Monday, July 20, 2020

A Trustee's Ramble

Hello, South Burlington! Guest blogger Lee Freeman here. South Burlington’s Public Library has been soldiering through the pandemic along with everyone else, and, like many institutions and businesses, has been slowly opening to the public. We are currently open from 11 AM to 4 PM on Mondays and Fridays, and 11 AM to 6 PM on Wednesdays. The Board of Trustees and Library Director Jennifer Murray are working with the City to increase these hours as the summer progresses. I don’t want to share any secrets, but patrons may be pleased come early August! 

Interlibrary Loan will also be back soon. This has special meaning for me, as it means more Georges Simenon novels delivered to moi. A prolific French author from last century, Simenon is best known for his Inspector Maigret novels. Maigret is a sort of French Poirot (Agatha Christie’s famous detective, who, while often mistaken for being French, is proudly Belgian). Or a French Sherlock Holmes. A French Sam Spade? Nationalistic identification isn’t productive in civil discourse, so maybe it isn’t in fictive association, either. Suffice it to say, Maigret navigates the famous French bureaucracy, underworld, and sedimentarily compressed cultural strata to (usually) bring lawbreakers to justice. Considering current conversations about the nature and implementation of police enforcement, it’s interesting to read about how (a fictional) foreign police force deals with members of the public, criminal suspects, and local politicians. 

Keep reading, South Burlington! The Library is back open, and it is still awesome. Construction of the new Library/City Hall building continues apace. As the actor Adam Sandler once said, "Reading is GOOD!" -LF

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Resources on Racial Justice for All Ages

A Time of Social Change

As our state, our country and our world undergo radical shifts and abrupt upheavals, we hope to provide our patrons with resources to navigate the changes.  Below are listed several sites that include book lists and suggestions for adults and families with children of all ages. Please remember to check the South Burlington Library's Online Catalog for specific titles, and feel free to place “holds” if a title is not currently available. 

Anti-Racism Resources

 Antiracism Resources is a vast repository of books, articles, organizations to follow, podcasts, videos, film, television and movies to assist people in becoming anti-racist. They describe it as being “intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work." If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, you can start now! Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

Achieving racial justice is a marathon, not a sprint. Our work to fix what we broke and left broken isn’t done until Black folks tell us it’s done. Click here to access this resource!

Justice in June

Justice in June was compiled by Autumn Gupta with Bryanna Wallace’s oversight for the purpose of providing a starting place for individuals trying to become better allies.

Choose how much time you have each day to become more informed as step one to becoming an active ally to the black community. On this document are links to the learning resources and a schedule of what to do each day.

Embrace Race

The Embrace Race website says “as U.S. racial divisions and inequities grow sharper and more painful, the work of envisioning and creating systems of authentic racial inclusion and belonging in the United States remains work in progress. We believe that reversing the trend must begin in our homes, schools, and communities with our children’s hearts and minds.” It includes book lists and reviews of books. 

Teaching for Change

Teaching for Change, and their new initiative Social Justice Books, provide teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world.  By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.

Talking About Race

Talking About Race. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture recently launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture.

The Conscious Kid

The Conscious Kid is an education, research and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth.  Their recent post: "It's Never too Early to Talk About Race" can be found here.

Additional Print Resources

This New York Times list of books offers titles that can help you explain racism and protest to your kids.

Black Joy Books is a website featuring books for all ages about Black joy. -KK

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Groundhog, Shadow, Repeat

There are a lot of memes on social media that feature confusion about what day it is. As someone who is still working part-time (albeit from home), I have to make an effort to know if it's, say, Thursday vs. Monday. But the days do blend together, and there is a certain Groundhog Day repetition that sets in. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon walk, dinner, TV, bedtime. On rare days, I actually leave the house for short trips in my car. (That said, I have not bought gas since mid-March.) Life goes on, but its pace and punctuation marks have changed.

Some things that have recently differentiated one day from another:

·      Curbside grocery pick-up day—woohoo
·      The lawn, newly mulched and mowed
·      Discovery of Costco Instacart—TP delivered to my door was a major victory
·      Resumption of (socially distanced) services by my dog’s groomer: my formerly shaggy puppy’s got her groove back
·      A visit to the car wash (it felt so normal to restore a much-needed shine)
·      Daffodils in full bloom, with peonies on their way
·      Snow (wait, what?!)
·      Return of the goldfinches, their cheery yellow darting through greening branches
·      laugh-out-loud article, to remind me of the restorative balm of humor
·      Weekly Zoom get-togethers with my siblings and children (“hold on a sec, you’re still muted”)

Many of us thrive on a predictable routine, but it can be equally rewarding to safely break out of one! What punctuates time for you during these semi-dystopian days? -SB

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Play Bingo To Win--a Double Layer Cotton Facemask!

Bingo Board

The Library is still closed, and it can be hard to get to the bookstore. What do you do if there is nothing to read? Take our Viral Reading Challenge and “get the reading bug!”

Look around you. Are you sure there is nothing to read? This bingo board challenges you to find something to read right where you are. We hope you will share your thoughts about what you find to read below or on the library's Facebook page. 

Library staff is also available to help you access  ebooks and audiobooks, streaming videos, classes to take, and articles to read. Contact us or visit our YouTube Channel for tutorials.
Our hope is that between the hidden gems you have at home and the extensive virtual opportunities the library offers, you will have plenty to read!

Download your own printable bingo board here! Print it, fill it out, and take a photo to send to Or you can mail it in to South Burlington Library, 155 Dorset Street, South Burlington, Vermont 05403. If you don't have a printer, ask us to mail a paper copy to your home!

Act quickly for a chance to win a quality cotton face mask. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

National Library Week: Got Photos?

Hello Library Friends!

How are you using the South Burlington Library while our physical location is closed? Perhaps some of you are
  • Reading e-books downloaded from the Green Mountain Library Consortium
  • Taking a course through Universal Class or Learning Express
  • Fixing your car using the Chilton online library
  • Streaming movies on Kanopy
  • Scrolling through our Facebook feed
  • Cooking something delicious for our (now online) Cookbook Club
  • Enjoying Kelly’s fabulous YouTube story times
  • Filling out our “viral reading challenge” bingo board for the chance to win a face mask
  • Checking out the library’s website, or our new blog 
  • Reading a book or article in preparation for an online library discussion group
  • Sharing poetry in honor of National Poetry Month

In honor of National Library Week, which runs from April 19-26, we are asking you to give us a photo of yourself and your family, reading or doing something at home related to the library.

Please send your photo to We may use your pictures on our website or other social media platforms and may include your first name.

For more information on what the library has to offer you, please visit our website.

Thanks! -SB

Movie Night, Anyone?

Get your popcorn ready and pick out a film on Kanopy – an amazing resource for indie, classic, and Credit-Free Viewing movies.
South Burlington residents with current library cards can watch 2 movies per month through Kanopy. An unlimited number of films can be streamed from Kanopy’s Credit-Free Viewing selection. This includes award-winning documentaries, classic black-and-white films, and The Great Courses series.

Kanopy Kids is also unlimited in usage, so families can spend their viewing credits elsewhere. Sesame Street, PBS Kids, and story time favorites are part of K-Kids; parental controls can also be set up for K-Kids viewing.

Some films I’m looking forward to watching:

Girls Rock! is a documentary about, well, girls who rock. Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp lets girls express their inner rock star as they choose a band, an instrument, and write an original song. Along the way they’ll be coached by indie rock artists and will eventually perform their song before an audience of over 700 people.

What We Do in the Shadows is about three vampires just trying to make their way in the world. These three are just like you and me (except for the being immortal part): they have to pay their rent and clean the house. When a 20-something hipster is turned into a vampire, the trio is tasked with showing him the ropes of never-ending life.

What Kanopy films are you looking forward to watching? Are there any you’ve viewed that you would recommend to others? -JJ

Friday, April 10, 2020

Poetry Out Loud

Decades ago, poetry and recitation were a regular part of American education. The memorization of poetry, it was thought, strengthened mental “muscles,” and exposed students to models of higher, moral thinking.

Today, for many people, exposure to poetry is rare.  I am a devotee of the poet, Mary Oliver but, despite having a line of her poetry permanently inscribed on my skin, I would be hard pressed to recite any of her other work.  The flood of information with which we are barraged on a daily basis keeps us from seeking out the quieter, slower pleasures of poetry, especially if it’s an art we’re not used to. Perhaps these strange times could offer us the necessary respite?

As one entry into the wild world of poetry, I give you Poetry Out Loud.  Partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts, state arts’ agencies and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud offers a yearly poetry recitation contest that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry, both classic and contemporary.  The competition starts in classrooms and moves to regional and state contests.  The fifty state winners then compete in Washington, D.C. where, after semi-finals and finals, third-place, runner-up and first-place finishers are chosen.  

The competition has been offered since 2005, and is supported by the Vermont Arts Council. Sadly, this year’s national competition in Washington, D.C. has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. In 2019 and in 2018, however, South Burlington High School student Vera Escaja-Heis was the Vermont winner. In 2017, Emily Friedrichsen, a freshman at CVU (and also this writer’s niece) was the state winner. Both young women should be very proud of their accomplishments.

Vera Escaja-Heis's performance can be found here. Emily Friedrichsen's performance can be found here. (Go to 7:55.) The Poetry Out Loud Website also has information about poetry anthologies and judging criteria. 

We hope you enjoy this sprinkling of Poetry Out Loud! Please post poetry--or poem titles--that you consider excellent choices for reading aloud in the comments section below. -KK