Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Place of Connection

As an avid reader from a young age, I have always found solace, comfort, and discovery in books.

When I was a young child, my mother often discovered me in a sunny window nook with a book, and sent me outside to play. I would join neighborhood kickball games or hikes in the woods, but inevitably I returned to the back porch to read.

In elementary school I couldn't wait for the new book flyer to come out. I would select many books, but I could only choose one. My mother suggested we visit the library. It was there I discovered a world of wonder and delight, and the opportunity to go places that I might never actually see.


In high school the library was my place of connection. During my junior and senior years, it was there that I spent time with friends “studying,” though we just wanted to be with each other. It was exciting and risky, joking and laughing and whispering in low tones lest we get a stern warning.


During my college years I used the library to study and conduct research. It was a different time, before online research existed, and I used a typewriter to assemble my notes, carefully citing the books I signed out. I also discovered the special collections my university held and what a treasure trove they were.

I went to graduate school in a large city where we had to call the campus police for a ride home if we left the library after dark. There was danger outside but safety within the library’s walls. I had a work study job in a smaller library at the university, which was a place where I connected with other students and felt at home among its stacks and resources. It was also an experience that will forever connect me with the trauma of violence, since my supervisor’s husband was tragically killed.


When I became a parent for the first time, right here in South Burlington, it was our community library that connected me with other parents. When the children’s collection added a new book, the library honored the birth of a South Burlington child with a book dedicated in their honor. When my children were a little older, we would search for “their book” and read it together. I remember when my eldest son was a young elementary student fascinated by the large atlas in the library. An older gentleman connected with him and shared stories about the many places he visited while my son listened, rapt and in awe.


The solace, comfort and discovery that I have found in books has not diminished as I age. I feel transported by memoirs and my thinking is expanded by both fiction and nonfiction. I love perusing the stacks in bookstores, but it is not the same as a library. In a library, readers are connected each time a book is checked out. Who else chose this book and what led them to it? Who are these people you know only as a date due before or after you? These library conventions bind us together and create a shared history.


This is why I’m heading into my third year on the Library Board of Trustees. -DB

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 
sbplinfo@southburlingtonvt.gov. 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 sbplinfo@southburlingtonvt.gov. 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