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  • Writer's pictureStephen D'Agostino

Park and Museum Passes Available at the Library

As usual, I should not have talked about the weather in my last column. The day the paper hit the newsstand, the mercury hit 92. And it was way too humid. Yet, such weather is part of summer.

If part of your way of beating the summer heat is visiting some of Vermont’s museums and state parks, there is some good news. Many of them are open. You should, of course, call before you go to confirm if the place you are interested in visiting is available and what its safety requirements are.

The better news is that the Reading Public Library has free passes available for the American Precision Museum in Windsor, the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, and the Vermont History Museum, which has branches in Montpelier and Barre.

The library also has reduced-price passes for the Echo Aquarium & Science Center in Burlington and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) in Quechee.

If some outdoor time is what you are looking for, the library offers a pass for many of Vermont’s state parks, good for free entry into designated park day-areas for up to eight people in a vehicle. This pass is good at Ascutney, Plymouth, Wilgus, and Silver Lake State Parks, among others. You can check individual park conditions and safety requirements at

The library also has a similar pass for half a dozen Vermont historical sites, including the Eureka Schoolhouse in Springfield, the Old Constitution House in Windsor, and the Calvin Coolidge Birthplace at Plymouth Notch. You can check safety requirements and opening and closing times at

All passes can be checked out for two days. To reserve a pass, call Tony at the library at 484-5588 or email him at

On a side note, Bill and I went to Jamaica State Park last week for an early morning hike to Hamilton Falls and back. The bugs and mosquitos were manageable. There were a few people on the paths, so social distancing was manageable, too. What was exciting about this trip was that we spotted a scarlet tanager, a red-bodied bird with black wings. It was bopping among the trees along the path, two or three feet ahead of us. Every time we got close, it moved on, so getting a good photo of it was tough.

Even if we hadn't seen this bird, I would have been pleased to get out and see some beautiful Vermont scenery and for the chance to enjoy a nice hike. After all, summer is the time for hikes and parks and scarlet tanagers. For some, like me, it is also the time for reading.

Though the library building is closed, the library is available to satisfy your summer reading needs. Here’s a reminder of how “porchside pickup” works.

Visit and browse the online catalog. Email your selections or call the library (see above). If you need help, get in touch with Tony. If you don’t have a library card, he can set you up with an account by email or phone.

Your books will be available to you on the library porch for pickup. They will be in a bag with your last name on it. Another option for acquiring your books is delivery to your porch or doorstep. You can request that when you contact the library with your selections.

Tony is available for parts of the day on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and he will arrange a pickup or delivery time with you. There is a limit of three items per adult and four per child.

To ensure safety, each checkout will be handled by only one staff person, using hygiene recommendations from the VT Department of Health and the CDC. At the end of the two-week lending period, you may put returns inside the green drop-box near the library door. If you want to renew items, check with Tony. Returned items will be quarantined for seven days before being reshelved. Please follow established social-distancing and safety measures during pickup and return.

When you go to pick up your books porchside, take a moment to check out Puddledock Park. You may see members of the Reading Green Spaces Committee at work planting flower beds, weeding, or watering.

If you drove by last week, you may have noticed Ben Kaija and Oliver Kaija working on creating a bench out of the stones that were part of the foundation of the building that was once on this property. Thank you, Ben and Oliver!

The bench is a cleverly designed two-seater, a perfect spot to perch with someone in your “covid safe circle” for lunch or to do a little work while sitting outside. Remember, Puddledock Park has wifi!

One other note about this summer in an even-numbered year. The state primary is August 11. Remember that you can request an absentee ballot for this election and the general election in November by filling out the card you received from the Vermont Secretary of State's office this month.

You can also request an absentee ballot by visiting the “My Voter Page” on the Vermont state website ( or by calling the Town Clerk's office at 484-7250 during regular business hours.

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on July 16, 2020.

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