Community Conversations: 20th Century Development & Progress

A joint program of the Vermont Historical Society & Vermont Department of Libraries
Join fellow Vermonters in your community to learn about how the state has handled questions of development and progress in the past, and how we might use those lessons to discuss a path forward to the future. The programs will open with Northern Vermont University professor Paul Searls , who will review themes and events featured in his newly-published book Repeopling Vermont: The Paradox of Development in the Twentieth Century. In the book, he highlights the stories of different communities and their responses to difficult questions as part of his inquiry into how Vermont balanced competing visions for the state in the last century.

Following Searls’s presentation, attendees will be invited to share their own perspectives on their communities. How can we use the lessons of history to frame our planning going forward? What is important to preserve, and when is it important to move forward? How can we balance different interests and create a Vermont that works for everyone?

Programs are free and open to everyone. Interested in hosting your own community conversation? See below for details & resources to bring the program to your town. Support for this project provided by the Vermont Humanities Council and Northern Vermont University. 

July 9: Vermont History Center, Barre
6:30 to 8:00 pm 

July 18: St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury
7:00 to 8:30 pm

July 25: St. Albans Free Library, St. Albans
6:30 to 8:00 pm 

August 28: Bennington Free Library, Bennington
7:00 to 8:30 pm

September 17: Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro
6:30 to 8:00 pm 

Hosting Your Own Conversation

Would you like to host your own conversation about the themes of Repeopling Vermont?

The Vermont Historical Society & Vermont Department of Libraries are inviting libraries, historical societies, and community organizations across Vermont to host their own community discussions on the themes of the book, and providing resources to make that happen.

Anyone interested can download our program guide and host a discussion. The program guide includes basic information on how to plan for, schedule, market, and then host a program of any kind, as well as reading discussion questions specific to this book and a short guide to moderating a book discussion. Click Here for the Guide.

Libraries can borrow a set of copies of Repeopling Vermont from the Vermont Department of Libraries to have available for their patrons. Copies are available through the CLOVER system. If you are a historical society or other organization who would like to borrow copies, we encourage you to work with your local library to co-host a book discussion. 

Learn More

We hosted a webinar on how to host a book discussion and navigate potentially tricky conversations. A recording of the webinar is available here

Need More Information?

Amanda Gustin, Public Program Manager, Vermont Historical Society, amanda.gustin@vermonthistory.org, (802) 479-4264

Joy Worland,  Library Consultant - Continuing Education and Small and Rural Libraries, Vermont Dept. of Libraries, joy.worland@vermont.gov
(802) 636-0027

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