database about the library kids' page reader advisory reference desk programming & events

Fletcher Free Libray Annual Report
Fiscal Year 2008
July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2008



Smiling faces shine during the 2008 Summer Reading Program “Catch the Reading Bug.”


Fletcher Free Library Mission Statement

Letter from the Board Chair and the Co-Directors

Where Our Support Comes From

Special Recognition and Thanks

The Services We Provide

Marketing: How We Attract Use of our Services

Statistical Highlights

Department Highlights

Department Spotlight: Celebrating our Community's Youth!

Organizational Structure

Get to Know the Staff

The Library Board of Commissioners

Looking Ahead

Fletcher Free Library Mission Statement

The Fletcher Free Library serves the evolving educational and cultural needs of the Greater Burlington community.  Our urban public library offers a welcoming place for people to gather and to learn.  A trained staff helps patrons locate the materials and information they need for work and pleasure.


Letter from the Board Chair and the Co-Directors

At the occasion of the Carnegie Library’s Dedication in 1904, Burlington’s Mayor Burke remarked to the citizens of Burlington that the Library would be for their benefit.  He stated, “It is not for the few, it is not for the privileged, it is for all.”  Indeed, this proclamation set the stage for the next century to where we are today.

The Library’s mission of serving the evolving educational and cultural needs of the Greater Burlington community extends to all.  As last year’s report emphasized the Library’s rich outreach capacity to one and all, this year’s report showcases one particular group uniquely touched by its abundant programs- our community’s youth.

The Library’s youth programs have steadily grown due to exciting and varied age-specific programs, talented and energetic librarians and volunteers, generous financial and in-kind donations, and, of course, a vibrant young community eager to read.  Indicators of the success of our youth programs include the “record-breaker” Summer Reading Program for 2008, the new teen blog, partnerships with local schools, and an active and vital outreach program that brings the Library to the youth when circumstances prevent them from coming to us.

The Library is proud of this commitment to youth of all ages- from birth to teens- and at the core of our efforts is the desire to promote literacy and a love of reading.  The results speak for themselves—and the smiles on the faces of the kids involved are the immeasurable results.

As we report to you on the past fiscal year, we are delighted to highlight the stories of our youth efforts and to illustrate our ambitions plans for increased growth and activity in this area as well as several others.  The needs are real and we are honored to serve the role that we do for our community.  Thank you for your involvement in making this good work possible!

Michael Schultz
Board Chair

Robert Resnik, Amber Collins, Robert Coleburn

Top of Page

Where Our Support Comes From

The Co-Directors and the Board of the Fletcher Free Library work within the City’s organizational and financial structure.  In this era of budget cuts, we continue to utilize our ingenuity to control costs while maintaining excellent service.

¨      City of Burlington – The Library is a City Department and receives operating money from the City’s General Fund.


¨      Dedicated Book Tax – A ½-cent tax provides most of the funding for the purchase of new books and other items such as books on CD and DVDs.  This figure amounted to $175,000 this past year.  The Library’s book fund continues to benefit from this tax passed overwhelmingly by City voters in March 1995.


¨      Payments for ServicesNon-resident library cards, printing, lost books and fines provided $68,558 in revenue in fiscal year 2008.  This is an increase of $2,813 over last year’s figure.


¨      Endowment FundStarted in 1873 with a $10,000 contribution from Mrs. Mary L. Fletcher and her daughter, Miss Mary M. Fletcher, the Library’s endowment is now managed by the Vermont Community Foundation.  Each year, 4½% of the past three-year average of the fund value is allocated for distribution or reinvestment.  The Board decides whether to spend or reinvest this income; it is designated for spending only on books.  As of June 30, 2008, the fund was valued at $291,976.00, a loss of approximately $34,000 over last year’s figure.


¨      GrantsThe Library applies to foundations annually for grants to fund renovations, services, projects, and programs.


¨      The Friends of the Fletcher Free Library is a separate non-profit organization devoted to supporting the Library.  With over 100 members, the Friends raise money through membership fees and book sales, advocate for Library programs & services, help produce mailings, and run programs such as “Booked for Lunch.”  They support the Library as needs arise in a multitude of areas, including:

  • Equipment, office supplies, building renovations

  • Additional help for building and grounds maintenance

  • Special needs (such as staff travel & scholarships to professional conferences)

¨      Children’s Sing-Along Music CDs – Three recordings have been produced over the past 10 years, featuring Robert Resnik with Carol Scrimgeour and Gigi Weisman.  Sales of the children's CDs for FY08 totaled $2,182.00.   Proceeds from the CD sales are used exclusively to fund children and adult programs.  In May 2008, the Library celebrated the 10th anniversary of the release of “Like The Birdies Sing,” the first of a series of 3 sing-along CDs that we have released to partner with the Library’s regular sing-along programs. Up to now, the project has succeeded in raising more than $25,000 to help the Fletcher Free pay for special programs. The celebration included a well-attended concert at the Library.  The production of a fourth sing-along CD is in process.


 ¨      Donations from Individuals, including bequests, help pay for books and other materials in our collection, projects and programs.  The Board sends solicitation letters once or twice a year.  The Library is deeply grateful to individuals who donate cash or stock, include the Library in their will, join the Friends of the Fletcher Free Library, donate books, CDs, and DVDs, and volunteer.  We are also grateful to local businesses and foundations that support our efforts in numerous ways.  Thank you!


¨       In-Kind Contributors have been very generous to the Library.  This past fiscal year, many individuals, volunteers, and businesses donated products and services to support a wide variety of Library services & events.  We are deeply grateful for this commitment to our efforts and we thank you!

¨      Volunteers continue to give of themselves to enable us to continue to provide exceptional services.  Some volunteers are supported by other groups, such as Work-Study, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Department of Corrections and other special employment programs, while others volunteer to fulfill certain community service requirements.  For more than 5 years the Library has benefited from volunteer time contributed by the Community Service program at Champlain College.  Students who participate in this program contribute 40 hours of work per semester to local nonprofits.  Over the last year the Library employed more than 20 Champlain volunteers in our busy public access Computer Center and we thank each and every one for their generous gift of time.


Bonnie Acker and her green thumb keep the Library’s flower gardens beautiful.
Thank you, Bonnie, for all you do!

Book Fund Memorial

When we receive donations totaling over $500 in memory of an individual, we pay tribute to that individual by mounting a brass nameplate on the red marble Book Fund Memorial displayed by the front entrance.  This tradition was started in 2000 by Charlotte & Herb Mandel & Family in memory of Nathaniel Lash.  We are most grateful to family and friends for honoring their loved ones in such a meaningful way to our Library and community.

The following names were added this past fiscal year:

Corinne Crawford

Nathaniel Cole Rosen

In addition, the family may request that memorial bookplates be placed in new Library books of a genre of their choice.  Thank you for remembering loved ones through supporting the Library and remembering the Library in your estate plans.

Top of Page

Special Recognition and Thanks

Summer Reading Program 2008

The Library expresses great thanks to the following friends for their generous support of our Summer Reading Program 2008. Our success is your success!  Thank you!

American Flatbread
Ben and Jerry’s
Borders Books and Music
Bruegger’s Bagels
CD sales
Crow Bookshop
Dwight Asset Management 
Friends of Fletcher Free Library
Harry Bliss
Lake Champlain Chocolates
Library Development Committee
Northstar Cyclery
Oakland Foundation
Patti Levi
Pet Food Warehouse
Star 92.9
The UPS Store
Vermont Lake Monsters
VT Elder Law and Trust

A Song of Farewell and Thanks to Gigi

Gigi Weisman has been performing with Robert Resnik as part of the "Robert and Gigi" program for over a decade.  These sing-along and outreach programs have been among the most successful programs in the history of the Library, with capacity crowds at virtually every show and long waiting lists for sign-up.

While Gigi will no longer perform on a regular basis at the Library, many kids and parents at the Fletcher Free will always remember her joyously madcap musical style.  We thank you, Gigi, for sharing your passion for our community’s youth in such an uplifting way!  The self-esteem and infectious glee you have generously spread to your audience here at the Library has already had a lasting impact on our community.

Big Thanks to Big Blue:
IBM Continues to be a Generous Friend of Fletcher Free

The Library is deeply grateful to IBM of Essex Junction for their incredible dedication and support.  Since 2001, IBM has donated 56 desktop PC’s and 20 laptops to the Library, including 16 in October 2007 and another 15 this past August. This represents a value of over $95,000 and has allowed the Library to thrive in this new digital era. Unlike many other grant giving organizations, IBM has also allowed us to use some of these computers for staff use in addition to public use, thereby multiplying the benefits of their giving.

As a vital partner with us in solving the “Digital Divide” and computer literacy issues in our community, IBM continues to be there for us and our community.  During difficult economic times many people have no other place to turn but the Library to help them apply for jobs, write resumes, and brush up on their computer skills. For these reasons, our public access Computer Center had over 60,000 users in the past year!

In particular, we wish to thank Marie Houghton, IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager, who has been instrumental in the success of this unique public/private partnership.  Regarding the support from IBM, Marie stated, “We are pleased to support the Fletcher Free Library and the public access center. Despite the pervasiveness of technology, many people cannot afford to buy computers and would have little to no access to information and resources that are so necessary for full participation in our society.”  The Library thanks IBM for having this understanding, for being such a loyal partner, and for caring for our community in such a special way.

Another Fine Year of Service from our Friends

From helping to save the Old Carnegie Library Building in the early 70’s to the myriad ways they support the Library today, the Friends of the Fletcher Free Library continue to serve as tireless cheerleaders and advocates for our mission.

This past September, the Friends once again organized and managed the successful Annual Donor Reception and Book Sale Preview and the Library’s Used Book Sale, raising $9,300 to help fund essential Library programs and services. The Friends also continued their popular Booked For Lunch series for the sixth year and inaugurated a new project, The Book Stall- the Friend’s library store, located directly across from the main circulation desk, staffed by the Friends, and featuring high-quality secondhand hardcover and paperback books and other library merchandise.

Other recent Friends funding projects this past year have included the lease and maintenance of the Library’s public copy machine, entertaining our sister city librarians from Yaroslavl, Russia when they came to visit Burlington last fall, and providing the honoraria for the Library’s Children’s Author Series.  In addition, the Friends have generously sponsored the popular Vermont Humanities Council First Wednesdays Lecture Speaker Series and contributed to new carpeting in the Teen Area and for custodial help.

Friends President, Jody Kebabian, is proud of the good work of the group.  “I believe our success is due to the Friends themselves.  We truly have a wonderful group- vibrant, enthusiastic, loyal.  This make-up translates to great dedication to Fletcher Free and notable success of the programs we sponsor.”  Thank you, Jody, and thank you, Friends, for your loyalty and devotion to our community on so many levels.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We would like to express special appreciation to long-time Library custodian Doug Chamberlain, who moved into his new job this year in the Library’s technical services department.

We also thank Ted Horton, a Fletcher Free volunteer, IBM employee, and an excellent and experienced teacher, who has been teaching the Library’s popular Intro to Windows and Excel computer workshops for years.

Thanks to Deb Lashman, the chair of the Library’s Board of Commissioners, who stepped down this year after chairing the board since 2003.

And our thanks to outreach librarian Barbara Shatara, who has served faithfully as the Fletcher Free’s staff representative on the Library Board for the past three years.

Part-time staffer Martha Penzer received a Customer Service Award for her exceptional skills.  Congratulations, Martha!

Top of Page

The Services We Provide

The Fletcher Free Library is the largest public library in Vermont, located in the largest city in Vermont (population of about 38,000), within the most populated county.  Our 14,000+ members are mostly Burlington residents, who support the Library through their taxes; members who do not pay taxes in Burlington (there are over 600) pay a comparable amount to what Burlington taxpayers pay.  Non-resident seniors receive a discount.

You don’t need a Library card to use the Library.  Our building is open to everyone and is a popular destination for tourists.  With free access to the use of our collection within the building and internet access at the Computer Center or via our WiFi network, the Main Reading Room provides a safe, quiet place to work, read, and relax.


¨      Library books, audio books, and materials for adults and children

¨      Outreach deliveries to those unable to come to the Library

¨      Interlibrary Loan both to our members and from our collection

¨      On-line catalog, with links to best-seller and other lists

¨      Reference research from in-person, phone, and on-line inquiries

¨      On-line databases (non-member access within the Library only)

¨      Free Public Access Computer Center

¨      Free Public Wi-Fi Internet access

¨      Meeting Room space available to the public at no charge

FY08 Regularly-Scheduled Programs*:

¨      Art Exhibits

¨      Book Discussion groups (Library and Flynn Center)

¨      “Booked For Lunch” speaker series (coordinated by the Friends of the Fletcher Free Library)

¨      Computer Workshops

¨      Citizenship and English as a Second Language Classes and Conversation groups

¨      “First Wednesdays” (with the Vermont Humanities Council)

¨      Youth:

Þ    Family Sing-A-Long, Moving & Grooving with Christine, Music with Robert and Gigi

Þ    Library Learning Adventures for Homeschoolers, Pre-school Storytime

Þ    Summer Reading Program

*There were also many one-time-only programs, especially for youth.

Top of Page

How We Attract Use of Our Services

By devoting resources to distribute information about the Library, we are reaching out in an effort to connect with our community.

¨      BiblioFile is the Library’s monthly newsletter.

Þ    Adult and Youth programs and events are listed, as well as Friends of the Fletcher Free Library news, book reviews, and other items of current interest at the Library.

Þ    It is mailed to donors, Friends, city councilors, legislators, media, organizations offering posting locations, schools & libraries, and available for anyone to pick up at the Library.

¨      The Library’s website ( devotes a page for Adult and Youth Programming and Events, another page for Library News, and another for the Library News Archives, going back to 2004.  There are also youth and teen blogs which serve to keep our youth up-to-date on Library activities they may enjoy.

¨      Press releases via email advertise Adult Programs, Art Shows & Openings, and other events.

¨      Youth Department program announcements are mailed to 60 schools, organizations, and media.

¨      Flyers advertising Programs, Art Shows, and Events are posted in the Library.

¨      Tours are given to students, who are encouraged to become members and use the Library.

¨      Videotaped events are broadcast by two local television stations: Channel 16 (RETN, Regional Educational Technology Network) and Channel 17 (Town Meeting Television).

Top of Page

Statistical Highlights





Hours of operation per week




Staff hours worked-- Full Time Equivalent




Volunteer hours*




People through the front door








Items in the Fletcher’s collection




Items checked out and/or renewed




Outreach deliveries




Interlibrary loan transactions (borrowed & loaned)




Computer Center log-ins




Adult & Youth questions





Adult & Youth Programs




Summer Reading Program (summer of FY end date)




 Top of Page

Department Highlights


Our usage statistics continue to break records!  The total number of books checked out and the number of people using the Library building this past year were our highest numbers in the Library’s history.  We have seen an increase in circulation of a wide variety of resources, including unique items such as gardening tools.  Free internet access via the Computer Center and Public Wi-Fi network continue to attract new friends to the Library.  We are also pleased to now offer downloadable audio available on the Library’s website.  To ensure that people are able to utilize this exciting new feature, we have made great efforts to provide hands-on instruction to those in need.  We encourage you to log on to the website ( to explore this new feature!

In addition, the Library is a place where the Burlington community can reliably access electronic resources 24 hours a day through multiple access points inside the Library and from the home or office via the Library’s web site.  As such, use of the Library’s website has increased.

Regarding overdue notices, patrons can now receive an email notice of their library items that are about to become overdue.  Patrons receive a friendly reminder email notice 2 days before their books are overdue, giving them time to either renew their books or return them to the library. The benefits are many fold- our patrons are reducing their overdue fines as the Library reduces mailing costs.

Regarding new acquisitions, the Library’s Trustees recently voted to take the expendable interest of $13,248 from the Library’s endowment to purchase new books and library materials.  This figure augments the annual appropriation from the dedicated half cent book tax.  These items keep our collection updated and provide our visitors with the current resources they want.


Given the Library’s approximate 250,000 visitors each year, the building must remain in top working order.

To prioritize the needs of our Library, as well as the many other city buildings, the City of Burlington created and prioritized a list of maintenance problems throughout the city.  This list of capital improvements will now provide order and planning to how repairs are made.

The Library is pleased to announce that approved future work includes repairs to the old Carnegie wing, a window project and other interior work (including the front door), and additional funds for landscaping. The Library has also submitted an application to the Vermont Art Council’s Cultural Facilities grant program to assist with the renovation of our gallery spaces and lecture rooms.  Additional grants will be written to fund updating some of our inefficient lighting and to restore certain rooms to a more historically sensitive appearance.

Recent building projects funded through the City of Burlington’s Capital Improvements budget included recent improvements to our heating, cooling, and ventilation system.  Library impact fees covered a new fire door (with keyless entry) and shelving.  Impact fee money comes from fees that the City of Burlington levies on new development projects that will put additional demands on city services.  Lastly, with the help of the City’s Department of Public Works, the Library obtained a new heavy-duty bike rack to handle the increasing need for bike parking for Library users. 

Changes among Administration staffing include Systems and Reference Librarian Robert Coleburn becoming a Library Co-Director to replace Anita Danigelis.  Anita stepped down from this capacity after 15 years serving as one of the Library’s original Co-Directors.  Many thanks to Anita for her years of good work!  In addition, dynamic new staff persons in the Library’s Youth Services and Circulation departments have been hired to fill vacancies and Michael Schultz, the University of Vermont Development and Alumni Relations Associate Vice President, was elected chair of the Library Board of Commissioners.


The past fiscal year was a busy one for the Library’s Board. The Board provided money for development of a strategic plan and approved the end product. The goals laid out include the following:

Ø  The Library should provide a place for formal and informal gathering, a place that encourages and promotes dialogue, connections, and discourse.

Ø  The Library should provide a wide range of current popular materials in all formats, readily available by loan, download, or other distribution methods.

Ø  The Library should lead in ensuring that residents of all ages are comfortable and competent in identifying, finding, and evaluating information on a wide range of issues related to personal, work, and community life.

Ø  The Library should provide a variety of resources- collection, programs, computer-based material, experts- for people of all ages who value continuous learning in a “knowledge society.”  A special focus should be on the very young and their caregivers as well as the increasing number of elders in the population.

In addition, the Board added a technology committee to the list of board committees.  As such, the now four standing committees of the Board of Library Commissioners is as follows:

  1. Development and Advocacy
    1. To raise money for the Library.
    2. To increase awareness about the Library.
  2. Board Development and Recruitment
    1. Identifying and cultivating potential board members.
    2. Coordinating relationships with boards of other libraries.
    3. Training and development of current board members.
  3. Collection
    1. Reviews policy statements relating to the acquisition and disposition of Library materials and recommends changes in policy to the Board.
    2. Reviews policy relating to Library technology.
    3. Reviews, in light of established policy, communications from the public relating to the Library collection, and takes whatever action may be necessary.
  4. Technology
    1. Reviews Library policy relating to technology issues.
    2. Educates the Library Board & staff about technology trends and issues as they relate to Burlington citizens.
    3. Reviews and revises the Library Technology Plan.


The Library continued to offer a wide range of dynamic programs for its patrons of all ages.  Once again, the Friends generously sponsored the Library’s participation in the 3rd Annual Burlington Book Festival this past September.  We also hosted a series of events honoring Women’s History Month with the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom.

The Library’s popular First Wednesday Lecture Series, now in its fourth year and again funded by the Friends, is another co-sponsored program, presented in tandem with the Vermont Humanities Council. Other partnerships this past year included Flynn Center Performance tie-ins with book discussions at the Library where patrons were given 20% discount on Flynn tickets, and Connections, a collaborative book delivery program with the Burlington high school.  A variety of successful youth programs as illustrated in the special Youth section of this report as well as other Friends-sponsored programs in the Special Recognition section of this report also kept the Library buzzing.

Outreach Services again offered specific programs to help fulfill the Library’s mission for all and Fletcher Free Outreach Librarian, Barbara Shatara, and her team have continued to run stimulating and well-attended programs.  Thanks in part to a generous Community Development Block Grant, many of our outreach activities have been structured to benefit our community’s immigrants and refugees.  In keeping with this important tradition, in December 2007, we began offering classes for individuals in the Burlington community working towards gaining U.S. citizenship.  Demand was such that the Library had to schedule a second series!  These citizenship classes are in addition to the Library’s popular English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, which, to this day, serve community members from 51 countries.  Finally, with thanks to a generous grant from the Vermont Public Library Foundation, we were able to offer computer literacy classes as an added educational offering for our community’s newest neighbors.

In other outreach news, Outreach Services VISTA, Amber Gaster, organized a successful series of foreign language “conversation groups” where native speakers and new learners can practice English, French, and German conversation.

We continued to bring books and special programs to senior residences throughout Burlington and have, in fact, delivered over 3,500 items this past year to all of our outreach patrons.  Volunteers for the Book Bag Program delivered picture books and read stories to children at small daycare facilities, while others made deliveries to individuals in their homes.

Lastly, our outreach efforts extended far across the globe when we hosted a group of librarians from Yaroslavl, Burlington’s sister city in Russia.  The group visited the Library in November 2007 and were treated to tours of the Bailey-Howe Library at UVM, the Fletcher Free, and the Vermont Statehouse.

Looking ahead, the Library’s outreach department will again apply for a Community Development Block Grant that has funded the Library’s Outreach/ESL VISTA position for the past year.  We are grateful for this and all support which enables us to expand our critical outreach endeavors to serve an ever-changing and growing community population.

Top of Page

Department Spotlight:
Celebrating our Community’s Youth!

In this year’s Annual Report, we are pleased to highlight the Library’s long-standing dedication to our area’s youth.  From babies to teens, the Library delivers exciting programs and a rich collection of materials to a vibrant young community.  Energetic librarians and volunteers have created success in all corners of our youth department and great efforts have been made to bring the Library to youth who otherwise would not be able to come to us.  Increased attendance and participation numbers show the Library’s success.  With continued generous support from the community, we will be able to maintain and expand these well-loved and attended programs.

Catch the Reading Bug

The signature youth program, the Summer Reading Program, continues to grow in leaps and bounds.  The 2008 summer program, Catch the Reading Bug, had 1,190 participants entering kindergarten through 8th grade, including 489 kids from 16 outreach sites.  Bold T-shirts with Harry Bliss artwork, weekly prizes, special “bug-themed” programs, 30 volunteers, 21 contributing organizations, and over $14,000 in money and services combined to make this the most popular Summer Reading Program in the Library’s history.  What makes the success of this program even more noteworthy is that, except for the salary of the outreach coordinator, the program is funded entirely through generous private support.  Our hope for this coming year is to identify permanent sponsorship for the Summer Reading Program to expand the program and further increase the outreach component.  Thank you to our friends who make this good work possible!  Please take a look at these dedicated sponsors in the Special Recognition section of this report.

Youth Librarians Beth Wright and Rebecca Goldberg explained the importance of the Summer Reading Program in preparing kids for school.  Studies have proven that kids who don’t read in the summer suffer from a reading “lag” compared to kids who read in the summer.  In fact, studies prove a cumulative effect of the positive impact of summer reading such that by the time a student reaches middle school, the student will be a full two years ahead in their reading capability than those who did not read in the summers.  While the benefits are great for our kids and community, the kids involved simply know it is great fun!  They are already asking for next year’s theme and we are pleased to announce that it is Music and Arts and the slogan is “Be creative @ your library.”  Our thanks to everyone who made the 2008 program such a success and we look forward to breaking the records again in summer 2009.

Other Youth Programs

In addition to the Summer Reading Program, our librarians and volunteers connect with youth by visiting all of the elementary schools in Burlington and asking teachers to remind students about the Library’s programs.  They take part in Open Houses at local schools, help kids get their library cards, and give tours to students in kindergarten, high school, and even college classes, such as students involved in UVM and Champlain College’s children’s literature and education classes.  Other programs celebrating youth include the ever-popular Sing-Along with Robert and Gigi hosted by Robert Resnik and Gigi Weisman and the Library’s involvement with the Burlington Welcome Baby Program.

Engaging Our Teens

Fletcher Free Library's Teen Services were developed with the capacity-building Americorps*VISTA program, which places volunteers in organizations for a year.  Cara Lovell has done an outstanding job as Fletcher Free Library's first Teen Services Americorps*VISTA.  Cara plans to pursue high school teacher certification and environmental education in the near future and will be followed by Rachel Dingfelder in November.

For teens, the Library offers a unique place to connect with others in a dynamic, stimulating, and safe environment.  Just under 300 teens have participated in recent programs and approximately 25 teen volunteers have performed close to 500 hours of service for the Library.

Recent grants have allowed the Library to create new programs specifically designed for teens.  The Young Adult Library Services Association provided funds for videogame tournaments, along with a generous private donation for gaming equipment, including a projector, television, two game systems, dance pads, and guitar controllers.  Now, teens at the Library can play a variety of popular games, meeting and connecting with new friends on a regular basis.

Two other grants have also jumpstarted teen book clubs.  The Vermont Community Foundation’s Successful Communities Grant Round and the Paul Post Fund generously contributed  to encourage young people to discuss books.  Participants are given their own copies of the books to read over the month and then they discuss them in a group setting.  Some teens have participated in this process while in school, and, as such, the Library was able to bring the authors to visit their classes.  Geof Hewitt, Erik Esckilsen, Tanya Lee Stone, and Doug Wilhelm will all have visited local classes as well as the Library to talk to the teens and their parents about the books they have read.

In other teen news, a Teen Advisory Board consisting of 10 members was re-formed this past year.  The young advisors weigh in on what books should be ordered for the Teen Area and what programs would be most successful.  They have also actively painted parts of the Paul Post Teen Area, created displays, and sorted donations for a book drive.  New carpeting, signage, shelving, and a new computer station to access the Library’s catalogue are other improvements in this area, generously funded with grants from a number of foundations including the Bergeron Family Foundation, with impact fee money, and with additional grants from the Friends of the Fletcher Free Library.  Lastly, digital literacy has extended to teaching teens and young people programming tools.  Several classes have used Scratch and Blender, free software, to introduce teens to programming their own games and animations on the computer.

Thanks to the good work of Cara Lovell, generous supporters, and active volunteers, our Teen Services are growing and satisfying an increasing number of community teens.

Looking Ahead

            As evidenced in this report, the Library’s commitment to youth of all ages continues to grow in numerous ways.  Looking ahead, we will actively seek continued private support in order to meet the expanding needs of these programs.  One specific goal is to have certain youth programs, such as the Summer Reading Program, endowed. This way, the programs will exist in perpetuity with their own funding source.  It is clear that your generosity has a direct impact on our community when you fund the Library’s youth programs.  Thank you to all who have participated and to all who continue to make this success possible!

Top of Page

Organizational Structure

The Fletcher Free Library is a Department of the City of Burlington, and as such is governed by the Mayor.

Library Board of Commissioners:  An advocacy group that meets monthly with the Co-Directors (open to the public), reports to the City Council annually.  There are four Trustees who are elected by the current Trustees and must reside in Chittenden County.  At-Large Trustees (non-voting advisors) may be elected, too.  There are six Commissioners (who must be Burlington residents) appointed by the City Council, Mayor presiding.  One of them is an Employee elected by the Employees of the Fletcher Free Library.  Another is appointed by the Mayor, and has been a representative of the Burlington youth population.

Co-Directorship:  In 1992, Directorship of the Library was split among three Co-Directors, two of whom carry responsibilities of Librarians as well as sharing directorship duties.

Top of Page

Get to Know the Staff

Name, Job Title:  Hired:
Chris Beneke, Circulation, Page* 2006
George Bennis, Custodian 2008
Susan Bevins, Acquisitions 1978
Doug Chamberlain, Acquisitions, Payroll 2001
Lorraine Colburn, Circulation Chief, Selector** 1987
Robert Coleburn, Co-Dir., Ref. Librn., Systems Admin., Selector** 1992
Amber Collins, Reference Librarian, Cataloger, Selector** 1967
Anita Danigelis, Co-Director, Ref. Librn., Cataloging, Selector** 1983
Christine Demarais, Youth Services 1996
Tenzin Dhondup, Circulation 2003
Megan Estes, Youth Services 2007
Emer Feener, Circulation 2008
Susan Fensch, Circulation, Page* 2004
Sammie Friedman, Acquisitions, Accounts Payable 1993
Rebecca Goldberg, Youth Librarian, Selector** 1994
Judith Janone, Cataloging 1981
Annie Morse, Computer Lab Monitor/Reference Aide 2003
Ruth Murphy, Reference Librarian 2002
Nga Pham, Circulation, Interlibrary Loan 2001
Robert Resnik, Co-Director, Reference Librarian, Selector** 1990
Barbara Shatara, Outreach, Reference Librarian, Selector** 1998
Toni Taginski, Circulation 2006
Beth Wright, Youth Librarian, Selector** 2000

*Pages are responsible for shelving Library materials.
**Selectors choose which Library materials to buy.

Top of Page

The Library Board of Commissioners

Deborah Barnum, Commissioner
Philip Baruth, Trustee
Sarah Cohen, Commissioner
Deborah Emerson, Commissioner
Rebecca Goldberg, Employee Commissioner
Doug Montgomery, Trustee
Anne Nixon, At-Large non-voting Board Member serving as the Friends liason
Amelia Schlossberg, Commissioner, Mayor’s Youth Appointee
Michael Schultz, Trustee, Chair
Linda Severance-Smith, Commissioner
Lajiri Van Ness-Otunnu, Trustee


Looking Ahead

As we look to next year and beyond, we are excited to offer and grow the programs and services that our community has come to expect and enjoy.  In order to do so, we will continue to rely on the City of Burlington’s general fund with increased energy and focus placed on fundraising and grants for special projects.  We will also seek funds to ensure that our physical environment is up-to-date, welcoming, and fresh.  We have a vital role in our community and we are honored to provide the services that we do.  Individuals, local businesses, and foundations also have a great role in our future and we extend our deepest gratitude to all who join us in fostering our mission.  Thank you!

Top of Page

Back to the Home Page

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy