Vermont Library Association Applauds the Passage of S.220, Protecting Libraries and the Freedom to Read in Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2024

Vermont Library Association Applauds the Passage of S.220, Protecting Libraries and the Freedom to Read in Vermont

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) celebrates the recent enactment of S.220, an act crucial to the advancement of Vermont’s public libraries. Originating from the recommendations of the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont Final Report and championed by Senators Martine Gulick and Ruth Hardy, this legislation is an affirmation of the essential role that libraries play in the cultural and educational landscape of Vermont.

Key Features of S.220:

  • Ensuring Compliance with First Amendment and Anti-Discrimination Laws: S.220 mandates that library policies align with the First Amendment and anti-discrimination laws, ensuring libraries remain safe havens for free speech, inquiry, and discovery.
  • Public Safety Enhancements: By amending laws related to criminal threats, S.220 provides stronger legal protections for libraries, ensuring they remain secure and welcoming spaces for all Vermonters.
  • Professional Support and Policy Development: Supports high standards of library services through the creation of model policies and ongoing professional development.

“Vermont has set a new precedent by integrating public accommodation laws directly into library policies, reaffirming libraries as foundational pillars of democracy and inclusivity. This groundbreaking legislation not only protects the right to free access to information, but also ensures that libraries remain sanctuaries of equity and understanding for all.” says Oceana Wilson, President of the Vermont Library Association.

“We are excited for the new legislation and the measures included that will allow Vermont librarians to continue their work, contributing to stronger and more resilient communities in our state. We are grateful to the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont, who paved the way and provided inspiration for S.220.” says Margaret Woodruff, Vermont Library Association Government Relations & Advocacy Committee Chair 

The VLA commends the collaborative efforts of our legislators, library advocates, and all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to champion this significant legislation. Their dedication to advancing the mission of libraries as inclusive spaces for learning, exploration, and discovery has brought forth substantial benefits for all Vermonters.  

By enacting S.220, Vermont champions a bold vision that we hope will inspire other states to recognize and support the integral role of libraries in fostering an informed and inclusive society.

CONTACTS: 

Margaret Woodruff, Vermont Library Association Government Relations & Advocacy  Committee Chair margaret@charlottepubliclibrary.org

Oceana Wilson, Vermont Library Association President
president@vermontlibraries.org

About the Vermont Library Association 

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) is an educational organization working to develop, promote, and improve library and information services and librarianship in the state of Vermont.

Assistant Librarian – Dover Free Library (East Dover, VT)

Responsible for day-to-day operation of the library, including public services and technical/clerical services, under supervision of the library director.

Basic Requirements:

  • Ability to work independently, including running the library in library director’s absence
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to work cordially and cooperatively
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Proficiency in using computers and office machines
  • Flexibility and willingness to adapt to an environment which is changing very rapidly, particularly in the area of information technology
  • Work one evening a week and one Saturday a month

Responsibilities:

  • Assist library patrons in a welcoming manner
  • Help with basic reference service
  • Manage circulation desk, including circulating materials, handling overdues, and shelving materials.
  • Offer interlibrary loan and reserve services, and help patrons fill out necessary forms
  • Instruct patrons in use of computer-based resources
  • Social media marketing, using programs such as MailChimp, Canva, etc.
  • Supervise and train volunteers in such areas as shelving, shelf reading, filing and processing books.
  • Technical services, including periodicals, cataloging assistance; collection of statistics; processing of new materials; ordering of supplies
  • Miscellaneous duties, depending on interest, may include: creation of book displays, help with programming for children and/or adults
  • Attend professional development programs virtually or in person
  • Occasional light housekeeping such as water plants and running vacuum.
  • Other duties as needed

Requirements:

  • Familiarity with library services
  • Superior technical knowledge
  • Must be able to lift 20 pounds

Position Details:

  • Position is full time, 35 – 40 hours per week.
  • Compensation is $18/hour, plus health insurance and other benefits
  • Afternoons and some weekends are required.
  • Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume to Allison Maynard at doverfreelibrarydirector@gmail.com

– Posted 11/12/23

Vermont Library Association green and white logo, and American Library Association red, blue, and white logo.

ALA Donates $3,500 to Assist Vermont Libraries Damaged by Floods, Encourages More Donations

Catastrophic flooding in July 2023 impacted the state of Vermont, including many libraries. Seventeen public libraries suffered damage to their buildings and loss of resources. Thanks to support from American Library Association (ALA) members and other library supporters around the country, the ALA Disaster Relief Fund is sending $3,500 to the Vermont Library Association (VLA) to disburse to those libraries hardest hit and in need of financial assistance.

Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, the state capitol, suffered major damage to infrastructure and was not open to the public for several months. Staff provided curbside pickup of library materials and provided internet access outside the building.

Johnson Public Library is providing library services from its temporary location in the Johnson Masonic Temple, while work on the library building continues. Post-flood building repairs at the Johnson Public Library building include heating, electrical, flooring, and insulation installation.

Water flooded the South Londonderry Free Library through both the roof and the basement during the storms. The library continued service to the public despite having on-going repairs.

“ALA thanks the Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont Library Association for their support and assistance to library staff and the communities they serve,” said Michael Dowling, director of the ALA Chapter Relations Office, in a press release.

The American Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund provides monies to libraries in the U.S. and around the world that have been damaged or destroyed due to natural or man-made disasters. Donations to Vermont libraries can be made on the ALA Disaster Relief Fund web page. Please type “Vermont” in the tribute line.

The American Library Association is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services.

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

Library Evening/Weekend Supervisor – Norwich University (Northfield, VT)

Library Evening/Weekend Supervisor

Fulfills the mission of Norwich University by providing quality and consistent customer and circulation services, for supervising, monitoring, and training workstudy students, for communicating effectively with day shift, the activities during the evening shifts, for building security.

This position is 16 hours/week, 30 weeks/year.

Schedule is every other weekend 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Friday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Sunday, plus additional hours to cover events and changes in the library’s extended open hours.

Salary: $15.00/per hour

Essential Functions

  1. Monitors the library during evening and weekend hours of operation.
  2. Oversees customer service and circulation activities at the library services desk.
  3. Provides continuous training and supervises students at the library services desk.
  4. Relays shift changes and student performance issues to the Circulation Manager.
  5. Recommends changes or additions to library policies and procedures if necessary.
  6. Provides basic reference (information about the library and its services) and equipment support.
  7. Closes and secures building following Closing Procedures and relays any issues to Public Safety and the Circulation Manager.

Other Functions

  1. Assesses the performance of direct reports and provides frequent feedback to optimize their performance.
  2. Maintains confidentiality of sensitive or private information.
  3. Communicates with employees, students, and others in a respectful and clear manner.
  4. Serves on University committees, councils, workgroups, or other designated bodies as assigned.
  5. Achieves, maintains proficiency in, and utilizes computers, telephones, and other job-related equipment, including related systems and software.
  6. Speaks, reads, and writes in English.
  7. Communicates by telephone, email, letter, in person, or other means or device.
  8. Performs other tasks as assigned by supervisor.


Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree: additional years of directly related experience and course work beyond high school may be substituted for degree.
  • Supervising experience preferred
  • Proficiency in MS Office (Word, Excel, SharePoint, Teams, and Outlook) preferred.
  • Able to sit, squat, reach, push, pull, and manipulate related equipment; lift 25 pounds; travel outdoors to various parts of the campus.
  • Work weekend or evening hours

Environmental Conditions

  • Indoor work at a computer workstation
  • Low level of exposure to noise, dust, fumes, vibrations, and temperature changes.


Additional Information:

Norwich University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to providing a positive education and work environment that recognizes and respects the dignity of all students, faculty and staff. Reasonable accommodations will be made for the known disability of an otherwise qualified applicant.  Please contact the Office of Human Resources at nuhr@norwich.edu for assistance.

All candidates must be legally authorized to work in the United States without requiring immigration sponsorship, including but not limited to non-immigrant visas such as H1B, STEM, or F1, now or in the future. A post offer, pre-employment background check will be required of the successful candidate.


Application Instructions:

Please provide a cover letter, resume, 3 references, and Norwich application. To apply go to https://norwich.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=166669

– Posted 8/29/23

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

Registration Closed – The conference is full!

Be The Place: Libraries Are for Everyone

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.

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.)
Vermont Library Association hosts tour of four Addison County libraries on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

Addison County Library Tour

Last spring’s VLA library tour in the Northeast Kingdom was so much fun that we are doing it again, this time in Addison County (mostly). Here are the details:
Friday, Sept. 30, 2022
Lunch in Vergennes
We also plan to follow up with a librarian happy hour afterwards at a nearby brewery for those who want to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow librarians for a bit longer.
While you are welcome to show up no matter what, it would be helpful to get a gauge of how many people we might be planning to have along for the tour. If you plan to attend, please send an email to director@craftsburypubliclibrary.org. And if you don’t plan to attend, and haven’t RSVPed, but decide at the last minute that you can’t bear to miss the fun, we will still be happy to have you! There is no cost for this tour, and library staff, trustees, and volunteers are welcome to attend.
Susan O’Connell