September 2020 Newsletter
Important Updates
Working Together for a Better Vermont
A Letter from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy
Dear Vermonter:
From town meetings to volunteering at the local library or senior center, from helping our neighbors in the midst of crisis to respecting and protecting our environment, Vermonters have always taken civic engagement seriously. This is especially true during challenging times, like those we’re experiencing now. I am writing today with a reminder about a simple, but extremely important, civic duty: the Decennial Census.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please take a few minutes to complete the 2020 Census before September 30:

The Census is more than a simple population count. It is an investment in Vermont’s future.

It brings our tax dollars back to Vermont. Federal funding for roads, bridges, education, and downtown revitalization are distributed based on the Census population numbers. Exciting projects like the French Block in Montpelier or the Yellow Barn project in Hardwick are possible because of these federal resources.

It helps us meet the needs of Vermonters of all ages. Community health centers, Meals on Wheels, school meal programs, Head Start and Vermont’s COVID-19 testing efforts are just some examples of the programs that receive funds distributed based on the Census population numbers.

It provides the foundation for our democracy. Population counts are used to inform the boundaries of voting districts, including districts for the Vermont legislature, and to apportion representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

And, it tells us where we are, and where we’re going. Quantifying population change informs critical decisions about the futures of towns, school districts and businesses.
Rural places, including Vermont, are some of the most likely to be undercounted, which could have major consequences for our state. Every year, the Census population count directs roughly $2.5 billion in federal funding to communities around our state. For every person who is uncounted, Vermont will lose almost $4,000 of federal funds every year. That adds up. If we are able to get a complete count of every Vermonter, we can finish projects that are already in motion and take on new ones that will improve our state for everyone.

Before September 30, go to or call 844-330-2020. If a Census worker comes to your door, talk to them, from a safe distance. If you’ve already done all this, thank you, and please encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do the same.
Join me in ensuring a future where every Vermonter counts, and to make sure we remain Vermont Strong.

United States Senator
Libraries Team with DEC to Reduce Wood Smoke Pollution
Vermont is famous for its clean air, but some places in the state have a serious problem with wood smoke in winter. Wood is commonly used for heating in Vermont and the smoke from burning wood for heat can accumulate in valleys and lower air quality.
The Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB) is teaming up with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to help remedy this problem. DEC Air Quality Division is providing fifty moisture meters to Vermont public libraries* for lending. The moisture meters are packaged with instructions for how to test firewood to make sure it is properly seasoned and dry enough to burn cleanly.
Anyone with a library card from a participating library can borrow the moisture meter, take it home and test their own firewood. If the wood is dry, it is okay to burn. If it has a high moisture content and is still “green” then that wood can be set aside to season before burning.
We all want clean air to breathe, and this program puts tools in the hands of Vermonters to do their part in helping to raise our air quality. The moisture meter provides a readout, but the act of measuring the moisture content of wood helps to establish real benchmarks for people to understand what wood is good to burn and what wood is not. 
Vermont’s public libraries are in 75% of the towns in Vermont and reach virtually every person. Libraries participating in this program are led by directors that immediately recognized the value of this program and jumped at the chance to improve our environment.
Bennet Leon and Brian Woods of DEC partnered with Tom McMurdo of VTLIB for this project. Bennet and Tom are current participants in the Vermont Certified Public Manager Program and this is an added benefit of working with state employees from other departments and agencies through State programs. Opportunities for collaboration exist across state government, reduce duplicative efforts, and increase efficiency. This program likely would not have come about without Bennet and Tom crossing paths at VCPM.
Libraries will report circulation data at given intervals to VTLIB and DEC. Local library participation is key to the success of this effort. Questions about this project can be directed to DEC’s Brian Woods at

*Participating libraries have already been selected.
Save the Date for Ag Literacy Week 2020: Building Resilient Communities
Agricultural Literacy Week 2020: Building Resilient Communities

November 16th-19th, 2020
6:00-7:30 pm nightly
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 soil across Vermont. All events are free and open to the public. Be on the lookout for workshop details and registration information in October.
Contact Livy Bulger, / 802-434-7153 with any questions.
Agricultural Literacy Week is a project of NOFA-VT, Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.  
Special Populations & ABLE Library
  • The ABLE Library has a Virtual Book Club coming up on September 16 from 2:00-3:00pm. We’ll be discussing The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (DB 94677). Please contact the ABLE Library staff for meeting information or if you need a copy of the book.
  • 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
Total number of interlibrary loan requests made in July 2020: 3405

Books: 3123
Videos: 184
Audiobooks: 91
Music CDs: 2
Articles: 5
Good fact: Many titles relating to racial and social justice topics were requested by Vermonters this month. Some of the titles requested included:

  • "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": And Other Conversations about Race (Tatum)
  • A Beautiful Work in Progress (Valerio)
  • Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History (Turchin)
  • How to Be An Antiracist (Kendi)
  • How to Be Less Stupid about Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide (Fleming)
Top 10 most requested book titles (with most requested at the top):

  • Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s time, My Mother’s, and Mine (Bernard)
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Honeyman)
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Joyce)
  • Little Fires Everywhere (Ng)
  • The Last Kingdom (Cornwell)
  • The Buried Giant (Ishiguro)
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (Bailey)
  • The Murmur of Bees (Segovia)
  • The Stars are Fire (Shreve)
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism (DiAngelo)
Governance & Management
More Fundraising Ideas
Since budget issues will continue to concern VT Libraries (see VTLIB’s page on Responding to Budget Cuts, Lara offers another fundraising resource this month.
Ed Rossman, author of 40+ New Revenue Sources for Libraries and Nonprofits (available to borrow from the VTLIB collection -, recently offered a webinar titled “Library Fundraising in the Wake of COVID-19.” View the slides from the webinar:
Ed emphasized that libraries may need to consider new fundraising ideas, such as the following:
  • Self-Publishing: Use Ingram Spark (or another self-publishing platform) to document how COVID-19 has affected your community; collect stories, before-and-after pictures, and more into a book that the library or the Friends can sell.
  • Amazon Smile: Register your library (or Friends group) to receive donations through Amazon Smile ( Patrons can select your library/Friends group to receive a .5% donation of the cost of eligible purchases.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding involves selecting a platform (such as GoFundMe), creating a “pitch,” creating video and graphics, offering incentives, having a realistic goal, and creating a detailed campaign. The Council on Nonprofits also offers advice on crowdfunding:
  • Online Gift Shop: Use a third-party retailer (like Café Press) to create and sell swag with the library’s logo without having to keep a local inventory of items.
  • Food Nights: Partner with a local restaurant for a “Take Out to Support the Library” Night that both supports a local business and raises money for the library. Alternatively, ask a local food producer to supply a “Tasting Menu” that patrons can purchase (a portion of the proceeds going to the library) and bring home, and then host an online event where the Restauranteur leads attendees in a tasting of the items.
  • Own A Day/Naming Rights: Patrons or businesses sponsor a day during which the library celebrates/commemorates their birthday, anniversary, retirement, etc. through postings on social media, printing their name on receipts, mentioning them in email newsletters, and other ways.
Ed emphasizes that it is important to know about laws that regulate fundraising in each state. Municipal Libraries should connect with their towns if they have questions and concerns about permitted fundraising activities. Incorporated Libraries should check with their legal counsel. More information can be found in the following links:
  • 2015 VT Attorney General’s Charitable Non-Profit Board Guidance publication (PDF):
  • Vermont Criminal Code provisions related to non-profit gaming, 13 V.S.A. § 2143:
  • If you are working with a paid fundraising consultant, you should know the laws around charitable solicitations (scroll to Subchapter 2):
If you are interested in diving deeper with Ed, ALA is offering a fee-based online course from September 14th to October 18th titled “Library Fundraising During a Crisis.”
Youth Services
Red Clover Book Award Virtual Conference
October 16, 9:00am-12:00pm

Details: The agenda is still being worked out, but the Red Clover committee will present all the nominated books, the B list, and other related content. We are excited for a keynote presentation from the author of a recent Red Clover nominated book. We will be sharing details about this soon!
Due to budget constraints and challenging shipping logistics, we will not be offering free books to those attending.

Registration: The conference will be free for all attendees! Registration (once open) will be limited to 250 attendees on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Recording: The entire conference will be recorded and will be made available shortly thereafter for those unable to attend on the date of the conference.
Middle Grade Book Award Renaming

We received a lot of great submissions from students and the renaming committee is now in the process of finalizing the list of eligible names. Students will be voting on the name soon and we hope to announce the winning name by November.
National Book Festival 2020

The 20th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held online Sept. 25-27. Virtual author “stages,” like the author stages at past festivals, will accommodate the more than 120 authors, poets and illustrators participating in this year’s event including: Gene Luen Yang, Jerry Craft, Kate DiCamillo, Jason Reynolds & many more. For news and updates, follow the festival blog and subscribe to latest updates.
  • Great Reads & The Parade of States - The Parade of States and Great Reads highlights noteworthy authors and illustrators from each state across the country. This year each participating state and territory will have virtual “booth” with information and resources.
  • Vermont’s 2020 Great Reads selection is Right as Rain by Lindsey Stoddard. Our virtual booth will have an interview with Lindsey and materials related to books and libraries in Vermont. The interview is already on our YouTube channel:
Small & Rural Libraries
Engage Your Community
  • September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. Ideas and resources to participate even if your library is closed to the public right now are here:

  • The American Library Association is a premier partner for National Voter Registration Day. They are offering resources and materials for organizations to participate in this initiative as well as other ways libraries can promote voting in a non-partisan way. Details are here:
Continuing Education
2020 Trustees and Friends Conference

The Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont Library Association are excited to host the annual Trustees and Friends Conference in a new format. The 2020 conference will consist of a series of online events September 21-25, with a variety of speakers, discussions, Q&A, and virtual networking opportunities. There will be a Town Hall with State Librarian Jason Broughton, a keynote address from Susan Clark, guest presenters on library budgets, library marketing, HR, board management, a session on library advocacy with VLA President Kevin Unrath, and a chance to hear from Vermont librarians about their work. There will even be a library trivia game! Each day will feature at least one synchronous event, and throughout the week there will be videos released, discussion topics shared on the list serv, and resources that can be referenced during the week and beyond. The hope is to pack in a lot of information sharing and interactive experiences without giving anyone computer screen overload! Library trustees, Friends of the Library, and library staff and volunteers are all welcome. There is no fee to attend! More details are on the VTLIB website:

2020 ARSL Conference

Another upcoming online conference is the 2020 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) annual conference. Titled “SOAR with Libraries: Sharing Our Amazing Resources,” this takes place September 28th- October 2nd, and will include keynotes, breakout sessions, and virtual networking opportunities. Topics featured are programming, technology, grant writing, library security and more. This conference is uniquely geared toward libraries like so many Vermont public libraries, and never fails to be relevant. Fees range from $25-$65. More information:
From Our Neighbors at the Vermont Historical Society
VHS News & Events
Beyond Genealogy: Fall Conference
September 12, 10:00am-3:00pm

You've identified basic names, dates, and maybe even some additional context about your family history. Now what? Our virtual genealogy conference can help you take the next steps in your research. This half-day conference features several programs focused on grounding your genealogical work in good overall history practices.
This conference is $20 for members and $40 for non-members.

Visit our website for more info:
Third Thursday: 3D Scanning for New Archaeological Discoveries
September 17, 12:00pm-1:00pm

This monthly series featuring Vermont scholars will cover new research and ideas about the Green Mountain State.
3D technologies are revolutionizing how we see, record, and interpret the past. Matthew Moriarty discusses the early results of Castleton University’s Digital Archaeology Project. Established to explore 3D applications in archaeology and curation, the project is highlighting some of the benefits and pitfalls of the use of various technologies. This presentation discusses the creation of 3D models, from start to finish, as well as opportunities for future collaborations.

Zoom link:
At Home History for Homeschoolers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are introducing the option of At-Home History for Homeschoolers. Once a month, we will send links to lesson plans and student materials for two activities which can be done at home. (Check out a sample activity from spring 2020: linjnknkn.)

Cost is $6.00 per month, or $5.00 per month for members of the Vermont Historical Society. Find out how to become a member here:

The activities are recommended for children ages 7 to 12. Materials will be shared through a Google Drive. Some activities will include PDFs to print.

We recognize that situations might change during the course of the year. We are suggesting that families pay by month, rather than pre-paying for the classes, to offer flexibility for both participants and the museum staff. However, you may select to pay by semester or for the whole year in advance.

To register, use this link: or contact Victoria Hughes at or (802) 828-1413.