• Tuesday, January 01, 2019 11:39 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Cornucopia of Rhode Island: A Library Community of Color (CORI), begins 2019 as a section of the Rhode Island Library Association. A grass root organization CORI was founded in the fall of 2005 with a mission and goal to serve the library community of color and an objective to promote library services to people of color within Rhode Island and the development of librarians and library staff of color.

    CORI meetings has provided a forum that encourages the exchange of ideas and the discussion of issues, problems and concerns of librarians and library staff of color.  Members are mentoring librarians and library staff of color and encouraging librarianship as a profession to people of color as well as promoting the development and delivery of multi-cultural collections, services and programs.

    Cornucopia aimed to present community conferences on the diverse minority groups in Rhode Island. The first conference held in 2005 was entitled “I is not for Indian” and was a total success as it enlightened the many librarians of the inadequate portrayal of Native Americans in children’s books and literature. This conference was followed by a workshop on the Chinese language and culture; a combined effort with the University of Rhode Island Confucius Institute. In following years CORI’s Fall Conferences as they became known, included the Cape Verdean Community, the Rhode Island Hispanic Community, and the African American Community. A community conversation on Rhode Island students included the president of the American Library Association, Barbara Stripling and United States Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. Senator Reed, a prominent advocate for libraries and librarians has supported CORI throughout its incorporation.

    CORI has also presented at the annual RILA Conference. The very first presentation was Dr. Carla Hayden, past president of ALA, former director of the Enoch Pratt Library and now Librarian of Congress. Other presenters have included former Commissioner Deborah A. Gist, Rhode Island Department of Education, Pamela Goode, an associate editor of American Libraries Association, Keith Stokes, former Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Attorney Veronica Hobbs, Director of the Domestic Violence Training & Monitoring Unit for the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

    CORI is very excited about the next phase of the organization as a section of RILA.  The potential benefits for CORI uniting with RILA are many. An excellent example is the organizations would increase the effective advocacy for library services in all Rhode Island libraries and to improve the quality of life of all Rhode Islanders. Why not join us as we continue to better our state.

    For additional information on CORI, visit our blogIf you are interested in adding your voice in support, please consider joining us. To join CORI (or renew your membership), please visit the membership page.

    First you must join RILA at the membership level that best fits your employment status. If you are a practicing librarian, please select the salary level that best matches your income. Students, retirees, trustees and supporters can join at the $15 level. During the membership process, you will be able to join the CORI Section.

    Submitted by Ida D. McGhee, MLIS

  • Friday, December 21, 2018 4:16 PM | Anonymous

    Today marked a historic day for RILA as we signed Deeds of Gift with both the Coalition of Library Advocates and Cornucopia of Rhode Island as Sections of RILA, bringing together our three rich organizations!

  • Friday, December 14, 2018 5:27 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) joins with other state library associations and national organizations to urge Congress to invest in the nation’s education and economy by increasing the LSTA Grants to States program to $325 million per year, or one dollar for every American, to support library services in Rhode Island and across the nation.

    LSTA funding in Rhode Island supports statewide services such as the Children’s Summer Reading Program, the Talking Books Library for the visually impaired, digital literacy training, and local library services across the state as coordinated by the State of Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS).

    “LSTA is of vital importance to Rhode Island,” says Kieran Ayton. “This funding will serve a diverse people through these library programs and is crucial to continuing to provide these resources to residents in the state.”

    Funding for the Grants to States program through the Institute of Museum and Library Services currently allocates $164 million to support state-based library services, approximately 49 cents per resident or about .00004 percent of the total federal budget.

    See full resolution here.

  • Thursday, December 06, 2018 10:12 AM | Anonymous

    The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) welcomes the RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) and Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI) into our organization as RILA Sections.

    “This connection creates a larger advocacy voice for the Rhode Island Library Community”, says Kieran Ayton, President of RILA. “This will allow us to build opportunities around the state with combined networking activities, programming and professional development.”

    The RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) works to improve library services through advocacy, education, and public awareness. For over 30 years COLA has supported Rhode Island Libraries through petitions, Congressional testimony, and strategic communications with RI legislators.

    Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI) serves the library community of color. CORI mentors librarians and library staff of color, promotes the development of multicultural services and programs, and professional and educational activities.

    Members of all three organizations can now join or renew their Section memberships on the RILA website.
  • Monday, November 05, 2018 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    RILA Logo

    Contact: RILA Communications Committee

    Rhode Island Library Association


    The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) supports the American Library Association (ALA) and the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) in their response to the Trump Administration’s proposals to “narrow the definition of ‘sex’ under Title IX and exclude Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender citizens from the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act”.


    We are deeply concerned about the Administration’s proposals as they are in direct conflict with RILA’s values and commitments, and we affirm the following assertions as put forth by the ALA:


    • “Libraries strive to serve as institutions that mirror all facets of our society. Our goals are to empower our members to serve all communities regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or class, with tools that foster education and lifelong learning.”

    • “The proposed regulatory and policy changes are in direct conflict with ALA’s fundamental values, principles, and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

    • “Our goals are to empower our members to serve all communities regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or class, with tools that foster education and lifelong learning.”

    • “We oppose government measures that marginalize populations and deny individuals' civil rights and the full protection of the law. We will not support government actions that will harm ALA members and the 1.4 million Americans who identify with a gender other than their birth sex.”

    • “We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ members, colleagues, families, friends, community members, and students, and we fully support efforts to fight for acceptance, and understanding of all members of society.”


    To view the full ALA statement, go here: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2018/11/ala-glbtrt-continue-voice-support-lgbtq-civil-liberties

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:26 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    In the fall of 2017 I attended the Futures Conference in Atlantic City where I saw a presentation by Oculus VR, LLC. The company donated Oculus Rift VR systems to 90 libraries in the state and basically said, “Have fun!” And they did!! Just google “Oculus Rift in California libraries” and you’ll find all kinds of press.

    In their presentation, Oculus noted how VR is currently being used. I was moved by the research being done with full immersion virtual reality; empathy building in particular. So, I looked at my conference mates and said, “OK, Let’s do this!!” But, VR is expensive, and this was 6 months before every library journal published an article about having VR in the library. My conference mates were excited, but also not convinced to spend the money.

    When the Studio Rhode Next Generation Library Challenge, phase 2 came along, I decided this was my chance. I wrote the grant with the idea that Warwick Library would have a permanent VR set up, as well as a traveling VR system that we could loan out to libraries in Rhode Island. I firmly believe that as a small state we should be sharing big ticket items that may not be used regularly. (Aren’t we the ultimate sharers?)

    I received the grant and now we have a traveling HTC Vive VR system, an Asus ROG STRIX Gaming Laptop loaded with over 65 VR experiences and games, and all you need to set up a room scale virtual reality experience. Give me a call, I’ll bring it to you. If you need training, we can plan a session where I hang out and teach your staff how to set it up and use it. Then you can hold your own programs, without the cost of purchasing a whole system. Thanks to Studio Rhode and OLIS!!

    Here are some of the programs we have done so far:

    • Minecraft creation camp – teens built a replica of the library in Minecraft and were able to explore it in VR. This was intense and I had a lot of help with it. The teens knew what they were doing, but I knew nothing about Minecraft.
    • Book group attendees have watched experiences that relate to the books they were reading. An example is they were reading about immigration and refugees and they watched Forced to Flee, a live film made in the Rohingya Refugee camp.
    • We have done several demonstrations in the lobby, to peak interest and get the word out that we have VR.
    • Teen Gaming time
    • 30 minute appointments for the public to sign up to use VR
    By Jana L. Stevenson 

    Deputy Director, Warwick Public Library


  • Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:14 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    As part of my coursework for my MLIS, I completed two professional field experience (PFE) internships at the James P. Adams Library, Rhode Island College.  During my first PFE (Fall 2017), I learned about different aspects of digitization by working with Kieran Ayton and Andy Davis on several ongoing projects in the Digital Initiatives Department.  During my second PFE (Spring 2018), I got to apply the skills I learned in my first PFE by working on a new project with Marlene Lopes in Special Collections, in collaboration with Andy Davis in Digital Initiatives.  RIC student workers J Bruscini, Catherine Butler, and Natasha Soto also worked on this project. 

    Special Collections at RIC holds the Nathaniel Terry Bacon collection, which includes the personal and business papers of Nathaniel Terry Bacon, as well as the personal papers of other members of the socially prominent Bacon and Hazard families.  For our project, my PFE supervisors selected the papers of Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892) of Peace Dale.  Hazard’s papers reflect his personal passions, which included architecture, travel, and Spiritualism.  In Special Collections, you can find Hazard’s correspondence regarding his construction projects; tickets, hotel bills, calling cards and letters of introduction from his extensive travels abroad; and personal letters, notes, and a journal regarding Hazard’s interest in Spiritualism.

    For this project, we decided to digitize Hazard’s journal and other documents related to Spiritualism.  We started with Hazard’s journal, in which Hazard recorded instances of his pocket watch “ringing.”  Hazard believed this “ringing” to be a form of communication from his “Spirit Friends.”  We first digitized this journal using a copy stand with a digital SLR camera.  We also used a pane of glass, which was ordered specifically for this project, to keep the journal pages flat during the photography process.  

    After the journal was photographed, we cropped the images in Photoshop and created a PDF of the journal.  We then transcribed the journal, adding notes to explain historical oddities in the text (for example, Hazard’s watch began “ringing” during a visit to “Beyrouth [Beirut] in Syria”; Beirut is now in Lebanon, but during the time of Hazard’s visit in 1878, Beirut was part of Ottoman Syria).  J Bruscini used Adobe InDesign to create an e-book which presents the original journal pages alongside their transcription.

    Once the journal was transcribed, we reviewed the rest of Hazard’s papers to select additional documents related to Spiritualism for digitization, including leaflets, newspaper clippings, letters, and personal memoranda.  Once digitized, these additional documents were then uploaded and assigned metadata in RIC’s Digital Commons. We curated these documents in an Omeka exhibit which presents Hazard’s papers in the broader context of 19th century Spiritualism.  Finally, we presented our work to the public during programs held at the Greenville Public Library and the Peace Dale Public Library.

    In addition to making Hazard’s papers more accessible to researchers, we hope that this project will spark some public interest in the local history collections held by Special Collections and the digitization work done by Digital Initiatives.

    By Patricia McIvor

  • Thursday, July 26, 2018 2:59 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Lunches are served at the East Smithfield Library

    As the children’s librarian at the East Smithfield Public Library, I periodically attend monthly Children’s Service Round Table meetings. Attended by Rhode Island children’s librarians, these meetings are held at different library locations and each agenda focuses on a variety of topics of concern and interest. The meetings are run by Danielle Margarida, the Youth Services Coordinator, at OLIS. At one of the meetings about the Summer Reading Program, Azade Perin, Child Nutrition Program Outreach Coordinator from the Rhode Island Department of Education, gave a presentation about Summer Meals. She wanted to let librarians know that summer meals can be served at public libraries. Her enthusiasm about making sure children can access food throughout the summer was infectious.

    Summer meals are funded by the USDA and certain requirements need to be met, in order for a library to qualify as a site to serve meals. According to the USDA website (2017), “a site is the physical location, approved by the State agency, where you serve SFSP (Summer Food Service Program)”. Libraries are considered open sites, which are sites “that operate in low-income areas where at least 50 percent of children residing in the area are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, based on local school or census data” (USDA, 2017). Since libraries are considered open sites, they are seen as ideal places for serving summer meals. One of the main perks of being an open site is that any child may receive a meal without a parent/caregiver filling out any paperwork. All meals are served to children and teens under the age of eighteen and must be eaten on-site (USDA, 2017).

    After that meeting with Ms. Perin, I received an email letting me know that East Smithfield Public Library would qualify as an open site. After two meetings and a few emails, everything was finalized. We were able to use our programming room to serve the meals. We decided on a schedule of Mondays through Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, beginning on July 9th and ending on August 16th.

    The room where Summer Lunches are served at the East Smithfield Library

    The role the library plays in this is simple. We set up the room, and the meal provider (usually associated with the food service program at the local public school department) comes and serves the meals. I used some ideas from articles on summer meal programs held at other libraries.  I put tablecloths on the tables and provided small activities for the children such as books, coloring sheets and Legos. I also scheduled programming to take place before and after the lunch program.

    Since the program has started, twelve meals have been served, on average, each day. It seems like a small amount, but I believe that there has been a positive impact in the community. There are patrons attending the lunch program who are new to the library. They are attending story times and using the children’s area. There are teens who are walking to the library to have lunch and to use the computers. And, there are children who typically come to the library, enjoying lunch as well. Overall, this has been a positive experience for our library, and I hope that we can do it again next summer.

    See coverage of the program in the Local News

    Carol Derosier, Children’s Librarian

    East Smithfield Public Library

  • Monday, May 14, 2018 4:03 PM | Deleted user

    Storytime has always been a cherished memory and early exposure for families who engage with libraries. Sometimes though, families who have children who are distracted easily or have different needs do not feel comfortable attending. Sensory Storytime fills that gap and provides a service for community members.

    Barbara Wells, Head of the Children's Department at the Greenville Public Library and Maria Cotto, Bilingual Children's Librarian Pawtucket Public Library presenting at a Children's Meeting in September 2017“I’ve been on a mission to promote sensory storytime,” said Maria Cotto from the Pawtucket Public Library. “I learned about it first at an OLIS continuing education program where I saw a Librarian from the Brooklyn Public Library explain how to implement a sensory story time.

    Sensory Storytime is an interactive, educational storytime for children preschool age to 8 years old with autism and/or sensory challenges, but all children are welcome. It involves books, picture schedule, songs, movement, felt board and therapeutic play that incorporate the five senses.

    Maria started the program at her library after learning about it five years ago.

    With her personal experience of raising a child with autism, she saw knew that she wanted to offer this at her library. Once she started creating it, she found that other librarians wanted to join in.

    Barbara Wells, from the Greenville Public Library is part of the Support Group. She has been hosting Sensory Storytime for about a year and a half.

    “I started with one program,” said Wells. “It took some time to learn about it and get it initially started, gathering the materials and planning the stories. But once it got started, we got a good response.”

    Wells has also engaged with community partners and promoting the Sensory Storytime with The Autism Project and the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment.

    “Engaging with our community partners has been great,” said Wells. “They are putting the word out and bringing the people to our library.”

    That’s the biggest reward that they’ve both found- the community's positive response.

    “We are able to connect families to the library,” says Cotto. “We let them know that they don’t have to be alone and that they are part of the community. Parents may feel that their children are too disruptive for the library, but we want to make the library a welcoming place for them.”

    Wells agrees.

    “As families continue to attend the sensory story time children begin to feel welcome and make friends,” she said. “The best part is seeing these families visiting the library besides attending the story time. They feel comfortable and a part of the library community, while connecting with other families. I’ve met some families who didn't’ go out because they didn’t know where to bring their child and now they know that the library is a place they can be a part of.”1st Sensory Story Time Support Group at the Pawtucket Public Library

    The Sensory Support Group connects the libraries in RI who are offering this service. Currently, about five libraries are involved.

    “We had our first meeting there was so much excitement,” said Cotto. “We were sharing our experiences and getting ideas of what we can do next.”

    Anyone is welcome to learn more about Sensory Storytime. Check out the Rhode Island Facebook Group or email risensorystorytime@gmail.com

  • Monday, May 14, 2018 12:48 PM | Deleted user

    Weaver Library Farmers' Market CollageWhat do you do when you have a successful outdoor library program every summer? If you are the East Providence Public Library, you find a way to use your beautiful outdoor space in a new and exciting way. You apply for a grant and even when you don’t get it, you are not dismayed.  Your passion for the project - a Farmers’ Market - drives you forward.  Naturally, this project will meet the library’s programming goal of building and strengthening community. At best, the project will be embraced by patrons and residents, city officials, and library staff, and it will be sustainable for years to come.  At worst, it will be a 12-week learning experience, full of fun, challenges, hard work, and a fresh, new network of farmers, producers, businessmen, musicians, artists,  educators, journalists, photographers, farmers’ market supporters and customers who learn about the library and its vital role in the community.

    We are pleased to announce that the Weaver Library Farmers’ Market will open for its fifth year on June 21, 2018. For the next twelve weeks, hundreds of people will arrive on the Weaver lawn to purchase fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, eggs, balsamic vinegar, baked goods, granola, plants, flowers, honey, and other goods from local farms and small businesses.  Each Thursday, customers of all ages will shop to live music and, on many market days, enjoy special children’s programming such as concerts, arts and crafts, pop-up-play, ice cream socials, and special guests such as Max Man, RI’s recycling hero.  It makes for a lively afternoon in the neighborhood and the library is at the center of it.

    When we opened the market in 2013, some asked why a library would consider a roleWeaver Library Farmers' Market Collage in the local food system. Our response was simple. Why wouldn’t a library want to use one of its beautiful, natural resources to provide the community with fresh, wholesome food, and support farmers and small businesses in the process?  Why wouldn’t a library want to reconnect its community with the food they eat and, especially, the people who grow it? It is our belief that Farmers Markets, like libraries, are about the people. Both engage folks in learning, interacting, and enjoying new experiences. Both create relationships as do libraries. Finally, Farmers’ Markets may be seasonal, but they speak to the future of our communities and the state as do libraries!

    We are librarians and stories still mean everything to us. When customers and vendors tell us that they love the community spirit present at the market or millennials praise the market’s “vibe”, we beam. One young couple, who often travel out of state for work, said that the library and the Farmers’ Market gave them a needed sense of home. Another woman related how proud she was that her hometown finally had a Farmers’ Market. It gave her one more reason to come to the library.

    While there are many social benefits to a library Farmers’ Market, being able to offer SNAP/EBT, Bonus Bucks, WIC, and Senior Coupons, has allowed us to serve all members of our community. The library could not have done this on its own however. Grant funds from the fabulous Farm Fresh RI have made this possible. 

    Joyce May

    Assistant Library Director, East Providence Public Library

    Weaver Library Farmers Market Facebook Page

"Rhode Island Library Association" is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Rhode Island Library Association, P.O. Box 6765, Providence, RI 02940

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