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Member Spotlight: Meet Joy Worland, Consultant for the Vermont Department of Libraries

Posted by on March 22nd, 2024 Posted in: Blog, Member Spotlight
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Joy Worland is the Consultant for Continuing Education and Small and Rural Libraries with the Vermont Department of Libraries where she provides, hosts, and curates continuing education opportunities for libraries in Vermont and consults with library staff and trustees about a wide range of topics relevant to small, rural libraries. You may know Joy from her work supporting professional development for library staff in Vermont, but also nationally with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries as the former Continuing Education Committee Chair.  What you might NOT know about Joy is that she was a fulltime professional French horn player for over 20 years. AND she loves golden retrievers! The following article is paraphrased from our conversation.

Joy Worland spent many years playing French Horn with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra before moving to Vermont 15 years ago. Joy has been working in libraries in Vermont for 14.5 years, the past 6 years at the Vermont Department of Libraries. Joy is also a past president of the Vermont Library Association. She continues to play French horn professionally as time allows.

Joy Worland and her Golden Retriever, Jasper, on rocks in the mountains.

Joy Worland is pictured with Jasper, her Golden Retriever

I heard that you attended a gathering of Golden Retrievers in Scotland. Could you tell me about that?

Approximately every 5 years, the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland hosts the Guisachan Gathering  which Joy attended with her son in 2023. The gathering honors the founding of the breed and draws hundreds of people and Golden Retrievers from around the world to the “castle” estate in the Scottish Highlands. The 2023 event, the 155th anniversary, was featured in this article  Why Did 488 Golden Retrievers Gather in Scotland? – The New York Times where Joy is pictured participating in the Haggis Hurling Competition. She describes this as a very happy event, especially as Golden Retrievers are known for their calm and friendly nature.

Can you tell us what you enjoy about your position and any special projects you are working on?

In her work with continuing education, she and other consultants offer a variety of professional development opportunities such as the “New-ish” Director training which had 30 people meet in person. Another big continuous program of the Vermont Department of Libraries is the Certificate of Public Librarianship Program. They have had broad participation in the program with a mix of sizes of libraries. There are four core courses which offer in depth training, each 5 weeks long, with synchronous and asynchronous components, plus elective and technology requirements.  Over 150 people are currently enrolled in the program and more than 60 have completed the full program of courses in the last five years.

The Vermont Department of Libraries recently offered Adult Mental Health First Aid which is an intensive class. There is pre-work for the class and then two half-day online interactive trainings. Following the training, they provided some debrief and follow-up meetings to talk about and reflect on what they had learned.

Joy also leads a quarterly round table with small and rural libraries.

The Vermont Department of Libraries serves the state’s 187 libraries. Joy enjoys her work at the state level because it allows her to get to know and contribute to what is happening across the state as she seeks to reach all libraries.

Currently the Vermont Department of Libraries has Capital Projects Grants open. This is the first time in 25 years that they have had funds to offer this type of support for building renovations.

Can you talk about some of the other projects of the Department of Libraries?

There are 18 staff members in the department, divided into the administrative team, and divisions for Information and Access and Library Advancement. Other consulting areas in addition to continuing education and small and rural libraries are Library Operations, Youth Services, Inclusive Services, and Technology. Some of the other projects are the ABLE Library (Audio, Braille, Large print, and Electronic books) which serves patrons who are blind or have low vision, Resource Sharing such as interlibrary loan, a Courier Service, statewide access to databases, and reference services for state governement.

How have Vermont libraries coped with the flooding experienced last summer?

The Department of Libraries was a very active support during this time, visiting flood-damaged libraries, sharing resources related to managing the aftermath of the flood, and information on funding sources. The Smithsonian Institute offered a workshop on how to deal with valuables such as photos and other items, and the Vermont Library Association received money from the American Library Association to grant to damaged libraries.

Joy reports that she heard heroic stories of libraries getting back to service, despite weeks long power outages. Some offered programs off-site, some found ways to maintain summer reading programs. She even heard of a library where staff were wearing headlamps to pull books for patrons.

What about your work do you most want to share with the NNLM community?

The Department of Libraries creates a bi-weekly state level digest where they share and highlight the good work of libraries across the state. They also curate resources such as grants and continuing education opportunities in digest form. Joy enjoys locating continuing education opportunities to share, especially topics with a rural focus and relevant to Vermont.

Joy is also pleased to report that 18 Vermont libraries received Sustainable & Resilient New England Libraries grants from the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

While it can be intimidating to apply for grants, Joy hopes that their digests and professional development will inspire and support libraries to feel prepared and confident in applying for grants. Related to the Capital Grants Project, they offered a webinar to go over the application process. Other recent and upcoming training covers project management, design, making buildings accessible, preparing library directors for seeking supplemental funding or even advocating to their towns why they should apply for funding. These many threads are all ways the department tries to support Vermont libraries.

What is your favorite NLM resource?

The NNLM Reading Club – there are interesting topics such as the recent dental health choices. She sees these topics as appealing to a niche of potential program attendees and from a programming perspective, appreciates that the programming resources are built into the toolkit.

How does NNLM help you do your work?

Primarily through programmatic resources, grants, and classes to share out.

What is the coolest thing about your state?

Vermont really has an ethos about the environment, getting outdoors, being active, and being good stewards of the land. She sees this in the work of libraries working towards certification as sustainable libraries. The strong Vermont presence in this work seems a reflection of the culture of the state.

Joy also loves living in a smaller town, where she can walk places, such as to her independent bookstore for author talks where she joins with her neighbors and community.

NNLM offers awards to support member libraries and organizations. This past fall, NNLM Region 7 offered special technology awards to libraries in Vermont that experienced damage due to flooding. We funded Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier for $10,000.


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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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