Vermont Library Association Statement of Support for ALA

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) affirms its support for the American Library Association (ALA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization that develops, promotes, and improves library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

The American Library Association has a representative in Vermont, Chapter Councilor Jessamyn West, who has served in this position since 2020.

The ALA:

  • Promotes the Library Bill of Rights, affirming that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and Freedom to Read, affirming Americans can make their own decisions about what they read and believe.
  • Supports First Amendment rights to free speech, thought, and opinion;
  • Is composed of and serves people of all demographics and ideologies;
  • Is not a governing body and has no authority over the governance of Vermont libraries, which have a wide range of organizing structures;
  • Is governed by a council and executive board elected by the membership, including a representative from the Vermont Library Association;
  • Provides information about library best practices to its membership, and creates public relations campaigns that promote library services;
  • Offers professional development, publications, and conferences to its membership.

ALA is an effective advocate for funding from the federal government through the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) grants to states. Through ALA’s efforts with its members and allies, including the Chief Officers of State Library Associations, IMLS has increased its base funding nationally. The Vermont Department of Libraries has seen an increase of $326,077 or 26% from 2019 to 2023, to $1,247,111 annually.

During the pandemic years, ALA pushed for further support for libraries across the country. The Vermont Department of Libraries received additional critical dollars, $56,384 from the CARES Act and $2,135,819 from the American Rescue Plan Act.

ALA is the second-largest grant funder to libraries. Since 2021, ALA has awarded 44 libraries in Vermont a total of $276,000 for digital training workshops, bolstering technology in small and rural libraries, STEM resources, and other professional development and resources to help libraries better serve the needs of their communities.

The Vermont Library Association Executive Board
September 2023
Contact:
Oceana Wilson (she, her)
VLA President
president@vermontlibraries.org

Fall 2023 Professional Development Grant Deferred to Spring 2024

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) Scholarship and Awards Committee did not receive any applications for the fall 2023 Professional Development Grant. Considering the recent flooding in Vermont, and the added pressures it is putting on libraries and their communities, the committee has decided to defer these funds to the spring 2024 Professional Grant Funding opportunity. The committee may award up to $250 for a Vermont Library Association member to attend a workshop, conference, or continuing education course. Therefore, in the spring, the committee will award two $250 grants. We sincerely hope that by then library staff will have the capacity to apply for these funds.

Thank you, thank you,

Pamela Cartier (she/her)
VLA Scholarship and Awards Committee Chair

Apply Today for the Fall Professional Development Grant

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 Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, with the awardee notified by September 1.

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, please contact Pamela Cartier, chair of the Scholarship and Awards Committee, at pcartier@vermontlaw.edu.

The Vermont Library Association's annual meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, via Zoom.

VLA Annual Meeting 2023

Dear VLA Members,

The Vermont Library Association’s annual meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, via Zoom. The link will be emailed to you closer to the date. The purpose of the annual meeting is to provide a forum for our sections to meet and hold their annual elections for leadership. In addition, all members will be voting on the following VLA positions:

Secretary
Treasurer
Vice President/President-Elect

We are still looking for individuals to fill these positions. This is an excellent opportunity to learn leadership skills and to learn more about Vermont libraries in general. If you are interested in learning more, I urge you to check out our position descriptions and position responsibilities. You may also contact the current officers, listed here with their contact information.

Now is also a great time to renew your lapsed membership, prior to the vote. Membership details are available on our membership webpage.

Electronic absentee ballots will be available via VLA Secretary Barbara Ball.

VLA only works if you do! Thank you for being an active member!

Kelly L. McCagg
VLA President
president@vermontlibraries.org
kmccagg@colchestervt.gov

Woman in red dress presenting a retirement plaque to a woman in a green sweater.

Retirees Recognized at Vermont Library Conference

One thing will become abundantly clear after I read the list of retirees, and that is that these individuals have dedicated multiple decades of service to Vermont public libraries,” said Pamela Cartier, co-chair of the Vermont Library Association Scholarship and Awards Committee. Cartier, who is coordinator of the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC) at the Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Julien and Virginia Cornell Library, recognized Vermont Library Association members who retired in the last year or are soon retiring. “Each one is tremendously deserving of recognition for their commitment both to librarianship and their libraries,” she said.

The retirees, recognized in alphabetic order during the April 3 Vermont Library Conference, are:

Read more

Vermont Library Association 2023 Award Recipients

Six people received 2023 Vermont Library Association awards, presented for outstanding service to and support of the state’s libraries. The awards were presented during the annual Vermont Library Conference on April 3, 2023.

Senator Patrick Leahy was named Library Advocate of the Year. “VLA is greatly appreciative of all Senator Leahy has done for libraries in our state,” said Pamela Cartier, VLA Scholarships & Awards Committee Co-Chair and coordinator of the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC) at the Vermont Law School’s Julien and Virginia Cornell Library. “His unwavering support and advocacy of libraries will have impacts on Vermont communities for many years to come.”

John Tracy, former state director to Senator Patrick Leahy, accepting the Library Advocate of the Year award for the Senator.

John Tracy, former state director to Senator Patrick Leahy, accepting the Library Advocate of the Year award for the Senator from Scholarship and Awards Committee co-chair Mary Danko.

Read more

VLA Professional Development Grant Application Open

The Vermont Library Association’s Scholarship and Awards Committee is accepting applications for the spring 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 Monday, May 1, 2023, with the awardee notified by June 1.

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 webpage.

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

Six Vermont Libraries Named 2022 Library Journal Star Libraries

Six Vermont libraries were awarded Star Library ratings in the 15th edition of the Library Journal (LJ) Index of Public Library Service. The libraries are Craftsbury Public Library in Craftsbury Corners; Enosburgh Public Library in Enosburgh Falls; Fairlee Public Library; Jaquith Public Library in Marshfield; Norwich Public Library; and Pettee Memorial Library in Wilmington.

The LJ Index rates U.S. public libraries based on selected per capita output measures. The 2022 scores and ratings are based on fiscal year 2020 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Public Library Survey (PLS). For 2022, based on 2020 data, 5,359 public libraries received LJ Index scores, and 258 of them received the Star Library rating.

Read more

Nominations are due by March 1, 2023.

2023 VLA Award Nominations Open

There are so many excellent librarians and trustees in Vermont that it is hard to single out just one of each annually, but there are always ones who are extraordinary and deserved to be recognized statewide. Now is the time to nominate those deserving colleagues.  Winners will be recognized and awarded at the VLA Conference on Monday, April 3, 2023.

To place a person in nomination for any award, please send the nominee’s name, the name of their library, a letter or letters explaining why this person should receive the award, along with your name, library, telephone number, and e-mail address, Send this information to VLA Awards Committee co-chair mdanko[at]burlingtonvt.gov.

Nominations that include a few letters that present a well-rounded picture of the candidate are preferred to a single letter, or many letters that all say similar things. If a nomination is made by more than one person, please designate one signatory as the contact person.  Nominations are due by Wednesday, March 1, 2023.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.)