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National Library Week: Strong Communities!

Be sure to stop in this coming week at Castleton Free Library (or any other library that you love) to help us celebrate National Library Week 2019, April 7th-13th. Browsing the list of themes for this 61-year-old event is a fascinating glimpse at changing times and social concerns. A few favorites: 1958 Wake up and read; 1963 Read — the fifth freedom, enjoy it; 1967 Explore inner space – Reading is what’s happening; 1969 Be all you can be – read; 1970 Reading is for everybody; 1980 America’s greatest bargain…the library; 1990 Reach for a Star – Ask a Librarian; 1996 Libraries Change Lives; 1997 Kids Connect @ the Library; 2013 Communities Matter @ your library; 2017 Libraries Transform. Great books are still at the core, but the mission has expanded, shifting the emphasis from individuals to community, and focusing on connections as a tool for transformation. In 2019, Libraries=Strong Communities.

Throughout April, please share your library stories – add to our memory board in the library, or use social media to participate in #MyLibraryMyStory. The American Library Association challenges you to “post photos, videos, or text on social media highlighting what you love about your library, whether it’s a way your library brings your community together or a few of your favorite library resources and activities. Share during National Library Week (April 7 – 13) using the hashtag #MyLibraryMyStory on Twitter or Instagram or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page for a chance to win big: one randomly selected participant will receive a $100 VISA gift card.” The promotion begins Sunday, April 7 at 1:00 pm and ends Saturday, April 13 at 1:00. Be sure to tag us too, @castletonfreelibrary on Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks to our Friends of CFL group, there will be edible treats every day that week at the circulation desk. They’ll be kicking off their “Adopt-an-Author” program. Come in for more information.

Remember that April is also Poetry Month. Mary has poems ready for Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 18th. Come by before or on this day to select a poem, and then carry it with you on the 18th to share with others at school, in the library, at your workplace, on a street corner, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Upcoming: a Poetry Reading and an Earth Day Story Walk – stay tuned!

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Access Still Challenging Due to Weather

Although the parking area and back walk have been shoveled, sanded, & salted, access still may be slippery and/or flooded. The back entrance may be partially blocked to prevent flooding into the building. Please bear with us during this challenging weather, and check here updates. Call us (468-5574), and we’ll try to help any way we can. We can bring a walker or library materials to your car.

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Trustee Meeting time adjustment 12/17/18

Due to the town Selectboard budget meeting tonight at 7:00, we will be adjusting the time of tonight’s Library Trustee Meeting to begin at 6:00 PM at the library instead of 7:00.

Thank you

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Preschool Stories with Author Phoebe Stone


Calling all preschoolers! We are very excited about our upcoming author visit with Vermont artist Phoebe Stone, who will be coming to Castleton Free Library to give a free program especially for preschool children (please note that this event will take the place of our regularly scheduled Story Hour, but begins a half hour earlier than usual.)  The morning will include about thirty minutes of storytelling and book-talking, followed by an opportunity for each child (including babies) to choose a free book to keep.

This event is funded by the Children’s Literacy Foundation, part of a “Year of the Book” grant awarded to Castleton Elementary School in partnership with the town library. We also received $1,000 worth of new books for the library collection. Castleton Elementary students will have an opportunity to meet Phoebe in the afternoon at the school. K-5 homeschoolers from Castleton/Hubbardton are welcome at either program. Free! Contact the library with any questions.
Phoebe Stone is the author and illustrator of three acclaimed picture books, “When the Wind Bears Go Dancing”; “Go Away, Shelley Boo!”; and “What Night Do the Angels Wander?”, as well as middle-grade novels (many of which received starred reviews). An artist from Middlebury, Phoebe has twice received the Vermont Council on the Arts Fellowship for painting, and her work has appeared in many galleries and museums.

From Kirkus Reviews, describing What Night..: “Vibrant spreads offer a feast of folk-art illustrations steeped in gorgeous shades of red, green, and blue. Enchanting images — stitching the world a quilt of snow, trimming the tree with clouds, mist, and moon — emphasize the celestial qualities of this magical holiday picture book.”  Her work is dreamy and lyrical.

Phoebe grew up both painting and writing in a family of novelists and poets, transmitting the storytelling tradition to her own son through bedtime stories. Speaking of Wind Bears, “When my son was younger, we lived in an old farmhouse on a little dirt road in the country…On stormy nights when the wind blew and the thunder roared and lightning flashed, this is a story I told him so he wouldn’t be frightened.”


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In Search or the Verifiable Ghost Story

Eileen's booksEvent: Oct 8, 2018, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Come join author Eileen Merwin for “In Search of the ‘Verifiable’ Ghost Story…” at Castleton Free Library, as she shares eight of her spooky kids’ books (as well as her initial terror at being hired by Bearport Publishers to research and write “non-fiction” ghost stories). We are delighted to be hosting this free program for all ages on Monday, October 8th at 7:00 pm.

Award-winning author E. Merwin, formerly from Castleton, has been researching and writing ghostly tales for Bearport Publishers since 2016. Her “Haunted Titanic” delves into the paranormal history of the ill-fated ship. Other spooky titles report on ghost sightings around the world. “Dark Underground” won a place on the 2018 Children’s Book Council list, selected from titles shared with 35,000 kids nationally as their favorites. In 2017, her novel, “The Northman’s Daughter” won the Next Generation Indie Award for regional fiction.

Having raised her kids in Vermont for over a decade, Merwin credits the long winters for driving her to become a children’s author. Her presentation will include discussion and Q&A about being a writer, aimed at both children and adults in the audience. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Please come welcome Eileen back in this free program open to all!

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2018 Maker Camp – Great!

Wow – what a great week!  Participants designed and printed 3-D creations, made Ozobot obstacle courses, experimented with making hovercrafts and other air-propelled objects, and produced a Virtual Tour of the library (click on link below to explore), and more, all in under 10 hours under the guidance of workshop leader Lisa Cacciatore.

Explore the Virtual Tour here

Lisa:  “The kids in the makerspace workshop took all the 360 photos, photographed all the still images, added the tags and narrations. Today I stitched all the photos together to make a seamless virtual tour. I think they did a nice job, I’m quite proud of what we accomplished in a matter of 10 hours. Enjoy!”


Ozobot obstacle course. Kids programmed little robots to navigate the course.


Lisa helping participants add finishing touches to 3-D creations

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Castleton Free Library Rocks! – Summer Schedule for Kids



The national library theme this summer is LIBRARIES ROCK! It’s about music, yes, and great books that sing, but in Castleton, it is also about rocks (because we love them). So we’re doing programs about music and geology, and it’s not too late to join the fun! Our reading incentive: help your children keep track of their reading (we have sticker charts), and every time they read three books on any subject (or you read them together), they can choose a rock sample to add to their collection. Reader? Geologist? Rock star? It’s all good.

Here’s a line-up of free programs for all ages. We don’t have a “regular” night this year, so check dates carefully:

Sat. July 7th at 6:30 pm: ROCKIN’ RON THE FRIENDLY PIRATE kicks off the program with music and swashbuckling fun. Pirate books to borrow. Rock the boat!  All ages. Free – supported by a grant from the VT Department of Libraries.

Mon. July 9th at 7:00 pm: JUST ROCKS! Geology basics, rock identification, painted rocks, and books. Start building your own rock collection – earn rock samples for reading.

Wed. July 18th at 7:00 pm: SUMMER ENCORE presents “In Search of a Song” – an original play about finding your own song, directed by Cathy Archer. Outdoors if weather is good (bring blanket); inside if rainy. All ages. Supported by a grant from the VT Department of Libraries.

Mon. July 23rd at 7:00 pm: ROCK TO ART – a kid-friendly tour of the West Rutland Carving Studio & Sculpture Center, a re-imagined industrial site. Marble quarry holes, post-industrial landscape, sculpture garden, artists’ works-in-progress, and gallery. Meet at the library by 6:40 to caravan, or in the Carving Studio parking lot at 7:00 pm. This is a great trip for all ages, but children must be accompanied and transported by an adult. If weather is a problem, the tour will be rescheduled and an ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM will take place at the library at 7:00.

Thu. Aug. 2nd at 3:30 pm: CLIF SUMMER READERS GRANT STORYTELLING AND BOOK GIVEAWAY – Presented by the CLiF Foundation. Every child (preschool-age 12).who attends will be able to choose two new free books.

Mon. Aug.13th at 7:00 pm: SMUSHED ROCK – pottery and rock music. What could be better? After a short intro to books about pottery and clay hand-building techniques, we’ll listen to rock music as we construct pots. Especially for school-aged kids.

Every Fri. at 10:30 am: STORY HOUR ROCKS! – Come to Preschool Story Hour to meet other parents/caregivers while your wee ones listen to stories, sing, move, and do open-ended art projects. Geared toward 0-5 year-olds, but anyone is welcome. Don’t worry if children aren’t quite ready to fully participate – we have a play area for escapees. In July and August, we’ll have a rock theme.

Every Wed. at 10:00 am: PLAYGROUP – Through partnership with the Rutland County Parent-Child Center, Lynn Gould facilitates weekly playgroup for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Drop-in any Wednesday.

Aug. 6th-Aug. 9th 6:00-8:00 pm: MAKER CAMP WITH LISA CACCIATORE – Four nights of projects for techies entering 5th-8th grade. Limited enrollment. Free, but you MUST PRE-REGISTER.

GARDEN CLUB – Kids are encouraged to join adults at our new Garden Club which meets about every two weeks to share gardening projects and advice. Call or email to find out the next meeting time.

Check our Facebook page and website for updates. New programs may be added. Programs are FREE and open to all (except Maker Camp which is by enrollment only).  Please call or email Jan with questions (468-5574;
This summer, remember the 3 R’s: Rock & Roll (of course, because summer is for extra fun) & Read!



Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate


 Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate – Sat. July 7, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Come rock the boat with Rockin” Ron the Pirate as he kicks off our Libraries Rock Summer Reading Program season with swashbuckling music for kids of all ages and adult pirates. He describes his style as “‘Sesame Street’ meets Monty Python,” Performing most often at Smugglers’ Notch Resort (entertaining families who come to Friendly Pirate Dinners and Breakfasts), Rockin’ Ron also shares nautical tunes throughout northeastern North America at schools, libraries, bookstores, museums, hospitals, parties and festivals. He’s a friendly pirate with an edge.  This program is supported with funding from the VT Dept. of Libraries. If weather is fair, we may be outside. Feel free to dress and talk like a pirate, and please spread the word – it’s a FREE pirate p-ARRRR-ty!

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Composting Workshop

Composting Workshop Tuesday April 10th at 7 pmschool camera June 2012 262

The chilly weather will not discourage us from thinking about spring! We’ve scheduled the first in a series of workshops for home gardeners, this one presented by Farm-to-Community mentors from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT).
“Compost in Your Backyard”  will be held on Tuesday, April 10th at 7:00 pm. at the town library. Come to learn the basics of composting, and then see a variety of proven methods for setting up a simple backyard compost system. Presenters will share resources, discuss what can be composted at home, and share ways to make a compost system work for everyone. They will bring hands-on displays (but “don’t worry – nothing stinky”) and hand-outs for participants to take home.
With the deadline approaching for Vermont’s Act 148 Universal Recycling & Composting Law (by 2020, residential food scraps and organic waste will be banned from the landfill), this is a perfect time for experimenting to figure out best practices for managing your own household organic waste. According to the VT Department of Environmental Conservation, “Food scraps make up nearly 1/3 of the total waste a typical Vermont family generates at home… Food scraps and leaf and yard wastes represent valuable resources that can be re-used in many products, such as compost, garden mulch and animal bedding.” Compost is particularly useful as a soil amendment.
It’s also a perfect time to borrow some garden books! Free and open to all. Accessible entrance and parking is on the west side. For more info call us at 468-5574.

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When You Vote “Yes”

When you vote “yes” on March 7th to approve your public library’s budget, you are voting for intellectual freedom, local control and flavor, ultimate resource sharing, collaboration, and free access to information for all people.  You are voting for community, culture, and creativity.  You are supporting the belief that books and other reservoirs of human thought are valuable, belonging to all – not something to be burned or censored, but to be collated and protected; a means of passing on collective wisdom, wit, sorrow, and joy.  You are voting to support a warm building that provides common space for neighbors (even antagonistic neighbors) to cross paths and interact; a building for cozy stories, passionate discussions, meetings, movies, maker events, computer access, dance classes, crafts, celebrations, and sometimes just sanctuary.
A Castleton Free Library patron (a dad and preschooler building with construction toys) joked that libraries offer all sorts of things now besides books – museum passes, snowshoes, pizza delivery (he happened to be there at lunchtime).  But the truth is, public libraries do provide all sorts of services. A man walks in on a frigid Friday afternoon needing an inexpensive room for the night. He has no phone. This is a fairly common kind of reference interaction. The library phone rings multiple times every day with inquiries about tax forms and help.  Twelve kids explode off a school bus to mess around with stopwatches at a Crazy 8s Math Club. Tables covered in chocolate treats for a “Galentine” program on Women’s Fiction are folded to make room for Playgroup the following morning (when the library is “closed”).  The librarians pack sacks of books for deliveries to homebound patrons and classrooms. Typical week.
The means of procuring library funding varies from one Vermont town to the next as much as the towns differ in character and infrastructure. Vermont libraries are a grassroots phenomenon, cropping up in each town through local efforts and ideas, with no “template” or direct funding from the top. Some towns developed municipal libraries as official town departments, while others (such as Castleton Free) organized as non-profit corporations. In both cases, library boards are responsible for budgeting, policies, and stewardship; and for most libraries, day-to-day operational funding is raised mainly through tax appropriation, supplemented by endowment interest, small grants, gifts, and local fundraising.
Castleton Free Library FY18-19 proposed operating budget is the same amount as in FY13-14, the fifth year of level funding. About 61% goes toward payroll, insurance costs and benefits for two part-time librarians and Saturday workers; 17% covers building and utility expenses; and 22% pays for the lending collection, computers and programs.
If you have any questions about your library’s budget before Tuesday, please call or stop in.  And then vote “yes” to support library services.

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