Ilsley Library


ILSLEY LIBRARY DIRECTOR Dana Hart thumbs through books in the children’s room at the Middlebury library, which Hart and others say is cramped and has no good sight lines to check on who is in the library. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury officials have agreed to jumpstart a dormant effort to improve and expand the Ilsley Public Library, whose deficiencies have become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to library supporters. The selectboard recently authorized a new group of six people to review past assessments of library infrastructure followed by formation of another group to formalize a design proposal for needed upgrades. In 2017 Ilsley trustees recommended a $9.6 million upgrade for the stately library building at 75 Main St. It was erected in 1924 and has been added to...
This was the first year we have worked with the Friends of the Ilsley Public library book sale. Barbara is a new board member and together we offered to set up, take down and generally help with the book sale on the Town Hall plaza. It was a joy to watch visitors, community members and strong bookies visit the tables and peruse the books. The vitality of folks searching for a  “good read” in our downtown was exciting and invigorating. When the rain came the town spirit presented itself. It was particularly moving when a number of community members pitched in to move the books out of the rain...

SOPHIE HOCHMAN, BUSINESS, Business Development and Filmmaker Relations Intern with Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, stands with Dana Hart, Director of Ilsley Public Library, and her daughter Augusta, in front of the growing MNFF collection at the Middlebury library. MNFF recently delivered 55 more films to the library’s collection.
The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival has delivered its most recent installment of “alumni donated” films to the MNFF Collection at Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury. This year, the Festival was pleased to deliver 55 films to the library from its 5th Annual Festival in 2019. This donation grows the library’s collection to include over 145 features and shorts, including documentaries, narrative drama, comedies, and animated films. All the films are available on BluRay. The Festival genuinely appreciates the generosity of its former filmmakers and is proud to offer their work to the...

STARTING THIS PAST Tuesday Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury stopped charging fines for materials that were returned after their due date. Ilsley was apparently the last library in the county assessing such fines. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library is beginning a new, post-COVID chapter this month that Ilsley Director Dana Hart believes will boost access to the library’s growing collection of materials. Changes include the abolition of late fees (and amnesty for those who have already accrued them), revised hours, new staff, a more user-friendly website and a more powerful WiFi system that can be tapped beyond the library’s Main Street footprint. The Ilsley is the last Addison County library to go fine free, according to Hart. The decision to go fine free is the game-changer, she believes...
A friend asked me recently what I do to get a break from the demands of my everyday life: from the constant noise, mess, decision-making, and physical labor involved in parenting (and homeschooling) five children — with a husband and a bunch of animals thrown in, too. In the past, I would have mentioned rising at dawn for daily quiet time to recharge my spirit, or how my husband sometimes watches our children for a chunk of hours on the weekend to give me a rest, or the occasional two-day retreat (the last of which happened three years ago). But this time I had a quick response: “I go to work...

LANDSCAPE DESIGNER JUDITH IRVEN created the new gardens at the front of Ilsley Public Library Photo courtesy Barbara Blodgett
MIDDLEBURY — The time just seemed right. Downtown Middlebury was re-opening after the railroad tunnel project, the longtime gardener at The Ilsley Library, Anna Benson had decided to retire, and the front gardens at the library cried out for a facelift. Barbara Blodgett initiated the project after consulting with landscape designer, Judith Irven. Irven has a long history of designing public gardens in Middlebury starting with Elderly Services many years ago, followed by the front gardens at The Middlebury Studio School on Route 7 South and then more recently the gardens at The Congregational...

BIXBY LIBRARY VOLUNTEER Shirley Parfitt has been helping Youth Librarian DeAnna Lippman to refresh the Children’s Room to welcome families again when the Library reopens on May 18. Photo courtesy of Bixby Memorial Library.
ADDISON COUNTY — The Bixby Memorial Free Library will reopen with limited capacity starting next Tuesday, May 18. The move comes as Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library has just opened its stacks for limited browsing and Lawrence Memorial Library plans its move from only curbside circulation to adding inside visits beginning June 1. Many library buildings closed to the public in mid-March, 2020, due to public health restrictions and safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that Vermont and Addison County have seen a drastic and continual decline in cases and hospitalizations...

BRAM ALLEN
Bram Allen is eight years old and he loves horror. “I think it’s because I was born in October, and that’s when all the scary stuff happens,” he explained. When Bram learned recently that Mary Shelley only wrote Frankenstein because she and her friends were taking part in a challenge to write the scariest ghost story, he got an idea: He would invite everyone he knows to write a scary short story. The second-grader is a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe — “I like ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’” he said — and he dressed up as Poe for Mary Hogan’s Book Character Dress Up Day last fall. He loves...
I would like to express my deep and continuous gratitude for the people and institution of the Ilsley Public Library. In pre-pandemic days, the library was a haven and frequent stop for my daughter and me. We came for books, of course, but also for the crafts, the activities, story times, and events, and it was almost a guarantee that we would run into friends whenever we tramped down the stairs.  But the Ilsley wouldn’t be the Ilsley without the librarians who staff its hallowed stacks. My daughter has a particularly strong connection with Youth Librarians Tricia and Lynn, and I am grateful...
MIDDLEBURY — Ilsley Public Library is offering a free four-week course, “Writing for Work,” beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3 and continuing on Nov. 10, Nov. 17, and Dec. 1. Instructor David Weinstock has designed the course for those who write as part of their job, profession, business or community role.  Its aim is that no matter what kind of writing — letters, proposals, reports, business plans, performance reviews, recommendations, advertisements, press releases, speeches and more –– the course will provide basic principles, guidance for specific situations, and individual attention. ...

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Addison County Independent