Montpelier, VT -- The Public Library -- August 30, 2007

Vermont is one of the few states with no state funding for libraries. Their library is funded by local taxes only. Last year, because a grant hadn't come through, the library had to close for two weeks. The community was outraged.

However, they are talking to legislators about how libraries have changed enormously in the last, even ten years, because of the information age. People might have thought that libraries would become obsolete, but they’re busier than ever.

They have people who come in to use the computers and then stay for the books. It’s a discovery process.

Theirs is the second biggest library in the state of Vermont and it’s an absolutely vibrant place. Their town has a history of reading and the library has become the absolute center of the community in so many ways.

They circulate over 1,000 books a day. They have a committed staff. Today was slow because it was the first day of school, but they expected the afternoon would be busy. People were going to be outside, reading all over the lawn….I admitted how embarrassed I was that I was leaving in just an hour.

Coming up--their doing a series on Inuits and climate change. Someone from the Smithsonian will come and speak.

In October they will begin, as a pilot program, a Big Read with the National Endowment for the Arts. Starting on October 21st Montpelier will be reading the Maltese Falcon. The local Lost Nation Theater will have dramatic readings and ORKA will broadcast the readings. They’ll have mystery authors come in and talk.

Her favorite book--The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay, which is set in South Africa. It’s not an easy book to find. It’s about survival, hopes, love, overcoming of great difficulty--such a powerful book. Most recently she’s loved Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen.

Senator Patrick Leahy, who had a small role in Batman, is donating proceeds of his appearance to the library. He grew up at this library and credits it to where he is today.

Here's a closeup of the artwork out the window. The sign reads: PEACE MONUMENT DESIGNED AND CREATED BY 200 VT YOUTH WORKING TOGETHER FOR PEACE

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