Vermont’s Lending Library Now Offers Free Books at Vermont Visitors Centers Statewide

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After a successful summer pilot program distributing 1200 Vermont-based books, more locations and more authors expand the Lending Library

Roadside visitors hubs like the Guilford Welcome Center now also serve as a Lending Library.

The literary world has often ascended on Vermont as the backdrop of stories as well as a location for creative inspiration.

The Vermont Authors Project’s Lending Library program is a free book program designed to highlight the state’s rich literary resources and encourage tourism across various regions. The Lending Library summertime pilot program saw overall success, via more than 1200 books distributed and delivery of customer service that Vermont is well known for. Continuing this fall and winter tourism season, the program also promotes the state’s "hidden treasures," by encouraging discovery of lesser-known locations through the books.

This marks the first-ever statewide Lending Library at seven Visitors Centers statewide: Alburgh, Fair Haven, Guilford, Montpelier, White River Junction and Williston north and southbound. The project currently features the works of Brattleboro's New York Times bestselling mystery writer Archer Mayor, author of 23 Vermont-based Joe Gunther detective mysteries, and the works of Castle Freeman, author and Vermont Life magazine writer.

“The literary world has often ascended on Vermont as the backdrop of stories as well as a location for creative inspiration,” Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith said. “To offer this cultural and aesthetic wealth to tourists is highly innovative and in library terms, much overdue.”

Travelers can visit one of the participating Vermont Information and Welcome Centers and sign out a paperback or audio book free of charge. When finished, the borrower returns the book to any Vermont Welcome Center or by mail in an envelope provided, within one month. This honor system of book lending is made possible through the Department of Buildings and General Services, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the Vermont Librarian’s Association and AMPress Publishing. Additional Vermont-based authors’ works will be added to the Lending Library with plans to include a diverse genre including poetry, children's books, historic work and more.

Vermont’s Information and Welcome Centers serve an estimated 9,000 people daily and more than 3 million visitors annually. In a state intentionally absent of billboards, these centers promote the state by providing helpful, courteous and knowledgeable information to visitors.

Archer Mayor’s New York Times Bestseller series has been described by the Chicago Tribune as “The best police procedurals being written in America.” Mayor is a recipient of the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction. In addition, Mayor is a death investigator for Vermont's Chief Medical Examiner, a Deputy Sheriff for Windham County, Vt, an investigator for the Windham County State’s Attorney’s office, and logged 25 years as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. Over the 23-book series, his fictional Vermont Bureau of Investigations’ Detective Joe Gunther has solved crimes across every corner of Vermont. Mayor’s next book, Paradise City, will be in stores October 2, 2012 on Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press.

Castle Freeman has written four novels: Judgment Hill, My Life and Adventures, Go With Me, and All that I Have. He has also published more than 30 short stories, and nearly 100 essays, historical and journalistic pieces, most related to Vermont in the present day. Since 2009, he has written the "Vermont Observed" column in Vermont Life magazine. His new story collection is titled “Round Mountain.”

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