This is my editorial for the VLA News – November 2011, but I’m copying here because this is something I really enjoy and want to share out!
Vermont is purported to have the greatest number of public libraries per capita in the United States — approximately 175 of them. As a member of theVermont 251 Club, I have made it my mission to visit all of them.
I’m sure there was a time when I didn’t know what the 251 Club was but now I can’t imagine life without it. Started in 1954, the club challenges its members to adventure through the 251 towns & cities of our great state. 251ers are not about just passing through places and checking names off a list. We stop by, meet folks, shop around, dine, and generally try to feel out what makes each community unique.
Everyone has some sort of mission, something that makes them feel as though they can cross a town off the list. Back when the club was started, 251ers visited every post office and got a stamp. Now people choose their own adventure. My best road trip buddy eats in every town. A fellow librarian has to visit with the whole family. I take pictures of libraries. In towns without libraries I photograph whatever suits me. Some towns are so small that there is nothing with the town name on it save the border marker on the county route.
Without intent, I am documenting every public library in the state. Whenever I tell folks about my “251ing The Library” project, they say I need to share it. So now I am. This is something I do for fun, so I didn’t really have the forethought to write down something about every town or take detailed notes. I just remember my favorites. For instance, did you know that both Richford and Bellows Falls have the best thrift store shopping in the state? Are you a fan of taxidermy? I am, and most libraries have at least a handful of taxidermied critters. The most impressive collection I’ve found so far is at the library & museum in Westfield. It kept me busy for over an hour.
I post my pictures online in a public photo album called 251 Club Evidence, organized in the order I visited the towns. A large chunk of pictures are also collected in my Vermonavigation album from when I circumnavigated the state last summer with the aforementioned road buddy. If you want to see where I have been, check out my personal map on the 251 Club website. Found a picture of your library in my albums? If you like it and want to use it, feel free.

I absolutely LOVE maps! I saw this on Ridgefield Ruminations blog and wanted to make one.

Where I’ve been…where to go next!
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

For fun, I changed the colors and they use fancy hexadecimal web colors…never fear! Here is a link to all, or at least most, of the HTML colors. The first set are the primary web colors, but if you scroll down you get the prettier ones. Just copy and paste the code inside the box of the color you like into the box where you see the code for colors in the map builder, making sure to leave the # sign in front. I, personally, have an unusual love of brown…and purple…together. You should see the pictures of me as a child.

Also, some folks may not realize that when you copy and paste code from something like the map maker, you need to click your blog entry over from Visual to HTML…up there in the upper right of this text box. Otherwise, it will be gibberish code in your post. Some of you may have run into this already and I myself do it all the time, but it occurs to me that not everyone will know how to fix it. Just remember, code likes code…if you are copying code, paste into the HTML part and your visuals will be very happy. There, I’ve done my part to make the web a little less frustrating and a little more fun maybe. If you think I’m speaking sense but you need me to clarify something, feel free to let me know, I’m happy to share what I know!

I am a member of the Vermont 251 Club and one of their other members put together a great VT 251 Club website where you can track your progress on an interactive Vermont map that is great fun even if you have not become a card carrying member of the club (but you should, it’s dirt cheap fun!). This site could also be considered social networking, and maybe something a little more focused and fun for folks who feel like they need their web life to be less aimless than Facebook. I’ve visited 19% of the state! It’s so much fun, the whole shebang, and I strongly encourage anyone who feels like they want to do some staycationing, to join up. Don’t be surprised if I show up at your library someday, my 251 mission is to visit every library in the state. Gas prices and weather really killed this for me this summer, but once things get a little less hairy, it’ll be so much fun. If you’ve made a Facebook account, I have a Vermont 251 Club Facebook Group that I update periodically with cool things to go do. Check it out!