Accessibility Project

The next meeting of the CFL Accessibility Project Committee, originally scheduled for Monday, June 29th via Zoom, has been postponed. New date: Wednesday July 1st at 6:00 pm.  Committee members will receive a link, and visitors may request a link by emailing the library.

This long-dreamed-about project was made possible through a very generous gift from former library volunteer Denise Nangle to the Friends of Castleton Free Library.  The Friends and Trustees agreed upon a funding match of three-quarters from Denise’s bequest to one quarter from the library’s capital account, with additional funding to be sought through grants.

An earlier committee of Friends, Trustees, staff, and community members-at-large worked to interview and select an architect.  Based on their recommendation, the Trustees voted to hire Tom O’Brien at their June 1st meeting. A new committee was charged by the Trustees to make a design recommendation for the project to the Trustees, and to assist with grant applications and other tasks necessary for timely success.

This project will be focused around three goals:

  • To improve access for all, including both outside access and vertical access (hopefully an elevator; possibly a lift) to the Adult Room

    To provide an accessible bathroom on the upper floor

    To achieve the above goals without net loss of any current space (programming space, librarians’ work and storage space, stacks)

This is an exciting time, with special challenges due to Covid, but we all hope to break ground in the spring.  In the meantime, be watching for updates.  We’ll be posting a community survey very soon, and scheduling a community forum later in the summer.

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Curbside Resumes!

We’re not open yet, but…..

We really miss talking to you in person, but PLEASE access the library in other safe ways. Call us at 468-5574, email, or send a Facebook message with your wishes. You may request specific titles or favorite authors, batches on specific topics or age levels, or theme boxes for kids (for example, Cat Box #1: Cats Who Travel, Naughty Dog Box, Slimy Box, Kids’ Gardens, or custom-made collections). When we receive your message, we’ll contact you back to arrange the curbside pickup time, or local delivery if you are unable to come yourself. Unfortunately, we can’t yet do interlibrary loan.

Everyone must follow current guidelines. No one may enter any part of the building except the isolated vestibule areas. Labeled boxes will be left outside near parking in good weather. If little people are strapped into carseats, we’re happy to deliver the box to your trunk. When other people are nearby (perhaps accessing wifi), masks and 6’ distancing are required. Small batches of materials may be returned in the bookdrops, but we’d prefer to have boxes returned at pickup time. All returned materials will be quarantined for a minimum of four days before being returned to circulation.

To see what’s currently available, click on the new link for the Adult’s New Materials Shelf on the home page. From there you’ll be able to see all 200+ new items as if you were browsing the actual shelf. To search the entire collection, go to the catalog tab. Please note: our website is getting an overhaul next week to get to the root of the very annoying “redirect” that you sometimes get when trying to access our site. This IS NOT a harmful virus to you – if you reach a sweepstakes page instead of our site, just close it (don’t click anywhere on the bad site) and search for Castleton Free Library again. Apologies for this!

We have more to share, so stay tuned and stay safe!

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Wonder Walks – A Different Kind of Story Hour

Update: Wonder Walks have moved to a new blog.

April 22, 2020IMG_8279

 Dear Story Hour friends, regular home-schoolers, and temporary home-schoolers,

 I miss you so much, but I’m glad we are all trying together to stay healthy!

Many other libraries have done online Story Hours (and I’ll share their links in another post), so I decided to try something different. Please understand that I have no idea what I’m doing!

Instead of reading books, I’m going to “read” that greatest of all wonder books, the natural world, and try sharing some of my walks and thoughts with you via little videos.  I’m figuring it out as I go along, so the videos will be very shaky and unedited, but I hope that will inspire you to jump in and try making videos of your own nature observations.

After each walk, I’ll also post photos, links to websites, titles of actual books that you could borrow from us for more information, and maybe a few ideas for activities.


So let’s begin with Wood Frogs at a Vernal Pond. The walk was in early April at Half Moon State Park.

R.-sylvatica-adult-face-on-birch-E.-Talmage-450x336These frogs are amazing. Their bodies can actually freeze solid without harm to the frogs. An increase in glucose (sugar) in their blood helps to protect their tissues and organs. They’re often the earliest frog heard singing in spring, usually before the is has melted.  More about this…


Look at the photo to see some key features for identifying wood frogs:

  •  black masks

  • white lips and throats

  • tan skin (color can vary)

  • dorsolateral ridges (dorsal means “back” and lateral means “at the side”) – can you see the raised line curving from its mask over the side of its back?

  • backpack straps – you can see these better in this photo:L-sylvaticus-from-front-puffed-up-straps-Irasburg-September-14-2014-Megan-Kane-200x237

I think I first learned about wood frogs from Jim Andrews who is a great herpetologist (that’s someone who studies amphibians and reptiles).  You can see him at work in winter in this short video where he talks about The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.

The photos on this page come from the atlas. Explore the website (click above) to learn about all the herps in Vermont and see how you can submit your observations to the atlas.  Check to see what’s been found in your town!

What else can you do?

  • Learn VT geography. Find your town on the species maps in the atlas. Do you notice any patterns in how the different species are distributed across Vermont? Think about where the mountains and lakes are – how does that influence habitat? Does weather have an effect?

  • Study frogs by drawing them. The drawing at the top of the page helped me learn some of the key features of wood frogs and spring peepers. Can you see the “X” on the back of the peeper, and the mask and ridges on the wood frog?

  • Take a look at their scientific names written on the old drawing, and compare them to the names in the atlas.  Names often change when scientists learn new information about classification of living things.  Rana means frog in Latin and is the family name for the true frogs. Sylvatica or sylvaticus means living in the forest.  Try learning some Latin or Greek by looking up more scientific names.  You could start your own dictionary!

  • Walk to a nearby pond to search for tadpoles and egg masses.

  •  Borrow the book Spring Pool: A Guide to the Ecology of Temporary Ponds by Ann Downer

  •  Borrow the DVD “Rattlers, Peepers and Snappers”RPS_DVD-200x300




no images were found

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National Library Week



Dear library friends,

First and foremost, we have missed seeing you!  As National Library Week begins, we’re still caught in a virtual world.  The Library Week theme was changed from “Find Your Place at the Library” to “Find the Library at Your Place.”

Mary and I had hoped to reinstate curbside delivery and pick up this week, but we still haven’t gotten full approval – more info soon!  As I’m sure has been true for everyone, this last month has been a whirlwind of procedural changes and suspension of services to comply with Governor Scott’s safety orders.  For us, this has meant quickly navigating the unfamiliar terrain of Zoom meetings, creating YouTube content, fielding unemployment questions, leading virtual book discussions, researching best practices for coronavirus disinfectants, and attempting to plan programs for an unknown future.

Mary (who works most of her hours in the library so her daughters can do their college work at home) has been taking more calls lately for help accessing downloadable content.  This is exciting!  Your library card gives you free access to two huge databases of audios and e-books for all ages.  Audiobooks are a welcome break from screen-staring.  Listen-Up Vermont (LUV) uses an app called Libby; RB Digital offers a different collection of materials, and login procedure.  Both provide downloads for phones, kindle-type devices and computers.  The trickiest part is the initial set up.  Look at instructions here, or contact Mary if you don’t know your card number or need any help (468-5574).

Our website Welcome page has a grid of links to these and other virtual services.  See a summary  here.  There are many additional links on the Children’s page, and new resources will be added regularly to this News blog.  If you haven’t done so already, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for quick updates and photos.

Stay safe, have a happy National Library Week, and let us help shine light on your place (until we meet again face-to-face)!


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Video surveys of Castleton Free Library for RFP’s

The following links are intended to provide an informal tour of Castleton Free Library during our closure due to COVID-19.

Link to CFL Zoom Meeting with Prospective Architects for Proposed Future Handicap Accessibility Project


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Covid-19 Discussion via Zoom

The Castleton Free Library will be hosting a virtual program featuring Dr. Margaret Kearns-Stanley for a discussion on Covid-19.

Dr. Kearns-Stanley received her medical degree from Stony Brook University and did her residency at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. She is a Family Practitioner with a private practice in New York City.

She was exposed to the Covid-19 virus and came down with the disease. She has since recovered.

Her unique perspective of being a medical doctor as well as a person who has been through the illness will make for an enlightening program.

The program was on Thursday, April 9th via Zoom.

Click below for an archived recording of the discussion

You may e-mail questions to:

or contact Mary at 468-5574.

Stay well, stay safe.

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Tumblebook Access Free!


Free Access to Tumblebooks during COVID-19 Crisis

Explore now for home studies or leisure with your kids! – K-6 children’s ebook database

Direct Link:

Username: tumble735

Password: books – K-6 math ebook database

Direct Link:

Username: tumble2020

Password: A3b5c6 – gr 7-12 ebook database

Direct Link:

Username: tumble2020

Password: A3b5c6 – all ages audio book database

Direct Link:

Username: tumble2020

Password: A3b5c6


 And for older readers: – a huge collection of steamy Romance novels for the older crowd!

Direct Link:

Username: tumble2020

Password: A3b5c6

TumbleBooks’ databases are easy to use, and feature unlimited access from home! Your patrons can read as many books as they want, when they want, and on any device. There are no check-outs, holds, or bulky downloads. Books are available instantly.

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Regarding unemployment – Mar. 27, 2020

If you know someone who is worried about filing for VT unemployment without computer access, please pass along this info:

You can both OPEN A CLAIM and FILE WEEKLY by phone. If a claim was already filed last Monday or before, it should be in the system, and the next step needs to happen TODAY – call to file a weekly claim BY 4:30 FRIDAY. Call:
1-800-983-2300; selecting Option #1
Important: DO NOT hang up prior to the system telling
you “good-bye” – your claim will not be processed!!
To open an initial claim, call 877-214-3330
A supplement phone line has also been established for assistance in establishing initial claims, and may be reached at 1-888-807-7072.
*UPDATED CLAIMS CENTER HOURS: Monday-Friday 8:15am – 6:00pm, AND Saturday 9:00am – 3:00pm*
Note that if a claim was filed between Monday and now, it will not upload to the system until tonight. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard back yet.

Hopefully we can figure out a way to offer essential computer service soon! Try to relax, and stay well.

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COVID-19 Response 3/25/2020

Dear library patrons,

To be in compliance with Gov. Scott’s most recent executive order to “Stay Home/Stay Safe,” we are reluctantly suspending all in-person library services until further notice. This includes book pick-ups and deliveries, as well as all use of library computers.
These decisions also were recommended by our State Library Director, Jason Broughton, in his email to us today. We are still waiting for an opinion from the VT Agency for Commerce and Community Development, and will adjust our plans accordingly to provide the most service possible while fighting the spread of COVID-19.
In the meantime, Mary and I are still working and want to help in any way we can. We’re shifting our energy now to things we can offer online, so please check back, keep in touch, and stay well!

P.S. We apologize for the “sweepstakes” issue on our website. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of it. If you get misdirected to a sweepstakes page, you haven’t won. Ignore it and try again. 

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COVID-19 Closure – Tue. 3/17/2020

Sadly, we will remain CLOSED until further notice, following coronavirus recommendations.

However, you may still access library services in the following ways:

  • Email (, call/leave message (802-468-5574), or message the library Facebook page if you’d like materials, need computer access, or have any other needs or questions. We will be monitoring communication daily.

  • We are happy to deliver books/audios/DVD’s to your home door in the Castleton/Hubbardton area, or to prepare batches of materials for pick up at the library. Specific or general requests are fine (e.g. a specific title, a box of books for preschool age, a few YA titles, etc.). Don’t feel that you are “putting us out” – we do this as a regular service whenever patrons have a need.

  • Make an appointment to come in for computer use, copying needs, tax forms, etc. We just ask that you limit this to ESSENTIAL  uses during this tough period. Please do not come if you are symptomatic. Keyboards, mice, etc. will be cleaned before and after use.

Shelter and be well!

Late March 16 084

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