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  • Saturday, June 08, 2024 11:29 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Submitted by Rosemary Driscoll, Library Media Specialist, East Providence High School

    It had been several years since I last attended the RILA Conference, and it didn't disappoint. Being back inside the Providence Public Library where I worked as a reference librarian in the 1980s was an added treat. As a high school librarian, I chose to attend the Thursday sessions, which focused on school libraries. Shout out to all the presenters. I would have loved to attend all of them, but sadly, I had to choose!

    Book Talk Blitz

    Alyssa Taft and Sarah Hunicke managed to summarize 75 YA books in this session in an entertaining, engaging, and informative way. To say their knowledge and enthusiasm were impressive is an understatement. I left that session not only eager to order many of the books for my high school but also excited to share that presentation with the English faculty.

    Legislative Action Update

    This session was presented by Ed Garcia, Bill Lancellotta, Marianne Mirando, and Cheryl Space and facilitated by Beatrice Pulliam. The panelists provided an update on pending statewide legislative efforts concerning Rhode Island libraries, including fair pricing for eBooks, freedom to read, and the first attempt to mandate a school librarian in every public school in the state. This last effort is especially important to me, and I look forward to contributing to the cause. Marianne Mirando discussed her fight against a book challenge at her high school. Her courage and activism were truly inspiring.

    Keynote Speaker: Courtney Pentland

    Courtney is a high school librarian in Nebraska as well as the 2023-2024 AASL President. Courtney’s theme for her presentation was “Finding Joy in the Journey.” Essentially, her message was that while the work and the challenges school librarians face--and there are plenty--can be daunting, we should not allow those challenges to weigh so heavily on us that we forget how gratifying, rewarding, and awesome being a school librarian can be. She shared strategies and techniques that she finds successful in engaging her school community. One stood out to me: she has upwards of 125 students in the library during all of the school lunches--and she allows them to eat!!! A courageous endeavor.

    2025 RI Book Awards RICBA/RIMSBA/RILBA

    This session was presented by Nomi Hague, Cranston Public Library; Rebecca Lelli, Narragansett Public Library; Michaela Reed, Blackrock Elementary; and Marissa Salvas, William D'Abate Elementary, for RICBA; Elena Rios, Cranston Public Library, and Britt Donahue, West Warwick Public Library, for RIMSBA; and Maria Cotto, Pawtucket Library, and Betsy Montes, Providence Country Day, for RILBA. The speakers highlighted the 2025 RI Children's Book, Middle School Book, and the Latino Book Award nominees. So many books, so little time! A truly inspiring presentation of the titles being nominated for these awards.

    Library Tour

    A big thank you to the staff members who provided tours of PPL. It certainly is a beautiful building and a welcoming educational and community space. What a walk down memory lane for me. The library I knew and worked in during the 1980s has transformed into a space equipped to meet today’s patrons where they are while respecting the past. Thank you to PPL for hosting this year’s conference.

  • Saturday, June 08, 2024 11:17 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Submitted by Robin Nyzio, Adult Services Librarian, Cranston Public Library

    Navigating the Census Bureau’s Website to Find the Data You Need

    This was a great refresher to learn about how to better access Census Bureau information. David Kraiker from the U.S. Census Bureau also mentioned a site with their history: census.gov/history. He talked about the difference between the American Community Survey (ACS), which focuses on how people live, vs. the census, which focused on where people live. He also pointed out that the Census Bureau is a federal agency that contracts with other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Veteran Briefings: The VA Providence Healthcare System; Essential VA Websites and Veteran Suicide Prevention

    VA Chief Librarian Cheryl Banick spoke generally about the VA itself before bringing up Community Engagement & Partnership Coordinator Kim Ferrante, LICSW. Kim is interested in outreach events at public libraries. As we all know, suicide is a public health concern for everyone and especially so for active duty and veterans. Kim has outreach programs focused on Lethal Means Reduction where she has free gun locks, ammunition locked bags, and medication bags. To contact her: kimberly.ferrante@va.gov.

    Keynote speaker: Raul the Third

    Having worked in children’s and teen services previously, I was aware of his work. His first book, Lowriders from Space, was created in collaboration with Portland, OR librarian Cathy Camper who reached out to him after seeing his artwork in a zine he created! He wrote and illustrated his newest picture book called Vamos! Let’s Go Read as a tribute to public libraries, where he spent so much of childhood and where he got his start illustrating as well. Great talk.

    Libraries as a Trusted Election Resource 

    State Librarian Megan Hamlin-Black offered the Voter Information centers available to libraries. They provide a voter registration application, mail ballot application, signage, and more. She mentioned that a voter ID is available to those who are unhoused or their gender doesn’t match their state-issued ID. Those who don’t have an address can use the city or town hall as their address. She also talked about the Civics Education Division of the Secretary of State’s office. She supports lowering the voting age to 16 because it’s a way to create lifelong voters, which makes a lot of sense. 

    Building Information Literate Communities

    Heather Pouliot Kisilywicz, MLIS, is a professional archivist and genealogist who believes that learning more about genealogy resources can benefit all public librarians. She talked about the ramifications of DNA testing for families who may not want to know that they are no longer related, for example.

  • Thursday, June 06, 2024 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    The names have been drawn! Congratulations to our 2024 Spring Membership Drive raffle winners:

    Cassidy Santos - new RILA member
    Amy Golaski - new RILA member

    Dhana Whiteing - referring RILA member
    Mary Moen - referring RILA member

    Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to Books on the Square in Providence. Thank you to all who participated. We love having new members, so don't forget to encourage your colleagues to join RILA today.

    -The RILA Membership Committee

  • Tuesday, June 04, 2024 4:39 PM | Anonymous

    Providence, RI - The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) presented its yearly awards at its Annual Conference, which was held May 22 and 23 at the Providence Public Library. The theme for the conference was “Connecting Communities.”

    “We received many outstanding nominations this year and all of us are lucky to work with such incredible colleagues,” said RILA President Beatrice Pulliam.

    The 2024 RILA Award winners are:

    Library Champion Award: Marianne Mirando, Westerly High School Librarian, Westerly

    When critics challenged the titles on the shelves of her school library, Mirando did not cave to pressure, but sought out guidance and support from the ACLU and the RI Attorney General’s office so that she could confidently defend the titles in the library. After meeting with critics, Mirando was able to secure her right to keep the titles in question on the shelf, ensuring that her students would not be denied access to them.

    “While others remained silent, Marianne used her powerful voice to speak out against the critics and in defense of the titles under fire in a number of political forums. She was particularly vocal in her opposition to RI bill H6324, a bill that if signed into law would make it easier to ban books and make it possible to arrest librarians, teachers, and museum workers for including questioned books in their collections,” said Anthony Lementowicz, Dean of Teaching and Learning at Westerly High School.

    Outstanding Librarian Award: Julie Holden, Assistant Director, Cranston Public Library 

    Holden is a nationally and locally respected library leader with a strong commitment to delivering an exceptional customer service experience to library patrons. She has helped create several successful program initiatives at CPL such as “You Are Here” and “Healthy Families at the Cranston Public Library,” and is one of the reasons CPL is an award winning library and one of the busiest libraries in the state. Additionally,  Holden is a past president of the Rhode Island Library Association and is a leader in advocating for fair library ebook pricing and licensing legislation at the Rhode Island General Assembly.

    “At CPL Julie focuses on patron satisfaction and works tirelessly to make sure we are offering the public what they are looking for in our collections, programs and services. She's a hands-on manager who is involved in the day-to-day operations of all six library locations, at the same time as she maintains a big-picture perspective, leading her own creative initiatives and challenging norms at the local and state level” said Ed Garcia, Library Director, Cranston Public Library.

    Outstanding Library Paraprofessional Award: Kelly McKenna, Circulation Staff, Newport Public Library

    Throughout his time at the library McKenna has gone above and beyond to serve the residents of Newport. Whether bringing library materials to remote and isolated individuals on the bookmobile, building connections with patrons at the circulation desk, and remembering all of his coworkers' birthdays, McKenna maintains strong relationships with the Newport community.

    “Where some might see limits or challenges, Kelly sees opportunity.  He is always empathetic towards patrons who struggle with their obligations and responsibilities, yet remains steadfast in his duty to work within the policy guidelines, many of which are honed over the course of years.  Being able to balance efficiency with humanity is a hallmark of Kelly’s performance,” said Joseph Logue, Library Director, Newport Public Library.

    Trustee of the Year Award: Eugene Mihaly, Chair, Board of Trustees, Jamestown Philomenian Library

    Dr. Mihaly brings his varied experience in the educational and non-profit sector to his leadership role at the Jamestown Library, where he advocates for the library in the community and supports the needs of library staff. He provided a calm, steady, and supportive approach by leading the board, staff, and director through the often stressful times of the pandemic and a $5M library renovation and expansion project.

    “His advocacy for libraries and their unparalleled role in the public has enabled the staff of JPL to feel supported in their positions, knowing that Milhaly truly understands the various roles we serve. I am honored to consider Gene a part of our library team,” said Lisa Sheley, Library Director, Jamestown Philomenian Library.

    Outstanding Contributions to Library Profession Award: Dr. Valerie Karno, Director, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, University of Rhode Island

    Karno has been the Director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science for the last 10 years, beginning her tenure as interim director. Previously, Karno was a professor in the English Department at URI.

    Karno spent her first few years as Director learning about the GSLIS and its students and alumni network, as well as the library profession throughout Rhode Island, New England, and the nation. Through her leadership, GSLIS regained a strong position at URI and in the state and region, with increased enrollment, improved retention rates, and increased funding from both external and internal sources.

    As director of GSLIS, she has shepherded the school through the pandemic and its American Library Association accreditation process, while transforming the school into an online, accelerated program that is the fastest growing graduate program at URI. Karno also substantially increased the percentage of diverse students enrolled in the program, partially through scholarships and fellowships.

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2024 4:10 PM | Anonymous

    To better serve all levels of library workers, NELLS is currently working with a three tiered approach. For 2024, the NELLS program will be for Tier 1 - NELLS: Emerging Leaders. This program is designed to be an introduction to library leadership. It is most appropriate for early to mid-career library workers who have demonstrated potential to become leaders in the field, or who aspire to hold leadership positions. A Master’s degree in Library Science is not required in order to participate.

    This program will be facilitated by Jami Yazdani, MLIS, of Yazdani Consulting and Facilitation. Jami has more than fifteen years of experience in libraries in progressively responsible positions, including more than twelve years in leadership roles. She has delivered training to a wide range of professionals, from bankers to dermatologists to librarians.

    Applications due June 1st. Cohort will meet in person from August 5th - 7th at Southern New Hampshire State University, and will hold weekly virtual sessions on Thursday mornings from 10am - 11:30am from August 15th through October 3rd.

    Apply here: https://www.nelib.org/nells-leadership

  • Monday, May 06, 2024 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    Registration is now open for the inaugural Generative AI in Libraries (GAIL) Conference.

    This year's theme is Prompt or Perish: Navigating Generative AI in Libraries. GAIL is a free virtual conference aimed specifically at librarians that seeks to explore the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in libraries. It is also an opportunity for librarians to share their experiences with generative AI technologies and their applications in the library setting.

    Scheduled to take place June 11, 12, and 13, 2024, from 1:00-4:00 pm EDT each day, GAIL aims to promote a deeper understanding of how generative AI can revolutionize library services like instruction, research support, collection management, access services, outreach and collaboration, while also addressing the challenges and ethical considerations this new technology brings to libraries. View more details and register on the conference website here: shsulibraryguides.org/genailibraries/registration.

    Gail Virtual Conference: Generative AI in Libraries on June 11 to 13, 2024.

  • Monday, May 06, 2024 2:19 PM | Anonymous

    Rhode Island Genealogical Society

    A full-day, free genealogy conference on May 18th will be hosted by the Rhode Island Genealogical Society. Three recognized genealogy speakers, Drew Bartley, Michael Leclerc, CG, and Jenifer Kahn Bakkala, will present on this year's theme, "Writing and Publishing Family History." Attendees of all levels of experience will delight in the opportunity to spend the day with other genealogists, amateur and professionals.

    Registration is highly recommended.


  • Friday, April 12, 2024 8:32 PM | Anonymous

    RILA's Library Advocacy Day press event was featured in the Rhode Island Current.

  • Monday, April 08, 2024 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    Win raffle prizes! RILA members, get someone new to sign up for RILA, and both of you will be entered into our Spring Membership Drive raffle for prizes! Simply have your new member fill out the "I was referred by" section of the online membership form, and you will be entered. One entry for each new member who signs up. Referring person must be a current RILA member. The Membership Drive will take place up until the first day of the RILA Annual Conference on May 22, 2024.2024 Spring Membership Drive

  • Monday, April 08, 2024 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    (Providence, RI) The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) has worked with local lawmakers this legislative session to introduce bills in the House and Senate regarding the fair licensing of library ebooks in the state of Rhode Island. 

    For many years, the publishing industry has been decimating public library budgets in Rhode Island and across the nation with high ebook prices and licenses that disappear over time. 

    “Most major publishers are currently charging libraries up to nine times or more the cost of ebooks and audiobooks than they are charging consumers," said Lisa Sallee, Assistant 

    Director of Ocean State Libraries. “The licensing terms of these ebooks mean they often expire after 12 or 24 months, or a certain arbitrary number of checkouts, which then requires our libraries to repurchase ebooks and audiobooks over and over again, often at the same high prices each time. It’s unsustainable.”  

    “House bill 7508 and Senate bill 2514 attempt to use state contract law and consumer protection law to put us on a fair playing field in the marketplace,” said Julie Holden, Membership Chair of RILA. “We stand with our neighbors in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, who have introduced similar ebook bills this year, as have the states of Illinois, Tennessee, and Iowa.”

    “Most libraries have little, if any, bargaining power and are rarely able to change the terms of the contracts offered to them by publishers. As a result, many libraries face financial and practical challenges in making ebooks available to their patrons,” said Kyle K. Courtney, an attorney and librarian working as Director of Copyright and Information Policy for Harvard University. 

    Over the past year, representatives from RILA have met with representatives from the Association of American Publishers, offering ideas and suggestions that would benefit both libraries and authors, but to date, nothing substantive has come from those conversations.  

    “We know how much Rhode Islanders use and love their public libraries, so this creates a big problem for us; we have limited budgets and we cannot purchase enough licenses to meet the demand of our library users. People rely on the library to provide reading material that they do not have the disposable income to obtain themselves,” said RILA President Beatrice Pulliam. 

    “Repurchasing library ebooks requires constant monitoring and analysis of the best way to meet patron demand with increasingly expensive short-term licenses. This leads to an additional cost - the cost of staff labor to review expired licenses weekly - diverting time and energy from other important services to library patrons,” said Stephen Spohn, Executive Director of Ocean State Libraries.

    Limiting access to library ebooks disproportionately affects those with disabilities. Ebooks and digital audiobooks help Rhode Island citizens who have visual, motor, or learning impairments to enjoy books they could not otherwise. According to the CDC, up to 1 in 4 Americans have a physical or cognitive disability.      

    RILA thanks Representative Lauren Carson (Newport) and Senator Victoria Gu (Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) for being strong advocates and for their efforts bringing attention to this long-standing issue. 

    The Rhode Island Library Association urges the General Assembly to pass the ebook bills this session.

    The Rhode Island Library Association is a professional organization that serves its members through career development, education, networking partnerships and legislative action and seeks to inspire and promote excellence in library services, through training, innovation, and advocacy. RILA also supports libraries and library workers to meet the diverse needs of the populations they serve. More information is available at rilibraries.org 

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