Friends of the Ilsley Library Annual Meeting 2023

The board of the Friends of the Ilsley Library would like to thank our 5 panelists for sharing with us their thoughts on…The Art and Craft of Writing.

If you missed the event, you’ll be able to view it on MCTV soon. Here’s a bit about each of our speakers.

Christal Brown recently published a book of devotional writing, Steps and Stories.  She is the Chief Visioning Officer of Steps and Stages Coaching Facilitation and Consulting. For over ten years, Coach Christal has worked with creatives, entrepreneurs, educators and executives, to help them clarify the vision and accelerate their results.  She is also the founder of INSPIRIT and Project: BECOMING as well as the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dancers.

Stephen Harris is the author of the award-winning trilogy about New York City’s National Guard regiments in WWI, including Duffy’s War, named by the WWI Historical Association as one of the best books ever written about America’s participation in the war. The other titles in the trilogy, Duty, Honor, Privilege and Harlem’s Hell Fighters, have received praise from film producer Ken Burns. His latest book, No Excuses, published last year, is a young adult novel inspired by his son Mark.

Bobbi Loney has recently published Jenny’s Law, a novel written in reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy and her efforts to help bring common-sense gun laws to Vermont.  Bobbi has lived in Middlebury for 47 years and was co-founder of the Bridge School.  Jenny’s Law was written to get adults to feel what it’s like to be a child growing up in our gun culture and to inspire them to act like the kids in the story.

Karl Lindholm is a Dean Emeritus and retired Assistant Professor of American Studies at Middlebury College.  During his career he has taught writing at both the high school and college level, written a column in the local newspaper and has published widely on baseball topics with a particular interest in the baseball’s negro leagues. He has also written a book about his time at Middlebury College, Also Plays: Stories from a Life at Middlebury College. Karl describes himself as “an essayist, anecdotalist, a storyteller and he worships clarity and coherence.”

We also had a budding writer on the panel. Dinah Whitmarsh is a high school student who lives in Cornwall and works as a page at the Ilsley Public Library.  She grew up in Oakland, California and has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. When she was young, she would narrate her stories out loud in her backyard and around her house, but she now prefers to write them down.  Dinah likes to write fiction and poetry, and her work includes things like talking swords, fruit, and elaborately wrought scenery.

The Friends of the Ilsley Library is a non-profit, volunteer organization working to extend the Library’s services and facilities. Organized in 1967, Friends’ members now number close to one hundred families and individuals. Funds raised by membership contributions and book sales have provided nearly $20,000 in support in the past year and a half. The invaluable assistance of the Friends has allowed the library to host innovative programming, purchase and implement new technology, develop staff competencies, assist low income non-residents obtain borrowing privileges, initiate building improvements, and countless other wonderful things.

Ilsley Public Library has about 2400 Middlebury addresses where at least one person holds a library card, and 900 addresses outside Middlebury where people pay a fee for borrowing privileges. Of these households, a mere 91 are members of Friends of the Ilsley Library. Yet it is through membership dollars that we are able to support many of the library’s programs.


A few of the boxes of children’s books at a sale

Our annual budget is close to $20,000, but the book sales raise only one quarter of that amount. We welcome your support, either through membership, a donation and/or as a volunteer.  An annual contribution of $5 or more automatically enrolls you as a member of the Friends. Access to the online (or USPS) newsletter is available to those who fill out a membership form and return it to Ilsley Public Library.  Click on the ‘Renew’ link in the sidebar to access this form, or pick up a form near the Friends display at Ilsley (on the wall to the right of the main desk).