Orwell library awarded $1,000 to buy kids books

ORWELL — State Librarian Martha Reid, on behalf of the Winnie Belle Learned Fund of the Vermont Public Library Foundation, recently presented a grant of $1,000 to the Orwell Free Library in Orwell.
The library used the funding to enhance its collection of early reader books for local children. A new shelf, paid for by the Friends of the Orwell Free Library, will house the collection.
The Vermont Public Library Foundation was established in 2000 by the Vermont Department of Libraries for the benefit of Vermont’s public libraries and to date, with the assistance of the Freeman Foundation, has awarded more than $12 million in grants to qualifying libraries.
The Winnie Belle Learned Fund was established in 2006 by Dr. Burnett Rawson in cooperation with the Vermont Community Foundation, in honor of Winnie Belle Learned, a Vermonter and educator, and his benefactress. Learned was born in 1863 in Westford. Despite many personal hardships, she received her teaching certificate, and was a teacher and principal in Massachusetts for many years before returning to her native Vermont in 1911. With a relative, Jennie Burnett, she operated Cherry Hill Farm in Williston until her death in 1941. Her generosity and vision allowed Rawson to attend the University of Vermont and its medical school. He practiced urology in New York for many years before retiring to his native Vermont.
Rawson’s goal for the Winnie Belle Learned Fund is to help the public libraries of Vermont foster literacy, love of learning, critical analysis and intellectual exploration in their communities, among children of all ages and their families.

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