Columns, I Heard it Through the Jeudevine

Renewing Worn Items, New Board Chair, Teen Advisory Board

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HARDWICK – Last week the Jeudevine Library hosted Elena Brotz, a seamstress who is traveling by bicycle west-to-east from Burlington to Bar Harbor, Maine. Elena is in her final semester at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. She finds happiness in bringing back to life worn items of cloth and textile. This journey across northern New England is her senior project.

Once she arrives in Bar Harbor she will spend the final weeks of the trimester reflecting on her experience through journaling and artwork. She will then share those efforts with faculty before graduating in June.

Along the way Elena has arranged to visit 11 public libraries where she is holding sewing and mending workshops. She arrived in Hardwick after her first event in Jeffersonville. She followed the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) from there to Hardwick.

photo by Vanessa Fournier Roofing is complete on the 2,600 square foot addition to the Jeudevine Memorial Library in Hardwick. Workers for the ReArch Company of South Burlington are currently installing windows. This is the view from the North Main Street side.

She shared her passion with about 10 Jeudevine patrons on Monday, April 22. She departed here on Wednesday morning, but not before skillfully repairing this writer’s favorite, but tattered, gardening shorts. She was bound for St. Johnsbury along the LVRT, with a planned event on Thursday evening at the Athenaeum. With panniers attached to her bicycle front and back, she was carrying more than 40 pounds of gear. Unfortunately, not all of her route follows the gentle gradient of a railroad bed; some challenging climbs lie ahead!

On the construction front, the roofing on the library addition has been completed, with all drains, scuppers and shingles in place. Following last month’s construction update, a reader inquired about library accessibility once the addition is completed. This issue was front-and-center during our design phase. There will be accessible access on the Church Street side of the building, and also from the parking lot planned along the south side of the addition. Accessible parking will also be available.

photo by Vanessa Fournier The new ADA accessible main entrance to the Jeudevine Memorial Library in Hardwick will be located on the West Church Street side in the 2,600 square foot addition. The general contractor for the library’s expansion project is the ReArch Company of South Burlington.

The library is planning to schedule a public tour of the new addition prior to its completion. We are working out the details of that event with Adam Farrar, the site foreman and will likely take place in July.

The Board of Trustees chose Daphne Kalmar as its new chairperson this spring. Daphne has served on the board since 2019. Her background is in education: she taught elementary and middle school students over a 20 year career in California, Massachusetts and Vermont. Daphne describes “itching” to write stories for young readers while she was teaching.

In recent years, having retired from education, she pursued writing courses through the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and then realized her dream with the publication of “A Stitch In Time.” The story, set in a town similar to Hardwick, became a finalist for the Vermont Book Award. She has since published a second novel for young readers, “Stealing Mount Rushmore,” set during the summer of 1974, as the Nixon administration was imploding from the fallout of the Watergate scandal.

Marilyn McDowell, our youth librarian, has established a Teen Advisory Board. This effort provides a wonderful opportunity for middle and high school students to learn more about the library, and to provide ideas and suggestions for programs and new book purchases.

There was a time when libraries were about two things: books and silence! Today libraries do so much more. In future columns I will address the wide scope of services that libraries provide today. In the meantime, middle and high schoolers, please stop in, meet Marilyn (and Kevin and Diane) and help us make the most of this precious community resource.

The Friends of Jeudevine organization has recently regrouped. The board is working with them to determine how best to coordinate our efforts without unnecessary duplication. The Friends envision assisting with various events, and helping with landscaping as weather and new construction permit. A representative from Friends will attend most board meetings. Reach out if you are interested in contributing to their efforts. Friends of Jeudevine hold a monthly meeting at the library on the third Tuesday of every month at 5:15 p.m.

Brendan Buckley

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