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Supporting the new Cannabis Studies program

The library is doing its part to support Castleton’s new Cannabis Studies Certificate program.  We have been purchasing relevant books in consultation with program coordinator Phil Lamy, and we’ve created a new resource guide.  See a handful of recently purchased books.  You might notice that several of these are checked out.  It is a popular topic.

We’re currently highlighting relevant books in a display in the library as a welcome to guests coming to campus for a conference on Friday, Sept. 13, from 1:00-5:30 pm, with time for socializing afterward, called “Cannabis: The Vermont Way.”  The conference celebrates the launch of the new certificate program at CU.

For more information on the conference

For more information on the new Cannabis Studies Certificate program:

What’s it like to work in the library?

Gabrielle Lazzaro is a senior and a double major in English Education and Theatre Arts.

Guest blogger, library student worker Gabrielle Lazzaro shares her perspective

The Calvin Coolidge Library has one of the best work study opportunities on campus. It is a quiet, relaxed place to work with flexible hours and a positive atmosphere. Here, there really is a place for students with all skill types. Student employees practice customer service as well as work independently on meditative projects. We are also often asked research questions when our experts arenʼt available. The library is not just for the book lovers, although it may or may not turn you into a leisure reader in the end.

This summer, our main project was dusting and straightening our upstairs books, preparing them for a new fall semester. This took up plenty of my working hours over the twelve weeks or so, along with shelving returned and new books. As a result Iʼve gotten to know the stacks pretty well which allowed me to better assist the high school age students who were on campus throughout the summer, including those of GIA and Upward Bound – a personal benefit for me as an aspiring teacher.

Iʼve also been able to use library resources to my own academic advantage. Just this summer I took and passed both Praxis I and Praxis II using library resources as study tools, which would not have occurred to me before I started my job here.

Working here means you get to know the ins and outs of the catalogue and the databases, saving you (and your friends) money and frustration when it comes to all kinds of school work. As an added bonus, you also acquire and become a part of a built-in support system including peers, staff, and occasionally a few therapy dogs.


Welcome to new Library Director Beth Bidlack

The Library welcomed our new Director of Library Services Beth Bidlack on August 1. Beth comes to us from New York City where she was Director of the Burke Library at the Union Theological Seminary and then Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the seminary.  She has extensive experience in all facets of library services including user services, technical services, collection analysis, budgeting, grant-writing, and library systems, and has had myriad administrative responsibilities, including accreditation processes.  She brings a wealth of skills and experience to Castleton, as well as a calm and positive demeanor which has already won over library staff.

About coming to Castleton Beth said,

“I’m looking forward to learning more about Castleton University and being part of the community. When I interviewed for the position, I was struck by the dedication of the faculty and staff and by the camaraderie and care I observed among the students. I welcome the opportunity to talk with everyone about the role of the library and the needs of the Castleton community, especially in this age of information overload and ‘fake news.'”

The previous director, Jami Yazdani, left Castleton at the end of September 2018.  Library staff rose to the challenge of being leaderless for almost a year, but are excited to work with Beth and make great things happen for the Calvin Coolidge Library and the CU community.


Watch What You Read: New Book Display

Check out the new book display in the library created by our intern from the Upward Bound program.  Fair Haven High School senior Yvonne Swinington, who also attends the Stafford Video Communication program, worked with librarian Charlotte Gerstein for half of her internship.  The other half was with the Castleton Free Library.  While here in the CU library Yvonne created a display of books which have been made into movies or TV shows which she cleverly named “Watch What You Read.”   See a list of the books in the display, which includes recent books and productions like Crazy Rich Asians and The Hate U Give, as well as classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind.  She also created a display of cult classic films on DVD. Yvonne is interested in a career in film directing so maybe in a few years we’ll be including one of her films in our displays!  In the meantime, we are grateful that Yvonne brought her interest in film to share with us here in the library.

Yvonne’s sign:

Celebrating Pride Month

June is Pride Month for the LGBTQ community.  From the Library of Congress:

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States…The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”

The American Library Association (ALA) designates June GLBT Book Month™, “a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.”

The CU library has a book display up celebrating those writings, this year especially highlighting books for children and teens, and books about making schools safe for LGBTQ young people.

And, since you clicked to “learn more,” here’s a valuable resource:

The Complete Guide to Queer Pride Flags by Ariel Sobel

And for some recommendations for Pride Month reading beyond the display in the library:

50 Unapologetically Queer Authors Share the Best LGBTQ Books of All Time
(a gallery)

157 Titles to Celebrate the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Literary Landscape

From ALA:

If you see books on these lists that are not in the CU library’s holdings, let us know and we will consider purchasing your suggested title.  Send suggestions to reference@castleton.edu.


Passport to Vermont Libraries

Castleton is participating in the Passport to Vermont Libraries program again this year.  Sponsored by the Vermont Library Association and the Vermont Department of Libraries, this program, in its 4th year, is about encouraging people to visit and enjoy all of Vermont’s libraries.

From June 1 to September 1, Vermont’s public and academic libraries will be handing out passports, encouraging Vermonters and visitors alike to visit some of Vermont’s unique, beautiful, and creative libraries:

  • The Hitchcock Memorial Library in Westfield has a natural history collection including shells, rocks, artifacts and a taxidermied two headed calf.
  • See the shoes found in the wall of the Morristown  Centennial Library.
  • Learn about the Merci Trains which sent gifts to America from France after WWII, one of which is in the Chelsea Public Library.

Local libraries will stamp your passport and some offer small prizes. Four patrons statewide (adult, young adult, child and one wild card) will receive Vermont Library Ambassador awards for visiting the most libraries.  Patrons are encouraged to post pictures and stories on the VLA Facebook page  https://facebook.com/vermontpassport

More details about the program are available at  https://vermontlibraries.org/passport

Pick up a passport, or get yours stamped (and pick up a small prize), at the circulation desk.

Explore, celebrate and enjoy our great public institutions this summer!

Congratulations, Class of 2019

Commencement was Saturday, May 18.  Library staff wish all the best to the 2019 graduates, especially to our student workers who graduated:

  • Allison
  • Amanda
  • Grace
  • Jeffrey
  • Kiana
  • Marcello
  • Matthew
  • Megan
  • Rudra
  • Tyler

We will also miss all the students who were regulars in the library during their time at Castleton.  Congratulations to all and we hope to see you at Homecoming!

Humans and Animals: What’s at Steak

Check out the current book display on the relationship between humans and animals–broadly considered.  Read about species conservation, why people hate insects, factory farming, hunting, the evolution of humans, our bond with our pets, animal emotions and intelligence, animal rights, and more.  You can see the list of books included here.

While you’re thinking about humans and animals, you might want to check out the new report released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  The headline is

Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’
Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’

and it reports that 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction.  “Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” according to Professor Josef Settele, co-chair of the assessment. “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”

Many publications and media outlets are featuring this news, including the science journal Nature, NPR, Slate, and the New York Times.

We humans might consider whether our behavior on this planet is beastly, and whether we could maybe hurry up and evolve into a more humane species.

Would you like to study, work or volunteer abroad? Learn how to make it possible!

If you’ve ever considered studying abroad and want to learn more about making it possible, come on down to this event in Huden, Tuesday during N period.  A student panel and a guest speaker will address the basics and you can ask questions to learn more. In the meantime, and afterward, you can learn all about studying, working and volunteering abroad through myriad resources provided by the library on this guide:

Study, work, volunteer abroad

You will find resources on financial aid for study abroad, international job listings, information on teaching English abroad, volunteer opportunities, resources for learning about places to go and  learning languages, and more.

The library is a partner helping with this event by providing a display of books on these topics.

April Fool’s? April Facts!

Various memes have been flying around this week, as April Fool’s Day came and went, and some of them have meaning for libraries and the critical consumption-of-information habits we try to instill.  The gist of many is: Isn’t it funny that for this one day people don’t believe everything they read?  Here’s one:

April 1 isn’t the only day we in the information literacy field poke fun at people’s reluctance to be active, critical users of information.  This one isn’t particular to April Fool’s Day:

And, did you know April 2 is International Fact-Checking Day?  Don’t take our word for it, check out the International Fact-Checking Network’s page:  International Fact-Checking Day or the Poynter Institute’s newsletter post about it, with activities and fun facts 😉 .  If you forgot to celebrate on April 2, don’t worry, you can appreciate and seek facts every day!  For fun and enlightenment, here’s a fact-checking quiz you can take.

Just in case you clicked on the April Fool’s link hoping for some humor, here’s a whole bunch of library-related April Fool’s fun:

April Foolswatch: Our favorite pranks and hoaxes
from the American Library Association