• Saturday, February 06, 2021 11:09 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Looking for a way to spread cheer during the holiday season, the East Providence Public Library staff joyfully hit the road to sing carols in the community. The year had been challenging for so many. Patrons missed coming to programs at the library and the staff missed their patrons. Spreading some good, old-fashioned holiday cheer seemed like a sweet and simple way to bring the library out into the community.

    A group of library employees (and some of their family members) volunteered their time to sing during one afternoon and one evening in the week before Christmas. Two weeks before, Public Services Librarian Michelle Perry posted a flyer and sign-up sheet to the library’s Facebook page and the response was immediate. Patrons were delighted, grateful, and excited for this event. Some scheduled visits for elderly and homebound relatives. Another wanted to put a smile on the face of a loved one battling cancer. And still another asked if the staff would sing outdoors at a nursing home. On the first day, the carolers made their last stop at the mayor’s home. The mayor was so thrilled that he did a live Facebook video of the carolers and introduced each library staff person to his audience. His video, which was also posted to the City of East Providence’s Facebook page, has since had close to 6,000 views and generated over 50 comments. 

    Calling themselves the Lyrical Librarians, staff visited 15 households scheduling visits 15 to 30 minutes apart. Michelle planned the stops, organizing them geographically from one end of the city to another. Each caroler received a list and a map to download to their phone as well as lyrics to 10 or so carols. Given the cold (and their voices), the singers quickly learned it best to stick to the same four or five songs. Due to the pandemic, each masked staff member traveled separately so parking could be tricky on smaller streets. The evening event also made it difficult to see, but Michelle provided the carolers with battery-lit Christmas necklaces and headbands and Santa hats, and she came dressed as a Christmas tree! 

    At one of the stops, neighbors walking their dogs stopped to listen and began to sing along. Other neighbors came out to their porches and joined the physically distanced fun. In times of such uncertainty, it was wonderful to see people singing and dancing and safely enjoying the moment. Library staff with the tag line "we don't claim to sound good, but we guarantee fun!” made it happen, and, for that, both patrons and staff shared very special holiday memories. A new tradition begins.

  • Monday, January 04, 2021 1:34 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    RILA is partnering with Peer 2 Peer University to offer free facilitation training for Learning Circles—peer-led learning groups—and you are invited to join!

    For more information on this initiative and to apply, please fill out this application. Applications are due by January 8, 2021. 

    In this virtual 5-part professional development training, experienced facilitators will share how to organize and support Learning Circles in your library, teach you how to hold productive conversations around sensitive topics, then support you as you run your first Learning Circle for library staff across Rhode Island based on the course How to Talk About Race.  Best of all, you do not need to be an expert on any particular topic to be a facilitator.  

     The facilitator training is 5 weeks (One 90 minute session each week) and will take place the weeks of January 18 - February 15, 2021.

    How To Talk About Race is a 4 week course and will be offered to the RI library community in April & May, 2021. Dates to be determined.  

    Learning facilitation skills is a great opportunity and member benefit for those RILA members who are looking to gain a professional edge.  And, after you are trained, you can run Learning Circles in your library for your clientele. Many libraries are using the Learning Circle method (see past Los Angeles Public Library Learning Circles here).

    For more information on this initiative and to apply, please fill out this application. Applications are due by January 8, 2021.  


    Learn more about learning circles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtGir9xG7Pw&ab_channel=P2PU


    What does a learning circle look like?

    Tips for New Facilitators


    Why are learning circles needed?

    Intro to P2PU and learning circles

  • Wednesday, December 09, 2020 4:14 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, November 18th, members of the Library of Rhode Island (LORI) Resource Sharing Working Group (RSWG), in collaboration with the state library agencies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, presented "Sharing Visions: 2020 New England Resource Sharing Conference." The day-long virtual event was hosted on Warwick Public Library’s Zoom platform. Portions of the Conference were funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Connecticut State Library (CSL).

    Just over 200 unique logins were recorded, with peak attendance during the event reaching 155 simultaneous viewers. Registrations came in from 29 states, from as far west as California and Washington, as far south as Louisiana and Alabama, and from many places in between. One international attendee represented Mount Royal University Library in the Canadian city of Calgary. Almost half of the audience was composed of academic library staff, though all library types, consortium and state library agency staff, trustees, and vendors were also represented.

    After a brief welcome by Conference host Zach Berger, Chair of the LORI RSWG, opening remarks were made by Karen Mellor, Chief of Library Services for the State of Rhode Island, and James Lonergan, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).

    Keynote Speaker Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and the May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware, began his presentation with a moving reminder that the University was established on land recognized “as the traditional home of the Lenni-Lenape and Nanticoke tribal nations.” Dawes “express[ed] gratitude to the original caretakers of this land,” and encouraged Conference viewers to learn more about and build relationships with the Indigenous people in their own communities. 

    Dawes extended this powerful tribute by acknowledging the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and requested a moment of silence to recognize the many Black and Brown lives lost to structural and systemic racism. 

    From this social and historical context, Dawes’ ensuing talk about the need for libraries to adapt to change, especially in the midst of a pandemic, was especially timely and touched upon many factors—including technology, workflow, organizational structure, anti-racism outreach, and leadership—that can contribute to the development of more effective and inclusive resource sharing models. Immediately following the keynote presentation, Berger interviewed Dawes, who also took questions from the audience.

    Session 1 presenter Nettie Lagace, Associate Executive Director of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), gave a talk on “Standards as Frameworks for Connection and Collaboration,” in which she presented an overview of what NISO is, the scope of its work, its organizational partners, and how its staff develops and adopts standards. Lagace included information about the many NISO Working Groups, including current projects to recommend practices for improving delivery of and access to digital content.

    The second session featured Brad Bullis and Gail Hurley of CSL co-presenting with Amy Terlaga of Bibliomation on the use of FulfILLment open source software for interlibrary loan requests. The presenters explained the need for a transition to the new software, recent and future enhancements to interlibrary loan processes, and the impact of the pandemic on lending and borrowing in Connecticut.

    Multiple panelists joined the Conference for Session 3, entitled “Project ReShare: A Community-Owned Resource Sharing System.” Sebastian Hammer and Kristen Wilson of Index Data co-presented with Jill Morris of the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium (PALCI) to talk about the “community of libraries, consortia, and companies that came together in 2018 to create a new resource sharing platform” called Project ReShare that is “co-owned and managed by its community of users and based on open standards and open technologies.” With a focus on the need for innovative development of resource sharing systems that meet patron expectations while factoring in issues of pricing, market consolidation, and library transformations, the panel discussed the Project ReShare model in depth and provided an inside look at the software interface. Hammer provided a first peek at ReShare's plans for a Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) module that would serve as a bridge between libraries' physical and electronic collections by managing digitized copies of print materials.

    Session 4, entitled “Expanding Patron Identity: Issues, Options, and Opportunities,” was presented by Daniel “Dazza” Greenwood, a researcher at MIT Media Lab and Lecturer at Connection Science in the MIT School of Engineering. Greenwood, who is also the founder of CIVICS.com, spoke about the role of libraries as trusted civic institutions and the need to lower barriers to patron access through the creation of a civic identity that would simultaneously provide privacy protection. 

    The final session of the day was a multi-part look at the challenges of delivery sustainability by staff members of three New England state library agencies: Chaichin Chen from the Rhode Island Office of Library and information Services (OLIS); Dawn La Valle from CSL; and Janet McKenney from the Maine State Library (MSL). Each state’s funding and governance model, interlibrary loan volume, delivery logistics, and other factors were reviewed, and innovative approaches such as cost sharing, cooperative solutions, floating collections, and alternatives to delivery were discussed.

    The day’s closing remarks were made by Maureen Sullivan, Interim State Librarian at CSL, and Berger.

    The Sharing Visions Planning Committee, comprising Berger, Chen, La Valle, Scott Kehoe (Massachusetts Library System), Paul Kissman (MBLC), and Jana Stevenson (Director of Warwick Public Library), expressed great satisfaction with Conference turnout, speaker presentations, and overall logistics. “When we had to pivot because of the pandemic from an on-site venue [originally scheduled to occur at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts] to a virtual one, we were initially overwhelmed by the prospect of managing such a large event across an entire day of sessions,” Berger said. “But things came together beautifully, and everyone involved seemed to get a lot of value from participating.”

    Chen added, “The biggest takeaway for me is that we are better and stronger together. Conference attendance is a testament to librarians’ hunger for a high-level resource sharing program.”

    Previous coverage of the Sharing Visions Conference was published in the October 2020 issue of the RILA Bulletin. Presenter resources and session recordings will be shared via the Conference website.

  • Saturday, December 05, 2020 11:08 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI): A Library Community of Color and Section of the Rhode Island Library Association, presented its annual fall mini conference, "A Look Back As We Move Forward." on November 4, 2020 via Zoom. Over 60 librarians, library directors, and library staff throughout the Northeast registered for the 2-hour conference.

    Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director, ALATracie D. Hall, Executive Director, American Library Association (image right) was the featured speaker. Tracie suggested that Rhode Island library directors to be creative and financially support library students of color as they pursue their Master’s degree, as the University of Rhode Island no longer has a grant for the Prism Program. Tracie discussed in detail Race, Redlining and Resistance: Libraries Making of the Next Civil Rights Movement. She stated that as librarians we could have a passive or proactive attitude toward red lining, as she highlighted today’s information poverty with various examples. Ms. Hall stated that she believes “information access is a public health issue” and that library services must exist beyond library buildings. Tracie was passionate about universal broadband and the privileged majority, indicating that this is a case of urgency.

    Keith Stokes, Vice President of the 1696 Heritage Group, moderated the conference.  Mr. Stokes is a lecturer with expertise in early African and Jewish American history and frequently appears on national historical programs.  

    Karen Mellor, Chief of Library Services for Rhode Island's Office of Library & Information Services, acknowledged the many contributions of Cornucopia to the RI library community as she welcomed Tracie to Rhode Island.

    CORI would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s annual fall mini conference during these challenging days. A special thank you to Julie Holden, President of RILA, and Dymond Bush, 2020-2021 American Library Association Spectrum Scholar, for their assistance and technical skills.

    For additional information about CORI, visit their blog: http://cornucopiaofri.blogspot.com/

  • Saturday, December 05, 2020 10:50 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Thanks to funding from the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS), several public librarians from around the state recently attended a 4-week online course called "Creating Virtual Programs for Adults." The class was facilitated by nonprofit consortium Infopeople and was taught by Janie Hermann, the Public Programming Librarian at the Princeton (New Jersey) Public Library. Hermann is also the Chair of the American Library Association’s Programming Librarian Interest Group.

    Rhode Island library staff who completed the course were Zach Berger of Cranston, Melissa Chiavaroli of Cumberland, Britta Obertello of South Kingstown, Kyera Shea of Rogers Free Library, and Lee Smith of Mount Pleasant. 

    The above participants joined library staff from all over the country in synchronous meetings during the first and third weeks of the course to discuss an overview of virtual programming and how to host and market online programs, respectively. During the second week, participants worked asynchronously to explore a variety of digital delivery platforms. The final week was devoted to learning how to evaluate the success of online library offerings.

    To earn credit for course completion, participants attended the two synchronous class meetings, completed assigned activities, and interacted with fellow students in online discussion forums. Activities included brainstorming new program ideas, matching ideas with the best virtual platform, applying marketing strategies, developing a program planning worksheet, and designing program evaluations. Students also were assigned various videos to watch and articles to read.

    Hermann, whose own library held 275 virtual adult programs from March through the end of August, brought a wealth of experience to her role as instructor. She stressed the importance of using data to tell stories about library programming and emphasized how crucial it is to measure both quantitative and qualitative elements when evaluating a program’s success.

    The course was a valuable experience for the Rhode Island participants, all of whom are working on implementing what they’ve learned. The group shared highlights of their newly acquired knowledge during an OLIS Continuing Education (CE) Adult Services Roundtable session on November 12. A recording of the discussion can be viewed using this passcode: 4.r?LL75

    Nicolette Baffoni, the OLIS Learning & Community Engagement Coordinator, served as liaison between the Rhode Island attendees and the Infopeople consortium and acknowledged that “this has been a disruptive and difficult time” for libraries to offer ongoing programming during a pandemic. The timing of the course offering was fortuitous. “The OLIS CE team has been looking for ways to offer more in-depth learning opportunities for librarians and library staff based on feedback we’ve gotten from the RI library community,” Baffoni said. “In the end, attendees of both the course and the follow-up session were able to get some new ideas, access high-quality resources, and hopefully build a bit of confidence in this new, now necessary, way of offering programs. I hope this is a model OLIS will be able to continue exploring, as it was a win all around.”

  • Saturday, December 05, 2020 10:08 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    by Monica Brennan, MLIS
    Head of Youth Services at Westerly Library and Wilcox Park

    If you are anything like me, your 2020 Thanksgiving Day started with the Red Titan Macy’s Day balloon capturing your heart. Perhaps, unlike many of you, though, I am a devoted, old-school Red Titan super fan! I am also a super fan of Ryan, the nine-year-old, multi-millionaire YouTube toy influencer who inspired the creation of Red Titan. Of course, you probably know what I am going to write next: Ryan and his superhero doppelganger, Red Titan, have over 40 billion views on YouTube! WOW!

    The Westerly Library and Wilcox Park YouTube channel has yet to hit 40 billion views, but here are three reasons why YouTube matters to Westerly Library and Wilcox Park:

    1. Our patrons have viewed our 100+ YouTube programs over 4,000 times. Based on our community surveys during the pandemic, our patrons wanted engaging content and programs that they could view on their time. YouTube met this goal.
    2. Our community partners, including emergency responders, government officials, educators, faith leaders, trustees, friends of the library, library staff, and library volunteers, have all collaborated on creating compelling, fun, and informational programming content for our community. YouTube empowered our community’s voice.
    3. Our YouTube content has inspired our community to be more mindful, to create beautiful crafts, to learn new professional skills, to imagine new ways to communicate, and to engage with literature and nature in new and unconventional ways. YouTube has spread positivity and hope in a dark, lonely, and challenging time.

    Every single one of our YouTube videos tells its own wonderful and creative story. However proud I am of these YouTube videos, I am exponentially more proud of my staff and coworkers’ thoughtful, collaborative work that has made these videos possible! The staff at Westerly Library and Wilcox Park have come together to create YouTube content to meet our community’s unique wants and needs. The YouTube platform has enabled us to fulfill our association’s mission and vision statements, listed below, throughout this exhausting pandemic.

    Mission: The mission of the Memorial and Library Association is to strengthen community and enrich lives by stimulating intellect and sparking imagination through access to literature, information, technology, nature, and the arts.

    Vision: Westerly Library and Wilcox Park strives to be a premier intellectual, cultural, and botanical asset for the region.

    Perhaps the Westerly Library and Wilcox Park YouTube will never reach Ryan and Red Titan’s 40 billion views, but it has already delighted, inspired, and engaged thousands within our community! So, during this time of thanksgiving, we are grateful to have YouTube to marry our staff’s creative talents with the power of the internet.

    Spotlighted below are some of our favorite Westerly Library and Wilcox Park YouTube videos:

  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 2:35 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The Rhode Island Library Association Executive Board is pleased to endorse Ed Garcia for President of the American Library Association.

    Ed has been a leader in our organization for many years. As chair of our Legislative Action Committee, he has presented testimony at the State House, written bills, and secured key meetings with legislative leadership, the governor, and the Department of Education on important issues, such as state aid to libraries and support of school librarians. Ed has represented Rhode Island on a national level, working with our congressional delegation and as a regular attendee for National Library Legislative Day.

    Ed is an informed, capable, and caring library leader, and will be a positive and visionary ALA president.

    The 2020-2021 RILA Executive Board

  • Monday, October 26, 2020 2:29 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)


    Rhode Island Library Association Awards Librarians, Library Professionals, and Library Supporters

    The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) presented its annual awards at the RILA Annual Conference, which was held virtually on Thursday, May 28th, through Friday, May 29th, 2020 on Zoom. The theme for the conference was “Think Outside the Books,” and the recipients of this year’s awards exemplify the library community’s commitment to finding creative solutions to contemporary challenges.

    “We had hoped to hold an in-person ceremony at some point to recognize the achievements of our award winners,” said RILA president Julie Holden, “but it might be many more months before we can do so. We want to formally congratulate this year’s recipients with the hope that we will be able to celebrate in person at a later date.”

    The 2020 RILA Award winners are:

    • Library Champion Award: Ida D. McGhee (retired) founder of Cornucopia of RI (CORI), a library community of color, and advocate for the power of libraries to change our world.

    • Outstanding Librarian Award: Jana Stevenson, Director of Warwick Public Library.

    • Outstanding Library Paraprofessional Award: Emily Greene, Head of Interlibrary Loan at the University of Rhode Island’s Robert L. Carothers Library.

    • Trustee of the Year Award: Stephen Cicilline, Chair of the Greenville Public Library Board of Trustees.

    • Meritorious Friend of the Library Award: Michelle Lefort, for her volunteer work at Primrose Hill School Library, Hampden Meadows School Library, Barrington Middle School Library, and Barrington Public Library.

    • Special Thanks to Carla Weiss (Rhode Island College, retired) and Jim Kinnie (University of Rhode Island, retired) for their decades of service leading RILA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. Through the years, Carla and Jim have led RILA in championing the value of intellectual freedom in addressing the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the USA PATRIOT Act, banned books, patron privacy and confidentiality, and net neutrality.

    The Rhode Island Library Association is a professional organization that serves its members through career development, education, advocacy, networking partnerships, and legislative action. 


  • Sunday, October 11, 2020 2:10 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The New York Library Association virtual conference is extending member pricing to Rhode Island. For every RILA member who registers by Oct. 31st, RILA will receive 50% of your registration fee.

    Click here to register. Use the code "PROVIDENCE" to register.

    NYLA 2020 Virtual Conference "Strengthening Our Core"
  • Saturday, October 03, 2020 11:42 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Free virtual event to examine visionary approaches to resource sharing

    On November 18th, the Library of Rhode Island (LORI) Resource Sharing Working Group, in partnership with the state library agencies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, presents a day-long, free, virtual conference to bring together library staff from all over New England to learn about the future of resource sharing. 

    The event, which is called "Sharing Visions" and kicks off at 9:00am, features keynote speaker Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and the May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware. Dawes will speak about the changing landscape of resource sharing and examine its future role as an integral part of library services.

    In other sessions, Nettie Lagace of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) will examine how standards can support resource sharing partnerships. A team from Connecticut State Library will discuss the implementation of its Evergreen FulfILLment project. Sebastian Hammer, Co-Founder and President of Index Data, will speak about Project ReShare, a community-owned resource sharing system. Hammer will be joined by Jill Morris, the Executive Director of PALCI, the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, and Kristen Wilson, Project Manager and Business Analyst at Index Data. Dazza Greenwood of the MIT Media Lab will share insights about patron identity management.

    The day will close with a presentation on delivery sustainability, with remarks by Chaichin Chen of the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services, Dawn LaValle of Connecticut State Library, and Janet McKenney of Maine State Library.

    Staff from all library types are invited to participate. For more information and to register, please visit the conference web page.

"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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