November 2021 Newsletter
Important Updates
Acting State Librarian Update
Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont
Last legislative session, Act no. 66 (S.115) was passed and signed by Governor Scott. The bill authorizes the creation of a Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont who will take testimony in a series of bi-monthly meetings over the next two years. The Working Group will then produce a report in November 2023.
The Legislature creates boards and commissions every session. So why is this different?
This is different because the last study of libraries in this vein was in 1969-70 and the scale of that study was much narrower. A lot has happened in the last 51 years! This Working Group, composed of public, academic, and school librarians, plus a public library trustee and the Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council, brings a lot of experience and perspective to the project. That is particularly important because this study, introduced by Senator Ruth Hardy of Addison County, is ambitious in its scope and will rely on the broad-based perspectives of the members to be successful.
This study will examine just about everything about libraries, including programming, collections, facilities, technology, and staff. These topics will be examined through the lenses of how these services reach not only the general public, but also seniors, individuals with disabilities, young people, migrants, and those living in poverty. Furthermore, the study will look at “the role that libraries play in emergency preparedness, cultural diversity and inclusion, public health and safety, community identity and resiliency, economic development, and access to public programs and services.” The Working Group has their work cut out for them!
But, the most important thing about the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont is that it will only be successful if we get your help. This is a community-wide effort and we need to hear everyone’s voice. What does your library mean to you in this perspective? What works? What needs changing? This is the time to let your opinions be heard. The meeting on November 12 will focus on testimony we have received about library programming. Please see our webpage about the working group for details about the meeting and how to submit testimony:
This is an extraordinary opportunity, not just for libraries and librarians, but for everyone who has an interest in libraries. Be part of it.

Tom McMurdo
Acting State Librarian

P.S. Don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns; my email address is
Department News
For State Employees
State Employee Fall Book Club
"We Contain Multitudes" Cover
Thank you to all state employees who have signed up as participants in the State Employee Book Group! All copies of We Contain Multitudes have been distributed. If you have your own copy (or have borrowed a copy from your local library) and would like to sign up to participate in the discussion, please contact to be added to the distribution list and event invitation.
The discussion sessions are still being finalized, but are planned for the end of November. The meeting will be hosted on Teams, will have a facilitator, and an invitation will be sent out to everyone who signs up. To participate, email April Shaw at to be added.
ABLE Library & Inclusive Services
ABLE Library & Inclusive Services Updates
ABLE Book Club

New participants are always welcome to join the ABLE Library’s virtual book club. The book for the November 17, 2021 meeting (2:00-3:00pm) will be Lieberman’s Folly by Stuart M. Kaminsky, (Sound recording book number: DB 035401). Please contact the ABLE Library to find out how to get a digital copy of the book. Email or call (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711.
Memorable Times Café

On Wednesday, November 3rd from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. we will again join with folks in Scotland via ZOOM to revisit songs, television, movies, and culture from years ago. “Good Days” is an interactive live event produced by Memories International of Austin, Texas and Falkirk, Scotland. 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. Registration by noon on October 28th is required to receive the link to the November 3rd event. Please contact Barb Asen at Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) for more information or to register: or 802-476-2681.

NFB-NEWSLINE is a free audio news service through the National Federation of the Blind for anyone who is blind, low-vision, deafblind, or otherwise print-disabled that offers access to more than 500 publications, emergency weather alerts, job listings, and more. Anyone who cannot read printed publications due to vision loss, dyslexia, or a physical disability is eligible to receive NFB-NEWSLINE. For more information or to register please call or email the ABLE Library at (802) 636-0020 or
Youth Services
Summer Reading 2022: Oceans of Possibilities
The summer reading theme for 2022 is “Oceans of Possibilities.” The Vermont 2022 Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) store for free incentives (bookmarks, posters, etc.) will open November 8. More information about the store and the 2022 summer reading manual will be forthcoming.
CSLP will hold their first Summer Symposium on December 2, 2021, from 11:30 am – 4:00 pm. This free, virtual conference is for all library staff that are interested in summer programming. You can learn more and see the full schedule here: Sessions will be recorded and made available to registered attendees. A pre-recorded bonus session titled “Feeding Your Community: Summer Meals at Libraries” will be released with the other recordings. Register for the symposium here:
VTLIB’s virtual summer reading workshops will take place March 8 & 10, 2022, with a similar format as 2021. The Summer Reading Essentials session on March 8 will review the 2022 summer reading program and resources. The Summer Reading Plan and Share session on March 10 will be an opportunity to brainstorm and hear from other libraries about summer reading programming ideas.
Information & Access
News from CLIC, the Public Law Library
CLIC has reopened to walk-in service.

Please note: Masks are required when making an in person visit to CLIC.

As you know, CLIC offers free legal information and resource guidance to all Vermonters.  During an on-site visit to CLIC, members of the public have access to electronic legal databases; such as Lexis, Westlaw, Fastcase and HeinOnline, Vermont legal materials; including statues, regulations, and case-law; and legal self-help books covering common legal issues and processes, such as adoption, divorce, landlord/tenant law, immigration, and how to probate an estate. When on-site, only, members of the public also have access to some of Vermont Law School’s academic research databases, environmental databases, VLS’s general collection, and computers, printers, scanners, and a photocopier/fax machine. 

For hours, driving directions to campus, or additional information, visit our website at

If you need assistance with patron legal research questions and you cannot make to S. Royalton, feel free to “Ask a Law Librarian.” You can call (802) 831-1313 or email

For more information about CLIC’s services, contact CLIC Coordinator, Pamela Cartier at or call (802) 831-1440. 
MHEC Virtual Conference
The Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium is holding a virtual conference on Thursday, Nov. 4, including a track of six sessions specifically for libraries. There is no cost to attend the conference! Though MHEC is a buying consortium (which all VT libraries are eligible for), only a few of the sessions are purchasing-specific. Even if you can’t attend, registering gives you access to the recordings afterwards.
Take note of the session on the Digital Divide and Broadband at 1 pm (presented by Vermont’s own Jessamyn West), as well as sessions on Technology Training (9 am) and MHEC’s new shopping platform (3 pm).
9 am - You Know More than You Think You Do: Tech Training for Yourselves, Each Other, and Your Patrons, Laura Crossett
10 am - Air-Purification: Advanced Air Purification for Offices, Healthcare Facilities, Hotels, and Dormitories, Brian Packard
11 am - Diversity Collection, To Be Announced
1 pm - Libraries Addressing the Digital Divide and Advocating Broadband Access for All, Jessamyn West
2 pm - Delivery Challenges, UPS
3 pm - MHEC Workshop: Demonstration of MHEC’s New Item-Level Shopping Platform, Ira Golden
Register and find out more here -
September 2021 ILL Stats
Total number of requests: 5017

  • Books: 4640
  • Videos: 252
  • Audiobooks: 110
  • Music CDs: 14
  • Articles: 1

Top 5 requested DVDs:

  • The Walking Dead (season 10)
  • When Calls the Heart (all seasons)
  • Grace and Frankie (season 3)
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Cape Fear
Top 10 most requested book titles in September 2021 (with most requested titles at the top):
  • The Midnight Library (Haig)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury)
  • Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague (O’Farrell)
  • The Black Cat (Grimes)
  • Braiding Sweetgrass (Kimmerman)
  • Charles Kuralt's America (Kuralt)
  • Vesper Flights: New and Collected Essays (Macdonald)
  • The Haunting of Hill House (Jackson)
  • 1984 (Orwell)
  • The Hummingbird's Daughter (Urrea)
Continuing Education
Upcoming CE Opportunities
Registration is open for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) December TRAIN (Training, Roundtables, and Informational Networking) session, “Tips and Tools for Patron Tech Help.” This will be held Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 2:00pm, and will focus on how to communicate well with patrons who are learning about new technology devices or applications. Timed to prepare librarians for the January post-holiday library patron visit that leads with “I got this new device as a gift and I don’t know how to use it!,” this will feature Vermont librarians Susannah Kahn and Jessamyn West. They will share tips gathered over their many years of experience making connections between people with varying degrees of technology familiarity and everchanging devices and platforms. For more details and a link to registration, see the ARSL website training page:

Another December opportunity well-suited for many Vermont librarians is a webinar on December 9 presented by Cindy Fesemyer, library trustee in Madison, Wisconsin, and Principal and Founder of Fesemyer Consulting. “The Myth of the Work/Life Balance for Small Library Directors” will cover the ever-important topic of time management, but will also focus on how strategically delegating, collaborating, and managing expectations can lead toward a more balanced life. More details and a link to register for this webinar are here:
Governance & Management
Library Directors & Leaders Summit
The Department of Libraries will host a virtual Library Directors Summit on November 18 & 19, 2021. From 10:00am to 12:00pm both days will feature interactive presentations from NCXT (, a Minneapolis-based company specializing in leadership, organizational transformation, and attracting resources that enhance institutional sustainability. The session on the 18th will be for new directors (0-2 years in the job). The session on the 19th will focus on leadership and organizational development and be geared toward directors with more than two years of experience. Afternoon sessions will include a Meet & Greet with Department of Libraries staff and updates from the Acting State Librarian. This opportunity is open to anyone serving in the top staff position in their library, regardless of job title.

For registration and access information, visit:
Small & Rural Libraries
2021 Agricultural Literacy Week
Agricultural Literacy Week is an annual event hosted by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Libraries. It is typically celebrated during the third week of November and in past years has included featured programs hosted at a few libraries augmented statewide by local programming offered by individual libraries. The theme this year is Land Connections and the featured programs, which will be virtual, are “We Are the Land,” on Wednesday, November 17th, 6:30- 8:00pm, and “Abenaki Land Link Project,” on Thursday, November 18th, 6:30-8:00pm.

“We Are the Land” will be a bilingual program of Native stories and songs from Abenaki traditions that link us to the land. Presenters are Joseph and Jesse Bruchac, a father and son pair who are both Nulhegan Abenaki citizens and nationally renowned storytellers and musicians.

The “Abenaki Land Link Project” will feature Chief Don Stevens, Chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki, Joe Bossen, of Vermont Bean Crafters and All Souls Tortilleria, Guy Maguire, from the South Hero Land Trust, and JoAnne Denne, from Common Roots. Presenters will discuss an ongoing food sovereignty project that provides indigenous seeds to almost 40 gardeners, homesteaders, and farmers around Vermont dedicated to growing squash, corn, and beans for Abenaki citizens.

Libraries are encouraged to do their own programming, virtual or in-person, related to Land Connections and/or host group attendance at the featured events. Visit NOFA's website for more information:
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Virtual Vermont History Day Workshop 
November 10, 4:00-5:00pm. 
Learn more about incorporating local history into National History Day projects in a joint webinar with partners at other New England History Day programs. Rebecca Taber from Connecticut History Day and Victoria Hughes from Vermont History Day will also discuss locating local history resources, both in physical archives and online. Additional workshops will cover other pertinent topics. Educators and students from all locations are welcome. 

Register for the Zoom session: 
History for Homeschoolers 
Wednesday, November 10 OR Thursday, November 18 

Compare historical fiction to history to understand the impact of the Revolutionary War on Vermonters. 

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.