• Saturday, February 05, 2022 11:54 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Welcome to the RILA Bulletin Spotlight Series, where we feature the important work of a different RILA or RI library section, committee, roundtable, initiative, or organization in each issue.

    Questions or suggestions for this column? Please send an email to communications@rilibraries.org.

    February 2022 Spotlight: RILA Financial Literacy Roundtable

    In honor of 2022’s Money Smart Week (April 9-16), we asked RILA Financial Literacy Roundtable (FLRT) Chair Jen Linton to take the spotlight for this issue. Jen is a Reference Librarian at Warwick Public Library.

    What is the mission or purpose of the RILA Financial Literacy Roundtable (FLRT)?

    To support and promote financial literacy programs at libraries across the state

    What made you personally interested in being involved with this program?

    I'm a longtime fan of personal finance books. I still have my dog-eared copy of Suze Orman's The Road to Wealth, which was the first book that talked about money in a way that made sense to me. When the opportunity to join FLRT arose, it was an easy decision. It's been great to connect with librarians around the state. My hope is to collaborate and find new ways to spread information to patrons and empower them to make informed choices about their finances.

    What is the FLRT’s proudest achievement?

    FLRT members recorded a Rhody Radio show that featured our favorite Financial Literacy books. The process was more fun than I expected, and I added books to my own reading list.

    What ongoing challenges does this program face?

    Finances are awkward to talk about. Personally, I've noticed that patrons tend to check out financial books but don't attend programs. I would love to find ways to bridge that gap, or at least find more passive programming opportunities.

    If money and time were not an issue, what is the FLRT’s number one wishlist item to support its mission or purpose?

    Oh, wow! I've been keeping an eye on the new RI financial literacy standards for students. I love the idea, and my dream would be for all ages to have access to content that will help them gain confidence with their money. Consistent, quality programming for all! (A librarian can dream.)

    What partnerships with other groups or individuals (inside or outside of RILA) have been most beneficial for the FLRT to meet its goals or objectives?

    Money Smart Week (created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago) is a free annual event that can be promoted by all libraries. A variety of programs are offered for all ages, and marketing materials are available to download. It's a quick and easy way to offer financial education to patrons. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also a huge asset when it comes to free materials to give to patrons. Publications can be ordered online covering a number of topics.

    Is the FLRT looking for new members, and how can those interested get involved?

    Absolutely! If you're interested in all things financial literacy, send an email to flrt@rilibraries.org.

    What book are you reading now that you’d like to promote?

    Currently reading a NetGalley copy of Hello, Molly! by Molly Shannon, which has been a surprise. I was expecting an upbeat, behind-the-scenes look at SNL, but so far it has been a candid and heartbreaking look at her upbringing. Hard to put down!


  • Saturday, February 05, 2022 11:09 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    written by Alicia Vaandering, Assistant Professor and Student Success Librarian at University of Rhode Island

    Library orientations and other introductions to library services feeling stale? Breakout boxes can help gamify traditional library orientations and provide engaging and effective introductions to collections and services for new library users. Similar to escape rooms, breakout boxes require participants to work as a group to solve a series of clues in order to win the game. In September 2021, the URI Libraries piloted a new breakout box game, A Rhody the Ram Breakout Adventure, for incoming first-year, transfer, and international students.

    Beginning in Spring 2020, librarians at the URI Libraries began to prepare for the upcoming fall orientation week (O-Week) scheduled for early September at the University of Rhode Island. Our goal was to create an engaging game that would require student participants to collaborate together to use library resources and identify important library services. As Student Success Librarian, I spearheaded this effort and utilized breakout boxes purchased from breakout.edu to design a new game: A Rhody the Ram Breakout Adventure. In this game, participants were given a scenario in which Rhody the Ram, the URI mascot, was lost in the library and needed help answering a series of clues to help him find his way out of the URI Libraries. To solve the clues, participants had to navigate the library website, use the library catalog to find books, and identify library services and collections in order to open a series of locks and win the game.

    Library orientation is optional at the University of Rhode Island, and over 50 students chose to attend one of the eight sessions of A Rhody the Ram Breakout Adventure from the wide range of orientation activities offered as part of O-Week. While many students signed up individually, hoping to learn more about the library and meet other new students; a small number signed up with partners or as a small group. Many students celebrated their win by enjoying the candy from their unlocked boxes, taking pictures with provided photo props, asking follow-up questions about the library, and exchanging contact information with the new friends they met while playing the game.


    While A Rhody the Ram Breakout Adventure was designed as a library orientation for college students, the use of breakout boxes offers promising potential for library orientations and programming to other library users in and outside of the classroom. Clues can easily be changed and scaled to meet the needs of diverse users who have varying levels of knowledge about library collections and services. The game encourages participants to work through their clues as a group, which allows the supervising librarian to run multiple games simultaneously. Finally, by piggybacking on the success and popularity of escape rooms, breakout boxes provide a unique balance in which participants learn more about the library without feeling like they are attending an instruction session.


  • Saturday, February 05, 2022 10:22 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The Cranston Public Library (CPL) has recently received a $29,500 grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Region 7. With this grant, CPL has launched the "Healthy Families" Initiative, which aims to connect residents with factual and timely health information, with a specific focus on households where more than one language is spoken.


    Through programming and services, Healthy Families aims to engage with members of the community around current health topics and help library patrons of all ages find up-to-date, accurate information regarding healthy living as well as disease management and prevention. The initiative will empower families through carefully curated materials and increase access to dependable library and local community resources.

    “Our goal is to encourage library patrons to recognize the library as a confidential place for free health information in English and other languages,” said Carla Jaggi, project coordinator for the grant. “We currently have a Healthy Families Kiosk at the Central Library with printed material on multiple topics in both English and Spanish, and plan to add a touch-screen, interactive element in the near future.”

    “The Cranston Public Library staff has been specially trained to direct patrons to multilingual, multicultural health resources,” said Julie Holden, Assistant Library Director. “Our partnerships with the OneCranston Health Equity Zone (HEZ) and the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center ensure that we are bringing the best information to the community.”

    “In addition to library resources, we will be presenting several in-person and virtual programs on a wide range of health topics from area experts,” said Zachary Berger, Adult Services Librarian. “This is a continuation of health-related programming that we began during the height of the pandemic, and we are excited to use this grant funding to continue our efforts.”

    This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, Worcester.

  • Thursday, January 27, 2022 3:40 PM | Anonymous

    Each election year, RILA members may self-nominate for open positions on the RILA Executive Board. This year, we have 3 open board seats:

    The 2022 Nominating Committee, chaired by the immediate past president, has put forth a slate of candidates to fill these roles; however, any RILA member in good standing can also self-nominate in accordance with the RILA by-laws, which state:

    Those members interested in nominating themselves for any positions on the Executive Board, should complete a Right of Petition at least 90 days before the annual business meeting.The petition must have 20 signatures of members of the Association supporting the person for the nomination. This would allow the name to be included in the Nominating Committee’s presentation of names to the Executive Board.

    If you wish to self-nominate, please complete the RILA Executive Board Self-Nomination Form by February 24, 2022. Questions? Please email Julie Holden, Chair of the Nominating Committee, at julieholden@cranstonlibrary.org.

  • Saturday, January 22, 2022 10:22 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    We are ALL Readers is an innovative opportunity for children of the West Bay/South County region and their families to mingle with authors of acclaimed literature, engage in story walks and creative programs about literature, hear and read stories together, make their own books, and more. This week-long celebration of diverse children’s literature is a collaborative project of librarians, authors, and educators from the West Bay region and across Rhode Island, also including authors from nearby states.

    All children deserve the opportunity to see themselves reflected in literature. All children also deserve the opportunity to travel into different life experiences, times, and cultures through the pages of a book. The goal of We are ALL Readers is to create an event that celebrates windows and mirrors in children’s books, spurs the imagination of young readers, and gives children the opportunity to engage with great literature and build authentic connections with authors. 

    Reading is critical to kids’ academic growth, but it is also important for social and emotional development. Researchers have found that reading fiction actually increases the reader’s capacity to understand what other people are thinking and feeling. Reading books written from a diversity of lived experiences helps kids build empathy and communication skills for the 21st century. In this recent period of COVID-19, when so many children have lived in isolation from their peers and their teachers, the social-emotional development has been particularly and dramatically affected.

    This extensive group of collaborators has come together to plan a week-long celebration of diverse children’s literature across the West Bay for the first week of April. During the week we will have smaller events, culminating in a celebratory book festival on April 9, 2022. 

    In partnership with local public and school libraries and other community organizations, they are planning to host:

    • Storywalks in East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Kingston, West Warwick, and Exeter featuring a diversity of picture book stories with outdoor installations of picture book pages along a walking path, so that children, families, and caregivers can explore the book and the outdoors together.

    • Free virtual author visits for local elementary schools on April 8th. Authors will provide 20-minute zoom storytimes and Q&A with students at local schools. 

    • Bookmaking and comics workshops for kids and poetry writing workshops for teens, hosted by local teaching artists. 

    • A book festival on April 9th, featuring a diverse lineup of award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators who will speak and read from their work, interact with children, and sign books. 

    • A free book for each child attending and bringing a stamped event passport to the event on April 9th. Children will be able to collect stamps at all of the planned events and storywalks.

    The planners are currently seeking volunteers and authors/illustrators willing to donate their time. To volunteer, please contact Jeanette Bradley at jeanette@jeanettebradley.com.


  • Wednesday, January 19, 2022 5:49 PM | Anonymous

    The Rhode Island House of Representatives honored Patricia Redfearn on her retirement after 18 years as director of the George Hail Free Library in Warren, RI. Read the full House Resolution H 7039 online.

    You can read more about Patricia's career at George Hail via EastBayRI at this URL:

    https://www.eastbayri.com/stories/redfearn-retires-after-18-years-at-george-hail-library,95328

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    RILA 2022 Annual Conference. The theme is "restore, reconnect, reflect." Conference is May 25-26, 2022, at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI.Save the Date! The Rhode Island Library Association 2022 Annual Conference will be held on May 25 - 26, 2022, at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. The youth & school library track will be on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

    The conference theme is Restore Reconnect Reflect. The Conference Committee hopes that we will be able to get together in person for a restorative event that allows us to reconnect with each other and with the fundamentals of the library profession while reflecting on library services during trying times. The Conference Committee is monitoring the situation with the pandemic and will be prepared to move to a virtual conference should the necessity arise.

    The Call for Proposals is now open and accepting your submissions. The committee strives to create a vibrant conference that will leave attendees invigorated and inspired. As part of this year's theme Restore Reconnect Reflect, we are looking for proposals that address core library services and highlight our fundamental library values including information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, building community, and equity, diversity and inclusion. Your proposal does not need to fit the theme to be considered for inclusion in the conference.

    Please submit your proposals by Sunday, February 6, 2022, at the 2022 RILA Annual Conference Call for Proposals form. You will also find a link for a Google Doc with all required questions to help you more easily work on proposals before submission. We look forward to reading your proposals!

    For any questions, please contact the conference committee at conference@rilibraries.org.

  • Monday, November 29, 2021 1:52 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Welcome to the RILA Bulletin Spotlight Series, where we feature the important work of a different RILA or RI library section, committee, roundtable, initiative, or organization in each issue.

    Questions or suggestions for this column? Please send an email to communications@rilibraries.org.

    December 2021 Spotlight: The RILA Mentorship Program

    This month, we talked to RILA Mentorship Program Co-Chairs Kieran Ayton and Dorothy Swain. Kieran is the Emerging Technologies Librarian at RI College. Dorothy is the Director at the Greenville Public Library.

    With thanks to Aaron Coutu, Assistant Director/Technology Coordinator
    at the 
    Cumberland Public Library, for making the RILA Mentorship logo.

    What is the mission or purpose of the RILA Mentorship Program?

    The goal of the RILA Mentorship Program is to provide encouragement, support, and guidance to early and mid-career library staff to promote their professional development and growth.

    What made you personally interested in being involved with this program?

    Kieran was RILA President and the formation of a mentorship program was a goal that was identified by the strategic planning consultants with whom the RILA Executive Board worked. Dorothy was identified as a contact due to her leadership work in NELLS (New England Library Leadership Symposium).

    When was this program formed, and what was the catalyst for forming it?

    Dorothy and Kieran started the RILA Mentorship Program in 2019, based on the RILA 5-year strategic plan that was launched in 2018.

    What is the Mentorship Program’s proudest achievement?

    This program was developed at the request of RILA members as a benefit to the library community. We are proud to have been able to organize this program from the ground up by partnering mentors and mentees from all library types with similar interests and professional goals.

    What ongoing challenges does this program face?

    The RILA Mentorship Program was originally intended as a face-to-face program. We had to change the program format due to COVID-19 and rely on virtual meetings and trainings.  

    If money and time were not an issue, what is the Mentorship Program’s number one wish list item to support its mission or purpose?

    This is a free program available to all RILA members with low overhead costs. The major challenge has been for program participants to meet in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions. Another challenge has been to recruit new mentors and mentees to participate.

    What partnerships with other groups or individuals (inside or outside of RILA) have been most beneficial for the Mentorship Program to meet its goals or objectives?

    MentorRI provided an initial training and framework for the RILA Mentorship Program to use for its launch. Currently, we are working with Valerie Karno (Director of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies) and Mary MacDonald (URI Library liaison to GSLIS) to form a partnership to pull in library school students as RILA mentees.

    Is the Mentorship Program looking for new members, and how can those interested get involved?

    Yes! The program is currently accepting applications for both mentors and mentees to apply for the 2022 calendar year cycle. You must be a current RILA member to join. Applications are available here: https://rilibraries.org/mentorship 

    What book are you reading now that you’d like to promote?

    Dorothy’s favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because it has a strong female protagonist and has a romantic storyline.  








    Kieran recently finished an early Agatha Christie mystery called Peril at End House featuring Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective. It was a fun bedtime read.





  • Monday, October 18, 2021 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    Senator Jack Reed standing in the North Providence Union Free Library speaking with director Stef Blankenship about their "Any Space Office Place" project.Senator Jack Reed visited the North Providence Union Free Library on October 14, 2021, to get an in-depth look at their Library of Rhode Island (LORI) Grant project, Any Place Office Space. Using grant funds, the library created “at home” offices that include a laptop, mobile hotspot, and a portable printer, and will be loaned for a 3-month period. Senator Reed was intrigued by the project which provides technology and digital access to patrons outside of the physical library.  He was also able to see 8 public computers added into the computer area funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) technology grant.

    Read more about North Providence’s project in the Valley Breeze.

  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021 1:23 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Rhode Island librarians were well represented at the Gale Impact Live 2021 Conference on September 29th and 30th. The free virtual conference offered more than 20 sessions of professional development for public librarians. The conference was held live, but was also recorded so attendees could view the sessions after it ended.


    The theme of the conference was “Connect. Inspire. Elevate.” It focused on the ways libraries adapted to provide services to their communities in the face of building closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The speakers came from libraries around the country and addressed topics including advocacy, business development, programming, and diversity and inclusivity. Both days offered a midday meditation break led by a wellness professional.

    Rhode Island library staff presented on both days of the conference. On Wednesday, Karen Mellor from the RI Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS), Beatrice Pulliam from Providence Public Library, and Ed Garcia from Cranston Public Library gave a presentation titled “Pivot Your Workforce Development Efforts toward Online Learning.” They spoke about how Rhode Island libraries adapted to support workforce development during the pandemic.


    The statewide AskRI partnership added Udemy as a resource, which provides access to on-demand courses on a huge variety of topics. Karen mentioned promoting Udemy to state employees who had to quickly adapt to working from home:  “What happened was I kept promoting Udemy with the IT folks, and when they had a few moments to breathe, they found this wealth of courses in Udemy.” She mentioned topics including cloud-based computing, web design, coding, and network security. “Udemy was really important during this time. I had a number of division chiefs promoting it.”

    Both Beatrice and Ed mentioned the self-care and personal development facets of Udemy, including things like meditation or learning a musical instrument.

    On Thursday, Stephen Spohn from Ocean State Libraries (OSL) and Kelly Metzger from OLIS presented “Follow the Data Journey: Using Data to Fuel Strategic Planning and Decision-making.”


    During this session, Kelly and Stephen described an ongoing partnership between OSL, OLIS, and Gale Analytics to develop a custom product that would help libraries in Rhode Island develop an understanding of the their service environment, identify gaps in service to their community, and aid in strategic planning.

    With funding through a LORI Grant, Gale was able to create five custom, interactive dashboards for OLIS and OSL. These analytical tools overlay non-identifying patron information with Census, Community Insights, and Mosaic data. Analyses can be broken down for each library or library, library system, or region so libraries could see how they compare with comparable libraries/systems in the area and identify actionable steps they could take.

    The dashboards have just recently been released, but Stephen and Kelly expressed excitement over the results they have seen so far. They look forward to publishing and refining the dashboards, collecting more data, and supporting Rhode Island libraries in using them to improve and extend their services.

"Rhode Island Library Association" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Rhode Island Library Association, P.O. Box 6765, Providence, RI 02940

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