Fall Programs and Books

As summer winds down and a new season fast approaches, we look forward to a great range of upcoming programs and events hosted by the library. Our Open Mic Nights return on second Fridays 7-9pm beginning September 11th at the Moretown Town Hall, this is your chance to share your hidden talents or cheer on your friends and neighbors as part of the audience. In partnership with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) we are hosting a Simple Supper at the Town Hall on Sunday, September 22nd at 4pm. We will prepare and then enjoy a simple, seasonal meal together with local ingredients. Visit our website for more details and the link for ingredient sign-up. At the end of September, we welcome Jordan Streeter for a four week series of tabletop Role Playing Games (RPG). Beginning with the Tiny D6 system, Jordan will introduce players to the basics of game play as well as character development and certain rule aspects.

The MRV Libraries are also excited to participate in Lawson’s Finest Liquids “no tip” charitable program until August 31st. Any donations received from guests at Lawson’s taproom will go to our Friend’s of the Library organizations, and will help support a wide range of services provided by the libraries like summer learning, improved technology and access for all, building up a ‘library of things’ collection and guest speakers and events.

A good mystery/thriller can be a great way to finish out your summer reading. A recent addition to our collection,  “The Other Mrs. Miller” by Allison Dickson is a domestic thriller with an unpredictable plot and unreliable narrator. The story is sure to appeal to fans of “Gone Girl”  or “Girl on the Train”. And, arriving on August 27th is the highly anticipated newest novel in the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. “A Better Man” follows the inspector returning as head of the homicide department as flood waters rise across the province and a father pleads for help finding his daughter. See you at the library soon!

The Heart of the Summer

The first haying is long past and the river is the place to be as we find ourselves in the heart of summer. Things at the library have been busy as well with summer learning, new books and some strategic planning in the works.

The library trustees will be meeting for a half day retreat on Saturday, July 20th to spend some time on the ‘the big picture’. Utilizing both the data we gathered during our recent community engagement as well as previous strategic plans, the goal is to think about how the library can grow and evolve to continue meeting our community’s needs while also preserving what currently benefits the town. While only a beginning, this concentrated time will help create some guidance for the trustees as they work to ensure a sustainable future for the library as a community space.

There are also still a few weeks of great events left in our “Universe of Stories” summer learning program. On Saturday, July 20th at 7:30pm we will “Party to the Moon and Back” at the Moretown Rec. Fields to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Eat moon cake, make galaxy slime and watch actual footage of the moon landing. We will also have telescopes and other equipment on hand for some stargazing once the sun goes down. Tuesday, July 23rd at 10:30am we explore “The Myths in our Stars” at the Moretown Town Hall with a hands-on workshop to learn some of the constellations, planets and stories they tell. And Thursday, July 25th at 1pm at the library we discover what it would take to survive on Mars with a breakout game complete with codes to crack and puzzles to solve. A big thank you goes to our two summer interns, Sophia Sharp and Elizabeth Polubinski, who have helped make so many of the programs happen. Be sure to visit our website to check out the summer learning brochure for details on the rest of the summer.

Some great titles for summer reading (and cooking) include “Superiority Burger Cookbook” by Brooks Headley and “Mrs. Everything” by Jennifer Weiner. Following two sisters born in 1950’s detroit, Weiner deftly explores how aspirations for the future can be derailed and changed through love and loss on a personal level against the backdrop of a tumultuous and changing time for women in American culture. While not as new to our collection, with all of the great local and fresh produce summer is a great time to explore vegetarian cooking with the “Superiority Burger Cookbook”. You will not find any meat burgers but instead a plethora of sandwiches, cool salads and warm vegetables like the “sloppy dave”, “hippy wrap” and ‘ice-cold herbed melon and cucumber salad”. Yum. Hope to see you at the library soon!

Summer Reading Is Near

Although the temperatures have been deceiving, the trees and flowers are showing us that summer is nearly here.  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 “A Universe of Stories” we have put together an exciting lineup of programs for all ages to explore Outer Space and all it contains. We blast off to summer learning on Saturday, June 29th at 10:30am at the Moretown Town Hall and welcome back the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum for “Alien Earth”. With the help of live animals, hands on artifacts and fossils this engaging presentation will take a look at the changing history of life on this planet like the time when oxygen almost killed everything and the age of cockroaches. Dinoman joins us at the Warren Library on Saturday, July 6th at 10:30am for an interplanetary outer space expedition with dinosaurs, meteors, comets, liquid nitrogen and a goldfish. And The Caterpillar Lab from Keene, NH will share part of the universe of insects when they bring a variety of New England species to American Flatbread on Saturday, July 13th from 3:30-6:30pm. Along with these Department of Libraries grant funded events, other programs include a Star Wars Trivia night, the Myth in our Stars, ponding at Blueberry Lake, a solar system walk on the Mad River Path and landing everything with a make-believe rocketship building event. Details on all of our programs as well as summer reading logs are available at the libraries and on our websites soon.

As we anxiously await the bounty of summer, we have one more spring program to offer to the community. CBD 101 with clinical herbalist Stephanie Boucher is an afternoon exploration of the hows and whys of CBD, which will include learning about how the remedies are created, how to source (or make) quality CBD products, how they work in the body, and for what ailments and conditions it can be useful. If you have been wondering about the differences between THC and CBD, or marijuana and hemp and whether it might be a good option for you or your loved ones join us at the Moretown Town Hall on Sunday, June 9th at 1:30pm.

And of course, once the busyness of Spring winds down the warmer months can be a great time to read down by the river or at the beach. New to our collection, and appropriate to read next to the ocean, is “Eat LIke a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer” by Bren Smith.  As the title suggests, this former commercial fisher shares his journey into the world of sea-based agriculture and his pioneering efforts developing vertical kelp/shellfish farming. Part memoir and part how-to, the book also includes recipes from acclaimed chefs and shows that getting more ocean vegetables onto our plates is good for both people and the planet. For something more sentimental and humorous, Dave Barry’s newest “Lessons from Lucy” shares life lessons on joy from his best old dog. We hope to see you at the library soon!

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!