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News from the Vermont Department of Libraries and e-Vermont Community Broadband:

FREE 30 min Webinar:
Your Library Presents: Information 24/7

Find out how your library offers resources for job seeking & career exploration, lifelong learning, genealogy, and small business development. All available to you 24/7 from any computer with Internet access!

This webinar is easy to participate in wherever high speed Internet access is available.
Please log in 5 min. before the session begins and turn on your computer’s sound/speakers.

Tuesday November 8th, 12:00 – 12:30 pm or
Thursday November 10th , 6:00 – 6:30 pm or
Tuesday, November 15th, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

No registration required. Go to the webinar link at

This, the first of my talky blog posts, is dedicated to Sybil Brigham McShane, State Librarian of Vermont, who is retiring at the end of June. I will miss her.

I first met Sybil in the early 1990’s when she was Assistant State Librarian and I was Director of the Dover Free Library. Through a grant administered by the Department of Libraries, we were able to purchase our first (woo-woo!) microcomputer, and she helped with every aspect of setting up and getting connected to the Vermont Automated Library System. I remember her patient support on the phone, how she told me not to worry when jagged lines suddenly flashed across my monitor; it had probably just come unplugged. If she was rolling her eyes as she spoke, she never let on.

Another memory is a workshop with Sybil at the dawn of the World Wide Web. Librarians were gathered around computer screens watching as an image arrived, so…sl…o…w…ly, but then there it was: a whale! Or was it an elephant? I can’t remember, but it was a miracle! Some say that Al Gore took credit for inventing the Web, but I knew he had no such claim — it was Sybil.

We have Sybil to thank for the Vermont Online Library, a valuable collection of high-quality electronic resources that are made available to Vermonters through their public, school, and academic libraries. Many of the resources I plan to highlight in this blog are part of the VOL. During my brief time on the committee to choose the VOL vendor, I learned a bit about what it takes to pull a project like that together, including negotiation skills, goodwill, technical & library know-how, and an ability to work with complicated budgets and legal requirements. All in a day’s work for the State Librarian, I guess.

Thank you, Sybil, and I hope you have a wonderful retirement.

About this blog



Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

Jeanne Walsh, Therese Marcy, Sharon Reidt, Jess Weitz, and sometimes Jerry