Members of The Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont receiving the 2024 Green Mountain Award by the Vermont Library Association at their May conference. Photo provided by the Vermont Department of Libraries.

The Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont Receives 2024 Green Mountain Award

The Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont received the Vermont Library Association’s 2024 Green Mountain Award, which recognizes outstanding service, support, or exceptional contributions to Vermont libraries.

“The final, comprehensive report authored by the group lays out a series of important recommendations which are already resulting in significant legislative discussion at the Statehouse,” said VLA President Oceana Wilson in presenting the award.

Vermont Department of Libraries State Librarian and Library Commissioner Catherine Delneo served as the Working Group’s Chair, and Assistant State Librarian Tom McMurdo served as chair prior to her tenure. Other members of the group were:

Kelly McCagg – Vermont Library Association President (2022-2023) and Past President (2023-2024), and Director of Burnham Memorial Library
Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup – Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council
Jeannette Bair – Public Library Representative, Retired Director, Rochester Public Library
Susan O’Connell – Public Library Representative, Director, Craftsbury Public Library
Wendy Sharkey – Public Library Representative, Director, Bennington Free Library
Meg Allison – Past-President, Legislative Concerns Chair, Vermont School Library Association, Librarian, U32 High School, Montpelier
Karen McCalla – Vermont School Library Association Representative, Teacher Librarian, Mill River Union Middle/High School, North Clarendon
Maria Avery – Academic Library Representative, University of Vermont Libraries, Burlington
Denise Hersey – Academic Library Representative, Director, Dana Health Sciences Library, University of Vermont, Burlington
Andy Kolovos – Friends and Trustees Section Representative, Vermont Library Association, Trustee, Brownell Library, Associate Director and Archivist, Vermont Folklife, Middlebury

Thank you to Jonathan Clark of the Vermont Department of Libraries for the photo of members of the working group receiving the award at VLA’s May 2024 conference.

The Vermont Library Association presents five awards for outstanding service to and support of the state’s libraries. Click the link to see past recipients.

  1. Birdie Award
  2. Green Mountain Award
  3. Sarah C. Hagar Award
  4. Senator Patrick Leahy Library Advocate of the Year Award
  5. Trustee of the Year Award

Last update June 12, 2024

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


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.


Margaret Woodruff, Vermont Library Association Government Relations & Advocacy  Committee Chair

Oceana Wilson, Vermont Library Association President

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.

2024 VLA Award Nominations Due May 1

It is time to recognize those special library colleagues, mentors, trustees, and supporters who inspire us and who help create the community that we value. Nominations are open for the Vermont Library Association’s five annual awards.

The Birdie Award was created in March 2014 as a memorial to University of Vermont librarian Birdie MacLennan to honor outstanding service in the field of technical services.

The Green Mountain Award is given as the opportunity arises to individuals or organizations for distinguished service, support, or unusual contributions to a Vermont library or libraries.

The Sarah C. Hagar Award acknowledges exceptional service in or significant contribution to the field of librarianship in Vermont. Nominees for the Sarah C. Hagar award must be working in a Vermont library (public, academic, school, or special) and be a member of VLA.

The Senator Patrick Leahy Library Advocate of the Year Award is given when deemed warranted by the VLA Government Relations Committee to an outstanding public advocate for libraries in local, state, or national government.

The Trustee of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a trustee on behalf of his or her library, either during the previous year or during his or her years of service. Nominations may be submitted by any library trustee, library board, librarian, member of a Friends group, or VLA member.

To nominate someone for an award, email the following to Pamela Cartier, Awards Committee Chair,

  • The nominee’s name;
  • The name of their library;
  • A letter or letters explaining why this person should receive the award;
  • Your name, library, telephone number, and e-mail address.

Nominations including 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.

Nomination letters and supporting materials are due by May 1, 2024.  For more information about the awards, nomination procedures, and previous recipients visit the Scholarship and Awards Committee web page.

Winners will be announced at the annual Vermont Library Conference on Monday, May 20, at the Killington Grand Hotel and Resort Center.

Vermont Library Freedom to Read Statement

Intellectual freedom is the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of the library profession and a basic right in our democratic society; it promotes access to information and guides the defense against censorship.

In 1953, the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers jointly released The Freedom to Read Statement. This statement reminded us that, “The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack” (ALA, 2004). Now, seventy years later, a resurgence of attacks on the freedom to read again threatens our democracy. Calls for book bans, the adoption of unconstitutional legislation, and campaigns to criminalize librarians for distributing materials protected by the First Amendment threaten our fundamental liberties.

Vermont librarians are joining together to emphatically reaffirm their commitment to the values expressed in the American Library Association’s intellectual freedom documents, including The Freedom to Read Statement. We believe all Vermonters deserve free access to materials that function as windows and mirrors, both reflecting individuals’ experiences and providing expanded, diverse views of the world (Bishop, 1990). We also believe that people are only truly free when they can read freely.

Jointly issued by the governing boards of the Vermont School Library Association and the Vermont Library Association, January 2024.


American Library Association. “The Freedom To Read Statement.” ALA Advocacy, 2004,

Bishop, Rudine Simms. “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, vol. 6, no. 3, 1990.

Vermont Library Association Conference 2024 Call for Proposals

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) is seeking presenters for “Libraries Empowering Communities: Standing Together in Uncertain Times,” our 129th annual conference scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2024. Proposals are due by Monday, March 4, 2024.

Libraries are facing unprecedented challenges to our profession. Through this one-day conference, we seek ways to empower and connect our communities with resources, prepare to protect intellectual freedom, and offer solidarity from our smallest libraries to our biggest. Learning from each other is powerful and we hope you will share your expertise with fellow library professionals.

We seek presentations of varying topics, but especially encourage proposals on the topics suggested below and sessions that can be scaled to suit smaller and larger libraries.

Topic suggestions:

  • Intellectual Freedom
    • Banned books
    • Book and/or program challenges
    • Censorship
    • Privacy
  • Writing policies to prepare and protect our communities
  • Mitigating the effects of climate change on our collections,  buildings, communities
  • Providing services to unhoused populations/underserved populations
  • Practical ideas for smaller libraries
  • Protecting the self (e.g. self-care, managing stress, preventing burnout)

Sessions will be 50 minutes in length and will include:

  • Hands-on workshop with an activity / discussion
  • Traditional presentation with time for questions
  • Panel with best practices / case studies
  • Author talk with reading
  • Vendor presentations
  • Book Awards and VLA Awards
  • VLA Division roundtable discussions
  • Brief presentation of a single example or project as part of a longer program: 5 Minutes of Fame/Spark presentation

Please submit your proposal online using this form. If your proposal is accepted, the main presenter will receive free admission to the conference. The deadline for proposals is Monday, March 4, 2024.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Maria Avery, she/her
VLA 2024 Conference Planning Committee Co-Chair
Community Outreach Manager, University of Vermont Libraries

Vermont Library Association 2024 Conference Set for May 20

Join the Vermont Library Association at our 2024 annual conference on Monday, May 20, at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel and Conference Center, 228 E Mountain Road, in Killington, Vermont.

This year’s conference title is Libraries Empowering Communities: Standing Together in Uncertain Times.

Save the date! We will share updates on our conference webpage and on our FacebookInstagram, and X account, as they become available.

Call for Proposals
We seek presentations of varying topics, but especially encourage proposals on the topics suggested on our Call for Proposals webpage and sessions that can be scaled to suit smaller and larger libraries. The deadline for proposals is Monday, March 4, 2024.

2024 Conference Planning Committee Co-Chairs
Dena Marger, she/her
Director, Lydia Taft Pratt Library
150 West Street
Dummerston, VT 05357

Maria Avery, she/her
Community Outreach Manager, University of Vermont Libraries

2024 Conference Planning Committee Members
Oceana Wilson, she/her, Dean of the Library, Bennington College
Randal Smathers, he/him, Director, Rutland Free Library
Emma Parks, she/her, Library Support Senior and GIS Consultant, University of Vermont Dana Health Sciences Library
Mary Danko, she/her, Director, Fletcher Free Library
Cory Stephenson, she/her, Director, Moretown Memorial Library
Erin Davison, she/her, Youth Services Librarian, Norwich Public Library
Kelly L. McCagg, she/her, Director, Burnham Memorial Library
Susan Ujka Larson, she/they, Vermont Library Association Digital Communications

Last update January 22, 2024

VLA Executive Committee Seeks Member Input for Strategic Actions

The Vermont Library Association (VLA) Executive Committee will host a Zoom meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, to obtain input from VLA members for strategic actions in response to the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont Final Report.

“This is an important moment for Vermont librarians to determine how best to use our time and resources in the coming years,” said VLA Vice President Mary Danko, director of Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, in an email to members. “We want to understand what your priorities are for you and your libraries.  Gathering information in a collaborative way will spark great conversation that will help to inform VLA’s Strategic Working Group Report Roadmap for the next few years.

To request meeting access, please visit this link:

If you cannot attend the Zoom meeting, you may provide input in a Google doc that the executive committee will email to members at the end of January. If you are not a VLA member you can join at any time at our membership page.

The Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont submitted their final report to the Vermont General Assembly on November 1, 2023.

The group was formed in 2021 when the Vermont State Legislature passed Act 66 (S.115) “relating to making miscellaneous changes in education laws”, which was signed by Governor Phil Scott on June 7, 2021. The group was charged with studying the state’s libraries with the goal of strengthening and supporting libraries of all sizes and improving library services for the public.

See also: Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont Final Report


Public Libraries Section Hosts Franklin County Library Tour

“Franklin County is chock full of wonderful public libraries,” said Catherine Goldsmith, president of the Vermont Library Association’s Public Libraries Section, and director of Starksboro Public Library. Goldsmith worked with Josh Worman, director of Haston Library, and the other libraries of FLARE — Franklin Libraries Are Really Excellent — to organize a tour of six Franklin County, Vermont, public libraries on Friday, Nov, 17, 2023.

The tour began at Enosburgh Public Library, and continued to Haston Library, Swanton Public Library, the Franklin/Grand Isle Bookmobile, St. Albans Free Library, and Fairfax Community Library. The following photos were provided by Josh Worman.


Enosburgh Public Library director Brenda Stanley (center) welcomes guests on the first stop of the tour.

Enosburgh Public Library director Brenda Stanley (center) welcomes guests on the first stop of the tour.


Tour participants gather in front of the Haston Library main desk.

Tour participants gather in front of the Haston Library main desk on the second stop of the tour.  Standing center is Kevin Unrath, Vermont Department of Libraries library consultant for library operations, who participated in the tour.


Swanton Public Library, the third stop on the tour, has a beautiful new mural outside the children’s area.


Hadley Priebe (right), executive director of the Franklin/Grand Isle Bookmobile (otherwise known as “Figgy”), explains the nuts and
bolts of running the service.


St. Albans Free Library director Becky Manahan tickles the ivories as Starksboro Public Library
director Catherine Goldsmith looks on. St. Albans library loans electric keyboards.


Last stop! Fairfax Community Library co-director Sue Wade talks to the assembled tour-goers about the challenges of running a community library.

Library tours provide library staff and library lovers the opportunity to see the buildings, meet the staff, and admire how these libraries do what Vermont libraries do, Goldsmith said.

VLA’s Public Libraries Section strives to extend the ability of libraries to provide equal access to and availability of literary and cultural resources by providing tools and resources to librarians. The section supports librarianship in the state through educational and social events.

Previous Tours:

Addison County Library Tour, September 30. 2022

Northeast Kingdom Library Tour, April 26, 2022

Procedure for Developing a Vermont Library Association Issue Statement

1 – Any Vermont Library Association (VLA) member may propose that VLA develop a statement around an issue by emailing their suggestion to VLA’s executive committee. Executive committee member names and emails are on this page:

2 – The executive committee votes on this, assigns someone to draft the statement, and alerts the entire board and the person who submitted the suggestion that this is in progress. The board has three to five days to finalize the vote. If the executive committee votes not to write a statement on the suggested issue, the president will email the person who made the suggestion with the reason.

3 – Once the statement is drafted, it is reviewed by the entire board with suggestions to the author. The entire board has three to five days to comment on the draft.

4 – A second draft based on edits from the suggestions is shared with the entire membership for comment. The membership is given five to seven business days to comment on the draft.

5 – If there are no significant changes to the substance of the statement based on edits from the comment period then the statement is final. If there are significant changes to the substance of the statement based on edits from the comment period then the revised statement should be approved by a majority of the board. The board has three working days to approve.

6 – The final statement is emailed by the president to the digital communications coordinator/s ( for posting to VLA’s website and social media accounts; and to all current members. The board may decide to also issue a press release.

7 – These timelines are guidelines and may be adjusted due to unforeseen issues.

Informational press releases may be published by a variety of section leaders without prior approval.

Adopted by the Vermont Library Association Board of Trustees, November 2023

Franklin County Vermont Public Library Tour November 17

Franklin County is chock full of wonderful public libraries. Come see the buildings, meet the staff, and admire how these libraries do what Vermont libraries do. This is a great opportunity to meet other librarians and other library lovers. This Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, tour is organized by Josh Worman, director of Haston Library, and the other libraries of FLARE — Franklin Libraries Are Really Excellent. Youth librarians, you won’t want to miss the light-filled second floor spaces dedicated to youth at St. Albans Free Library.

10 a.m. Enosburgh Public Library
11 a.m.. Haston Library
12 p.m. Swanton Public Library
1 p.m. Lunch at St. Albans Free Library – BYO lunch or buy locally

2 p.m. St. Albans Free Library (with coffee bar – yay!)
3 p.m. Fairfax Community Library

Catherine Goldsmith
President, VLA Public Libraries Section
Director, Starksboro Public Library

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