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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Great Backyard Bird Count

Thursday, February 15th – 7:00 pm

If you’ve never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count (cosponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada), and would like help getting started, this is an informal event for you!  This year’s count begins Friday 2/16 and continues for four days. You may count any day, any time for fifteen or more minutes, anywhere – and then submit your data to this great resource powered by Citizen Science.  In addition to reviewing count procedures, the program will include a quick overview of how to set up your own eBird account, and time to chat with other amateur birders about identification and sightings.  Free; all ages welcome; access through north entrance. Call us with any questions.


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What the Heck is Women’s Fiction?

library Valentine_edited-1Tuesday Feb. 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Vermont author J. Carter Merwin, member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, discusses the merits, authors and controversy around “Women’s Fiction” followed by a reading from her fantasy series, “Tales of Earden”. Chocolates for all, even any men who dare to attend. Free. Accessible through north entrance.

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Snowshoes in the Library!


Feb. 2, 2018

Thanks to a grant from the Vermont Department of Health, the library has received 20 pairs of adult and children’s snowshoes from the Rutland Office of Local Health. The “Snowshoes in Libraries” Lending Program is part of their 3-4-50 initiative to address chronic disease in Vermont by promoting physical activity and encouraging community members to get outside for exercise during the winter months. Three behaviors (lack of exercise, poor diet, and tobacco use) lead to the four diseases that cause more than 50% of deaths in Vermont each year.  All you need is your library card to start on a path to better health through the snow-blanketed landscape.

Initially we’ve set the lending period to a week to allow for multiple expeditions, so do call ahead to be sure that the sizes you need are not all checked out.


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Vermont Farm Kids Film

Vermont Farm Kids film

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Science Pub Season is here!


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Vermont Reads Books Have Arrived

brown girl dreaming cover          They’ve arrived – a box filled with 75 new copies of the 2017 Vermont Reads book, Brown Girl Dreaming, thanks to a grant through the VT Humanities Council.  This year’s title is a memoir written in exquisite yet simple free verse by award-winner author Jacqueline Woodson, chronicling her childhood and coming-of-age during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  The book simultaneously gives its reader glimpses through a child’s eyes of events during this tumultuous era in United States history, and reflections from an adult perspective.  The New York Times Book Review says that the triumph of this novel “…is not just in how well Woodson tells us the story of her life, but in how elegantly she writes words that make us want to hold those carefully crafted poems close, apply them to our lives, reach into the mirror she holds up and make the words and the worlds she explores our own.”  With universal themes of family, place and home, religion, race relations, and the importance of stories, this is a perfect book for us to distribute far and wide, to focus community book discussions, and to inspire creative programming in the library.

We plan to offer several formal programs centered on the book over the next three months, including intergenerational book discussions, a memoir writing group, and a multimedia evening (film clips, music, and art) – dates to be announced.  Because the writing is so accessible, we also will be sharing copies with students in 4th -8th grade, with an invitation to present their work at a final program in the fall.  But our immediate goal is to get the books into your hands – to read and keep, read and return, or read and pass along to a friend.  Please come in at any time to pick up your free copy while our supply lasts, and sign up for notification of event dates.

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“Build a Better World” challenges

Dear “Build A Better World” reading friends,

Summer Reading Program does resume Monday July 17th at 7:00 pm, but due to a family emergency our Build-a-thon has to be modified. I’ll be in Portland, Maine, but Twyla and Jenna will be on deck to give you some LEGO and KEVA Plank building challenges, and help you with new books and stickers. Thanks for your understanding.

Can anyone design a LEGO lighthouse? (Did you know that Robert Stevenson, a famous Scottish lighthouse engineer, was the grandfather of Robert Lewis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island?)

LEGO Classic 10692 Creative Bricks Lighthouse

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Swing Peepers

M-J-leaning-paint-bg-med-rez-300x217We are excited to share some “rollicking, earth-friendly wackiness for the whole family” with the Swing Peepers, as they kick-off our Summer Reading Program on Monday June 26th at 7:00.  The Peepers are known for their lively, improvisational, participatory music and storytelling. They are a Vermont vocal-harmony and multi-instrument duo comprised ofmusician/storyteller/educator Matthew Witten, and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Hadden.  Between them, they play guitar, mandolin, violin, harmonica, banjo, ukulele and accordion, and have performed throughout New England and NY State at such venues asHudson River Sloop Clearwater, Champlain Valley Folk Festival, Boston Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, and many regional coffee houses.  Hadden has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and Witten has performed as the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Troubadour.

The concert is free and open to all, and appropriate for all ages.   I’ll have Summer Reading Program materials ready to hand out to all students who want to participate in this year’s program.