In This Issue
From the State Librarian
VTLIB Staff News
Spotlight On Bookmobiles
Book Award Winners
Apply for Vermont Reads 2016

The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) has announced the winners of the 2016 Teen Video Challenge, a national competition for teens to get involved with reading and their public library's summer reading program. 
The e CSLP 2016 slogan is "Get in the Game - Read." Each participating state selected one winning video to be named the official CSLP Teen Video Challenge state winner for 2016. Twenty-five states and over one hundred teens participated in the creation of winning videos.

The winning videos can be used by all teens and all public libraries to promote summer reading nationwide.

Erin Egan of Essex Junction is the Vermont winner
 with her video
Hanging with the Greats,
which was taped at
Brownell Library.

For their hard work and creativity, each winner will receive a monetary award of $150, to be used
as each winner sees fit.

The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is a consortium of states working together to provide a unified summer reading theme along with professional art and evidence-based materials so that member libraries can provide high-quality summer reading programs at the lowest possible cost and to play a significant role in literacy initiatives.

Create Comics Workshop
Scholarship Winner

The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction donated a full scholarship worth $900 to
the Department of Libraries for a Vermont teen to attend a one-week Create Comics workshop this summer.

The winner is
Silas Rollins-Greene,
a 16-year old  
who attends
U32 High School
in Montpelier.

His winning entry read: "I would love to go to the Center for Cartoon Studies over the summer because of my life long dream. My dream is to become a comic book writer and illustrator. I have already created an entire universe of monsters, space ships, and magic, with art and sketches to go along with it. I want to become recognized for my ideas on the universe, human nature, and overall writing and illustration, and maybe be able to meet my personal icons on the way. I want to work a job I can stand by, and comics is one of them."

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top From the State Librarian
I am recently back from Washington D.C., where I participated in the American Library Association's (ALA) annual Library Legislative Day. Following a full day of briefings on federal legislation of import to libraries from the ALA Washington Office, librarians, trustees, and library supporters from across the U.S. spent a day on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of their states' Congressional delegations.

This year I was joined by two other Vermonters:
Martine Larocque Gulick, Director of Library Services at Essex High School/Center for Technology, and Bob Whittaker, who works for a national library consortium. Together we visited the offices of the Vermont delegation and spoke with Congressional staff.

Being on Capitol Hill is both energizing--and demoralizing. 

VTLIB Staff News  
Congratulations to Jennifer Hart,
Employee of the Year
at the Department of Libraries!

Jennifer was nominated in recognition of the work she has done to make the local recording program at the Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped such a success.
Agency of Administration Secretary Justin Johnson,
Assistant Librarian and Interim Special Services
Unit Director Jennifer Hart,
Governor Peter Shumlin
at the State of Vermont
Employee Recognition Luncheon on May 2

For most of her 27 years in state government, Jennifer Hart has worked at the Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped, providing top-notch service to eligible Vermonters. Jennifer's colleagues can attest to her initiative and problem-solving abilities, exemplified by her willingness to become Unit Head while also performing regular duties.

We celebrate her for developing an outstanding local recording program that included recruiting and training volunteers to record and edit digital audio recordings of books by Vermont authors for blind and disabled readers in Vermont and across the U.S. Jennifer transforms the lives of Vermont citizens every day.

Bookmobiles are not a mainstay of library services in Vermont, but the few that operate yield such extraordinary successes and heartwarming stories that more communities may want to consider this special outreach.

The envelope, please . . .

Winners of the Red Clover Book Award,
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award,
and Green Mountain Book Award 
Vermont's schoolchildren have spoken! After months of careful reading and guidance from school and public librarians, teachers, and parents, over 20,000 children in grades K-12 have voted for winners in each of Vermont's three children-selected book awards. 
The Red Clover Book Award, begun in 1997 and co-facilitated by the Vermont Department of Libraries, Vermont Center for the Book, and Vermont Agency of Education, was given to the picture book Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton.

Over 18,000 children in grades K-4 voted for this book, which only uses illustrations to tell a story about three quirky creatures whose curiosity gets the best of them on their adventure in the woods. 
Over 3,000 children in grades 4-8 voted for the 2016 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award, which is co-facilitated by the Vermont Department of Libraries and the Friends of Dorothy Canfield Fisher. The award was given to Newbery Honor Book and graphic novel El Deafo by Cece Bell.

This wonderfully illustrated tale tells the story of a young schoolgirl who loses her hearing after a battle with meningitis. To help her hear again, she is given a powerful "Phonic Ear," which allows her to hear her peers, teachers, family...and so much more. The Vermont Public Radio interview of CeCe Bell speaking about her work is available here. An award ceremony will take place in late May or early June to honor Ms. Bell and her wonderful book, and over 300 children are expected to attend.
Vermont teens in grades 9-12 awarded Andy Weir's The Martian this year's Green Mountain Book Award in a landslide vote. This novel, recently adapted into a film starring Matt Damon, tells the story of an astronaut abandoned on Mars and his struggle to survive.

Many thanks go to our co-sponsors and organizers, Vermont school and public librarians, and parents and guardians for getting some incredible books into the hands of Vermont kids.

Most of all, we'd like to thank the kids for challenging themselves to read and make their voices heard. We already are preparing for next year's awards, and we are eager to hear what the kids will have to say in 2017.

Still Time to Apply for Vermont Reads 2016: Shackleton 

Vermont communities are invited to participate in
a statewide read of two books in the
Vermont Humanity Council's Vermont Reads 2016 program.
June 3 is the deadline to submit an application package
for summer/fall participation.
Free books and programming are provided.

The program is open to adults and children.
"Libraries, schools, and nonprofits are encouraged to apply; collaboration among town organizations and businesses is strongly encouraged." 

Vermont Reads 2016 books are
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander.

2016 is the 100th anniversary year of the dramatic
conclusion of the 1914-1916 Endurance expedition

From the Vermont State Librarian

I am recently back from Washington D.C., where I participated in the American Library Association's (ALA) annual Library Legislative Day. Following a full day of briefings on federal legislation of import to libraries from the ALA Washington Office, librarians, trustees, and library supporters from across the U.S. spent a day on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of their states' Congressional delegations. This year I was joined by two other Vermonters: Martine Larocque Gulick, Director of Library Services at Essex High School/Center for Technology, and Bob Whittaker, who works for a national library consortium. Together we visited the offices of the Vermont delegation and spoke with Congressional staff.

Being on Capitol Hill is both energizing--and demoralizing. One the one hand, we are lucky in Vermont to have Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch, who stand with libraries--and take leadership--on so many of the issues that we care about. But on the other hand, the current dysfunction of Congress is standing in the way of passing legislation that is vital to libraries and citizens. Here are some of the legislative issues which Martine, Bob, and I discussed with Congressional office staff when in Washington:
  • We urge prompt confirmation of Dr. Carla Hayden as the new Librarian of Congress (Senate);
  • Support funding of the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) in FY2017 at $186.6 million (an increase over what is included in the President's budget for the Institute of Museum and Library Services);
  • Level funding in FY2017 at $27 million for "Innovative Approaches to Literacy," part of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, and the only federal funding targeted for school library literacy materials;
  • Freedom of Information Act Reform (H.R. 653 and S.337) and Privacy and Surveillance Law Reform;
  • Support for public access to taxpayer-funded research in science and technology (H.R.1477 / S.779) and reports from the Congressional Research Service (H.R.4702 / S.2639);
  • Support for affordable broadband, particularly in rural areas, and modernization of the FCC's Lifeline program, so critical to closing the "homework" gap for children.
Even with such the outstanding representation and leadership that Vermont has in the U.S. Congress, it is important that we stay vigilant and active in supporting legislation that protects our civil liberties and access to information and which provides the funding necessary for our school, public and academic libraries to support a nation of learners. Want to be more engaged in this process? Sign up to get regular District Dispatch postings from the ALA Washington Office.

My thanks to Bob and Martine for joining me in Washington. Next year, library supporters will be back in Washington in May!
Marty Reid 


Books on Wheels III of Cobleigh Public Library, Lyndonville

Bookmobiles are not a mainstay of library services in Vermont, but the few that operate yield such extraordinary successes and heartwarming stories that more communities may want to consider investing in this special outreach.

Cost is often the first consideration. According to Cindy Karaskinski, Director of Cobleigh Public Library in Lyndonville, all three of its Books on Wheels have run on donations, gifts, and grants. 

"Starting in 1999, with the conversion of a junkyard plumber's van, Books on Wheels I began serving childcare sites, after school programs, an adult day center, and events with outreach programs and resources.

In 2001, Books on Wheels II was purchased through a competitive grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the Department of Libraries' Mobile Literacy Project, which the late Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords described as 'extending the walls of the library.'

In 2011, it broke down for good, and we at Cobleigh wondered if people wanted us to continue services. When the child care providers met with the library trustees, they inspired the trustees to obtain a new bookmobile. In a survey, 100% of the respondents wanted the services back. The library board voted to raise funds for a new vehicle, and support was overwhelming. VPR ran a news story, which was picked up by NPR and heard by Julia Krapf of The Manton Foundation, which pledged $150,000 toward the purchase of a new bookmobile. Its cost was $130,000, and the remaining funds were bookmarked for ongoing maintenance. Books on Wheels III arrived in June 2013."
Gerrick, the Books on Wheels III driver, flanked by bookmobile fans 
Books on Wheels offers programming on a weekly basis at home- and center-based child care sites, preschools, schools, adult day centers, recreation centers, and other community locations. Its schedule is posted on Cobleigh's website, and requests and ideas for stops are welcome. Books on Wheels issues its own cards, so a Cobleigh Library card is not necessary. The bookmobile runs in Lyndonville, as well as Burke, East Haven, Newark, Sheffield, Sutton, and Wheelock. Over 14,000 books circulate each year for people who cannot travel to the library, living up to the motto: Promoting Literacy Throughout Our Community.
Mission: The Franklin Grand Isle Bookmobile promotes a lifelong love of learning and 
 creates community connections by providing greater access to books, information, activities and fun. 

The Franklin Grand Isle Bookmobile traverses a wide swath across the two counties, "Traveling Miles for Your Smiles." Sara Day, the Americorps Education and Literacy Facilitator, says that despite the challenges of very cold days, when the FGI Bookmobile is a little cranky starting, and drastic budget cuts threaten the amount patrons can be served, it continues on its route, offering story times, singing, vocabulary building, and books.
"Successes happen every day, too, either in large or small ways," Day is quick to add."One of the patrons we visit has a little boy who has autism. When we first started the route in September, he was very uncomfortable. He didn't like being in a strange place, and the other kids didn't really help. Mid way through the year, he was running around and jumping up and down out of excitement to come on the Bookmobile. With the help of his child care provider, we created a safe space for him, and he has been amazing to watch. We pick books that cater to his needs for story time--books with many different textures--and he has improved dramatically over the course of a year. That's a major success for us!" 

In partnership with the Afterschool Program of Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union, some Franklin Grand Isle Bookmobile staff teach a few days a week, as well as recruit students for the Summer Academy day camp at Franklin Central School. "This is another space in our route where we can create an outreach program. When camp is over, activities go on the road. It's very busy and very fun!"

In 2014, the Franklin Grand Isle Bookmobile traveled 6,602 miles, served 672 children and 150 adults, circulated 7,380 books in 15 towns, donated 1,520 books, and read 748 stories. Fundraisers generated over $8,000, and with donations, comprised 30% of its funding, which included over 100 businesses making in-kind donations. A quarter of the Bookmobile budget came from grants, and 44% came from stakeholders. Nearly 800 books were donated from the community. Over 70% of funds are used for programs.

Numbers, however, can't convey its priceless value as well as one patron summed it up: "For some, this is the only library experience children have."

Millie, the Milton Public Library Bookmobile

Meghan Bellavance, the Director of Milton Public Library, values all that Millie the Bookmobile provides in children's services, but she wishes Millie could get around a bit more."We'd love in the future to be able to expand to senior housing or homebound delivery. At present, we visit home-based and center daycares and homeschool families. There are a lot of homeschoolers in the Milton area, and it's a service they really appreciate. We're constantly trying to promote it."

"During our visits, the driver usually does a storytime targeted to the age group. Milton is geographically spread out, so it's important to target places that aren't central to the library."

For the past three years, Millie also has gone to the weekly summer farmers' market, where patrons can check out books while strolling through. "It's great to have kids hop on board and poke around--even if they don't take anything out. It has really helped promote events happening at the library and increase our general visibility."

Budgeting for maintenance can be difficult, Bellavance says, especially as Millie is an older vehicle. "It might run fine for a year, and then all of a sudden the tail pipe drops off--as it recently did--and you're stuck with an $800 repair. Thankfully, our Friends are generous about covering those sorts of expenses, and we have not had anything too outrageous to fix." Another financial challenge is inherent to any children's collection: items get worn, damaged, and sometimes lost, requiring replacements of perennially popular items. Keeping Millie supplied sometimes has included negotiating with daycares for replacement items.
Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, Nellie made 239 stops, saw 1,933 people (mostly children), and provided 169 storytimes. Weeding and shifting some of the newer materials from the library over to the bookmobile are done annually to keep the collection fresh. A line item is included in the annual budget for the salary of the bookmobile driver, but Friends of the Library cover insurance, gas, and repairs.
Regardless of the costs, big and small, Bellavance says "the excitement Nellie generates with the kids every time it makes a visit is worthwhile. The children look forward to it throughout the week and always have an enthusiastic greeting for our driver. We march the bookmobile in the 4th of July parade and it's amazing to see how many kids recognize it--although it could be the candy we throw out that increases our popularity.

Cutting the ribbon and festivities at the 2015 model Dottie,
the wheelchair-accessible bookmobile at Dorothy Alling Library in Williston.
The library's motto is "Your home for life-long learning"

Every version of the bookmobile at Dorothy Alling Library in Williston has been named Dottie, the diminutive of her namesake. Director Marti Fiske's description of Dottie's 17 years is illustrative of all the effort it takes to keep a bookmobile running for the long haul.

"Bookmobile service started in the back of a youth librarian's car, moved to a rented U-Haul, then into three different small school buses delivering youth books only in Williston and St. George neighborhoods during the summers. Most materials were gathered from annual book sale donations or purchased at discounted warehouse sales. In the last few years the school bus services averaged 1,800 loans with 1,300 visits over the course of about sixty hours each summer. Circulation and visits to the bookmobile accounted for about 2% of the library's annual statistics in each category at the time. The annual bookmobile budget was generally under $1,200 for materials, fuel and maintenance, plus minimum wage for a teen assistant over the ten weeks over service. Two library staff adjusted their schedules over our busy summer hours to provide service without additional staff time. Up until 2015, the most recent vehicle was a 1991 bus, which ran for eight years with an engine and radiator replaced during that time. By the summer of 2014, the bookmobile had such a long list of fixes needed, including extensive floor rust, that it was deemed not worth repairing to pass the next inspection."

Dorothy Alling Library faced the usual failing bookmobile questions: should the library discontinue service, find another old school bus and continue service as usual, or expand service and purchase a new vehicle build to order? Fiske spent the summer collecting estimates from five vendors, with prices ranging from $80,000 to over $186,000, as well as statistics to present to Trustees. The request was to increase service.

The process of acquiring the amount included a capital budget request, but the trustees, in collaboration with many individuals, from children to senior citizens, fundraised extensively in order to get as much as possible through donations. Fiske says, "This was a community effort. There is no way we could have accomplished this project without every donor's gift of $1 to $10,000. The speed with which all came forward was so impressive."

  The 1991 Dottie bookmobile bus brought many smiles with her miles 
Citing an important aspect of service that echoes the experience of other bookmobile providers, Fiske says, "25% of the children who visited the bookmobile had no other access to library services over the summer. Another 25% percent of the children had irregular access to library services. Parents of children served by the bookmobile, particularly those in economically challenged neighborhoods, said that their work schedules did not allow time for library visits."

For the last three summers, special summer reading programs have been offered for ESL students attending the neighboring school enrichment camp, which is now the busiest stop. A very low-income neighborhood in Williston also has very good turnout, with several children going to the library afterschool almost daily.
Since Dottie arrived in 2015, an average of forty seniors are served in two senior communities each month, and four childcare centers are served, with nine total preschool story times, with a total of 155 children and 23 adults in attendance. Summer service to neighborhoods will begin in June 2016.

Dottie still runs on a limited budget, which includes a summer teen aide for the first year of extended service. Two hours were added to the schedule for the youth librarian who runs the preschool program. A balance from the fundraising is available to supplement services as needed. 

If return on investment counts for bookmobiles, Fiske's summary of its value is a good indicator:
"It is humbling to know how important this bookmobile service is to the community."

The GMC van bookmobile of Fletcher Free Library in Burlington is equipped with a hydraulic lift 
that can hoist a small farm wagon that carries around 100 books.

According to Outreach and Reference Librarian Robert Resnik, the Fletcher Free Library outreach program has been providing book delivery services for senior residences, community centers, nursing homes, and home-bound individuals in the City of Burlington since 1987. The current vehicle was purchased with grant money in 2002, and it delivers to 17 sites and to a varying number of homebound residences. Outreach services also include music programs at many of the sites as time permits.
In FY2015, 179 book deliveries were made to senior residences, benefiting on average 428 seniors per month, and 32 music programs were held at senior residences also, benefiting 1,021 seniors in a year. Throughout the year, 25 individual book deliveries were made to homebound Burlington residents. About 20 hours of outreach activities per week were conducted by the Outreach Librarian, who was supported with 114 volunteer hours. 
Says Resnik, "In addition to the resulting pleasure of having books delivered right to their homes, the Library's outreach patrons also benefit each month by lots of spontaneous book discussions about what they have read and what they would like to read--like a 'flashmob book club!'"

The South Burlington Bookmobile, Rita Book, was a gift to South Burlington Community Library  
from the South Burlington Rotary Club.

Rita Book is a refurbished school bus, which houses a small collection of paperback fiction, both purchased and donated, for patrons of all ages. The bookmobile began visiting South Burlington playgrounds and neighborhoods in the summer of 2008. It was created with the hope of generating enthusiasm to read amongst the city's youth and to strengthen literacy skills during the summer months. The bookmobile currently visits local community events, farmers' markets, summer camps, and the South Burlington Garden Park at Wheeler Homestead, where South Burlington Community Library hosts summer programs three mornings a week.
Early Learning Express bookmobile of Windham Child Care Association
"promoting a good start for all our children"

Although not connected with a public library, the Windham Child Care Association also runs a bookmobile called Early Learning Express. "The Early Learning Express visits over 40 child care programs across the county thanks to the support of generous donors in Windham County along with the Thomas Thompson Trust, United Way of Windham County, The Turrell Fund, People's United Community Foundation, and The Children's Literacy Foundation."  
~ ~ ~ 
The information and stories provided by all those who run bookmobiles are uniform in speaking to the need for regular ongoing funding to supply staffing and keep rolling, and all employ a variety of means and methods for fundraising. Ultimately, despite the challenges, they unanimously uphold the value of bookmobiles. Judging from the multitudinous community outcomes, bookmobiles are worth their weight in gold, and for those willing to hop on board, there is demonstrated evidence that they are worthwhile investments to make.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute all the information in this article.

 Vermont Bookwagon in mud season, ca 1938. Vermont Department of Libraries