Off The Shelf: Celebrating with Gratitude

Sometimes we can be so busy doing that we forget to stop and celebrate what has been done. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for encouraging us to pause our forward motion to look back and reflect on the blessings in our life.

This is also the time of year when I submit an annual report to the library board. I’m always glad that doing this report makes me pause to celebrate and be grateful for all that has been accomplished by the library team.

Some highlights from the past fiscal year, which covered July 2020 through June 2021, included new resources and building improvements. It also included continuing favorite services and programs like Pumpkinpalooza, the Kindness Club, school outreach, and summer reading incentives. One of my favorite continuing projects was offering a painted sidewalk obstacle course on the riverfront for the 2nd year. We’ve gotten great feedback on this now annual tradition.

The team added more mobile hotspots for checkout to keep up with the need to bridge the digital divide for our neighbors who don’t have reliable internet access. They also added a new Chromebook kit service, which allows cardholders to checkout a Chromebook and hotspot together in order to have internet service and a device to use with it. Both hotspots and Chromebook kits regularly have wait lists. We’re excited to be able to add more of these items to checkout over next few weeks thanks to Emergency Connectivity Funds.

Another new service in the last fiscal year was expanded online access to magazines and newspapers. Thanks to our participation in the State Library’s consortium, Burlington cardholders gained access to over 3000 magazines for checkout through the Libby app. For newspapers, we added NewsBank access to newspapers throughout the country, including The Hawk Eye from 1995 through the present day. We also expanded the Newspaper Archive subscription to give cardholders access to historic newspapers throughout the United States and across other countries. Access to searchable copies of The Hawk Eye dating back to its beginning are available on Newspaper Archive.

If you aren’t familiar with the many online tools that the library offers to download, stream, or search, you might enjoy the new tutorials available at our website on a wide range of tech tools, including library resources like Libby, Hoopla, and Brainfuse tutoring. Speaking of the website, one of the team’s big accomplishments this year was rebuilding our website on a new platform that streamlined the site’s content and made the site responsive to different device sizes. Visit the site at to see its new look and learn more about library services. You can even read the library’s annual report in full there.

As part of reworking the website, the team also chose and implemented a new room reservation system. You can go on the library’s website to reserve a room for one to fifty people. Of course, the team is always happy to help you reserve a room if you stop in or call us.

This November also marks a milestone for the Burlington Public Library worth celebrating. In the blink of an eye, 15 years have gone by since the library moved to 210 Court Street. We celebrate 15 years of sharing information, checking out materials that education and entertain, teaching early literacy classes, hosting special events, providing space for community meetings and group or private study, offering computer access, answering questions, teaching classes, and so much more. We are grateful for those 15 years of serving our community.

Being at the 210 Court Street building allowed the library to celebrate full accreditation by the State Library. Before 2006, the library failed in only one very important required standard –accessibility. With all the public areas on one level and other design elements made possible in the new building, the library’s current home meets ADA requirements. As someone who worked in both buildings, I have noticed how many people in wheelchairs, with walkers or canes, or other physical needs use the library now who could not in the past. This year the library successfully applied for full accreditation again.

Meeting rooms, self-checkout stations, a drive-up book return, a used book store, wireless access, a dedicated story time room, and geothermal heating and cooling are just some of the other improvements made possible by the move to the new building. Thanks to the move and the new features and services, the library has become a destination – a community center.

Over the last 15 years, the team has continued to make changes and look for improvements. Collections have been moved and spaces and furnishings redesigned. Whole new sections in the library have been added, such as the Tween, Money Matters, Create Space areas.

Whether looking back one year or 15 years, milestones are worth celebrating and provide a chance to reflect on where we came from and where we are today. Now we can look ahead and know that in another 15 years we will be looking back on more changes.

See you at the library!