Free Access for All

Joining a handful of memorable librarians featured on the silver screen like Marian from the Music Man and Andy Dufresne of the Shawshank Redemption, “The Public” released this month brings us Stuart Goodson played by Emilio Estevez. Inspired by a 2007 essay in the Los Angeles Times, the movie focuses on a public library and its patrons who are homeless as they face an arctic freeze one winter night. Estevez wrote, directed and stars in the film which shares the increasing role of libraries as places of access and equity when dealing with many of today’s social issues. The film will be playing at the Savoy Theater next week only, with a special opening night on Friday featuring Q&A with a panel of local librarians.

Although too small to house anyone overnight, we do work to provide free access to books, resources and information through our programs. On Sunday, April 27th from 3-6pm we open up the Town Hall to anyone interested in playing the legendary fantasy role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. May brings a free Sewing Extravaganza day to work on your projects together on the 11th from 9am-4pm, registration is required by contacting the library. Spend some time on your mental health and well-being by joining in Forest Spa Time on Sunday, May 12th from 3-5pm at the Moretown Town Forest. We finish out the month with Birding by Ear with the Mad Birders; there is an indoor session on Saturday May 25th at 1:30pm at Town Hall, and then practice outside on Sunday, May 26th at 7am at Pony Farm in Moretown.

There are also many resources available at the library to help anyone get started on a path to needed services. Organizations like Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Circle, the Governor’s Institute, AARP, Capstone Community Action and Departments of Health and Children and Family all send information to be posted and distributed. Guided access to Vermont 211’s website resource guide with categories from crisis/helplines and consumer resources to health care, food and housing is also available. And, as the newest official posting site for town committees, residents can see agendas and minutes for the various open meetings happening in the community.

Finally, there is the original and fundamental service of providing free books either physically or electronically thereby increasing access to information for all. Some recent additions to our collection include “Lights All Night Long” by Lydia Fitzpatrick and “American Moonshot: John F Kennedy and the Great Space Race” by Douglas Brinkley. Fitzpatrick shares the story of 15 year old Ilya as he embarks upon a year in America as an exchange student. Complications arise for his brother Vladimir back in Russia when he finds himself in prison, and with the help of his host family’s daughter Ilya works to find the truth. With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer, the non-fiction tale of the space race by Brinkley is an appropriate way to commemorate this part of our shared history. Hope to see you at the library soon!

2019 Summer Teen Internship Available!

We are excited to announce that we are one of the recipients of this grant! See our main page for more details about the internship and how to apply.

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) has chosen 25 libraries to receive its 2019 Summer Teen Intern Grant.

The grant will allow libraries to hire teen interns to assist in the implementation of their summer learning programs, while also helping teens gain real world work experience, and develop professional skills. The grant is possible through the generous sponsorship from The Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The recipients are as follows:

  • Andrews, Ann; B.F. Jones Memorial Library; Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
  • Bengtson, Katherine; Bill Memorial Library; Groton, Connecticut
  • Burson, Hayley; Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) Library – Sugar Creek Branch
  • Collins, Dawn; Madison County Library System; Canton, Mississippi
  • Garcia, Brittany; Rancho Cucamonga (California) Public Library
  • Grenkow, Diane; Jeudevine Memorial Library; Hardwick, Vermont
  • Hannah, Jaimee; Florence-Lauderdale (Alabama) Public Library
  • Manner, Suvi; Palm Springs (Florida) Public Library
  • O’Connor, Shannon; Edith B. Ford Memorial Library; Ovid, New York
  • Outwater, Bel; Auburn (Georgia) Public Library
  • Owens, Elena; Wake County Public Libraries; Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Panter, Laura; Sachem Public Library; Holbrook, New York
  • Porche, Shannon; Lafourche Parish Public Library – South Lafourche Branch; Cut Off, LA
  • Rand, Lisa; Boyertown (Pennsylvania) Community Library
  • Scott, Kelly; Ypsilanti (Michigan) District Library
  • Sealy, Nancy; Onslow County Public Library; Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Shade, Emily; Jefferson City (Tennessee) Public Library
  • Sofge, Robin; Montclair Community Library; Dumfries, Virginia
  • Stephenson, Cory; Moretown (Vermont) Memorial Library
  • Strohm, Janine; Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library; Brookville, Pennsylvania
  • Thompson Hearn, Katherine; Walkersvillle (Maryland) Branch Library
  • Townsend, Sarah; Suffolk (Virginia) Public Library
  • Williams, Natalie; Indian Prairie Library; Darien, Illinois
  • Wright, Carol; Gadsden (Alabama) Public Library Foundation
  • Wright, Rachel; Cecil County Public Library – Elkton (Maryland) Branch

To learn more about the grant please visit the Summer Teen Intern Grant page on the YALSA site. To find more resources on summer learning, please visit our Summer Reading/Learning wiki page.

For years, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has provided Youth Literacy Grants to schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations in hopes to provide assistance in implementing and expanding literacy programs for youth. For more information about Dollar General and its Youth Literacy Grants, visit www.dollargeneral.com.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.

Meeting Community Needs

Last Friday a vibrant scene unfolded at the Town Hall as young children and their families gathered to welcome GMVS 7th graders graciously donating toys and furniture they had constructed during their STEM unit. The children dove right into building on both the train and light tables, concocting yummy imaginary snacks in the play kitchen, making valentines while sitting at a table and chairs sized just for them and taking turns getting rides from the big kids in the model Tesla. Parents were able to chat and connect with each other when they weren’t joining in the play, and GMVS students had the chance to see their hard work pay off as little ones buzzed around them engaged and happy.

Events such as this help meet one of the biggest goals identified by the community during our recent surveys of having ways to connect and collaborate across different groups and ages and stages. Being at the Town Hall fulfilled another goal of people wanting access to a comfortable space to gather informally. The program also introduced new people to our village center touching on the third important goal identified of building resilience and a thriving community that is happy, healthy and economically satisfied. We look forward to many more weeks of Read & Play for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers happening Fridays at the Town Hall at 10:30am.

We are also grateful to the community members who attended the recent design nights and helped think through how the library could meet some of these community goals in the Town Hall space. Many great ideas were generated for being an information hub and creating cozy spaces while preserving event capabilities, and we look forward to sharing some of them during our presentation at pre-town and Town Meeting in just a few weeks. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out and share any other feedback or questions you might have about the library moving to the Town Hall.

As part of the MRV libraries, we are excited to host a new book discussion series from the Vermont Humanities Council. Entitled  “A Hard Look at America”, it features pulitzer-prize writing including: Summer For the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing  by Edward J. Larson,  All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer and Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink. The series kicks off at the Warren Library on Thursday, February 21st at 6:30 pm with a facilitated discussion of Larsen’s book. Stop in to check out a copy or grab a flyer for more information. Later on in March we welcome children’s author Daphne Kalmar for a talk on her book “A Stitch in Time”, and kick-off a series on Mindful Aging with Bobbi Rood.

In the spirit of mindful aging, we recently added Mary Phipher’s new book “ Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as we Age” to our collection. For younger audiences or those young at heart we have “The Beastie Boys Book” available. Written by surviving band members Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), this tome is both an eclectic look at the seminal group from the inside as well as a tribute to bandmate Adam Yauch (MCA). We hope to see you at the library soon!

 

The Year in Numbers

Although the term “data informed decision making” can seem quite dry and quickly lead to a glazing of the eyes for some, taking a look at the numbers can often lead to inspiration from patterns not noticed before. It is in this spirit that we share some numbers from the past year at the library.

Just over 4,000 books, audiobooks and DVD’s were circulated from our physical collection of 6,280 titles in 2018 which was an increase from the previous year. We also saw an increase in the number of registered borrowers, despite removing nearly 145 inactive accounts from our system. We enjoyed 2,017 visits from adults and children alike as they checked out books, asked reference questions or used the computers. In 2018, our ECHO pass had the most number of checkouts, followed by Celeste Ng’s book “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See rounding out the top three. Most exciting was a record attendance of 924 of you at our programs, which ranged from Bullet Journaling, Dungeons & Dragons and the ever popular Moretown Open Mic, to collaborating as MRV Libraries and presenting events on racism, fake news and our summer reading program Libraries Rock.

In 2019, we hope to help meet the needs identified during our community engagement and continue providing opportunities for people of all ages to get together and connect. New this year we are offering “Read and Play” Fridays at the Moretown Town Hall. Starting January 25th at 10:30am, children 0-5 and their caregivers can come play big and small, then enjoy a few stories and songs to say goodbye. We are very grateful and excited that GMVS students and the Sculpture School are hard at work building furniture and toys for this program, and they may even be on hand to deliver their pieces and play with everyone on Friday, February 2nd. On Sunday, January 27th at 1:30pm, we invite you to join us to discover your tree traits. Meeting at the Moretown Recreation Fields, we will learn more about the trees that inhabit our forests and incorporate the practice of forest bathing to connect to them on this gentle nature walk. As the MRV libraries and partnering with Community Capstone Action, MRV Community Fund and the Big Picture Theater, on Tuesday January 29th at 6pm we bring a screening of the documentary  “The Hungry Heart” and a conversation about the opioid epidemic and how it manifests in our community. Our monthly Dungeons & Dragons meet-up will be happening Saturday, February 2nd at the Town Hall from 3-6pm. Finally, we welcome Paul Lesure from Green Mountain Solar on Thursday, February 7th to share what is happening with solar and energy storage in Vermont in 2019.

Looking to the year ahead, we want to continue your involvement as we plan for the future including our potential move to the Town Hall. To that end, we are offering two opportunities for interested community members to meet at the Town Hall and think about ways the library could act as an anchor in a community space. Join us on Friday February 8th at 5pm before Open Mic Night or Sunday, February 10th at 3pm for an interactive design session. We will also continue to share the results of our surveys, interviews and focus groups and welcome your feedback at any time. We hope to see you at the library soon!

Celebrating the return of light

Winter Solstice is just past and with it a celebration of the slow return of light to our days. Here at the library we have upcoming programs and new books to share some light and fun as we settle into the middle of the season.

Our popular monthly Dungeons & Dragons meetup is Saturday, December 29th from 3-6pm at the Moretown Town Hall. Both new and seasoned players are welcome to come enjoy this legendary fantasy role playing game. Bring your own character made from 5e, or play one of ours. Although it is on a break now through the end of the year, beginning in January we are moving storytime to the Moretown Town Hall on Fridays and changing the format to “read and play” with toys, crafts and of course a few books too. Finally, look for the start of our Forest Bathing series on January 13th at 1:30pm with “Discover your Tree Traits”. As with all living creatures, different trees have unique characteristics that can align with our own strengths and weaknesses. On this gentle nature walk we will learn more about the trees that inhabit our woods, and through the practice of forest bathing discover which ones we feel most connected too. This 2019 series includes a fire building workshop March 1st,  and celebrating the signs of spring in the next season.

We are also happy to welcome the light energy and helpful ways of our new assistant Anne McLuckie to the library. With a love of classic books and films, she is eager to share favorite titles and hear all about your favorites as well. Originally from Oklahoma but drawn to the northern woods, Anne has lived in Vermont for seven years. She lives with her husband and daughter in Roxbury, and is very excited about her new role in our community. Stop in on Tuesdays or Thursdays and meet her.

Two recent books added to our collection shed new light on favorite themes as well. With George R.R. Martin’s new book “Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones”, fans have something to tide them over until the next of the series comes out. Bringing the history of the Targaryens to light, the story is also accompanied by eighty new illustrations by Doug Wheatley. Inspired by a 2010 performance art piece “The Artist is Present” by Marina Abramovic, “The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose focuses on film composer Arky Levin’s awakening as he spends day after day witnessing people’s reaction as they sit across from the artist making eye contact but not speaking and reveals the power of art to transform. We hope to see you at the library soon!

Reflecting and Gratitude

The leaves are gone, fall school sports have wrapped up and a quiet time has descended as we prepare to enjoy a favorite holiday gathering with friends and family and eating good food. It is a good time to pause, reflect and find gratitude where we can.

After four months of in-person interviews, an online survey and focus group meetings, we have been reflecting on all of the feedback gathered about our community and the library. We have learned that Moretowners love the rural character, central location, recreational land and the neighbors and community of our town. Some challenges for the community highlighted by participants included the broad geography, small economic base, communicating everything that is going on in town, and a lack of involvement in the community beyond the school and Town Meeting. The most shared goal across all groups was a desire for more opportunities for connection through events and a place to gather, followed by preserving our rural character, and maintaining and growing a thriving community that’s happy, healthy and economically satisfied.

When asked how the library could help our community reach these goals, participants noted that providing programming and events that bring together all ages and stages was important. Another common insight mentioned was the possibility of the library becoming a place to gather informally, and acting as an anchor in a larger flexible community space. Finally, a desire was expressed to have the library act as an information hub and share news and events happening in town through a variety of media.  All of the data collected will continue to be reviewed and used to inform our future planning, look for the full results of our community engagement on our website soon . There will also be several upcoming opportunities to meet at the Town Hall and review possible designs for the space that meet the community’s needs before a plan and budget are presented for discussion at Town Meeting in March.

Several recent titles added to our collection also focus on reflection and gratitude. “The Good Neighbor: the Life and Work of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King highlights the many contributions to television and society by this champion of compassion, kindness and equality. And just out last week, Michelle Obama’s autobiography “Becoming” shares the path of this unique First Lady as she strives to live authentically and in service of higher ideals.

Last but not least, we find gratitude in this season for all of the community’s support. Whether from direct patronage, participation in programming, donations or tax dollars, we are privileged to provide materials and services to meet the community’s needs. Hope to see you at the library soon!

 

Community Engagement

After traveling this summer to Atlanta for a conference, I am reminded that spending time away from our community is always a good way to gain fresh perspective. Organized by the Colorado State Library and Colorado Library Consortium, The Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) was a chance to gather with other librarians and learn more about data informed decision making. This grant-funded opportunity was both intensive and inspiring and will certainly help the library as we collect community feedback and plan our future programs, services and location.

To that end, we have entered the next phase of community engagement with an online survey meant to reach as many residents as possible. If you haven’t had a chance to speak in person with one of our volunteers, this is an opportunity to share your thoughts with us. You can access the survey on our website, Facebook page, Front Porch Forum or visit the library for a paper copy. The deadline for submission is September 15th. We plan to use this data along with in-depth interviews and stakeholder meetings to help inform future library design and planning, as well as share what we have learned with the community.

Settling back into our regular routines, we have some great upcoming programs for the new season. On Sunday, September 9th from 1-3pm, head out with “fun guy” and mushroom maven, John Atkinson, for a walk on the Moretown Forest trails next to the school. Explore fungi in their natural habitat and learn about this unique Kingdom of Life. All ages are encouraged, bring a basket or bag for gathering. The walk is rain or shine, so please dress for conditions. And our Moretown Open Mic Nights are back for a third season. Come share your hidden talents or cheer on your friends and neighbors as they strive to entertain. Join us at the Town Hall from 7-9pm starting Friday, September 14th and through the Fall 10/12, 11/9 and 12/14.

The MRV Libraries are also excited to host a variety of events for this year’s VT Reads title, “Bread and Roses, Too”. Vermont author Katherine Paterson shares the story of the pivotal 1912 textile mill worker strike in Lawrence, MA through the eyes of an italian-american girl and runaway boy. With a focus on the immigrant experience, labor and local history, there are many topics to investigate. Programs such as an intergenerational book discussion, the screening of a related movie, and recreating the children’s welcoming banquet from the story will be happening in late October and November. Thanks to a generous donation from the Vermont Humanities Council, all three libraries have multiple copies and we invite students and adults alike to stop in and check one out.

As we hold onto the freedom of summer for a little longer, we have a few recent titles related to travel added to our collection. “Northland : A 4,000 Mile Journey Along America’s Forgotten Border” by Porter Fox weaves together the three years the author spent exploring the region with the fascinating early history of the area and its importance as our primary border. “What We Were Promised” by Lucy Tan follows the Zhen family as they move back to China after chasing the American Dream. Even as different characters work to reinvent themselves, the past is there waiting in this novel of class, culture and family. We hope to see you at the library soon!

Summer at the Library

The many hues of green are in place, the swimming holes are busy and and the first cut of hay is being made, so Summer must finally be on its way. With its arrival comes many opportunities from the Library to stay engaged reading, learning and being part of the community.

One of the MRV Libraries’ main attractions is the summer reading program. With a theme of “Libraries Rock!”, we have put together an exciting lineup of programs for all ages that explore music, sound, and of course rocks. Join us on Thursday, June 21st at 4pm for our kick-off event presented by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS). “Screech and Hoot: The Science of Bird Communication” will explore the different calls of raptors as well as what they might mean, and give the chance to meet some of these talkative hawks, falcons and owls in person. Other programs include drumming, rock cairn building, origami, a musical petting zoo and many more. On Friday, July 27th at 6:30pm at American Flatbread we will wrap-up and celebrate with “Campfire Sing Along and Stories” featuring singing duo Don and Nancy. Details on all of our programs, as well as signing up for summer reading logs will be available at the libraries and on our websites soon.

Thanks to generous community volunteers, our Little Free Library is now installed outside the Moretown General Store just in time for the season. The location was voted on and the structure built last year during our summer reading program, and it is currently stocked with a variety of titles no longer needed in our collection that appeal to readers young and old. Everyone is invited to stop by and take a book, or leave behind a book that needs to be read provided it fits in the library.
June also brings us Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The Moretown and Warren libraries have teamed up with the Vermont chapter of Alzheimer’s Association to host two programs around this topic, head over to Warren for the second in our series: “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease” on Wednesday June 20th at 7pm at the Warren Library.

Finally, we have a few good books to read during upcoming days at the river or beach. “The High Tide Club: A Novel” by Mary Kay Andrews follows an eccentric millionaire as she tries to make amends with her friends’ families with the help of small town lawyer Brooke Trappnell whose own grandmother was part of the High Tide Club. A compelling novel about what shapes a life and secrets that ripple through generations, it is sure to be a good beach read. “Our Towns : A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America” by husband and wife team James and Deborah Fallows provides their unique perspective after four years touring the country in their small plane. Including a visit to Burlington, and a shout out to public libraries’ role in small towns, this book sounds like it will bring hope and insight to its readers. Hope to see you at the library soon!

April Snow Showers Bring May Flowers?

Given our recent April weather, we are sure to be buried in May Flowers. Along with the migration of amphibians and returning birds, our forests’ spring ephemeral wildflowers will soon appear and are well worth seeking out. For those of you interested in learning more about these Signs of Spring, we have a variety of field guides including “The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont” edited by Rosalind Renfrew, and the much smaller and more portable “Wildflowers of Vermont” by Kate Carter. If you can’t wait to get out in the garden to help mother nature out, “Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots” by Sharon Lovejoy is a great guide for families. Filled with whimsical illustrations and easy instructions for gardens like “snacking and sipping” and “the flowery maze”, this book is a good escape from our current conditions.

April is also National Poetry Month, which was started in 1996 by the American Academy of Poets and is now one of the world’s largest literary celebrations. Their website www.poets.org gives you a plethora of ways to bring some of this art form into your life, including signing up for “poem-a-day” featuring both new and classic poetry with commentary on weekdays by the poets. On Thursday, April 26th put a poem in your pocket, carry it with you and share it with others throughout “Poem in your Pocket” day. We also have a small but interesting section of poetry including work by Rupi Kaur, Marie Howe, David Budbill, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and a great collection of local poems in “Brighten the Barn: 60th Anniversary Anthology” from the Poetry Society of Vermont.

Our upcoming Spring programs kick-off with our annual Birding by Ear workshops co-hosted with the Mad Birders. During the first interactive session indoors on Saturday, May 5th at 4pm  learn some tips and tricks for listening to and identifying our feathered friends, then head out in the early morning for our second session on Sunday, May 6th at 7:30am to practice and discover. You can also join the Mad Birders on a bonus birding by ear walk on Thursday, May 10th starting at 6:30am. On Thursday, May 17th at 6:30pm at the Moretown School our very own assistant librarian Meredith Whitney will present “Sneaky Pest: The Emerald Ash Borer”. This invasive insect has recently been confirmed here in Vermont, so come learn to identify the emerald ash borer and ash trees, recognize the signs and symptoms of the insect, and know the protocol for reporting it when/if you should find one. And join local scientist Dan Zucker for “Stephen Hawking’s Work in a Nutshell” on Sunday, May 20th at 6:30pm at the Moretown School for a lay-person’s survey of this legendary scientist’s many contributions to the fields of Physics and Cosmology. We hope to see you at the library soon!

Fake News! And How to Spot It-session 1 notes

We had an informative evening last night with MRV Libraries and Dr. Rob Williams during our first of a three part series on “Fake News! and How to Spot It”. Below are the notes from our conversation and time together:

1) What is your “go to” source(s) for “news” and why?

Christian Science Monitor
Wall Street Journal
YouTube – podcasting (Humanist, Dore)
Democracy Now
VT Digger
The Nation
BBC (3)
PBS
Guardian
Daily Wire
Google News (aggregator)
New York Times (3)
NPR (5)
WDEV (5)
Valley Reporter (9)
Twitter – CNN/Jake Tapper, @jessamynwest
Boston Globe – easy to read, connex
On Point – podcast (2)
TIME mag
Facebook
WNYC
PBS Washington Week in Review
CBS
BOOKS/HISTORY – deep context
Paul Craig Roberts – web site
G Edward Griffin – web site
John Rappaport – web site
Russia Today (RT)
Voltaire – web site
Seven Days – weekly out of Burlington
The Bridge – out of Montpelier
The Week – in print news aggregator
Front Porch Forum
Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver
Full Frontal w/ Samantha Bee

 

2) What is your biggest frustration with “news” today?

“Actors,” not Reporters
Opinions, not Facts
Infotainment, not Information
Faux Experts, not Real Experts
Real investigative journalism is rare
Offending advertisers trumps real news
One sidedness
Repetitive
24/7 news cycle – ferocious
Sensational
Click Bait
Consolidation – 6 TNCs owning 90% of our US media content
“It’s all settled” – science as (non) reported in news outlets
Negative!
Dakota Access Pipeline – CENSORSHIP
IMAGES versus WORDS
Policing of Language
The sheer amount of time it takes to be thoughtful consumer

 

REAL NEWS is “Storied” information that has SIX ingredients,:

1)  Recent
2)  Relevant
3)  Reliable
4)   Historically grounded (provides some context)
5)   Hegemonically hip (foregrounds power relations)
6)   Harmonious (multiple viewpoints)