Registration has closed for the 128th Vermont Library Conference, a joint event bringing together the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) and the Vermont Library Association (VLA) for a full day of learning, networking, and celebrating all things library. The theme, “Be the Place: Libraries Are for Everyone,” reflects the shared goal for all librarians of creating inclusive, accessible, exciting, and sustainable spaces—whether in person or online.
Author Archive: jessamyn
VLA statement regarding VTSU library closures
The Vermont Library Association (VLA), representing more than 300 librarians, library staff, and trustees in public, school, academic, and corporate libraries, is calling on the leadership of the Vermont State University (VTSU) to reverse their decision to close the physical libraries on its campuses.
The move to “all-digital” libraries announced on February 8 will hurt students, faculty, staff, and the rural communities in which the VTSU campuses are located.
The students of the VTSU deserve access to robust library collections and services. This includes face-to-face and online services, such as reference and course support, and collections in digital and print formats.Read more
VLA President’s Letter
President’s Letter by Kelly L. McCagg
Personally, as an introvert that tends to get hyperfocused, I am always working to improve my communication skills. I think we as an organization need to make enhanced communication a goal in order to grow participation and heighten the level of benefits one reaps from being a member. With that in mind, I would like to take a moment to make you aware of some upcoming opportunities.
There is exciting news from NELLS (New England Library Leadership Symposium)! First, the application period for Tier II: Mid-Career Leadership is now open. This is what was historically known as NELLS, prior to the growth of the program. This year’s retreat is being held in Stowe, Vermont from April 24th through April 27th. The application can be found here, and is due by February 17th. All applicants must be members of NELA (don’t worry, there will be more information about this, just keep reading).
If you don’t qualify for this round, or if you have already graduated from the program, maybe you would be interested in serving as a mentor. Vermont will have the opportunity to send one mentor to participate in the program, with hotel and meals covered by NELA. Per NELA: “Mentors should be comfortable facilitating small group discussions about topics such as conflict management, community building, strategic planning, resilience, diversity, and addressing modern issues in libraries from a leadership perspective. Mentors will help foster an open, safe environment for cohort members to explore ideas and ask questions.” If this sounds like your cup of tea, stay tuned for more information.
I’m so excited that we and the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) will be cohosting our annual conference this year on April 3rd. “Be the Place: Libraries are for Everyone” guarantees to be a great opportunity for all library workers to get together to learn, share, and grow. In order to make this conference more accessible, the VLA board voted to offer a limited number of stipends for those for whom attending would be an economic hardship, specifically library workers whose annual budget is less than $100,000. When registering please look for the button to apply.
Membership is what makes all these opportunities possible. By being a member of VLA you qualify for a discounted membership to the New England Library Association (NELA). For just $20 (Cedar level members can join for just $15), you will qualify for a deep discount if you ever attend a NELA conference or workshop; and it’s required if you want to attend any of the NELLS programs. Not sure if you are a member? You can check by logging in at https://vermontlibraries.wildapricot.org/, or contact VLA Membership Chair Erica Shott at email@example.com.
(This letter was first published in the February 2023 VLA News email newsletter, sent quarterly to Vermont Library Association members.)
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.
Apply today for a $1500 Graduate Student VLA Scholarship
The Vermont Library Association Scholarship & Awards Committee is now accepting applications for the 2022 Graduate Student Scholarship. Up to $1,500 is available for VLA members pursuing an MLS or MLIS degree. Visit http://www.vermontlibraries.
VLA Annual Meeting 2022
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
President, Vermont Library Association
2022 Vermont Library Association Conference
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.
The Intellectual Freedom Committee Rapid Response Team
Dear Vermont library worker,
The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Vermont Library Association would like you to know we’ve got your back!
We are as concerned as you are about the censorship and challenges of books, particularly school library books, in many other parts of the country. Books which talk about complex social issues such as racism and bigotry, or which simply portray LGBTQ characters and stories, are being aggressively targeted by so-called “family friendly” protestors who are trying to have these books removed from libraries, often through legislative means.
The IFC believes the best defense is a good offense and wants to help libraries in Vermont be prepared for the conversations and challenges which may be coming. Here are three things that libraries can be doing now to prepare.
- Be ready in advance of challenges or censorship action. Make sure your library has not only a collection development policy to support your library’s collection but also a procedure for dealing with people’s requests for book removals. This procedure should be available to any staff who may be interacting with the public and should be readily available to a staff member dealing with such an interaction. The American Library Association has created a Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries which has good information for creating or amending such a document.
- Prepare to report challenges or censorship actions. The American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom has a challenge reporting form online. They are also reachable at 1-800-545-2433 x4226 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are some good reasons why reporting attempted censorship is important even if it was ultimately not successful. The VLA IFC would also like to hear about your challenge so we can collect local statistics.
- Contact the VLA IFC. We have a rapid response team of Vermont library workers who can help you, in the moment, manage situations and people if you’re feeling like you could use some help and support. Just email email@example.com which forwards to members of the Intellectual Freedom Committee and we can connect you with resources or strategies to help you with whatever you’re dealing with.
We’re all in this together and forewarned is forearmed. Our page on the VLA website is here and we’re here if you need us.
The VLA IFC
Mark Danko, chair
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
- The American Bar Association: A Lesson on Critical Race Theory
- New York Times: What is Critical Race Theory?
- ACLU: State Lawmakers Are Trying to Ban Talk About Race in Schools
VLAC21 Award Winners
Every year at the annual conference, the Vermont Library Association presents five awards for outstanding service to and support of the state’s libraries. This year, we did something a little different. Rather than ask people to nominate for our usual awards, we invited them to name their own awards. The results were entertaining and heartfelt.
The winners were announced during the conference, “Emerging Energized,” held online May 25, 26, 27, and June 1 and 2. You can watch the awards ceremony recording here.
And the winners are…Read more