual) celebration to inform, educate and create community around the topic of resiliency in all of its forms. Each night will feature a webinar bringing together the voices of our community: farmworker rights group Migrant Justice, Abenaki chef Jessee Lawyer, students of gender studies and agriculture at Bennington College and organic farmers building healthy soil and feeding their communities. While we know community events will look a little different this year, we are thrilled to share the details of this year’s offerings. All events are free and open to the public.
Registration to these free community events opens Wednesday October 7th, visit to sign-up.


2020’s Featured Events (All events are from 6:00-7:30pm)

  • 11/16: Exploring Indigenous Foodways Cooking Class
  • 11/17: #MilkwithDignity: Advancing the Human Rights of Farmworkers While Fostering a Sustainable Northeast Dairy Industry
  • 11/18: Building Soil Health Resilience
  • 11/19: Gender, Agriculture, and Food Access

You can find more detailed descriptions of the events at the link above.
Are You a Library Interested in Hosting Your Own Ag Lit Week Event?

  • Host a “prepare at home” community supper. Details here for a virtual Simple Supper
  • Host a virtual book club or film viewing & discussion using books and films available through your library or ILL. Find a list of themed books and films here:

Help us Spread the Word!

  • Join and promote the week’s virtual events
  • Share these events with your community through newsletters, event calendars and social media
  • Post the events on your local Front Porch Forum
  • Create and host your own special event
Agricultural Literacy Week is a project of The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT), Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
Questions? Contact NOFA-VT’s Education & Engagement Manager Livy Bulger, 802-434-7153
For State Employees
Learning Express - Available to All Vermonters
While many State Employees know that they can access LearningExpress for free, VTLIB is proud to say that we provide access to this great resource for all Vermont residents.

LearningExpress Library provides a comprehensive selection of academic and career-related solutions available in one platform. It includes skill-building in reading, writing, math, and science, college admissions exams, occupational licensing tests, workplace skills improvement, career exploration, and much more. The subscription includes Job & Career Accelerator, a job and career platform where job seekers can explore occupations, find career matches based on interests and skills, search for jobs and internships, search for scholarships, write winning resumes and much more. Also included is computer Skills Center, where one can learn the fundamentals of using a computer, the Internet and popular software applications with these self-paced, easy-to-use online tutorials —in beginner to advanced levels.
Vermont residents can access this resource right from their public library website!
Contact April Shaw ( with any questions.
Special Populations & ABLE Library
We invite you to join the November ABLE Library Virtual Book Club which happens on November 18 from 2:00-3:00pm. We will be discussing David Litt’s memoir Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years (DB 90263). 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

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
Small & Rural Libraries
ALA Small & Rural Library Grants
There is still time to apply for the ALA Libraries Transforming Communities grant, which focuses on small and rural libraries. The deadline for the first found is December 2, 2020. There will be another round in early 2021. Details are here: Please get in touch with VTLIB staff with questions about eligibility, potential projects, grant writing tips.

Congratulations to the Charlotte Library and the Rockingham Free Public Library (Bellows Falls). They are two of 51 libraries from around the country to receive $500 grants from the American Library Association (ALA) “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change” program. The grant’s purpose is to help engage communities in programs and conversations that address the climate crisis. You can find more information about the grant here:
Exploring Food in Your Backyard Week: A Success!
The 2nd annual "Exploring Food in Your Backyard Week," a programming partnership between non-profit Rooted in Vermont ( and VTLIB, took place September 30 - October 6 and was a big success. The goal of this event is to use library programming spread awareness about local food and how it can be acquired: through gardening, foraging, hunting, fishing (maybe in your own backyard!) and through supporting local farms by purchasing their offerings.

In addition to the Kick-Off Facebook Live event facilitated by Rooted in Vermont and VTLIB, twenty public libraries held events during the week, with over 400 people participating across the state. If participants logged their attendance at an event in our online challenge platform, Beanstack, they were entered into a drawing for a Maple 100 Gift Basket ( sponsored by Rooted in Vermont. The lucky winner was Waylon Juffre-Ernst, patron of the Kimball Public Library in Randolph, who is pictured above with his mother, Kat. Despite events looking a bit different this year, we are pleased with the outcome of this year's program and look forward to next year.
Governance & Management
Reopen 2
Time to Update COOP Plans
COOP planning, according to the Library of Congress, helps “ensure the continued performance of essential services during a wide range of potential emergencies by understanding and prioritizing services.”
A library’s staged reopening plan is the part of a COOP specifically related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now is the time for the Library Board, the Director, the staff, and any necessary stakeholders to revisit and revise that reopening plan. (See the list of questions on VTLIB’s Considerations for Reopening page:
General questions to ask:

  • What ended up happening, and how did we respond?
  • What went well, and what should we keep doing?
  • What do we need to change to help us do better as the next wave approaches?
Additional questions to consider when developing/revising the COOP:

  • What are the “essential functions” that must continue if the library closes or if the staff/volunteers are quarantined? (ex: payroll, paying bills, preparing budget proposals)
  • Who performs each essential function? If they are out sick, who will be responsible for those essential functions? Which staff need to be cross trained? How will authority be delegated?
  • What items support the essential functions (ex: passwords, databases, equipment)? Can these items be accessed offsite?
  • What conditions must be met for the Board and the Director to decide to close the library to the public or to staff/volunteers?
  • How will the library communicate with stakeholders and the public about the library closure or the activation of the COOP?
  • If items, equipment, files, etc. need to be relocated, who will do that and where will the items go?
Other Resources:

  • Emily Harris from VT Emergency Management’s 2020 VLCT Town Fair presentation: “Responding to COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Going Forward.” See discussion of updating COOP Plans starting at the 21-minute mark:
  • National Library of Medicine’s free, self-guided course teaches libraries how to develop a COOP. Includes a sample plan template and advice on deciding Mission Essential Functions, developing an order of succession, creating a communications plan, identifying and protecting essential records, identifying alternate locations for services, and more.
News from CLIC, the Public Law Library
Vermont Law School has hired Sarah Scully as the new coordinator for the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC). While the library building remains closed to the public at this time, Sarah has been answering inquiries by mail, telephone, and email. We are also strategizing about ways to provide more remote access to materials during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the meantime, 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.

Visit CLIC's website for more information:
Continuing Education
Winter CE Offerings from VTLIB

On November 13 at 1:00pm, guest presenter, poet, and teaching artist Rajnii Eddins ( will use writing prompts and facilitated discussion to guide librarians in how to host in-person or virtual poetry experiences at their libraries. All are invited to this online workshop to explore using community poetry events to enhance connectedness and process challenging situations.

Online orientation for the Certificate of Public Librarianship program is on November 17 at 9:00am. Attending or watching a recording of this is required for anyone in the program who hasn’t done an orientation. This will be the first time that Niche Academy, our new online CE platform, will be incorporated into the orientation. There will be other trainings as well in Niche, but anyone interested in an overview is welcome to join the webinar on the 17th.

There are two upcoming online trainings for the Annual Report for Public Libraries (aka the Public Library Survey) on November 16 and 18. Please see the article in the "Important Updates" section at the top of the newsletter for more information.

Links to registration and the Microsoft Teams access links for these and all other VTLIB webinars are here:
2020 Directors' Summit
Save the dates for December 2, 3 and 4 as one of those days will be the annual Directors' Summit. This is a chance for library directors to hear from State Librarian and Commissioner of Libraries Jason Broughton about legislative issues relevant to libraries, learn about current Department of Libraries services and initiatives, and meet (although virtually this year) with colleagues from around the state. Watch the VTLIB website for a confirmed date.
Total number of interlibrary loan requests made in September 2020: 4065

Books: 3676
Videos: 260
Audiobooks: 121
Music CDs: 3
Articles: 5
Top 5 requested audiobooks

  1. The Overstory (Powers)
  2. The Winter People (McMahon)
  3. The Yellow House (Broom)
  4. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World (Fletcher)
  5. Fablehaven. Book 4. Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Mull)
Top 10 most requested book titles (with most requested at the top):

  1. The Forgetting Time (Guskin)
  2. The Alice Network (Quinn)
  3. Snowblind (Jonasson)
  4. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (Simonson)
  5. Pasta Grannies (Bennison)
  6. Summer Hours at the Robbers Library (Halpern)
  7. The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love (Kimball)
  8. The Great Alone (Hannah)
  9. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness (Brown)
  10. The Winter People (McMahon)
Youth Services
2020-2021 Green Mountain Book Award
Green Mountain Book Award (GMBA) committee chair Shannon DeSantis Gile and committee member Marley Evans presented about the fifteen 2020-2021 GMBA nominees at a recent virtual conference for Vermont educators. Visit the GMBA page on our website to view their presentation and learn more about Vermont's teen-choice book award:
2021 Summer Reading Program
Believe it or not, we're already thinking about summer 2021 here at VTLIB! We are once again using resources from the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP). The theme for 2021's summer reading program is "Tails and Tales," centered around animals. All Vermont public libraries will receive access to the 2021 programming manual and have an opportunity to order free items such as posters, bookmarks, and reading logs. Please contact Jennifer Johnson ( if you coordinate the summer reading program at your Vermont public library and have missed our emails about accessing the manual and placing an order.
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Vermont Eats: Fall Cooking Classes

Have fun with food and learn history with this fall cooking class series! Each week features a historical food dish and two beverages (one with alcohol and one without) made from traditional Vermont ingredients.
These virtual classes are 90 minutes long. Participants will receive recipes and ingredient lists prior to the class and are encouraged to cook along.

  • November 10: Apples
  • November 17: Maple
  • November 24: Dairy (Sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative)
Members $5/class $10/series 
Non-members $10/class $20/series 
All registered participants will be entered to win a $25 gift basket from Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

More information:

Third Thursday Lecture Series: The Rebel and the Tory. With authors Nick Muller and Gary Shattuck. November 19, 2020. 12pm

Join the authors of the new VHS publication, The Rebel and the Tory, while they discuss their process for researching and writing this re-telling of the origin story of Vermont. The book is available for purchase through the VHS bookstore:

More information:


History for Homeschoolers: The 14th State

Investigate the history of Vermont's settlement and how it became a state. 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.


Virtual Exhibits:

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.

Visit the exhibit here: