Why is RML Closed? (and other FAQ)

RML closed its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.

How can I get books out of the library?

We are officially offering Porchside Pick-up! Contact us at 453-4471, russellmemlibrary@gmail.com, or here to tell us what books you’d like (or to request a librarian’s recommendation). Then come pick things up from our porch during open hours on Thurs from 4-7 and Sat from 9-12 noon. See here for the full details on how things work.

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Genre Feature: Death and Grief

Between pandemics, sudden awareness of BIPOC problems, and the government in general, it has been a rough year. There have also been a lot of people, famous and local, passing away. Here are some reads that, while aimed at younger readers, could help you and yours learn to process death and grieving whatever your age.

Pilu of the Woods
by Mai K. Nguyen

Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods.

But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates her new friend Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger… and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.

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BLM Resources: Local Movements

Did you know that we have Black people in Vermont? More than 6000 of them, if you go by recent census data. Yes, all these issues we’ve been learning about for months ALSO happen in the Green Mountains. For instance, did you know that Vermont had a eugenics movement? Do you know that there’s a Black Lives Matter chapter in Burlington? For all that read about these issues, it can be hard to think of racism in terms of Vermont.

Unless you’ve been watching the news lately, that is. In July of 2020, Burlington declared racism to be a public health crisis. In fact, over the past couple years, multiple Burlington police men have been caught on bodycam using excessive force while arresting people, particularly Black folk. The highly publicized police shooting of Jacob Blake inspired local activists to begin protesting in Battery Park on August 25th, urging the police to fire the three officers who are known to be overly aggressive, among other demands. As of writing this article, no moves have been made to fire Corrow, Bellavance, or Campbell, though protests are still ongoing.

So, how can you help? Here are some strategies you can use to further the BLM cause in Vermont.

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BLM Resources: Representation Matters

Last weekend we lost a King. You may not have heard of him outside the news coverage of his death, but Chadwick Boseman was important to a lot of people.

From Boseman’s official Instagram

For a lot of children, Chadwick Boseman was one of the first role models they saw that looked like them. Whether he was playing a superhero, a baseball legend, or the Godfather of soul, Boseman was an icon. Black Twitter and Instagram spent the weekend in mourning, posting tributes and sharing stories about how they, and their kids, were grieving his passing. This man was incredibly important to so many people, but why?

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Podcast Feature: Indigenous Voices

Looking to learn more about Indigenous peoples? Try one of these podcasts:

Coffee With My Ma
Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk)

My radical activist mother, Kahentinetha Horn’ tells me stories of her very long adventurous life, always with the sense of humour that carried her through.

listen here

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RML Blog Schedule

Good evening all,

Assistant Librarian, here. Unfortunately, I had a bit of an accident involving a squirrel, a pair of dogs, and an extendible leash. I don’t know if anything’s broken, or just badly bruised, but regardless, I’m not gonna be able to keep up with an every-other-day posting schedule on this here blog.

So, until I’m able to touch-type again, this blog is going back to its Wednesday-only posting schedule. Hopefully that’ll only last a few weeks.

Stay safe out there!


***UPDATE 8/31/2020
Thank you so much to all who wrote with kind words and offers of help managing the dogs! Last week I checked in with a doctor and she said my hand was very likely just sprained, not broken. After a week of going easy, icing regularly, and trying to behave myself, the visible swelling has mostly subsided.

So yeah–all is well. Aside from not being able to knit, crochet, or spin anything. Or type efficiently. Or go a full hour without accidentally banging my hand on something.

Baby steps, y’all. Baby steps.

New(ish) BLM Books!!!

Why new(ish)? Because our book processor (i.e. the Assistant Librarian) is not in the building all that often to process new books. Some have only just made it to circulation after weeks and months waiting on the processing cart. Also, several of these titles are on the older side, simply new to us.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

Chances are good you didn’t hear about the Great Migration in history class. This mass movement of almost six million Black people across America shaped many of today’s racial politics. While the book is intimidatingly large, its story is lyrical and readable, using a handful of characters to tie the vast historical event down to a more relatable level.

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YouTube Feature: Disabled Creators

We don’t have much access to books by disabled authors at RML, but the internet has an ever-increasing collection of disabled activists, artists, and personalities that you can learn from. Here are some of our favorites.

(Descriptions are taken directly from the artists’ own About pages.)

Check out their TED Talk

The Tripple Cripples (Kym and Jay)
Triple Cripples is a platform that highlights the lives and loves of disabled women, femmes and non-binary people of colour. We KNOW that there are others like us, who are extraordinary members of their individual societies. We want to help share those spectacular and regular stories (because not everyday sensationalism, sometimes chill)!

YouTubeInstagramPodcastGeneral Website

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New books!

What? New books already?!?! When the Lead Librarian’s away, the Assistant Librarian will finally catch up with her backlog of book processing! Yay for new books!

We’ll start at the top with titles aimed at adults and work our way down to the kiddos.

So you want to talk about race
by Ijeoma Oluo

Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

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It’s okay to reread books!

Time and time again I hear patrons freaking out at the idea of rereading. Kids are ordered to pick something new, because they’ve already read that graphic novel. Adults are grumpy because there aren’t any new books they haven’t read. Parents dread the moment they finish reading aloud to a young one who then instantly asks to read that same picture book again and again.

Available as a hardcopy at RML

But, dirty secret time, I reread books all the time. Like, ALL the time. I finished my third listen-through of Gideon the Ninth today, and this isn’t a new phenomenon. Every couple years I reread Aliens Ate My Homework and its sequels, just to see if it still holds up. (It does.) I could say the same for an entire bookshelf of old and new favorites, many of which I’ve read at least two or three times, if not into the double digits.

But why? What is it that brings me, an incredibly slow reader with pressure to get through lots of books for work, to ‘waste time’ revisiting stories I already know back to front.

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Genre Feature: Disabled/Neurodiverse #OwnVoices

Happy 30th Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act! Despite the fact that roughly 1 in 4 Americans have a disability, we rarely see people with disabilities depicted in fiction. It’s even harder to find accurate depictions of characters with those disabilities. With that in mind, we scoured our physical and digital holdings to find books about people with disabilities, written by authors who share at least one of those disabilities. (Since we have such narrow holdings, I also included neurodiverse authors, as they can sometimes be grouped in with disabled people.)

Notice some big names not on this list? Click on these titles to learn more: Me Before You, Wonder, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time

Are all the books below great examples of representation? I don’t know. I’m no expert, and I don’t have any of these disabilities myself. But, at the very least, these are all #OwnVoices stories.

El Deafo
by Cece Bell

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Can Cece channel her power into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

Ebook – Hardcopy at RML

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