In the News

List of cooling centers in Vermont, New York as dangerous heat arrives this week

June 17, 2024

Addison County · Bixby Memorial Library (Vergennes) · Bristol Town Offices · Cornwall Free Public Library · Davis Family Library (Middlebury) · Lawrence …


Bixby Library over the moon after fundraiser

June 6, 2024

Bixby Free Memorial Library Director Catharine Findiesen Hays called the institution’s May 31 “Celestial Soiree” fundraiser at the Main Street library “an astronomical success” in a Monday interview with the Independent.

Addison Independent

Ken Corey presents ‘A Panoply of Landscapes’ at Bixby

May 30, 2024

From pastels, paintings, and prints, much of his work was done en plein air. His work features limited palettes which capture the dreamy, airy quality of summer in Vermont.  

Addison Independent

Local libraries get accessibility grants

May 30, 2024

Three Addison County libraries have been awarded grants to help improve the accessibility of their offerings and better serve people with disabilities.

Addison Independent

Where The Books Are Now – Bixby Memorial Free Library

May 6, 2024

In today’s episode I talk with Catherine Hays, Library Director at the Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes, Vermont.  The Bixby is a library, a community center, and a museum that serves not just Vergennes, VT but the surrounding communities of Ferrisburgh, Waltham, Panton, and Addison. Catharine shared the interesting and surprising history of how this beautiful neoclassical revival library building came to be and the “rest room” that was included in the original plans from the early 1900s.

Where The Books Are Now

Va-et-vient to serenade Vergennes on Apr. 27

April 18, 2024

Come to Bixby Library in Vergennes on Saturday, April 27, from 12:30-2 p.m., to hear the talented musicians of Va-et-vient guide you through the centuries, from France to Québec and New Orleans, with lively dance numbers, touching love songs, kickin’ Cajun and Créole tunes, and rollicking Québecois favorites.

Addison Independent

New exhibit by Anna Fugaro at Bixby Library

March 21, 2024

If you missed her exhibit at Middlebury’s Ilsley Library this winter, experience the original, mixed-media artwork of New Haven artist Anna Fugaro on display now at the Bixby Memorial Free Library.

Addison Independent

Winners of all ages in annual LEGO battle

March 14, 2024

Back on Saturday, Feb. 24, the main floor of the Bixby Library was filled with creations such as a besieged oil rig, a fancy home, a jungle scene, forts, and one item best described as “I can’t believe that’s not a real digital camera” — as well as dozens of onlookers.

Addison Independent

Everything Eclipse: Help Your Kids Understand the Once-in-a-Lifetime Event on April 8

March 12, 2024

At Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes,

  • An eclipse party for kids on Saturday, March 23, includes corona crafts and a solar telescope demonstration. Attendees get a pair of eclipse glasses!
  • Learn all about the science of the eclipse, plus see a solar telescope and Sunspotter demonstration, on Saturday, March 30.

Seven Days

Free concert series kicks off with Atlantic Crossing at Bixby Library

February 22, 2024

Lace up your dancing shoes! On Saturday, March 2, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., the Bixby Library will come alive with the music of Atlantic Crossing.

Addison Independent

100+ Women Who Care support non-profits

January 25, 2024

Catharine Hays, Mary Neffinger and Amber Lay of Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes will use funds donated by 100+ Women Who Care of Addison County for accessibility upgrades at the library.

Addison Independent

LEGO contest returns to Vergennes

January 25, 2024

Bixby Memorial Free Library and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vergennes will hold their 6th annual Lego Contest and Exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.., at the library.

Addison Independent

Young Lions Club does good work

January 11, 2024

Over the past 10 months, a group of more than 20 Vergennes-area teens have built a playground at the John Graham Shelter, helped fund and install an owl barn and plantings at the Otter Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, worked at Bixby Library book sales and at monthly American Legion fish dinners, helped rake the grounds at D.A.R. John Strong Mansion, read to youngsters at Ferrisburgh Central School, and helped residents tend gardens and clean up after floods. 

Addison Independent

Student survey explores energy-efficiency efforts

December 14, 2023

Several students at Middlebury College spent part of their fall semester out in the community rather than inside the classroom, speaking with the owners and managers of nonresidential properties across Addison County.   

Addison Independent

Celebrating Civics: Good Citizens Inspire Us to Be Better 

November 14, 2023

Organized around the theme of Vermont libraries’ summer reading program — “All Together Now” —the 2023 [Good Citizens] Challenge included 25 activities that appeared on a bingo-like scorecard, tasks relating to Vermont history, government, local news and community support. Participants did five activities in a row to get “bingo” and complete the Challenge.

Seven Days

Libraries offer classes, community for seniors

October 19, 2023

ADDISON COUNTY — Libraries around Addison County have a lot more than books to offer. For local seniors, those offerings include opportunities to socialize, be active and learn new skills. From TED Talks to Tai Chi classes, local libraries host a variety of programs each week that older residents in the county enjoy … for free.

Addison Independent

Improve your composting skills with these free workshops

October 5, 2023

ADDISON COUNTY — Emily Johnston, the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Addison County Solid Waste Management District Board, invites homeowners and renters to come to a free workshop hosted by the ACSWMD this fall. Upcoming topics include Backyard Composting, Vermicomposting, and Plastic Recycling. 

Vermicomposting: Worms Ate My Food Scraps — Worms crawl through layers of bedding and food scraps, eating as they move, digesting the food waste into nutrient-rich castings. Come learn about vermicomposting systems. – Oct. 23, 5 p.m. – Location: Ilsley Public Library, 75 Main St., Middlebury and Oct. 24, 5:30 p.m. – Location: Bixby Memorial Free Library, 258 Main St, Vergennes.

Addison Independent

Locals receive Walter Cerf grant money

September 28, 2023

The Walter Cerf Community Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, recently awarded $93,500 in grants to 26 organizations in its 2023 competitive grants round.

Addison Independent

The Bixby invites you to engage with nature

September 21, 2023

VERGENNES — As the air becomes cooler and the leaves turn shades of red and gold, Bixby Memorial Library invites patrons to connect to the Earth at The Bixby Library. This season, The Bixby will host a series of events that will encourage people to engage with nature and support our Earth.

Addison Independent

Walk on giant Lake Champlain map at Bixby this Saturday

September 7, 2023

VERGENNES — The Bixby Library is proud to exhibit an accurate, detailed 35-by-25-foot map of Lake Champlain and its watershed. Everyone is invited to come walk on the map and learn about Lake Champlain this Saturday, Sept. 9, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. outside the Vergennes library. 

The Giant Lake Champlain Map is an interactive, spatial learning tool designed to inform people of how their home is connected to the lake. The map integrates history, science, geography, and more. The project aims to inspire people of all ages to care for Lake Champlain.

Bixby officials thanked the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership for supporting this project through the Interconnected Waterways Grant. 

Addison Independent

Robot camp offered at the Bixby

June 22, 2023

VERGENNES — Thanks to a grant from FIRSTinVT, Bixby Memorial Library will host a Lego robotics camp for kids aged 9 to 14 at the library Monday, June 26, through Friday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The camp, which is free, uses Spike Prime kits that attach to Legos to create and program robots. At the conclusion of the camp on Friday, June 30, Bixby will host a community event to showcase the efforts of the campers. The camp is filling up very quickly, but as of Tuesday, June 20, there were a few spots still open. Organizers are also in need of a few more high school-age counselors.

For more information email

FIRSTinVT, which aims to create a generation of highly skilled problem solvers, organizes local robotics competitions. This year they have secured funding through the AOE to sponsor free week-long robotics camps for kids age 9-14 around the State.

Addison Independent

Pastel Society exhibits at Bixby Library

June 15, 2023

The MidState Hub of the Vermont Pastel Society will be exhibiting more than 30 original pastel paintings at Bixby Memorial Library in Vergennes from June 22 through July 28. Read more here.

The Addison Independent

Banned books stay on county shelves

May 18, 2023

ADDISON COUNTY — As an increasing number of books are challenged due to their content and pulled from shelves throughout the country, Addison County librarians are working to ensure local readers continue to have access to a diverse selection of titles — including those that have been banned in other states. Read the full story here.

The Addison Independent

Who needs a big city getaway when there’s Vergennes?

May 4, 2023

VERGENNES, Vt. — Vergennes made a great first impression. We were traveling north on twisty Route 7, passing rolling farmlands and dairy barns, grazing cows and tall silos. We crested a hill, and the compact “Little City” came into view. From afar, we saw a towering white church steeple and a tight cluster of homes and buildings nestled in a picturesque valley, hugged by mountains. Up close, we discovered a relaxed, nearly idyllic community, Vermont’s version of Three Pines, the charming, fictional town in author Louise Penny’s mystery series. Vergennes (ver-JENZ), held surprises, too. It was serene, tranquil, pretty, but also had top-notch restaurants, a nationally recognized ice cream parlor, one of New England’s best chocolate shops, boutiques, galleries, theater, and more. Read the full story here.

The Boston Globe

Lego contest draws a crowd at Bixby

March 9, 2023

The fifth annual Bixby Free Memorial Library Lego Contest once again drew a large field of contestants and then a big crowd to the city landmark to celebrate the presentation of their creations and hear the announcement of the winners on Feb. 25. Read the full story here.

Addison Independent

The Fix Is In at Vergennes’ Clothing Repair Fair 

March 1, 2023

Walking into the Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes on Saturday, I expected the hush of a librarian’s lair. Instead, creativity and noisy excitement coursed through the halls of the historic building. The voices of children participating in a Lego contest on the first floor blended with chatter and the hum of sewing machines: Upstairs, Addison County Solid Waste Management District hosted a Clothing Repair Fair.

Read the full story here.

Seven Days

Repairing and sharing clothes in Addison County

February 25, 2023

The Bixby Memorial Library in Vergennes hosted a Repair Fair Saturday. Watch the story here.


Kids in Vergennes get creative with a Lego competition

February 25, 2023

VERGENNES Vt. (WCAX)- While many are out playing in the snow this weekend some kids decided to spend their day inside with Legos.

The Bixby Memorial Free library in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club Of Greater Vergennes held their fifth annual lego contest.

Contestants were judged based on the story of their piece, creativity, and the use of space and color.

The library says they hope the competition encourages kids to be creative.

“Well it’s just really fun, and it’s like you build stuff. It can be creative, it can be sets, it could be something imaginary. There’s no rules,” said Winner Henry Cadoret

Organizers say the competition had over 40 participants. Watch the story here.


Grant brings Eliza and Franklin Haven home

February 23, 2023

VERGENNES — Thanks to a 2023 Community Grant through Co-operative Insurance Companies and Gaines Insurance Agency, the oil portraits of Eliza and Franklin Haven have been acquired by the Vergennes Historical Society from antique dealer Greg Hamilton of Stone Block Antiques. The total paid for both portraits was $1,800.

Eliza and Franklin Haven were married in Vergennes on Sept. 21, 1852, by the Rev. Harvey Leavitt of the Vergennes Congregational Church. Shortly after their marriage, Franklin began selling clothing and household goods on the corner of Main Street and Maple Street, where The Lily now operates. Three generations of the Haven family continued the store for a span of 85 years as reported in The Enterprise and Vermonter in 1940, when the store closed. Afterwards Franklin’s grandson converted and operated a bowling alley in the prior store. If you venture into the Basin Block, some of the old bowling alley floor markings are still visible.

Co-operative Insurance Companies’ Community Grants Program was established in 2004 to assist with community projects across Vermont and New Hampshire. Through this program, Co-op partners with its agents and directors to provide funds for capital campaigns and operational support throughout the two states.

“We think it’s important to do our part as neighbors and this grant program is one more way we can do that,” said Randy Roy, Co-op’s senior vice president of marketing. The Vergennes Historical Society award was one of 11 grants which Co-operative Insurance Companies and a partner agency funded for 2023. The agency partner for this grant was Gaines Insurance.

Scott Gaines, owner of Gaines Insurance Agency, also hales from a long line of ancestors who lived and worked in Vergennes. At one time his family owned and operated the famed Stevens House on the corner of Main and Green streets. The Gaines Insurance Agency was founded by Scott’s father, Allen Gaines, in 1961. The current agency location was purchased by Allen from his father-in-law Ward Merrill, who operated a grocery store in the building. The Gaines Insurance Agency has long been a supporter of charitable causes, including the American Heart Association, Booked for Bikes, and Meals on Wheels.

The Haven oil portraits will first be displayed at the Bixby Library along with information on their family and lives in Vergennes. The Vergennes Historical Society aims to make these portraits available for study in the local schools and colleges. For the society these portraits provide a tangible reminder of the Haven family legacy and the real impact local shopping can have on a community.

Addison Independent

Mexican migrants share stories of their journey, life in Vt.

February 23, 2023

Vergennes, VT – Over four dozen community members gathered in Vergennes Saturday to hear the stories of three migrant farmworkers who made the journey from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Vermont. The three men shared the challenges they faced in leaving their home country and the realities of living and working in Vermont. Read the full story here.

Addison Independent

Bixby Memorial Free Library Receives Two Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) Grants

January 30, 2023

VERGENNES, VT – Bixby Memorial Free Library is proud to announce that it has been awarded two
Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) grants. The grants will build on past CVNHP
support to care for and bring to life the library’s storied museum and archival collections in the context
of the beautiful and bountiful creeks that run through its communities. Read the full press release here.

Bixby LEGO robotics program teaches coding, teamwork and more

January 19, 2023

VERGENNES — Miniature turning windmills, a mobile front-loading truck and other LEGO creations — along with the local middle- and elementary-school students who built them and the mentors who helped the builders — took center stage in the Bixby Library’s Community Room this past Saturday. 

The occasion was the Community Demo Day for the Bixby Lego Robotics Program. That program brought two teams, one of nine older students and one of five younger pupils, together every Wednesday at the Vergennes library since this past fall to design and build robotic projects, including writing the necessary software code, with the help of a half-dozen mentors. Read more here.

Addison Independent

Legos robotics team gears up for state competition

January 14, 2023


The Bixby memorial library’s Lego robotics teams showed off their new projects in Vergennes today.

The explore team, made up of kids from first through third grade, demonstrated their stationary Lego windmill project.

While the middle school age challenge team showed their cow-themed robot. The challenge team is gearing up for the statewide first Lego league competition, where the theme this year, is renewable energy.

Volunteers and coordinators for this team and the statewide competition tell us that Lego robotics have been a great way to get kids started in stem.

“Trying to get kids excited at the first-grade level, then they go on to the first Lego league challenge up through middle school. Then after that there are two more competitions. FTC and FRC, where the robots get bigger, and the competitions get a little more exciting. So, it’s about this pipeline of getting students excited early on,” said Mike Cross, a coach and coordinator for the championship event.

The Vergennes team will be competing against other teams across the state at Norwich on January 28th to show off their work and share what they have learned about robotics and renewable energy.


2022 News

2021 News

Bixby Library Repatriates Native American Remains 


In addition to its work as a traditional library, Vergennes’ Bixby Memorial Free Library serves as a repository for local, regional, and national cultural material dating from the pre-contact era to the mid-twentieth century.

This year, Bixby staff were able to build upon previous CVNHP-funded efforts to further develop its collections management plans by submitting inventories and summaries of the Native American artifacts in its custody to the National Park Service. The museum began the lengthy and important process of repatriating and rematriating the ancestors and belongings to their homelands.

Using a 2020 CVNHP Collections grant, the library completed the entire repatriation and rematriation process for three funerary belongings to a Native group in the Great Plains. The Bixby hopes to continue this work with the more than 200 collection items in consultation with the National Park Service. (Note: the repatriation and rematriation process disallows publishing specifics on locations and descriptions of the artifacts.)

Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership e-Newsletter

Vergennes to recognize Vt’s first Black sheriff, elected there in 1879


VERGENNES — Vermont is awash in history. Some of it is as obvious as the white clapboard churches and the monumental stone markers erected in honor of Civil War veterans. Other history is overlooked  — for a while, at least  — though no less important. Read more.

Addison County Independent

New Historical Marker in Vergennes Honors Stephen Bates, Vermont’s First Black Sheriff 


Stephen Bates served as sheriff and chief of police in Vergennes for almost 25 consecutive years between 1879 and his death in 1907. The recent resurgence of interest in Bates’ life and career culminates this week in the unveiling of a new historical marker commemorating him in Vergennes City Park. The park will be the site of a dedication ceremony on Sunday, October 3. A related exhibit, just down the street at the Bixby Memorial Free Library, is on view through the fall; an online version is available on the Bixby website. Read more.

Seven Days

39th annual Vergennes Day to celebrate Vermont’s Little City


The 39th annual Vergennes Day is being held on Friday, August 27th, and Saturday, August 28th. The weekend’s activities, hosted and sponsored by the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, City of Vergennes and area businesses, are a celebration of the city and community to be enjoyed by all ages.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m. until they’re gone, KidsSafe Collaborative will be giving away bike helmets & doing free fittings at Bixby Library. At 1:45 pm. Bixby Library will hold its “Booked for Bikes” drawing at the bandstand which is sponsored by the library and Vergennes Rotary Club. Entries are accepted until August 21st. Read more.

Vermont Business Magazine

Friends of the Bixby Library Book Sale a Staff Pick at Seven Days


“Even though I’ve already hit it twice this summer, I’ll be checking out the third installment of the Bixby Memorial Free Library’s summer book sale on Saturday. Also, the delectable Vergennes Laundry is across the street, a delicious coincidence that I’m happy to exploit.” — Jordan Adams (Staff Writer)

Seven Days, Notes on the Weekend

Vermont Libraries Association VLAC21 Awards


The Bixby Library had a strong showing in the Vermont Library Association Outstanding Service Awards. Two of our Trustees, Ed Place and Marsha Hoffman, received the “Trustee Extraordinaire” and “Bixby Above and Beyond Award” respectively. Assistant Director Becky Johnston also received the “Most Positive Attitude During the Pandemic” award. Congratulations to these, and all the winners of the VLAC21 Awards!

Bixby Volunteers Thanked in Addison Independent “Volunteer Week 2021” Edition


In their annual Volunteer Week edition, the Addison Independent featured a beautiful ad thanking the Bixby Volunteers for their outstanding service to the library. Particularly during the difficult pandemic year, the Bixby volunteers maintained a caring, dedicated, and professional commitment to their roles. The work of the Bixby would not be possible without them. To learn more about the Bixby volunteers, and other Addison County volunteers featured in the Addison Independent, please follow this link to their website.

Addison Independent

Vermont Humanities’ “Libraries in the Time of Covid”


The Bixby was featured along with several other libraries throughout the state in a March 10th presentation hosted by Vermont Humanities, “Libraries in the Time of Covid”. It’s worth a watch on YouTube if you’re in the mood to be inspired by the creativity and determination of the State’s 183 libraries. We are definitely going to borrow lots of ideas (how about a Virtual Dog Show?). Librarian Jessamyn West helps us to understand the role of the library in these unusual times.

2020 News

How libraries across Vermont are continuing to serve people despite a pandemic


Since the beginning of the pandemic, Vermont’s public libraries have figured out how to serve their communities despite mandatory closings and limitations. Initially, like every institution in Vermont, libraries across the state shut down in early March to help combat Covid-19. But in mid-April, libraries found ways to reach people — through curbside services and expanded digital resources. In the months since, the individuality of each of Vermont’s libraries has shone through. Read More

Addison County Independent

New Bixby director returns to her roots


VERGENNES — The new director of the Bixby Free Memorial Library studied in Switzerland and Washington, D.C; worked high-powered government and corporate jobs in D.C. and New Jersey; and then held influential positions in the nonprofit and academic worlds in New York City and Philadelphia.
Catharine Findiesin Hays also spent her early years on an Addison family orchard, Yankee Kingdom, on the shores of Lake Champlain, and the 1980 graduate of Georgetown University had always wanted to return to Vermont. Read More

Addison County Independent

Legos spark imagination at Bixby Library


VERGENNES — From “Planet Earth” to “Star Wars: The Last Star Fire,” the main floor of the Bixby Library contained a universe of imagination on Monday evening, not to mention dozens of Lego sculptors and many more of the artists’ family members.
What filled the space under the library’s stained-glass dome was the awards reception for the second annual Vergennes Lego Contest and Exhibit, jointly sponsored by the library and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes. Read More

Seven Days

Public Libraries Adapt to the 21st Century … and Uphold Democracy 


Four Ionic columns and wide stairs in classic Greek revival style form the impressive and somewhat intimidating entrance to the Bixby Memorial Free Library. But inside, a large square foyer, lit from above by sunlight streaming through a colorful glass dome, seems to whisper, “Relax. You belong here. Stay a while.”
Listed on the national and state historic registers, the Bixby was built in 1912 as both a library and a community center. It remains true to those functions today. Read More

Addison County Independent

Second annual LEGO contest comes to Bixby


Are you into LEGOs? First-timers to fanatics will compete in the second annual LEGO contest and Exhibit at the Bixby Library in Vergennes. Online registration closed on Feb 3, but those still interested in participating can call the library at (802) 877-2211. Read More

Addison County Independent

Get ready for the LEGO contest at Bixby Library


VERGENNES — Lego-mania will return to the Bixby Library in Vergennes in mid-Feburary. The Bixby and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vergennes have announced they are co-sponsoring their second annual Lego Contest and Exhibit, which will culminate with a a Monday, Feb. 17 awards reception at the library. Read More

Addison County Independent

2019 News

Search begins for new Bixby Library director


VERGENNES — The Bixby Memorial Library board of trustees on Tuesday decided to move forward with a search for the Vergennes landmark’s next director. Bixby Board Chairwoman Paula Moore on Tuesday said that advertising for the new library director will begin Feb. 1, with a four-month timetable. Read More

The Library Project

Bixby Memorial Free Library | Vergennes, Vermont


The goal: explore the libraries of Vermont. Come along! There’s so much to learn and the first stop is the Bixby.
Tucked into Vergennes, at last census under 3,000 souls, this gem is an architectural pantheon. Considered Greek Revival, the Bixby is Neoclassical in style. (Pinkies up when you read that.) Bixby was designed by the renowned New York firm Trowbridge & Livingston, who went on to design major New York City landmarks. Read More

This Place in History: Bixby Memorial Free Library

At ‘This Place in History’, we’re in Vergennes with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We are going into what I think of as one of the most beautiful libraries in the state of Vermont, the Bixby Memorial Free Library. How was it built? Why was it built? It’s gorgeous. So let’s go check it out.” began Perkins.

“This building was built in 1911 and opened in 1912. It was definitely the first dedicated building used as a library and it was built as a library. We get that question where people ask if it was something beforehand and it was not,” said Executive Director Masha Harris. Read More