Every other year, CLiF offers its Rural Library Conference – a FREE learning opportunity – for librarians who work in small communities across VT and NH. We also welcome anyone connected to libraries of any size, interested in literacy, educators, and/or serving children and youth in VT or NH. Our virtual learning series is an opportunity for librarians to learn from each other, gain practical ideas on programming, and inspiration to try new things. Join us for Megan Dowd Lambert’s keynote on the Whole Book Approach, a single workshop, or take advantage of all four sessions of free professional development!

Date: November 3, 2023

Registration is now closed. **No same-day registrations will be permitted.** Sessions will be recorded and available to those who registered in advance.

KEYNOTE WORKSHOP: The Whole Book Approach
Megan Dowd Lambert

Join author and educator Megan Dowd Lambert to learn about the Whole Book Approach, a co-constructive (interactive) storytime model focused on the art and design of the picture book, which she developed in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  Drawing on her books Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge 2015) and Read It Again: 70 Whole Book Approach Plans to Help Yu Shake Up Storytime (White Poppy Press, 2023) Megan will guide attendees to consider the difference between reading with children and reading to children. Active participation throughout the session will invite reflection on a diverse array of picture books to allow participants to add Whole Book Approach tools and techniques to their storytimes.

Megan Dowd Lambert (B.A. Smith College, M.A. Simmons University) is the creator of the Whole Book Approach storytime model, which she developed in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. After working as an educator at The Carle for over a decade, she held contract faculty appointments in Children’s Literature at Simmons University until 2020. In addition to her ongoing work as an author, book reviewer, independent scholar, and consultant in children’s literature, Megan is now owner and president of Modern Memoirs, Inc., a private publishing company that specializes in memoirs and family histories. She brings to this work the conviction that everyone’s story is worth telling, and a belief in the transformative power of radical listening. The mother of seven children now aged 6-26, Megan lives with her family in western Massachusetts, and readers can find her online at www.megandowdlambert.com

SPARK SESSION 1: Beyond Storytime – Early Literacy in Your Library

Wendy Martin, Vermont Early Literacy Initiative/Vermont Humanities Council
Linda Donigan, Youth Services Librarian at Bennington Free Library
Bree Drapa, Library Director, Westford Public Library, VT
Hannah Peacock, Youth Services Librarian and Assistant Director, Burnham Memorial Library, Colchester, VT
Garrett Brinton, Children’s Librarian, Cobleigh Public Library, Lyndonville, VT

Unlock the full potential of early literacy development in your library with this workshop that is designed to equip librarians with the knowledge, tools, and strategies to create engaging early literacy activities that go far beyond traditional storytimes. Join librarians from all over who have successfully incorporated meaningful activities into their programs.

SPARK SESSION 2: Inclusive Library Services for Youth

Jonathan Clark, Vermont Department of Libraries Youth Services Consultant 
Karen Gravlin, Vermont Department of Libraries Inclusive Services Consultant and Director of the ABLE Library 

Join Vermont Department of Libraries Youth Services Consultant Jonathan Clark and Inclusive Services Consultant and Director of the ABLE Library Karen Gravlin for an overview of ways to make your library space and services more inclusive for children and families. Topics covered will include accessibility, diverse collections, developing inclusive policies, and services and resources available to you and your patrons.

SPARK SESSION 3: Youth Programming & Engagement – Tips and Ideas from a Panel of Local Librarians

Nicole Gauvreau, Youth Librarian at Pease Public Library in Plymouth, NH
Mariah Lawrence, Director of the Tunbridge Library in Tunbridge, VT
Rebecca Searles, Youth Librarian at Belmont Public Library in Belmont, NH

Looking for ways to engage with youth during the afterschool & out-of-school time hours? Eager to bring kids and families back in the door after the pandemic? Learn from a panel of youth librarians and consider new and different ways to connect with kids through your library’s programming. 


CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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