Vermont Reads 2021

“We Contain Multitudes”
by Sarah Henstra

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 public Vermont Reads project. First, identify at least two collaborating organizations willing 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, check out our Calendar of Events for upcoming Vermont Reads programs in your area. 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.

State Agencies, adult education centers, correctional facilities or other that would like to offer Vermont Reads to specific audiences not open to the public should contact Richelle Franzoni at .

Where do I get a book?

We encourage everyone to read this year’s title! Generally, participating organizations leading local Vermont Reads projects have multiple books to loan to their community members. Keep an eye on our Calendar for events that may involve book loans or check your local library for lending copies. You can also buy a copy from your favorite local bookstore. When you are done reading this year’s book, loan it to a friend or neighbor!

My book group wants to read this year’s Vermont Reads title. Where do we get copies?

We encourage Book Clubs to create a Vermont Reads project, but it must include more actions than simply reading the book. That said, 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.

Vermont Humanities does offer a limited number of lending sets for book clubs that can’t participate in a Vermont Reads project. Contact to check on availability. Shipping charges may apply.

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, seniors, young adults, middle-school students, or all of the above. Vermont Reads books are chosen to engage a wide range of people in interesting projects and conversations.
Be sure you know your audience before determining the activity or activities you plan to undertake. It makes for a better experience to involve all 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.

There are suggestions on how to engage your community in this year’s book on the resources page.

Do participants keep the books?

We give 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 your program having read some or all of the book. However, this should not be a hard and fast requirement. An interesting discussion may be just the thing to get the person to start or 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.

My organization wants to plan our own events. Why do we need to apply with other organizations?

Vermont Humanities believes in collaboration and that we work better together! Vermont Reads projects have the strongest impact when several organizations in a community work together. 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 work outside of your normal network 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 or student clubs such as the YMCA/YWCA and Boys-and-Girls Club; faith-based organizations; veterans groups; bookstores; and other local businesses.

Consider transportation and other accessibility 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. More information is available on the resource page.

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. Vermont Humanities 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 (coming soon). Hang posters everywhere you can think of: libraries, schools, colleges, bookstores, faith communities, 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 we address some of the difficult themes in the book?

Vermont Humanities is partnering with organizations such as Outright Vermont, Vermont’s only LGBTQ+ youth organization, and the Vermont Network for Domestic and Sexual Violence Youth Task Force among others to provide facilitation to communities that seek additional assistance in running their project. Vermont Humanities will cover the cost of the facilitator. We provide additional organizational contacts on the resource page, especially for those seeking information on opioid addiction and recovery, bullying prevention, and for survivors of domestic violence. Contact for more information.

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.

Other questions?

Contact us at .