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Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont

In May 2021, the Vermont State Legislature passed Act 66 (S.115) an act relating to making miscellaneous changes in education laws, which was signed by the Governor on June 7, 2021. This act created the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont and charged that body with studying the statewide status of libraries. The Working Group submitted its report to the House and Senate Committees on Education on November 1, 2023.

Executive Summary (5 pages)

Recommendations to the Legislature Related to Updating Statutes and 
Funding Needs of Vermont Libraries
 (3 pages)

Recommendations to the Department of Libraries Related to Updating the 
Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries
 (3 pages)

Full Report (229 pages)

Appendix (710 pages)

Full report and appendix on Legislative website (939 pages)

Plain Language Version: Executive Summary (6 pages)

Report Presentation (YouTube, 1 hr.,12 min.)

Working Group Members

  • Catherine Delneo (Chair) - State Librarian and Commissioner of Libraries, Vermont Department of Libraries, Barre

  • Kelly McCagg - President (2022-2023)/Past President (2023-2024), Vermont Library Association, Director, Burnham Memorial Library, Colchester

  • Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup - Executive Director, Vermont Humanities Council, Montpelier

  • Jeannette Bair - Public Library Representative, Retired (Former) Director Rochester Public Library 

  • Susan O'Connell - Public Library Representative, Director, Craftsbury Public Library

  • Wendy Sharkey - Public Library Representative, Head of Circulation Department, IT, and Cataloging, Bennington Free Library

  • Meg Allison - Past-President, Legislative Concerns Chair, Vermont School Library Association, Librarian, U32 High School, Montpelier

  • Karen McCalla - Vermont School Library Association Representative, Teacher Librarian, Mill River Union Middle/High School, North Clarendon

  • Maria Avery - Academic Library Representative, University of Vermont Libraries, Burlington 

  • Denise Hersey - Academic Library Representative, Director, Dana Health Sciences Library, University of Vermont, Burlington

  • Andy Kolovos - Friends and Trustees Section Representative, Vermont Library Association, Trustee, Brownell Library, Associate Director and Archivist, Vermont Folklife, Middlebury

Written Comments

We appreciate the time many of you have taken to engage with the Working Group and share written comments with us. The Working Group accepted written comments from September 2021 through August 2023. The period for written comments has closed.

All written comments have been included in the appendix of the report.

Staffing and Salaries Survey

A report on the staffing and salary survey was provided at the September 22, 2023 meeting of the Working Group and is available here:

The Staffing and Salaries report is included in the appendix of the Working Group's report (pp. 232-333).

Meetings Schedule

The Working Group convened regular and special meetings from July 2022 through October 2023. All meetings were open to the public and recorded.

Previous Meetings

Charge of the Library Working Group Study


  1. Creation. There is created the Working Group on the Status of Libraries in Vermont to study and report on the statewide status of Vermont’s libraries. The Working Group is formed with the intent of strengthening and supporting libraries of all sizes and improving library services for the public.
  2. Membership. The Working Group shall be composed of the following members:
    1. the State Librarian;
    2. the President of the Vermont Library Association or designee;
    3. the Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council or designee;
    4. three representatives of public libraries, who shall be from libraries of difference sizes and from different regions of the State, appointed by the State Librarian;
    5. two representatives of public school libraries, who shall be from schools of different sizes and from different regions of the State, appointed by the Vermont School Library Association;
    6. two representatives of college and university libraries, appointed by the President of the College and Special Libraries Section of the Vermont Library Association; and
    7. one public library trustee, appointed by the President of the Friends and Trustees Section of the Vermont Library Association.
  3. Powers and duties. The Working Group shall study:
    1. library services for specific segments of the Vermont population, including senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, youths and children, immigrant and migrant communities, and people living in poverty.
    2. the role that libraries play in emergency preparedness, cultural diversity and inclusion, public health and safety, community identity and resiliency, economic development, and access to public programs and services.
    3. the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on library operations and services; and
    4. the current overall status of Vermont libraries, which may include information related to programming, collections, facilities, technology, and staffing.
      1. Programming. The Working Group may study the types and frequency of library programs, attendance at library programs, and whether library programs are meeting community needs. The study of programming may include an assessment of public engagement and outreach surrounding library programming as well as the opportunities for nonlibrary programs and groups to access Vermont libraries.
      2. Collections. The Working Group may study the size and diversity of library holdings and assess the strengths and gaps in materials available to Vermonters. The study of collections may include an assessment of how libraries may best share resources across differing libraries and communities, whether libraries offer community-specific resources, and whether libraries maintain special collections or historical artifacts.
      3. Facilities. The Working Group may study whether library facilities and buildings could be improved with regard to energy efficiency, accessibility, flexibility, human health and safety, historic preservation, and intergenerational needs.
      4. Technology. The Working Group may study whether Vermont libraries have sufficient access to basic technological resources, cyber-security resources, high-speed Internet, electronic catalogs, interlibrary loan and other interoperable systems, and appropriate hardware and software.
      5. Staff. The Working Group may study staffing levels at Vermont libraries, whether staffing levels are sufficient to meet community needs, whether library staff compensation and benefits are sufficient, how libraries rely on volunteers, and what resources are available for workforce development and training of library staff.
  4. Public input. As part of the study and report, the Working Group shall solicit feedback from the public and library users around the State. The Working Group may examine models for library management and organization in other states, including the formation of statewide service networks.
  5. Data to be used. The data used in the analysis of library services and operations may be from 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Post pandemic data may also be used to assess the status of library services and operations.
  6. Consultation with the Board of Libraries. The Working Group may solicit feedback from the Board of Libraries.
  7. Assistance. The Working Group shall have the administrative, technical, and legal assistance of the Department of Libraries
  8. Report. On or before November 1, 2023, the Working Group shall submit a report to the House and Senate Committees on Education. The report shall contain:
    1. specific and detailed findings and proposals concerning the issues set forth in the information listed above;
    2. recommendations for updating the statutes, rules, standards, and the governance structures of Vermont libraries to ensure equitable access for Vermont residents, efficient use of resources, and quality in the provision of services;
    3. recommendations related to the funding needs of Vermont libraries, including capital, ongoing, and special funding; and
    4. any other information or recommendations that the Working Group may deem necessary.
  9. Meetings
    1. The State Librarian shall be the Chair of the Working Group.
    2. The Chair shall call the first meeting of the Working Group to occur within 45 days after the effective date of this act.
    3. A majority of the membership shall constitute a quorum.
    4. The Working Group shall cease to exist on December 1, 2023.
  10. Compensation and reimbursement. Members of the Working Group shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses as permitted under 32 V.S.A. § 1010 for not more than 12 meetings. These payments shall be made from monies appropriated to the Department of Libraries.
  11. Appropriation. The sum of $12,000.00 is appropriated to the Department of Libraries from the General Fund in fiscal year 2022 for per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses for members of the working group.