October 2020 Newsletter
Important Updates
A Letter from Jason
Hello, everyone! I hope you are doing well and enjoying the fall weather. After spending most of the spring inside, it seemed like the summer flew by when it finally arrived. Over the past few months, most VTLIB staff have continued to work from home, but some have transitioned to working in the office at least a portion of the week. I want to specially recognize the ABLE Library staff, who have remained in the building throughout quarantine to provide vital services to ABLE Library patrons. Their hard work and dedication ensures that some of Vermont's most vulnerable can maintain some sense of normalcy during this unprecedented time.

This year has required innovative thinking, and we've learned to provide services in new ways, including:

  • Distribution of sneeze guards and hand sanitizer
  • Creation of portals for librarians with resources on reopening and operating during a pandemic
  • Promotion of the State of Vermont #MasksOnVT campaign to assist with mitigation of the virus
  • Timely updates and announcements on the REALM project
  • Transition to virtual meetups, meetings, programming and conversations
  • Launch of a virtual Summer Reading Platform
  • Successful Trustee & Friends Conference (212 attendees!)
  • Transition and expansion of courier service
  • Resources on race, culture, class, and society that will help us understand each other
  • Promotion of the Census to Vermonters

Resilience and fortitude will be needed as we head into the winter season, so I hope you can take the time to recharge. The Department of Libraries will continue to offer impactful services that will help libraries remain a vital service in their communities. You have my thanks and gratitude for the work that is being done to help Vermonters navigate this historic year.

With deep appreciation,

Jason Broughton
State Librarian & Commissioner of Libraries
Library Services & Status Survey
At the end of June, we created a new questionnaire to help track libraries status during the pandemic. We’ve been asking questions about opening status, hours, available services, and more. This chart tracks the changes in opening status since June – Closed, Open to Staff Only, Open by Appointment, or Open (without appointment).

You can read more about the results, and see current responses here - https://libraries.vermont.gov/covid19/status_survey
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 https://nofavt.org/events/annual-nofa-vt-events/agricultural-literacy-week-2020 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 (resource lists forthcoming)
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 livy@nofavt.org, 802-434-7153
Small & Rural Libraries
ALA Small & Rural Library Grants
The American Library Association (ALA) will award $3,000 grants to up to 650 small and rural libraries in 2020 and 2021 to help them address issues of concern in their communities.

Selected libraries will receive training in facilitation and community engagement skills culminating in a community-based project such as a community conversation based on current challenges or film or book discussions relevant to issues the community is facing. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, including technology to improve delivery of virtual programming, renting space for safe in-person programming, staff time devoted to community engagement work, book sets, speaker fees, marketing, PPE, and more.
The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines small communities as those with a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and rural communities as those more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area. Check with VTLIB or ALA if you are unsure if your library qualifies. The deadline to apply for the first round is December 2, 2020. There will be a second opportunity to apply from January to March 2021.

Full project guidelines: https://bit.ly/36jLpt7

VTLIB will be hosting a webinar on applying for this grant on October 29 from 2:00-3:00pm. This will be a recorded webinar from ALA covering the grant basics and application process followed by a live Q&A with ALA staff specifically for Vermont librarians.

And speaking of small and rural libraries...

Congratulations to Nancy Tusinski, Library Director at the Hartland Public Library, who was recently elected to the board of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries as the Northeast Representative. Her term begins start January 1, 2021. It’s great to see Vermont represented on the board, and many thanks in advance to Nancy for her service!
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 (sara.blow@vermont.gov) 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, October 7, 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 basen@cvcoa.org.

  • The ABLE Library (https://libraries.vermont.gov/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 (https://libraries.vermont.gov/able_library/application) if you are a new patron. Don’t hesitate to contact the ABLE Library staff for help: lib.ablelibrary@vermont.gov or (802) 636-0020 or (800) 479-1711
Total number of interlibrary loan requests made in August 2020: 3801

Books: 3405
Videos: 225
Audiobooks: 158
Music CDs: 6
Articles: 5
Music Scores: 2

Top 5 requested DVDs

  • A French Village (all seasons)
  • Criminal Minds (all seasons)
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette
  • Sons of Anarchy (all seasons)
  • The Big Bang Theory (all seasons)

Top 10 most requested book titles (with most requested at the top):

  • Daisy Jones and the Six (Reid)
  • Open Season (Mayor)
  • Americanah (Adichi)
  • Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail (Montgomery)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Grann)
  • The Water Dancer (Coates)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Baldwin)
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom (O’Donohue)
  • Homegrown: Cooking from my New England Roots (Jennings)
  • Stardust (Gaiman)
Continuing Education
Niche Academy

The Vermont Department of Libraries is excited to announce a new subscription to Niche Academy. Niche Academy is a platform for online library training that provides hundreds of online tutorials about a wide range of library-focused topics. Tutorials are created and shared by Niche Academy staff, as well as state, public and other libraries from all over the country. The Certificate of Public Librarianship (CPL) curriculum will be transitioned into Niche, and other VTLIB webinars will be stored in Niche as well. Niche Academy will be accessible to all Vermont librarians and state employees.

As this is a new and expansive product, VTLIB is still in the implementation phase, adding tutorials, migrating the CPL program and creating content. Look for a late fall official roll-out and training on this exciting new resource that will hugely expand Continuing Education opportunities for Vermont librarians!

The subscription to Niche is supported in part through funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Vermont Department of Libraries.
Youth Services
Red Clover Book Award Virtual Conference
October 16, 9:00am-11:00am

Registration is open for the 2020 Red Clover Book Award Conference! Registration for this free, virtual event is limited to 250 attendees on a first-come-first-serve basis. The RC award committee will present on this year's nominee list, books that almost made the list, and programming/activity ideas.

For more information and to register, visit: https://libraries.vermont.gov/redclover2020

Middle Grade Book Award Renaming

We want to update you on the Middle Grade (formerly Dorothy Canfield Fisher) Book Award renaming process. The voting opened on October 1 for students across Vermont and will close on October 31. Students in grades 4-9 are eligible to vote. The primary way for students to submit votes is through their school librarian or teacher.

Public librarians should only submit votes for students if their teacher, school librarian, or parent cannot help them submit. If you would like to request the form, please send an email to jonathan.l.clark@vermont.gov.
We received many fantastic entries last school year from students grades 4-8 which the committee narrowed down to the following names (in alphabetical order) using the submission criteria as a guide.
  • Catamount Book Award
  • Golden Dome Book Award
  • Hermit Thrush Book Award
  • Honeybee Book Award
  • Maple Book Award
  • Maple Leaf Book Award
  • Maple Tree Book Award
  • Sap Bucket Book Award
  • Sugar Maple Book Award
We hope to announce the new name in early November. Stay tuned.

We would like to thank the members of the committee, including three fantastic student representatives, for their time and input over the last few months.
Governance & Management
Access Materials from the 2020 Trustees and Friends Conference Online
Over 200 library trustees, Friends, and library staff registered for the online 2020 Trustees and Friends Conference in September. The week-long conference focused on the theme “Remaining Vital: Your Library as Community Connector in Uncertain Times” by exploring a wide range of topics including division of responsibilities, board management, fundraising, HR issues, budgeting, advocacy, library marketing, and more.
If you missed the Conference – or if you want another glance at the presentations or materials – fear not! All presentations were recorded, and the recordings, PowerPoint slides, and handouts are available on the VT Dept. of Libraries’ website: https://libraries.vermont.gov/2020TFC.
Be sure to check out the powerful Keynote presentation from Susan Clark which explores democracy, how libraries can connect with community members across the political divide, the power of community, and how to move forward during divisive times. Susan created a handout with information on the resources she references in her keynote.

Also, as you prepare for budget season and Town Meeting, several of the sessions from the Conference provide advice that might prove helpful. Be sure to check out the Keynote (where Susan talks about how to connect with people across the political spectrum), the Money Matters session with Gary Deziel, and the three advocacy sessions from 9/24 (Kathy Dempsey, Kevin Unrath, and Lara Keenan).
Questions, requests for follow-up training, and more, please contact Governance and Management Consultant Lara Keenan: lara.keenan@vermont.gov
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Virtual Class Series: Home Collections Care
October 6, 13, and 20. 7:00 pm-8:30 pm. Zoom.  

Join the Vermont Historical Society for a series of programs about caring for and understanding the things you love and use in your own home. This is not a class for preserving museum collections but instead will teach you how to care for your own personal collections based on your specific goals. 

Free for VHS members! 
$10/class or $20/series for non-members.


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.


Family china. Beloved platters. Porcelain figurines. We all have them in our homes and in our family history – and we all know how fragile they can be. Join VHS Collections Manager Teresa Greene to learn how to carefully pack these delicate objects away for transport or storage, and what you can do to fix a piece that’s been broken. 


Keeping wooden pieces in good condition, especially when they’re in regular use, can be tricky. Join VHS Executive Director Steve Perkins for an in-depth look at the handling, cleaning, and some repair work on your favorite woodworking pieces.


At Home History for Homeschoolers: Vermont's Original Inhabitants

These monthly lesson plans and student materials for history learning activities can be done at home.

Recommended for children ages 7-12.

$6/month or $5/month for VHS members.


Third Thursday: Governor Phil Hoff and the Election of 1962 with Tony Lopez
October 15. 12:00pm. Zoom.

The race between Democrat Phil Hoff and Republican incumbent, Ray Keyser, set the stage for a gubernatorial election unlike any previous, with two young and ambitious candidates against a backdrop of national and local political change. Ray Keyser knew something and was trying to tell the old guard that, in the words of Bob Dylan, "The times they are a-changing." When the smoke cleared away and Vermont waited for the votes to come in, Ray Keyser got more Republican votes than Phil Hoff got Democratic votes – but Phil Hoff had won. Until that point, Vermont had been a reliably Republican state. Hoff’s election shifted the balance, and today, almost sixty years later, Vermont is now one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country.