Geek The Library!

Have you heard of “Geek the Library”?

It’s an awareness campaign for public libraries, from OCLC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is also coming to a close soon and we’d like all Vermont public libraries to learn about it and consider participating.

We are very happy to have Jennifer Powell of Geek the Library coming to Vermont to offer 2 sessions about Geek, April 30.

The first session will be held at the Dorothy Alling  Memorial Library in Williston  from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The second session that day will be Brown Public Library in Northfield from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

What is a “Geek the Library” campaign?

  • Geek the Library provides materials and ideas for your local campaigns but you are not required to do any particular activities – you can customize for your town and library. Even very small libraries can use the campaign and integrate it in simple ways to build awareness.
  • You need not have completed Turning the Page or other advocacy training in order to effectively use the campaign – 11 Vermont libraries have or are currently participating in Geek with or without other training. However, if you have completed Turning the Page, this is a terrific place to start in working community awareness of your library with very little project creation on your own.
  • This is a fun campaign, asking for nothing, but building awareness of all the library can offer the community and bringing them in to the conversation.

If your library decides to join the Geek the Library campaign you will receive:

  • Free planning resources-event strategy, gathering and organizing local information
  • Help with local advertising and events
  • Resources to download artwork and print marketing materials, as well as resources to resize templates or other materials, if needed.
  • GTL Web page that can be adopted for your individual library
  • Free PR and promotional material
  • Access to GTL database that includes marketing, data and other resources

To register for the workshops:

Geek the Library – Williston April 30, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston from 10:00 to 12:00

Geek the Library – Northfield April 30, Brown Public Library, Northfield from 2:00 to 4:00

If you cannot attend one of the two half-day workshops but would like to participate in or to learn more about the “Geek the Library” campaign, please go to:

  1. Visit http://get.geekthelibrary.org/what-is-geek-the-library/

Remember that you can always join Geek the Library campaign on your own and still attend the workshop and talk to Jenny from Geek campaign.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Michael.roche@state.vt.us (802-748-3428)  or Christine.friese@state.vt.us  (802-828-2714) to discuss Geek the Library.

VLA Statement on the Ryan Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Press Contact: Amber Billey, VLA President
Phone: 802-656-8568
Email: abilley@uvm.edu
April 8, 2014

The Vermont Library Association joins American Library Association President Barbara Stripling in rebuking the budget plan by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI). This budget plan seeks to eliminate federal funding for multiple programs dedicated to the public good that directly benefit Vermont libraries and their patrons.

Ryan’s budget resolution effectively calls for the dissolution of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency that administers grants to libraries and museums, including the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) state funding program. In Vermont, LSTA funds represent approximately 25% of the state’s $3.8 million Department of Libraries budget for fiscal year 2014.

President Stripling writes, “Libraries depend on the support they receive from IMLS to help patrons learn new skills, find job opportunities and access reading materials that they otherwise could not afford. More than $180 million has been appropriated to the Institute for Museum and Library Services through September 2014 to help libraries make information and services available to the citizens they serve. In Rep. Ryan’s own state of Wisconsin, more than 65 percent of libraries report that they are the only free access point to Internet in their communities.”

Vermont libraries serve the same critical role in ensuring equitable access to the Internet, books, and other educational materials. In Vermont LSTA funding has allowed libraries to create summer reading programs, offer adapted resources to blind and physically disabled patrons, provide Vermonters with reliable access to online databases, enhance public programs, train librarians, and much more.

The Vermont Library Association commends Vermont’s Congressional delegation for their unanimous support for LSTA. Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch all signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters in support of the program.

Ryan would like to make similar cuts in federal funding to agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting Service, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a move that would result in the loss of cultural heritage on an epic scale. In Vermont, the NEH has funded $1,118,552 toward identifying and preserving nearly 1,000 historic Vermont newspaper titles through the Vermont Newspaper Project. Most recently NEH funded digitizing over 200,000 pages through the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project.

Vermont Library Association President Amber Billey says, “In a budget that also proposes the elimination of community block grants and the drastic reduction of anti-poverty measures such as food stamps, perhaps it should be no surprise to see such disregard for America’s libraries. Vermont’s most recent libraries statistics indicate widespread use of services – nearly 4 million visits to our facilities, over 20,000 public programs offered, and 4.5 million items such as books circulated. Paul Ryan’s budget would seriously impact our ability to provide these critical services to Vermonters.”

VLA Statement on Rep. Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal That Recommends Elimination of IMLS (PDF, 228 K)

Legislative Breakfast Materials!

The Vermont Library Association’s Government Relations committee has revised materials that libraries can use to host regional legislative breakfasts, as a way of outreaching to your representatives and senators in the Vermont statehouse and apprising them of the contributions libraries make to Vermont and Vermonters. You can find suggested instructions along with a sample invitation, agenda, press release, talking points, FAQ’s and more here:

Read More

Talking Points on Vinous Beverages in Libraries

Dear Vermont librarians,

You may be hearing about a couple of bills currently under discussion in the legislature, concerning serving vinous beverages in libraries. The Vt. Library Association’s Government Relations committee is working with the bills’ sponsors, state librarian Martha Reid, and other interested parties to stay on top of discussion about the bills as they evolve, and to advocate for their basic premise: to make it easier and more cost effective for libraries to serve beer and wine at special events.

We’ve prepared a briefing to help any of you who might encounter questions (see below, or read & download here: http://www.vermontlibraries.org/vinous/). We’ll continue to keep you posted on the bills as discussion evolves. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Selene Colburn
Chair, Vermont Library Association’s Government Relations Committee

H.385 and  S.226 Legislative Brief (2014)

Read More

Press Release: John Swan Lecture with Dawn Sova

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Press Contact: Raymond Brior
Phone: 802-635-1495
Email: Raymond.Brior@jsc.edu

January 14, 2014,

Vermont Library Association with the Department of Libraries presents The Bi-Annual John Swan Intellectual Freedom Lecture with Dawn Sova

Monday, January 27, 2014 at the Pavilion Auditorium

109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609
6:00-8:00 PM Free and Open to the Public

Read More

Library Advisory Council of the Special Services Unit Meeting

What do your visually-impaired patrons want from your library? What do you as a public librarian want from Special Services?

The Library Advisory Council of the Special Services Unit will discuss these issues at its next meeting, Thursday, Nov. 21, 10am to noon, at the Vermont Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired building, 60 Kimball Ave. (near Comcast), South Burlington.

Public librarians are invited to attend, or to send questions or comments to Amy Olsen, Lanpher Memorial Library, hyde_park@vals.state.vt.us.

UPDATE: Call to Action! Advocacy for School Libraries & Librarians

This is an important message from the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) about the public hearings that start today for the Vermont State Education Quality Standards. Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca has stated that the language that VSLA proposed for the new standards will be included in the new document. Here are his exact words:

“I wanted to make sure that the librarians that you all come in contact with understand that we agree that the current language of not including librarians in the initial rules was not correct. We (AOE) also agree with the language suggestions you and others made at our meeting.”

This means that VSLA no longer needs librarians and library advocates to state their argument or plea to add wording to the Vermont Quality Education Standards.

If you do choose to come out and support school librarians in Vermont at the upcoming public hearings, here’s a supportive script:

My name is _____ and I work at _____School. I am representing the ___ librarians, ___ teachers, ___ parents and ___ community members that are here tonight. We would like tothank you for providing these important Education Quality Standards for the students in Vermont schools and for accepting the language that Vermont school librarians have suggested be included in the standards. We are happy that you have acknowledged our contributions to the Vermont education and we will continue to celebrate the good work we do with the students in our schools. Thank you.

Please keep it short and positive!

The State of Small and Rural Libraries in the United States (IMLS)

New report out from IMLS about the state of small and rural libraries in the US.
http://www.imls.gov/assets/1/AssetManager/Brief2013_05.pdf

Some highlights include:

  • Small and rural libraries make up the majority of public library systems in the United States (80.5%).
  • Vermont has the highest percentage of small libraries in the United States (98.7%).
  • Small and rural libraries continue to provide substantial electronic and digital resources for patrons through access to e-books and publicly accessible computer terminals.
  • Although per capita revenue has decreased over the past three years, visitation and circulation has increased for both small and rural libraries.

Call to Action! Advocacy for School Libraries & Librarians

The Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) needs your support! Please plan to attend one of the 3 public hearings about reinstating library language in the proposed Vermont Education Quality Standards. Stand up for Vermont students and their need for qualified professional librarians at their schools. Take colleagues with you, invite teachers, parents, and other community members who support the valuable work that school librarians do.  Add your voice to the public comments on this issue and ask others to add theirs.  This is how change will happen.

  • October 8, 6 p.m., Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Rd., Brattleboro, Multipurpose Room
  • October 17, 4 p.m., Lake Region Union High School, 317 Lake Region Rd., Orleans, Multipurpose Room
  • October 21, 4 p.m., Champlain Valley Union High School, 369 CVU Rd., Hinesburg, Room 140

If you have any questions, please contact VSLA President-Elect Denise Wentz.Thank you in advance for your part in this advocacy initiative!