Who has access to collections?

 mist in the valley of East Randolph
Mist in the valley of East Randolph, from the National Archives on Flickr Commons

This started out as a cranky email and then I decided to write this up instead and be (somewhat) constructive.

I was listening to a local history podcast which I love called Before Your Time. It’s a joint project of the Vermont Historical Society and Vermont Humanities (where I used to be a board member). They look at one item from the VHS collection and talk about what it tells us about the history of Vermont. It’s a well-produced podcast which is full of facts and yet also brief. I liked this one in particular because it’s about forests and one of the people they interview is my county forester and I like listening to him. The other two people they interview are a librarian at VHS and a man who was a past director of VHS and wrote a book about Vermont maps. One of the things they both mention is how much they both wish that their collections were used more. In fact the former director says towards the end of the podcast

I hope people who listen to the podcast take the initiative to go to some of the great collections. You can’t be more than about 25 to 50 miles away from excellent Vermont history collections if you’re living in the state, whether it’s Bennington Museum in the southwest, Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, the VHS here in Barre, UVM Special Collections in, in Burlington, extraordinary resources that are open to anyone who wants to come in and use them

As I was listening to this I thought to myself “Yeah why don’t I go to the Vermont Historical Society collection more often? I like that place.” and then I remembered: it costs $9 a day if you’re not a VHS member or a student. Continue reading “Who has access to collections?”

Every person their book

a man sitting outside on a bench or wall looking down at a book that is open in his lap.

This is a message I sent out to a mailing list I’m on, responding to the Scholastic Reading Report about kids and family reading.

“Most alarmingly, kids in third and fourth grade are beginning to stop reading for fun. It’s called the ‘Decline by 9.'” A few people on the list discussed their own children who didn’t like the books they were given to read in school.

I’ve thought about this a lot as someone in the library world where YA books that cover “issues” (for lack of a better word, but basically struggle and conflict and/or difficult topics) are often the ones winning book awards or getting selected for the statewide “$STATE_NAME Reads” programs. Our local Humanities Council, which I love and which I used to be on the board of, has consistently picked books in this loose topic area for the past half-decade. They’re good books, but they’re also fraught during a time when the world around us has also been a bit fraught. Continue reading “Every person their book”

2023 reading list and commentary

a book opened to a page with the date 1853 visible

Here was the Mastodon thread of what I read last year. This is the thread of the books I am reading this year. My plan was to read LESS this year than last year and I did a good job. One hundred and fourteen books. I was busier, happier. I think I stubbornly finished every book I started in 2023 although some of them maybe I shouldn’t have. I did lower my “books by men” percentage an amount that felt good. I’ve been actively seeking out non-binary authors and trying to read print a little more.

Continue reading “2023 reading list and commentary”

2023 in Libraries

A banned books display showing the many different books which were banned last year and the reason for their banning

Not a big year for libraries. I didn’t go to any new ones! This was partly because I had a regular shift at my own, and am also sticking to my mostly-no-travel policy.

  • Kimball (79) – Most weeks I worked here one day and I stopped by a lot of other times, for sub shifts or just to get a book.
  • Rochester (1) – I did one drop-in shift here.
  • Kilton/Lebanon NH (1) – Jim and I stopped by when we were in NH. It’s a neat place, has a cool garden and place to hang out behind it that I had never been to.
  • St. Johnsbury Athenaeum (1) – Should have stopped by her more often since my dentist is across the street but I rarely felt like it before or after and now the friend I had there doesn’t work there anymore..
  • Hartness/Randolph (1) – I got some books out. I should go by this place more often, it’s such a nice library.

Previous years: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003.