News

VLA/VSLA Joint Conference Call for Proposals

Let’s celebrate! The Vermont Library Association (VLA) and the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) are pleased to announce their joint sponsorship of a one-day conference in 2023, and we need YOU!

We are seeking presenters for:

“Be the Place: Libraries Are For Everyone!”

The conference will be held at Doubletree by Hilton in South Burlington on Monday, April 3, 2023. Proposals are due by Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. 

We are looking for presenters for a wide variety of sessions.

Read more

Librarian Kelly McCagg

VLA President’s Letter

Whether we like it or not, the world in which we are currently living—sore throat, mask, test, repeat—is not going to change in the foreseeable future. So, it is up to each one of us to make this “new normal” better than before. What does this mean in the library world?

Hopefully, COVID has taught us to be more accessible—or at the very least, loosen our requirements for access. Maybe your library initiated an online registration tool or simply mailed paper registration forms to patrons’ homes. Is it feasible to keep these accommodations? Doubting Debbie (I mean no disrespect to anyone named Deborah) will say, “The library is back to its full schedule of hours. There is no reason why we need to keep offering this service.” But what if your pre-COVID hours didn’t work for the person’s schedule? They may work multiple jobs or lack reliable transportation. However, once they have their library card they can access all your online resources when their schedule allows. Do a cost vs. reward analysis to see if it is worth keeping. My guess is if you have chosen librarianship as a profession, you will find a way to efficiently offer this service to your community.

On the flip side, look for processes, programs, or policies that can be updated or weeded—“because we’ve always done it that way” no longer holds water. Are you still keeping paper copies of patron information already stored electronically? Does your program lineup look similar to that from the 1950s? Do you offer a virtual option for meetings and programs? Does your cell phone policy limit use to certain areas due to fear of disturbing other users? Are your bathrooms still gender specific? Be brave enough to be uncomfortable and your patrons will thank you!

Our communities, whether they are large universities, bucolic towns, or tiny hamlets, are all composed of smaller sections that need to work together in order to create a dynamic, cohesive unit. That means we all need to put our egos aside, and maybe even that argument that happened three town managers ago, to find a way to work together. Take the initiative and sit next to the person who rubs you the wrong way at the next meeting. You may discover some small similarity on which you can build a relationship that will benefit not just the library, but the community at large. Now can be a considerable time of growth. It will require very little, if any money, but a great deal of dedication and enthusiasm.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”
–Mark Twain

Kelly L. McCagg
Vermont Library Association President
Director, Burnham Memorial Library
president@vermontlibraries.org
November 2022
(This letter was first published in the November 2022 VLA News email newsletter, sent quarterly to Vermont Library Association members.)

Public Library Section Hosts Addison County Library Tour

Librarians from around Vermont gathered in Addison County on September 30 to tour four public libraries. “Last spring’s Vermont Library Association (VLA) library tour in the Northeast Kingdom was so much fun, we decided to do it again, this time in Addison County (mostly),” said Susan O’Connell, president of VLA’s Public Library Section and director of Craftsbury Public Library.

The group visited Starksboro Public Library in Starksboro Common, Russell Memorial Library in North Ferrisburgh, Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes, and Charlotte Public Library (in Chittendon County).  Two of the libraries recently underwent expansion, one created a new teen space in an alcove, and two others have expanded their digital outreach to their communities.

Starksboro Public Library Director Catherine Goldsmith (far right) talks about the history of the library to tour participants.

Starksboro Public Library Director Catherine Goldsmith (far right) talks about the history of the library to tour participants.

 

Group of women standing in a library room with bookshelves and books.

Tour participants in Russell Memorial Library’s new building, which opened in October 2021.

 

Bixby Memorial Free Library Director Catherine Hays (center) greets VLA tour participants on the steps of the library in Vergennes.

Bixby Memorial Free Library Director Catherine Hays (center) greets VLA tour participants on the steps of the library in Vergennes.

 


The Vermont Library Association’s Public Libraries Section strives to extend the ability of libraries to provide equal access to and availability of literary and cultural resources by providing tools and resources to librarians. The section supports librarianship in the state through educational and social events.

Natacha Liuzzi, a smiling white woman with gray hair, and Erin Davison, a smiling white woman with curly hair, standing behind a stack of books.

Professional Development Grant Winners Fall 2022

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) Scholarship and Awards Committee is pleased to announce two winners for the Fall 2022 VLA Professional Development Grant.

Natacha Liuzzi (left in picture), Children’s Specialist at South Burlington Public Library, will attend “The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future,” a six-week Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) online course. The class will give participants a solid grounding in the history of the Newbery Medal and how it has changed over time; an opportunity to read, discuss, and consider past and present Newbery winners; a chance to talk to former Newbery Committee members and a Newbery author; and suggestions for programming using Newbery-winning books. The VLA grant will help defray the cost of the class.

Erin Davison, Youth Services Librarian at Norwich Public Library, will attend the New England Library Association (NELA) 2022 Annual Conference from October 23 through 25. The conference will give her the opportunity to connect with and learn from librarians in the region as she navigates rural librarianship for the first time in her career. The VLA grant will help defray the costs of the conference.

VLA’s Professional Development Grant, managed by the Scholarship and Awards Committee, provides the recipient with up to $250 for a professional development program such as a workshop, conference, or continuing education course. Applications are accepted twice a year (deadlines are May 1 and August 7), and priority is given by monetary need, library involvement, leadership, and commitment to Vermont libraries. Grant recipients are required to write a brief account of their professional development opportunity for VLA News, our quarterly email newsletter. For more information, and to apply, visit the Vermont Library Association Professional Development Grant webpage.

Vermont Library Association Small Logo

VLA Professional Development Grant Applications Open

The Vermont Library Association’s Scholarship and Awards Committee is accepting applications for the fall round of their professional development grant. Up to $250 is available to attend a workshop, a conference, or a continuing education course.  The deadline for applications is Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, with the awardee notified by September 1. (Please note the deadline has been changed to August 14.)

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be an active VLA member;
  • Live in Vermont and/or work in a Vermont library; and
  • Not have received a scholarship from VLA in the past two years.

For complete details and to apply, visit the VLA Professional Development Grant web page.

If you have additional questions, contact one of the Scholarship and Awards Committee co-chairs:
Pamela Cartier at clic@vermontlaw.edu

Mary Danko at mdanko@burlingtonvt.gov

VLA Annual Meeting 2022

VLA Annual meeting 10-11 am - Wednesday June 2

Dear VLA Members:

The Vermont Library Association Annual Meeting will be held from 10 – 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, on Zoom.
You can register at this link.

For those unable to attend, you can request an absentee ballot by clicking this link.

Here is the agenda:

  • Call to Order
  • Approval of Minutes from 2021 Annual Meeting
  • Budget Report
  • Election of Board Members
  • Reports from Working Groups, Roundtables, etc.
  • Proposed changes to membership structure
  • Remarks from the State Librarian Cathy Delneo
  • Remarks from VLA President-Elect Kelly McCagg

Best,
Mike Roy
President, Vermont Library Association

2022 Vermont Library Association Conference

posted which repeats the details of the confrence and has an image of the main guy who is handling the unconference

Better Together!

This year, VLA is again doing things a little differently. On the heels of a very successful 2021 virtual conference, we’ll be hosting a participant-driven conference on June 1, 2022, at Castleton University. The theme is Better Together, which embodies two defining principles for the day: the chance for us to see each other in person after a long time apart, and the idea that sharing our knowledge helps us all improve ourselves and our libraries.

Register now, or read more.

Vermont Library Association Statement on Critical Race Theory

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) ​stands firmly against any legislation that restricts or impedes any education on Racism, “Divisive” Concepts, Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education in libraries and educational institutions. This includes any books, resources, curriculum, or programming that libraries provide. Furthermore, we believe that it is imperative to call attention to portions of our history that have been previously omitted, misrepresented, distorted or misstated.

VLA is committed to upholding intellectual freedom in all of our libraries: Public Libraries, School Libraries, Special Libraries, and Academic Libraries. People must be able to access information without censorship and without fear that their intellectual inquiries are illegal. It is only through the vigorous upholding of freedoms of speech and inquiry that we can truly be a democratic nation that strives not only to understand its history, but to learn and become better from it.

Libraries and librarians have had a long history of upholding all forms of intellectual freedom. The current attacks and efforts to use legislation to suppress it are alarming, and are reaching unprecedented numbers throughout our country. Critical thinking and civil discourse for all points of view must be protected and encouraged in a democracy. Any attack on these tenets is an affront to the rights of all people and is intended to work against the values of equity, diversity and inclusion for which all libraries strive for.

VLA is committed to supporting our librarians and the communities they serve. We pledge to defend, assist, and stand with our members if and when they are challenged. Furthermore, we pledge to continue to educate our communities on the importance of holding sacred the freedoms that the United States of America was built on, not only as an inalienable right, but as foundational to our democracy and our efforts to be an example of a true, thriving democracy throughout the world.

The Vermont Library Association is in agreement with, and stands firmly with, the American Library Association’s Statement on Censorship of Information Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education of August 18, 2021.

The Vermont Library Association is in agreement with, and stands firmly with, the American Library Association’s Statement on Book Censorship of November 29, 2021.

Additional resources on Critical Race Theory

PDF of this statement formatted as a press release.

VLA Statement Condemning Increased Violence and Racism Towards Black Americans and People of Color

The Executive Board of the Vermont Library Association (VLA) stands in solidarity with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and in endorsement of the Executive Board of the American Library Association’s (ALA) June 1 statement in condemning violence and racism toward black people and all people of color.

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/ala-executive-board-stands-bcala/

The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis, MN police officers is the most recent in a long line of events in the United States reminding us that racism is not a thing of the past.  The Executive Board of VLA urges our members to use your spheres of influence to respond to these events in your communities, to continue to advocate for all people regardless of race, to uphold fairness and justice in your policies and in your day to day operations and to continue to stand firm against “acts of prejudice and threats of violence”.

Sincerely,

Amy Olsen, President
Kevin Unrath,  President Elect
Cindy Weber, Past President
Marie Schmukal, Secretary
Susan Smolinsky, Treasurer

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