- jessamyn west
It's said that books have the power to transport you anywhere in the world. This summer, lit lovers can get the passport to prove it. For the second year, the Vermont Library Association is running its Passport to Vermont Libraries program. From now until September 1, families can pick up pocket-size yellow booklets at one of 115 participating libraries around the state. When they travel to different towns, they can stop in to those libraries to have their passport stamped. At the end of the season, town libraries will award prizes to the patrons who've collected the most stamps; the top travelers will be honored at a statewide ceremony in October. Librarian and writer Jessamyn West, a member of the Passport committee and the Vermont Library Association's Advocate of the Year, says the program is a great way to explore the "funky and interesting" libraries across the state — from the Windsor Public Library, which has a seed-lending program, to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House in Derby Line, a neoclassical building that straddles the Vermont/Québec border (the boundary line is marked inside by a stripe in the middle of the floor). The passport, says West, gives parents the chance to say, "Hey kids, we're going to Lake Elmore. Why don't we stop at the local library along the way?"