The Dirt; Story Telling at OFL

We love stories. All kinds of stories. Tell us your story!

October 28, 7pm
Theme: Orwell-of-Old
Tell us a story from Orwell’s past, 5 years or 50!

Interested in telling a story? Read through The Moth Storytelling Tips to know what is and is not acceptable at these story slams.

Our story telling events will adhere to Conduct & Ethics of The Moth. Read through those to ensure your story is not cut short for misaligned content.

We will offer another story telling event in March 2024.

Passes to VT Attractions

Headed to one of our regional attractions sometime soon? The library provides free & discounted passes to many! See what’s available below.

VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science)
In Quechee with card, discounted $5 fee per person

Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Free family admission up to 2 adults and the children of one household. Includes walking trails, children’s farmyard, an environmental education center and working farm on the shores of Lake Champlain. Open daily year-round with seasonal hours.

Vermont History Museum

Montpelier Free admission for 1 family.

ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

Burlington Provides reduced admission of $4 per person for family of up to 2 adults and 3 children. Some special exhibits require an additional admission fee.

Vermont State Parks Day Use Areas Across the state. Free entry for up to 8 people in 1 vehicle into any state park day use area.

Vermont Historic Sites
Across the state. Free entry for up to 8 people in 1 vehicle into any VT Historic Site.
Includes Mount Independence Historic Site!

Palace Project at OFL

More ebooks and audiobooks are now available for Orwell residents through The Palace App!

Palace is special – it combines e-content from multiple sources into one app. You will find items purchased by the Vermont Department of Libraries, public domain items, and the entire collection from Overdrive (Libby).

Download the Palace Project App on your device and start reading today! All you need is your patron barcode number and PIN (last name or your password from the library catalog).

Questions? Call the library. We are happy to help get you set up.

Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Time to celebrate a fantastic summer of reading by the Orwell community! Our elementary aged children collectively read and reported over 200 hours. 8 tots and preschoolers participated in our Rubber Ducky Club, earning rubber ducks or dinos by completing early literacy tasks with their families. Adult patrons at OFL read and reported more than 91 books for our reading raffle which featured donated prizes like pottery by Mud Puppy Pottery and kyanite earrings by Sandra and Bill Owens.

Each July we offer weekly programs for kids. The Oceans of Possibilities theme or the 2022 Summer Reading Program provided loads of inspiration for the events.

Battle of Valcour Island with Ian Gramling

Elementary aged kids learned about the macroinvertebrate creatures that live in our local ponds, the Battle of Valcour Island, creatures that live in the sea, and Vermontwaterway ecosystems. Every Thursday morning in July we entertained over 18 kids from our community.

Story Time on the Orwell Town Green featured lots of singing and silly ocean stories. The OFL librarian offered a local daycare a weekly story time, as well. We reached some 13 area families with young children through this fun weekly event.

Local tech enthusiast and educator, Rod Batschelet, offered 4 weeks of tech programming for our tweens and teens. Since participants returned week after week, we are calling it a great success.

And the true cherry on top of our 2022 summer was our Vermont Humanities Camp led by Liz Volpe and Sara Quesnel. Local kids in grades 5-8 participated in a free week long camp that connected our young people to the people and places around them in a way that embraced the in-between‘ness’ of their lives. The group read a novel with a survival theme, learned wilderness survival skills, and did loads of fun activities and challenges. This camp was made possible by a grant from the Vermont Humanities Council.

A Healing Library: death, dying, & grief

Graduating Into December

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 5pm, we hosted Becki Lund of La Dimora. Becky is a certified End of Life Doula and Elder Care Consultant.

The gathering, titled “Graduating into December” is an event about transitioning into the next phase of living. Talk about what the term “a good death” looks like for us all. Begin speaking about death in a more honorable, sacred way reflective of what it truly is.

Some questions to consider:
What comes to mind when you hear the words “death” and “dying”?
What would the elements of a positive dying experience look like to you or for your family?
Where would you like to be as you graduate into the next phase in your journey?

Becki will guide us through the difficult but important conversations.

Children’s Grief, Loss, & Trauma Resources
from VT Department of Libraries

“Books can be wonderful tools to use with children who have experienced trauma or loss. Reading (or being read to) and talking with adults can help them understand and cope with their feelings in a developmentally appropriate way. Reading also offers a great way to spend time with a child, reinforce a sense of normalcy and security, and connect with them, all of which are important to recovery from a traumatic experience.

The Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB), The Barre District of the Department for Children and Families, and UVM’s the Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership (VTCWTP), created a path to healing and stability. The three agencies developed a book collection targeting grief, loss, and trauma for different age groups; 0-5, 6-12, and 12-18.” These books come as a set and are meant to be experienced together.
Ages 0-5

Me and My FearFrancesca Sanna
Still a Family: A Story about HomelessnessBrenda Reeves Sturgis
The Memory Box: A Book About GriefJoanna Rowland
The Rabbit ListenedCori Doerrfeld
Where do they go?Julia Alvarez

Ages 6-12

Cry, Heart, But Never BreakGlenn Ringtved
Half a world AwayCynthia Kadohata 
Prairie EversEllen Airgood
Sunny Side UpJennifer L Holm
Train I RidePaul Mosier

Ages 13-18

Hey KiddoJarett Krosoczca
Orbiting JupiterGary D. Schmidt
Prairie EversEllen Airgood

If you need access to these materials, let us know.

Death, grief, and dying resources at Orwell Free Library

For Children

Why did Grandpa die?: a book about death by Barbara Shook Hazen

Something Very Sad Happened: a Toddler’s Guid to Understanding Death by Bonnie Zucker (2016)

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst (2000)

Goodbye Sheepie by Robert Burleigh (2010) *pet death

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper (2017) *pet death

Older Children and Teens

When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing (1994)

You Are Not Along: Teens Talk About Life After the Loss of a Parent by Lynne Hughes (2005)

Death and Dying by Pete Sanders (1998)

For Parents

A Parent’s Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family After the Death of a Loved One by Phyllis R. Silverman (2009)

For Adults

How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies by Theresa A. Rando (1991)

Death: the final stage of growth by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler (2019)

In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing : A Geography of Grief by Christopher Nol (1996)

Silent Grief by Clara Hinton (1997) *miscarriage


Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables: by Joan Dye Gussow (2010)

Of Grief, Garlic, and Gratitude: Returing to Hope & Joy From a Shattered Life by Kris Francoeur (2018)

Further Reference:

The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life by Ira Byock (2012)

Library of Things

Slowly slowly we are building a library of things for Orwell residents. The collection is a natural evolution of the library’s lending model. The Library of Things aims to reduce barriers for by providing access to quality equipment.

We offer:

  • egg incubator
  • projector and portable screen
  • telescope
  • laptops
  • water cooler
  • puzzles
  • board games
  • wood moisture reader
  • air quality meter
  • tables & chairs

Take advantage of these items – we want them to be used! Is there something missing? Let us know and we will work to add it to our collection.

How to Checkout:

  • Library of Things equipment is available for customers ages 18 and up.
  • Users must be residents of Orwell.
  • A signed Library of Things waiver and a valid government issued photo ID are required to checkout equipment.

2021 Report to the Town

What a year! Operating the library under the continued COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges.  Once again, we offered little indoor programming, a real loss for our normal operating structure, and were intentional about library usage and availability.   Using the extra hours normally devoted to programming at OFL, we wrote grants, created story time videos with community farmers and professionals, focused on the library collection, offered a 4-week summer camp for Orwell youth, and sought ways to better support and work with community groups.  

This year we received over $33,000 in grant funding.  With those funds and in-kind donations, we provided high quality equipment and tech support to the Select Board for the 2021 Virtual Town Meeting Informational Session, increased our wireless internet reach throughout the village green, purchased new patron and staff computers, increased our outdoor outlet availability, and provided 4 weeks of free day camp to Orwell youth in collaboration with Orwell Village School staff.  

Summer Camp and the teen and preschool programming (supported by the Summer Matters Grant) gave 72 Orwell children access to quality activities.  These events and camps were created to bring children together and give a feeling of hope and support after a year of stress and unknowns.  Our camp themes included The Great Outdoors, STEM, Art, Music, & Movement, and Games, Games, Games.  More than 18 kids participated in each week of camp. We hired 3 committed OVS staff and one local teen to run the program. It was a tremendous success. Young families participated in outdoor story time events and teens came to the library weekly for pizza and activities. This July was one to be remembered.

Virtual Story Time videos featuring local families

Another offering of note from 2021 is our Virtual Story Time videos, available on our website.  We visited sites around Orwell to capture what makes this village special.  A heartfelt thanks to our various hosts!

In the spring, Ramona Akpo-Sani stepped down from her position as the library assistant after many years of library service.  Ramona worked diligently as a Trustee in the early 2000’s writing policies and preparing the library for our online catalog.  As the library assistant, she catalogued many titles and welcomed community members into our space for 3 wonderful years.  Her leadership in bringing the library into the 21st century is to be commended. Thank you, Ramona.  

At the library, we offer:

  • free 24/7 WIFI in our parking area and around the town green.
  • public computers for use during open hours.
  • computer, device, and internet help.
  • a meeting place for local groups. 
  • a public gallery for local artists to display their work.
  • access to an online library of informational databases.
  • access to online libraries of eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and more.
  • a place to donate used, in good condition, books and media.
  • new and emerging technologies to experience, like VR. 
  • a “Library of Things” including an egg incubator, wood moisture reader, projector & screen, Kindle, board games, puzzles and more to borrow. 
  • Passes to local attractions

Over the course of a few months, a committee of Library Trustees, Wright Board members, and the librarian created a document that lays out the responsibilities of each board and the procedures for working together.  The OFL Board approved the Responsibilities Agreement in September and created a liaison position to aid in communication and future positive outcomes.   We all agree, our building in the center of Orwell village is a treasure to be maintained with care.  

We thank the community for your enthusiastic support of our biannual sales.  The majority of our operating funds are raised during these events.  

Lucas Family at the 2021 Harvest Sale

Orwell Free Library is ever grateful to local taxpayers for their continued support.

2021 Circulation and Usage
Borrowed items: 1821 adult books, 3219 children and teen books, 303 videos,
67 kits and things
2223 library visits, 813 program participants
723 items added to the collection

2021 Harvest Book and Bake Sale and DRAGon egg hunt

Our Harvest Sale has lots to offer this year! As always, we will have an assortment of pumpkins, gourds, and squash. Our bake sale table, stocked by library friends and trustees, will undoubtedly be full of treats. We intend to offer soups and hot dogs so come for lunch! If the weather allows, most of the used books will be outside with limited browsing available inside.

We hope to host an apple press the day of the sale so check back next week and bring your clean, freshly fallen apples to turn into cider! Don’t forget to bring containers to take your treat home.

This year our sale will also feature The Great Vermont Dragon Egg Hunt! Follow the clues, discover the treasure, and if you’re lucky, win a Folkmanis Dragon Puppet. The whole family can participate in this scavenger hunt around Orwell village. The Dragon Egg Scavenger Hunt will be available beginning Friday afternoon through 1pm on Saturday.

The Great Vermont Dragon Egg Hunt is presented by Vermont Fairy Tale Festival. Over 100 libraries across Vermont are participating in the event. The festival provided the eggs and dragon puppets, and invited librarians to design their own treasure hunt, rules, and activities. The Vermont Fairy Tale Festival is a celebration of Vermont Libraries. Watch for more information for the September 2022 Fairy Tale Festival at the Sherburne Memorial Library in Killington, we hope to see you there!

The grand prize!

Further information:

At this time, we can only accept cash and checks.
Masks will be required for indoor book browsing.
The Dragon Hunt will be available Friday and Saturday and is appropriate for the whole family. Walking around the village is required to participate.

Our annual Harvest Sale is hosted by Orwell Free Library Board of Trustees. All proceeds go directly to the library to support programming, collection development, and so much more.

Summer Day Camp Grant

The Orwell Free Library received a Summer Matters Grant from Vermont Afterschool, Inc to offer 4 weeks of Day Camp to Orwell and Benson children, 1st grade-6th grade, and a Band Camp for kids between grades (rising) 5 and 7.

Here is more about the funding from Vermont Afterschool, Inc:

“Vermont Afterschool is proud to work with Governor Phil Scott’s office, Senator Bernie Sanders’ office, and the Vermont Agency of Education to establish the Summer Matters for All Grant Program. A total of $3.85 million will be awarded to programs in 13 counties to expand access to summer enrichment opportunities for K-12 youth this summer. Read the Governor’s press release on the grants here.

As we emerge from the pandemic, Summer 2021 will be an important time for Vermont’s youth to re-engage, connect, learn and heal; meet the immediate needs of families; and inform efforts to provide universal afterschool in the future.”

With this funding, we will offer 4 weeks of day camp during the month of July in the fields and forests of Orwell Village School.  Each week will have a theme.  Our themes are “The Great Outdoors”, “Art, Music, & Movement”, “S.T.E.M. Discovery”, “Games, Games, Games!!!”, and a Band Camp for older elementary aged children. 

This is a very quick turn-around from funding announcement to camp beginning and we are excited to take on the challenge

Check out our summer programming brochure to find out more about each week or continue reading.

With the help of this funding, we will also offer Story Time for families with younger children and teen nights throughout July.

We are excited to provide this opportunity to the kids and look forward to a great summer  This, along with the 3+ week options provided by SVUUD will give our children a chance to connect and have fun after a challenging year.   To learn more about what Slate Valley is offering, visit their website here.

To sign up your child, fill out our registration form on our camp page. We will be in contact asap.

Virtual Library Programs

Our online offerings are growing! Every few weeks we post a video featuring a stack of new books on the shelves. We’ve got videos showing how to use our catalog, as well. Who knows what we will come up with next! Visit our YouTube channel to see what’s available.

Our virtual story time shorts are proving to be a fun community connection. Below are our favorites. Find more on our Virtual Story Time page.

New Books 4/27