Vermont Library Association Statement in Support of Recently Laid Off St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Library Staff

On December 7, 2012, the Vermont library community was shocked and dismayed at the decision of the Board of Directors of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum to lay off its entire library staff in the name of restructuring. While the Vermont Library Association understands the Board’s responsibility for setting direction for their library during a time of financial stress, now, more than ever, Vermonters need libraries–and librarians. The Vermont Library Association feels that the board’s actions demonstrate a devaluation of libraries and the library professionals capable of leading them through a time of intense change in information resources and society. Librarians are not replaced by the Internet–their skills and training enrich the Internet and facilitate access for all Vermonters.

“As President of the Vermont Library Association, an educational organization that works to develop, promote, and improve library and information services and librarianship in the State of Vermont, I hope the entire library community will join us in support of libraries and librarians everywhere, specifically in St. Johnsbury at this time.” states Deborah Gadwah-Lambert.

The Vermont Library Association would like to express support to all the dedicated St. Johnsbury library staff capably serving the local community.

To express your support as well, consider these steps:

Step One: Contact the Athenaeum Executive Director, Matthew Powers and Board Vice-President, Gil Steil to express your concerns. Send email to or call 802-748-8291.

Step Two: Join the Vermont Library Association, Rural Librarians Unite, and the citizens of St. Johnsbury on the steps of the Athenaeum to “hug” the library, Saturday, January 12th at noon. We will be holding hands around the library in solidarity with Athenaeum library staff.

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Restructuring

The VLA Board Members want everyone to know that we are aware of the restructuring at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and are working diligently with the ALA on a statement and a course of action. Stay tuned.

Letter from the Athenaeum Board of Trustees

Article from the Caledonian Record reposted by VT Digger

If you have any comments, suggestions, etc. re: VLA & the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum restructuring, please feel free to contact VLA President Deborah Gadwah-Lambert at deborahlle [at] yahoo [dot] com.