Vermont Reads 2017Brown Girl Dreaming
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I participate in Vermont Reads?
If you represent a community organization – like a library, school, historical society, or social service organization – you are eligible to apply to host a Vermont Reads project. First, find at least two collaborating organizations to help distribute books and develop a series of programs and activities. Then fill out a Vermont Reads Application. If your application is approved, we’ll mail you the books and help publicize your events and activities.
If you are an individual, see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Vermont Reads programs in your area, or visit our Participating Communities page. If you don’t see any, reach out to your local library or another community organization to let them know their community members want to participate in Vermont Reads.
Adult education centers or corrections sites that would like to offer Vermont Reads to literacy audiences should contact our Director of Literacy Programs at (802) 262-1352 for the request form. These requests will be considered throughout 2017, and are not impacted by other Vermont Reads application deadlines.
Where do I get a book?
We count on the community organizations leading local Vermont Reads projects to loan books to their community members. But we still encourage everyone who can get their hands on a copy to read this year’s title. Watch our Calendar for events that may involve book loans, check your local library for lending copies, and see our our Participating Communities page. Or, buy a copy from your favorite local bookstore, and when you’re done reading, loan it to a friend or neighbor.
My book group wants to read this year’s Vermont Reads title. Where do we get copies?
While book groups alone are not eligible to apply for a Vermont Reads project, we’re always pleased to see discussions about this year’s title taking place. Contact your local library to see if they have copies to loan, and see our Calendar for Vermont Reads events that your entire book group may be able to participate in.
My organization is applying to host a project. Who should participate in our activities?
Anyone in your community may choose to take part. You may be interested in hosting programs for adults, young adults, middle-school students, or all of the above. Vermont Reads books are chosen to appeal to a wide range of people: young and old, strong and fragile readers.
Be sure you know your audience before determining the activity or activities you plan to undertake. No matter who they are, involve participants in planning your programs — in the choice of activities, the event details, and the on-site coordination. This will help everyone feel invested in the events, and increase participation dramatically.
Do participants keep the books?
We award books to the community organizations that apply, which then keep and manage those copies. We encourage hosts to distribute, collect, and re-distribute books repeatedly so that as many people as possible can read them.
Ideally, participants will come to any related program having read some or all of the book. However, with the possible exception of book discussion programs, this should not be a stringent requirement. After all, an interesting discussion may be just the thing to get the person to finish reading the book! Please make every effort to accommodate beginning readers or those needing a reading partner. Places to contact for assistance include adult basic education centers, libraries, and schools. See details on audio and talking book formats.
My organization wants to plan our own events. Why do we need to apply with other organizations?
Vermont Reads projects have the strongest impact when several organizations in a community work together on programming. A collaborating organization can be one that works closely with you to develop a specific program, or simply an outside venue that helps distribute books or provides event space. Not every activity has to involve every collaborating organization, but we encourage cross-promotion whenever possible. Collaborations also lead to the maximum number of readers having access to a limited number of books.
Frequent Vermont Reads partners include libraries, schools, museums or historical societies, and senior centers. Traditional venues like these are excellent for activities, but we encourage you to think non-traditionally as well in order to increase your audience. Try reaching out to town halls and civic buildings; cafés, coffee shops, and restaurants; retirement communities; city parks and other public-use areas; town pools, beaches, and lakefronts; youth organizations such as the YMCA/YWCA and Boys-and-Girls Club; church function rooms; bookstores; and other local businesses.
Consider transportation needs when deciding on event locations and arrange for busing or carpools when necessary. For some, getting to an out-of-the-way site presents a challenge, so consider central locations with easy access (including access for those with disabilities).
How should we publicize our activities?
Submit the Vermont Reads event form at least one month before the event date(s). For each activity, include a title and description, plus the date, time, location, and contact information. VHC will use this info to spread the word through our web calendar, email newsletters, social media channels, and our biannual print newsletter (schedule and space permitting).
Use the Vermont Reads poster templates included with your book shipment, or design a custom flyer using our downloadable poster (PDF). Hang posters everywhere you can think of: libraries, schools, colleges, bookstores, churches, general stores and co-ops, restaurants, cafés, laundromats, town halls, community bulletin boards, and other gathering sites. Contact your local newspapers, radio stations, cable access channels, and newsletters, and send out a press release before their deadlines. Make use of the social media tools used in your community, such as Front Porch Forum and local organizations’ Facebook and Twitter pages. And don’t forget: word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to draw participants.
Making food available—and advertising it—almost always increases attendance. Relate food and beverage items to the books for added flair. Have participants join in the preparation of the refreshments. Local grocery stores, co-ops, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, and other food-service businesses are often happy to donate food items in return for recognition.
How do you choose the Vermont Reads book each year?
We choose a book accessible and appealing to a broad range of readers, based on suggestions from scholars, educators, and community members around the state. We also invite nominations from the public through our website.
If you represent an organization that’s hosted a Vermont Reads project, your feedback is critical to our ability to select great titles and improve this program in future years. Please be sure to evaluate your project carefully using our online Evaluation Form.