Why is RML Closed? (and other FAQ)

RML closed its doors starting on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.

Why is RML closed?

To put it simply—social distancing. We want to do our part to protect the community from COVID-19, and this is the best way we can do that. A great deal of our regular readers are high-risk, as are members of all of our librarians’ households. Also, the American Librarians’ Association recommended that everyone close their public libraries, and pretty much everyone in Vermont has.

How long are we going to be closed?

We don’t know. It could be a while before we can start opening the doors again, though we are working to increase our presence online and also develop a safe system we can use to get you all the books you need.

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RML Resources: Free Educational Vids

Sometimes, you just need something new to shake up your homeschooling schedule. Here are some beautifully produced YouTube-based channels who just want to teach you stuff.


All sorts of cool science facts about everything as told by real live science nerds (there are sources in the description below each vid). Want to learn some science experiments to try at home? Have some weird questions you want answered? Want to learn about some of the technology in your life? SciShow is generally a delight. And if you want an equivalent aimed at younger viewers, they have that too.

SciShow Kids
AnimalWonders Montana

AnimalWonders Montana
Vids from a wildlife center, starring the wild animals that live there. What happens when you give different animals snow to play with? Have you ever seen a Arctic Fox up close? And how smart are ravens anyway? (Heads up, they’re HUGE.)


CrashCourse: Written by famous YouTube brothers Hank and John Green, in conjuction with a bunch of teachers and professors, with different sources for each series. Here are some of their subjects: Econ, Literature, Biology, Media Literacy, US Goverment, Astronomy, Anatomy & Physiology, and so much more (there’s an elementary school aged channel too).

CrashCourse Kids
How to Make Everything

How to Make Everything
Did you ever wonder how to make things from scratch? Not just food, I mean Toilet Paper, Bug Spray, or an entire Suit. The host learns from various artisans and scientists as he struggles to learn how things are made using plants, minerals, and other things he picks up on his travels.

RML Resources: Virtual Field Trips

Sick of the same old homeschooling? Just generally done with staring at the same three things on your computer? Looking to travel without putting people in danger?

Try a virtual field trip! Here are some of our favorite places you can visit from the safety of your home.

The big scary animals are less scary when seen from afar.

Go to the zoo!
The Smithsonian Institute has put together a delightful collection of activities you can do with the little ones while pouring through a series of webcams posted in zoos worldwide.

Smithsonian (all live):
Panda Cam Lion Cam Naked Mole Rat Cam Elephant Cam

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Genre Features: RML Faves on Overdrive

Many of our patrons were sad to learn that they could not continue reading their favorite series once RML shuttered its doors. While it is harder to read those series now that you can’t just waltz in and grab a book, there are other ways to access them. Below are some ideas for continuing with your favorite book series:

I know at least four patrons currently reading through this series.

Maisie Dobbs – everyone’s very favorite historical mystery series. The good news is that most, if not all of the series is available through GMLC/Overdrive, both as audiobooks and ebooks. The bad news is that nearly all of those books have waitlists.

But, did you know that most of these titles are also available through the Internet Archive’s Open Library? And that there are no waitlists on any items in the Open Library for the duration of this crisis?

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RML Resources: Free Video Call Software

In today’s world of social distancing, there are plenty of ways to reach out and check on your friends, family, and neighbors. If you aren’t a big fan of phone calls, are trying to lower your phone bill, or even just want to see the face of the person you’re talking with, here are some options for you.

Don’t have internet? Check out EveryoneOn to see what kind of discounted offers are available in your area (if you’ve got school-aged or college kids at home, chances are good you can get internet for free right now). Alternatively, you can charge your device and park outside one of these Vermont Public Library hotspots or these Xfinity Hotspots.

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In Defense of E-Readers

I have a dirty secret for you: I’m a librarian who owns and uses a Kindle regularly. Scandalous, I know–there are so many staunch supporters of libraries that hate on e-readers of all kinds, but here I am, carrying mine around.

My real-life Kindles.

Well, friends, I’m here to tell you that there’s a lot more to e-readers than you think. And no, they’re not inherently superior to hardcopy books. Of all people, I, an avid comic book reader, understand the satisfaction of having that stack of pages in your hand, of smelling the paper and ink, of flipping through and looking at random pictures or quotes. But still, e-readers do have plenty of advantages:

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Genre Feature: Graphic Novels on Overdrive

While it’s sad that RML must keep its graphic novel collection locked away, it is also important to remember that there are some SPECTACULAR graphic novels you can access through gmlc. Here are some of our Assistant Librarian’s favorites:

Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch

Noir, but with witches and written for middle grade to young YA readers.

This is one of the prettiest comic books ever made. Our protagonist is looking for his missing baby sister in a town where witches are a thing. This is a noir-style crime, but it’s also written for upper elementary school level readers. It should not work as well as it does, but seriously, check this one out.

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RML Resources: Calming Family-friendly Fun

These are anxious times. Being cooped up in the same environment with the same pets/people for days at a time can be stressful on top of the anxiety of current events. After a day staring at a computer and/or phone screen, it can help to get away from the electronics and try something… different.

Here are five activities your family can do to get away from the stress of the day.

Take time out to Color or Draw
Coloring can be super calming–even for adults. There’s something meditative about just sitting down with the coloring utensils of your choice and filling things in.

For kids: Liz Climo’s Kid-friendly animal pagesChildren’s Book Week ColoringCrayola Coloring Pages

For adults: – Crayola for adultsColor our CollectionsJust Color

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Meet RML: Social Distancing Resources

Spring is approaching, people. We just wish we could be open to greet it.

As we adjust to the new normal at RML, we’ve also been trying to find ways to support our community, even though we can’t open our doors. To that end, we’ve started a few digital endeavors that may be of interest to you:

Social Distancing Resources – our webmaster has done her best to collect links to all of the free things floating around the internet (and the public library listserve) for ease of access. On this page you can find things to read, play, listen to, and even watch without paying a dime.

Increase in Online Presence – our librarians are doing their best to post more frequently, aiming for one post every other day on this blog, regular Facebook posts, and maybe even some Instagram updates? Who can say. The goal is to reach out to patrons through the interwebs since we can’t do so in person.

Plans for “Curbside” Service – some public libraries around the state have talked about making books available to their patrons through a “Curbside” service. This would be a drive-through-like system where patrons wouldn’t come in the library, but would call, email, or complete an online request form to order books to borrow. Our librarians would then check those books out to the patron, wrap them recycled bags, and set them outside for patrons to grab without ever actually coming close to physical contact.

We don’t have the details worked out on this one yet, mainly since no one has a good consensus on how COVID-19 affects books. We’ll keep you updated as we know more.

Can you think of any other ways that RML could support its community safely? Let us know in the comments below.

What RML Resources Can I access from home?

Not sure what your library card number is? Email russellmemlibrary@gmail.com with your first and last name and our librarian will respond with your full number.

Universal Class – More than 500 online classes ranging in topics from writing skills, software programs (including Adobe and Microsoft programs), to science, html, and graphic design. There’s something for everyone! Though classes are not for college credit, they are led by a real instructor with whom you can communicate by e-mail. Courses allow you to proceed at your own pace, working on assignments anytime, day or night.

Access – Go to http://bit.ly/vtlib_uc and use your library card number to login and create an account.

Covering everything from newspaper articles to DIY car repair, the Vermont Online Library (VOL) can help with any topic. Available for free to all Vermonters, VOL has options for all ages from elementary school through adult. You can even use it to read current articles from the NY Times, Washington Post, the Economist, and more.

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