In my library column last May I talked about the library “return on investment” tool that library users can use to calculate how much value they get from their library. At the time I plugged in total numbers of books circulated, magazines borrowed, programs attended, etc. and found that it only took 5 months for Warren taxpayers to get back what they put into the library via town funds. Looking at 2019 as a whole, the value of services provided by the library is almost three times the amount that Warren taxpayers will be asked to fund in the town budget at town meeting day. In 2019, over 13,000 physical items were checked out and almost 3,000 digital audiobooks and ebooks were downloaded. Included in those physical items are passes to some favorite attractions in Vermont as well as games, toys, and DVDs. But not included in the calculation is access to a whole host of free online classes and databases that are available to all Vermont residents through their public libraries. With a library account and a little bit of guidance getting started, one can take a free class on how to use Quickbooks, access New York Times articles, or study for a plumber’s licensing exam. That’s a lot of extra value!
February is Black History Month and in recognition, here are some recent additions to the library that highlight black achievements and experiences:
A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross. Most of us learned history as told through the lens of the victors but Berry and Gross give us 400 years of American history through the stories of black women and the sexism and racism they fought.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Giving us a glimpse into the black experience in Great Britain, Girl, Woman, Other tells the interweaving stories of generations of black women in England. Class, race, education, gender identity, immigration, emotional abuse, the clash of the generations, it’s all here and written beautifully.
And for younger readers, The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and illustrator Kadir Nelson is a visual and poetic tribute to black achievement and struggle. Included are figures from the civil rights movement, literature, music, sports, current events, and more. Alexander’s poetry sings alongside Nelson’s portraits.