Rest in Power John Lewis

When John Lewis was sixteen, in 1956, he couldn’t get a library card because the public library in Troy, Alabama was for white people only under racist segregation laws. He died yesterday, just to put a point on what “in living memory” means for people of color in the US who were denied access to library services. And in some ways, library services in the US are still unequal, whether it’s because of underfunded libraries in poorer areas, the menacing specter of police and cameras in libraries making some patrons feel unwelcome, or flat out racist behavior by library staff, boards, and other patrons. It’s on us to do the work, getting into what John Lewis called “good trouble,” to undo the harm that this legacy of racism has done to our communities.

For people who would like a little outside-the-usual reading on this topic, I’d suggest learning about the Faith Cabin Library system, set up in South Carolina and Georgia so that Black children could have access to libraries that was otherwise denied to them. I wrote that article. Someone had to.

2019 in Libraries

special collections cube inside the Dartmouth Library

 

Visiting libraries is great. Neat things to learn about communities, comfy places to sit, clean bathrooms. I went to fewer libraries this year, but made more visits overall. Not chipping away at my VT 183 Project that quickly. This year I went to 27 libraries in six states. One hundred and eleven visits total.

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

Libraries I went to a lot

  • Kimball (VT) – my local
  • Rochester (VT) – another almost-local where I did drop-in time
  • Hartness/VTC (VT) – my local academic
  • Westport (MA) – summer local, wasn’t there as much this year
  • Tiverton (RI) – summer better local
  • Windsor (VT) – did some library shifts here

The rest

  • Howe/Hanover (NH) – always a fave wen I’m in Hanover
  • Peacham (VT) – cool taxidermy and nice people
  • Dorchester County PL (MD) – functional and a lovely building
  • Grafton (VT) – big book sale upstairs, lots of comfy chairs
  • Howe/UVM (VT) – renamed and still great, better possibly
  • Carney/Dartmouth (MA)- summer fave
  • Wicomico PL (MD) – simple and sturdy, a lot of great exhibits
  • Norwich U (VT) – aggravating meeting, lovely library
  • Shelburne (VT) – checking on the new reno, it’s great!
  • Lamont/Harvard (MA) – rainy day, cozy library
  • Montpelier (VT) – good place to met people
  • Dartmouth/Baker-Berry (NH) – good place to hide from the rain, hoppin
  • Dartmouth/Rauner (NH) – great art and wifi
  • Houghton/Harvard (MA) – space exhibit and good friends
  • Fall River (MA) – always impressed with what they can do in this space
  • Norwich (VT)
  • Hancock (VT) – so tiny, so cute
  • UVM Spec Coll (VT) – great tour of the new place
  • Seminole Heights (FL) – good place to chill out after a long walk
  • Saunders PL (FL) – gave a talk here
  • Widener/Harvard (MA) – hiding in the stacks here is one of my happy places

Vermont libraries and their money and towns

interior of a small public library in Hancock Vermont
This is a post about rural libraries and money on the occasion of Town Meeting week. Town Meeting happened last week. Most Vermont libraries receive their money through the town and Town Meeting is a time to discuss library funding. I am a sub at the library in my town, enough to go to staff meetings but not enough to work there all the time. I also do drop-in time both at my local library and at one “over the mountain” in the next town. Here are a few anecdotes about how local libraries manage their money situations. Continue reading “Vermont libraries and their money and towns”

2018 in Libraries

tree in the Warren Library kids' room

I continue to visit libraries every chance I get. This year I worked in my local library so my visit count is way up, I also gave my privacy talk at six Vermont libraries which was more visits. The rest were working on my VT 183 project or just curiosity. The pie chart isn’t that interesting, but you can see it here. I decided to just include a photo of one of the great libraries I visited in Warren Vermont.

This year I went to 45 libraries in six states and one Canadian province. One hundred and three visits total. Previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003. Continue reading “2018 in Libraries”

Back at my Vermont 183 project

google map showing a meandering visit to seven different libraries

It’s been a while since I talked about my library visiting in earnest. Vermont has a 251 Club, a pretty informal group who have the aim to visit all of Vermont’s 251 towns. I love the idea (I’ve been to all the towns, now going back to photograph them) and have extended it to libraries. The Passport to Vermont’s Libraries project that VLA did for three years was basically an outgrowth of this. But now it’s just me and my list and map and car.

Yesterday I gave my Practical Privacy talk in Richmond Vermont (pop. 4000-ish) and had the day free beforehand. I figured I’d go for a drive. I started with VLA’s map of all the public libraries in the state, then used a new tool I’d just made, a list of all the public library websites in the state. From there I made a list of which libraries would actually be OPEN (this is more challenging than it might seem in a library where some libraries are only open 14 hours) and charted my course. I managed to see seven libraries in one long day, had two meals with interesting women–Mary the director of Fletcher Free, and Julie a techie powerhouse who does coding and coaching and public speaking–and gave my talk in the big upstairs room of the Richmond library which had previously been both a church and a basketball court. Here’s where I went. Continue reading “Back at my Vermont 183 project”