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lizabernard's blog

Respect for the younger workers...

MasksAs a senior citizen, I - like many others - am concerned by the CDC stance that it is now OK for me to shop without a mask. I was privileged to get my vaccine early when it was distributed in age bands. Many others who work in retail and public-facing jobs are just now eligible for their first or second jab. It will be a few weeks before they reach full immunity. The politicians and press call these younger workers essential, yet they are treated as expendable.

Telling each town and business to set its own rules harks back to the confusion of the early days of the pandemic when small business owners like us were the leaders in creating a safer environment. 

Out of respect for the younger cohort which hasn't been fully vaccinated, we require masks inside our store. We are still learning about the transmission of Covid-19. It is impossible to know - or ask - if a customer coming through the door is vaccinated or an anti-masker. Erring on the side of caution harms no one.

We've come this far, let's not jeopardize the health and safety of the next generations. - Liza

Welcome back

penny & liza 2.24.21
Penny and I were so happy to fly the flags, open the doors, and welcome folks back into the store on Indie Bookstore Day!

We got to catch up with old friends who we hadn't seen in months. We also made new friends! Families who moved to town just after the pandemic hit visited the store for the first time.

Thankfully, we did not need to control traffic; you all seem to have become pretty good at social distancing and respecting one anothers’ space. 

kids & storywalk 4.24.21The weather cooperated and families enjoyed the StoryWalk of Even the Smallest Will Grow in the Square. It will be up through the end of May. 

Lorrie Wilkes and Ford Daley entertained us with fiddle tunes in the Square. In appreciation, some tossed a few dollars into the hat which the musicians generously donated to our Book Angel program.

Toward the end of the day, a young woman introduced herself: a Norwich author with an intriguing book - 1,001 Voices on Climate Change - coming in the fall. Look for a launch event date…

All in all, a great day! Thank you. - Liza

Books, not guns...

Books Not GunsAssault rifles have one purpose. I have heard the argument that fists, bats, knives, and, yes, even books can be used to hurt and kill people and we don't call for banning them...

But fists can be used to punch down bread dough, bats and balls provide hours of entertainment, knives are used on food, and books entertain and enlighten! High capacity guns do not have a positive function in our society, period.

Let’s use books - fiction and non-fiction - to learn about mental health, our constitution and the law, to understand and combat racism, extremism, and exclusion. And then let us act to make the changes we need to keep us all safe.

It's been a difficult year and a hard week with what happened in Atlanta and Boulder. We need to address the underlying issues in order to construct a new normal as we look toward the future. 

The Festival of Passover and the celebration of Easter mark the coming of Spring. May we move toward equity, tolerance, and calm in the days ahead.  - Liza

Critical Questioning...

The folks who publish Dr. Seuss have pulled six titles from their catalog because the stories “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” This echoes Theodore Geisel’s own revisions of his work as he himself evolved.

Because of Winn-DixieFor the same reason, earlier this year, for the 20th anniversary edition of Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo switched the book her characters read together. David Copperfield replaced Gone With the Wind.

I was dismayed -- at first. These are classics! Upon further reflection, I realize that although these books show our society at a certain point in time, we get to choose what stories and perspectives we celebrate now. 

How do the books you read to children portray the world? Do they perpetuate negative stereotypes? Or focus on compassion, empathy, tolerance?

Now, more than ever, I’d like to see books that are mirrors and windows for all readers. That doesn’t mean we need to avoid conflict or hard topics. Life is no day at the beach! Storytelling is powerful; words can hurt or heal, exclude or include.

I’m grateful there are so many options available now for young readers and more currently being created! - Liza

Distracted & Forgetful?

What with the pandemic, politics, and personal challenges, I have been Books to pick upsomewhat distracted these past few months…

Many of you may be in the same boat which may explain the many unclaimed packages waiting for pick up! You head out to do errands and then get home and realize you drove right past the bookstore and forgot to stop for your package. Or the weather took a turn for the worse and you felt you better head home before it got dark and the roads became slick.

Whatever the reason, we have a growing backlog of book orders waiting for their readers! We try to reach out with reminders but have been having a hard time tracking some of you down as we don't have current phone numbers or email addresses on file.  

We all look forward to the day when you can stop by for your order and stay to browse but we are not ready to open until cases decrease and the cross-state travel ban is lifted. Until then, please be in touch by phone or email. We’re happy to bring things out to the porch for you. - Liza

Calling All Wizards!

Cahoots at LOHMaking February break plans for your family? If the snow lasts, sledding and skiing nearby will be fun. If it's cold, you can curl up by the fire with a good book - and we have some great recommendations! 

Or you can attend The University of Wonder and Imagination hosted by our friends at the Lebanon Opera House. Sign up for an interactive adventure through a set of mysterious classrooms with surprises at every turn. This is a ticketed, limited-capacity Zoom theater experience presented by LOH, in partnership with Cahoots NI, Northern Ireland’s leading children’s theater company.
The show is suitable for “students'' of all ages and magical abilities. You don’t have to be a wizard like Harry Potter! It's a great way for families and friends to connect remotely. To keep it intimate, each show is limited to 10 households (a household is all under one roof, using one device, for $25). Get together with friends or extended family and make it an exclusive experience.

As challenging as the past year has been, in many ways the pandemic has inspired the most creative aspects of us. This show connects and entertains while keeping everyone safe at home. - Liza

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

hello 2021A note from our 1.15.21 newsletter...

We’re back from our brief break and look forward to the new year! Hopefully, we'll all discover great reads, join interesting author presentations, and maintain careful interactions, and get through these challenging times.

Thank you all for your continued support and incredible flexibility last year as we pivoted to virtual shopping and online events. Your willingness to check out our porch displays when the weather was warm and continue to browse - with quick glove removal - during these frigid months.

While our website has evolved quickly as demand expanded exponentially, there were some glitches. We appreciate your patience as we work out the new systems.

We have recently created new lists and links to replicate how you might discover books if you were in the store. The buttons to the right bring you to a selection of new and noteworthy books from each section. These lists will be updated frequently. (You can also find them on our website under “Shop the Bookstore” / “Browse Books by Category.”)

We look forward to doing what we love: spending time with you - albeit by phone or email - to help you find your next great read. We truly enjoy being your personal shopper during this time of social distancing. Please call or email, tell us a little about what you are looking for and we are happy to make suggestions. We'll send links via email if you would like to dig a little deeper.

A Well-Earned Rest

What a month, what a year! 

In recognition of the extraordinary efforts of our bookselling team to get your holiday gifts to you in these challenging times, Penny and I have decided to give them a needed break between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

This unprecedented schedule change will give us all time to relax and rejuvenate to begin 2021 with gusto - and most likely great new reading recommendations as we will all be hunkering down with a stack of forthcoming books!

As usual, we will be open until 3 pm on Christmas Eve. We will be at the store on Saturday, December 26th, 9 am - 2 pm, to put packages on the porch for pickup. Then we will be back on Saturday, January 2nd, 9 am - 2 pm. Although the store will not be open for regular business, a few of us will be here finishing up projects and monitoring emails.

We are almost at the point when the light returns. The days will start getting longer, a vaccine will be available to us soon, and slowly, carefully, we can get back to gathering with friends and family. In the meantime, there are so many new and classic books to  keep us informed and entertained.

Keeping it local - online!

For the past several years we have celebrated Cider Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving as an alternative to the much touted Cyber Monday. We served local cider and cookies and invited you to step away from your computer…

This year it is necessary for safety reasons to embrace online shopping - but that does not mean turning to big box stores or behemoth retailers! 

We are working hard behind the scenes to simplify the process of ordering from this website. We're adding lots of the great items on our shelves that were not listed before: calendars, socks, cards, games, and toys. It is currently a work in progress - the enhanced site will be up very soon.

Now, more than ever, it is important to shop the stores you want to frequent in your post-Covid world. Discover the online presence of our neighbors: Norwich Knits, Zuzu’s, Blue Sparrow Kitchen, and Dan & Whits to name just a few! - Liza

Trust & Cooperation

table w hand sanitizer

We love having you back in the store! Talking about what you are reading, selecting cards or a puzzle, and quietly browsing the shelves -- that is what the bookstore is about.

But we can only continue this gradual reopening with your cooperation. Before we can welcome you into our space, we ask that you fill out a brief questionnaire online when you make your appointment.

You must confirm that you are following Vermont's travel regulations. This means that you have not just returned from California, or Florida, or even eastern Massachusetts! (Currently only one county in MA qualifies for travel to VT without a quarantine period.)

A house guest from out of state could also be a reason to postpone your visit to the bookstore. 

Phone, email, and web orders for pick up from the porch are still the way to go if you are not sure about contacts you may have had. It’s easy and fast - and you can shop in your PJs.

We need to trust that you are being as careful with us as we are with you. We appreciate an abundance of caution. - Liza


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