• Saturday, January 11, 2020 9:17 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on UnsplashThe Providence Public Library (PPL) and Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) are excited to announce the award of $250,000 in federal funding that will support an ongoing partnership to complete an extensive digitization project of Rhode Island’s historic newspapers. The funds are being awarded as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress, to create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963 from all the states and U.S. territories available through the Library of Congress. This is the first time that Rhode Island has participated in the program. 

    RIHS holds a remarkable collection of microfilm reels of 314 Rhode Island newspaper titles that ceased publication prior to 1923. However, this collection, critical to understanding the development of both the state and the nation's rich history, remains unavailable for research in an online format. 

    This grant funding supports PPL, in partnership with the RIHS, to digitize at least 50,000 pages of historic RI newspapers, provide the Library of Congress preservation copies of microfilm reels, and promote the accessibility of these digital resources to the broader community.

    The principal project activities and results will include:

    • RIHS will complete full inventory of master microfilm reels. In addition to title and publication dates, research into individual titles regarding readership, editorial stance, political orientation, and geographic coverage will be noted as it is available. Second-generation silver negative duplicates will be produced.
    • An Advisory Board will convene, establish decision-making protocols, and prioritize a list of titles for digitization.
    • PPL will scan, edit files, and create metadata.
    • PPL will maintain regularly scheduled quality review checks for digital files and metadata accuracy. 
    • PPL will first submit test digitization run to RIHS for approval.
    • At least 100,000 pages will be digitized.
  • Tuesday, January 07, 2020 12:44 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Woonsocket's homeschool community has noticeably grown over the past several years. As more families came to the Woonsocket Harris Public Library during school hours, Library staff realized there was a need for programming. 

    In March 2019, the homeschool outreach coordinator, Solitaire Frisby, and Chris Goldstein, the Children’s Librarian, met with Sarah Carr, Assistant Director at the Museum of Work and Culture. What started in May as a small, one-time program developed into a well-attended, free, bimonthly educational program for all ages. This partnership is ideal in meeting the specific needs of Woonsocket residents, as many are challenged with a lack of finances and/or transportation. Melissa Robb, of ENRICHri, reached out and helped invite homeschoolers beyond the Woonsocket area. The program had visitors from Worcester, Cumberland, Pawtucket, and other communities. 

    Homeschool families register with the Museum of Work and Culture, and the program starts at the Museum at 10am. A volunteer from the Museum leads families on a tour of specific parts of the Museum related to the topic of the day. Families then leave the Museum and travel to the Library nearby to continue in an immersive educational experience, which may include snacks, a craft, a hands-on STEAM activity, and green screen and other technology from the library's 2017 Studio Rhode Grant.

    Each program has a different topic. In May, they focused on the French-Canadians' journey to America and how they established roots in Woonsocket, predominately by working in the mills; they had 23 participants. October's topic focused on mill work and the ecology of the Blackstone River; they had roughly 45 participants. 

    December’s program was entitled, “Global Holiday Traditions.” The museum offered four fantastic speakers from Dorcas International who shared their personal experiences having grown up in Quebec, The Congo, Israel, and Portugal; there were 68 participants. While the Museum provides area-specific tours of its facility and provides volunteers to lead discussions, the Library followed up with a slew of activities, including: a stamp-as-you-go holiday scavenger hunt, a holiday card-writing station for residents of a local nursing home, green screen photos, and the opportunity to taste new foods at the refreshment station. They had various displays, including a Chinese New Year dragon, as well as a functional 'German Christmas Market' in which homeschool students took turns as the vendor, selling donated children's books. It was a big hit, enjoyed by all, with lots of great feedback.


    The Library's homeschool program collaboration with the Museum will continue into 2020 with two more events already scheduled for February and April. 

  • Monday, January 06, 2020 5:55 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Mentoring is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the life of another person and to gain new insights into our rich profession. You can also give and receive guidance and take your career to the next level. RILA is officially launching its new Mentorship Program this year, and we would love your participation. Please join our program today to develop lasting professional relationships with others in the field.

    To be a part of the RILA Mentorship Program: 

    • You must be a current RILA member.

    • You may be a library employee, retired librarian, or current library school student.

    • You must make a 1-year commitment that includes meeting with your mentor/mentee at least 3 or 4 times per year by phone, email, web conferencing, or in-person meetings.

    You can sign up to be a Mentor or a Mentee. We are seeking both types of applicants and anticipate formally launching our first cohort this Spring. 

    Click here to fill out the Mentor Application.

    Click here to fill out the Mentee Application.

    You can read the Program Guidelines for more information.  

    For questions, please contact mentor@rilibraries.org.

  • Saturday, November 02, 2019 9:50 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    This news story out of Multnomah County, Oregon, provides a good summary of the issues at play in the battle between public libraries, which have seen increased ebook use, and ebook publishers which are raising prices and instituting policies that restrict access.

    Watch the Video Here

    Access the full article here: https://katu.com/news/following-the-money/multnomah-county-library-in-the-fight-with-publishers-over-price-of-ebooks

  • Monday, September 30, 2019 3:00 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    On July 25, Macmillan Publishing announced it would become the only major (Big 5) publisher to limit eBook lending for U.S. libraries. Under its new licensing model, scheduled to begin November 1, 2019, a library may purchase one copy upon release of a new title in eBook format, after which the publisher will impose an eight-week embargo on additional copies of that title sold to libraries.

    As American Library Association (ALA) President Wanda Brown asserted that same day, “Macmillan Publishers’ new model for library eBook lending will make it difficult for libraries to fulfill our central mission: ensuring access to information for all. Macmillan’s new policy is unacceptable.”

    Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) President Julie Holden agrees and adds, “By providing readers with wide access to authors and their works, libraries are partners, not adversaries, of the publishing industry. We contribute to the success of Macmillan’s writers and authors, who will be negatively affected by this embargo.”

    See the full Press Release here

  • Monday, July 15, 2019 10:00 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)
    A picture of the 19th Century Needlework depicting Gilbert Stuart's Landsdowne portrait of George WashingtonMany Rhode Island libraries reside in historic buildings and contain legacy artwork that may eventually need attention and care. This was the case with a large framed 19th-century needlework at Peace Dale Library depicting Gilbert Stuart's Landsdowne portrait of George Washington. It has hung in the Library's Rhode Island History Room for decades, and its provenance and creator are unknown. Over time, staff and patrons had noted that threads appeared damaged and canvas showed through, and suggestions had been made to have the piece looked at by the University of Rhode Island's Textile Conservation Laboratory.

    The Library has had a long-standing relationship with the Narragansett-Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who over many years have generously donated books and shelving for the Library's local history collection. Since the needlework's subject matter was George Washington, the Library approached the Chapter in the spring of 2017 to ask if they would be interested in exploring the possibility of a restoration. They agreed, and the Library contacted the Textile Conservation Laboratory to set up a visit.

    The Laboratory, for a nominal standard fee, will examine an item and prepare a "Conservation Analysis & Recommendations and Treatment Report." Rebecca Kelly, Director of the Laboratory, and one or two of her students came to the Library to take a look at “George.” On the basis of that visit, they produced the report laying out the anticipated work and costs. This was shared with the DAR Chapter, which agreed to fund the project. 

    Once this was all determined, Director Kelly returned to the Library to transport "George" to the Laboratory on the University's Kingston campus. Over the next 15 months, "he" underwent various conservation procedures, including vacuuming away dust and particles, microscopic examination of fibers, and detaching webbing and newspaper used in previous framing. “He” was then fitted with a cotton-covered acid-free backing and placed in a new frame with spacers to keep the embroidery out of contact with the protective glass. 

    Framing was done at the Laboratory, with components brought there by the framer, eliminating the need for transport to a different location. The cost of framing, separate from the conservation itself, was shared equally by the DAR Chapter and Friends of the Peace Dale Library.

    The project took nearly two years, longer than if the Library had used a professional conservation firm, because the University's Laboratory is a teaching facility. But it was gratifying to all involved to be able to work together--the Peace Dale Library, the DAR Chapter, the Friends of the Peace Dale Library, and the Textile Conservation Laboratory. The Library’s needlework picture is now set for another 150 years. The DAR Chapter helped to preserve a public artwork featuring a principal figure of the American Revolution. A number of Textile Conservation students had an opportunity to participate in the research and assist with aspects of the work.  And the Friends of the Peace Dale Library made a lasting contribution to one of the cultural resources housed in the Library. 

    “George,” newly vibrant, came "home" in May, 2019. On May 22, the Library hosted a public unveiling, with Rebecca Kelly as the featured speaker. As the next century of life for this historic artwork begins, we invite all in the RILA community to come take a look!

    Submitted by Jessica Wilson, Reference and Local History Librarian
  • Saturday, July 13, 2019 9:38 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    In midst of a funding battle, Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett is a finalist to be named one of the Nicest Places in America.

    As the people of this seaside town fight to save their library, the librarians go about their business, serving the community.

    Narragansett’s public library is so unassuming that you might drive right by it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. But to the 15,000 people who make this seaside town their home, the library is where the knitting club meets, high schoolers hunker with tutors, preschoolers sit wide-eyed at story time—and where it’s impossible to miss how gracious the staff is in the face of an existential threat.

    Recently the town council voted to slash the facility’s budget in half and put on hold plans for a much-needed new building for the 10,000 people who visit a month. The library may lose its eligibility for additional state funding, putting five full-time and 14 part-time staffers’ jobs in jeopardy. The fight has gotten ugly at times, with heated arguments at town council meetings. Through it all, the librarians have stayed above the fray, continuing to smile, making the library an oasis of civility even as a battle rages around it.

    “We have no say in the politics,” says library director Patti Arkwright. “So we just go with the flow. We’re just happy to serve the people who use our library.”

    “As soon as you come through that door, they make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world,” says local resident Suzan Amoruso, who nominated the place. When her grandchildren visit from out of town, the first place they ask to go is the library.

    Supporters drop in regularly with boxes of chocolates and plates of cookies for library staffers, who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. Like the time when a woman told a librarian she was lonely and longed for a dog. A short time later another patron mentioned plans to move and the need to rehome a dog. The librarian connected the two parties and a match was made.

    At a recent council meeting, one woman stood and gave the crowd a history lesson about the town that has been her home for more than 90 years. The library, she argued, is a reflection of Narragansett’s core values kindness and civility, no matter what you’re facing. Before she sat back down, she said simply, “This is who we are. We are this library.”

    The Nomination

    As the current town council attempts to dismantle the library, the librarians continue to make it a center of the community. Residents are gathering around to save the library.

    In a very outdated space, the librarians continue to run very current and interesting programs. They speak out at every town council meeting to try to convince the present town council that a library is not just a place to check out a book. They stay calm and positive.

    The first place my grandchildren want to visit is the library. Other residents in Rhode Island say, “I love your library.” The librarians there are so nice, so helpful.

    I had a very sentimental chair that my mother sat in. When it had to be given away the library was the perfect place for it. I can visit it and when I see others in it reading it brings me joy. Residents are doing all they can to prevent the library from being cut and to have it moved into the building that was purchased by the town. And through it all, the library staff keep welcoming all who enter.

    A donated chair that reminds our nominator of her mother is one of many things that make this place special.

    A donated chair that reminds our nominator of her mother is one of many things that make this place special. Photo courtesy Suzan Amoruso.

    Think that Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett, Rhode Island is the Nicest Place in America? Vote here!

  • Monday, May 20, 2019 10:42 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Have you shared a book with young people in your school, family or community that you would recommend to others? The Rhode Island Library and Information Network for Kids (RILINK) invites you to share that title with others in our online survey. Click on the image to participate!

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    When opportunity comes knocking, make sure you’re ready! The 2019 RILA Conference will offer resume review by professionals in the field who regularly hire staff and know what will get you the attention you desire when applying for jobs.


    Resume Review sessions will be held 3-4PM on Wednesday, May 22nd and 10:15-11:15AM on Thursday, May 23rd.

    Drop-ins are welcome, so bring your resume with you to the RILA Conference! If you’d like more in-depth, personalized resume advice, please email your resume to melissa@cumberlandlibrary.org for review prior to the conference.

    Even if you’re not actively job hunting, it’s always a good idea to keep your resume updated. Don’t miss this opportunity to give your resume a spring makeover with professionals from across the library and human resources field!

  • Monday, May 13, 2019 4:30 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    (Photo Credit Sarah Bouvier, CPL Library Communications Manager)

    On April 1, Cranston Public Library’s (CPL’s) Central branch was the gathering place for over 50 library colleagues and special guests for a “Conversation on the State of Our Libraries,” with U.S. Senator Jack Reed and Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), as featured speakers. CPL Director Ed Garcia warmly welcomed guests and turned the podium over to Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who gratefully acknowledged that Senator Reed has long been a champion of libraries.

    Senator Reed focused his remarks on the “new and improved” Museum and Library Services Act of 2018, which was signed into law on December 31, 2018. “All Americans are beneficiaries of libraries,” the Senator said. “We are not individual islands—this is a connected system.” Emphasizing the critical nature of these partnerships, he went on to extol the Act’s legislative highlights in making libraries hubs for community involvement and providing crucial support for digital, financial, and other literacies, as well as fostering lifelong learning. Senator Reed also expressed his “special duty” as successor to the late Senator Claiborne Pell to support the IMLS, which he recognized as an important part of the Pell legacy.

    Dr. Matthew opened her talk by explaining why the Institute chose its “Transforming Communities” theme for its new Strategic Plan. Libraries must “turn inside out to connect with what your constituents feel is important,” she said, declaring that libraries should “work with the momentum of their communities—it’s not up to the IMLS to say what that is.” Therefore, she continued, that’s why the IMLS has a new mission to “advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development.”

    Senator Reed, Dr. Matthew, CPL Director Ed Garcia, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

    Senator Reed, Dr. Matthew, CPL Director Ed Garcia, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

    (Photo Credit: Sarah Bouvier, CPL Library Communications Manager)

    The enthusiastic crowd was especially appreciative of Dr. Matthew’s announcement that all small states will now benefit from a reconfigured IMLS funding formula, with Rhode Island receiving $1,086,913 in 2019. She offered tips for applying for IMLS grants, which include reviewing the Institute’s Strategic Plan, forming meaningful community collaborations and partnerships, understanding the impact of projects (including how to both pilot and evaluate them), anchoring work in what’s already been discovered, and using known data and practice to take risks to evolve. Dr. Matthew also pointed her audience to the IMLS “Biscuits vs. Granola” blog post of June 18, 2018 for practical advice on “how practitioners can scale up a new idea.”

    In her conclusion, Dr. Matthew emphasized the need for efforts to “identify opportunities for further capacity- and skill-building” as an essential part of “understanding the social wellbeing impacts of the nation’s libraries and museums. ” A January 2017 “Community Catalyst” report is available online to help with this process.

    In the next segment of the program, during which library staff from around the state spoke about new projects and initiatives, Rhode Island Chief of Library Services Karen Mellor kicked things off by recognizing that “We are one of the handful of states that enshrines the right to library services in its Constitution” and by acknowledging that an “extensive network allows Rhode Island to move forward with innovative projects and respond to the needs of all library types.”

    Danielle Margarida of OLIS addresses the group

    Danielle Margarida of OLIS addresses the group

    (Photo Credit: Sarah Bouvier, CPL Library Communications Manager)

    Select speakers then spoke for a few minutes each about resourceful, transformative library projects and services happening in Rhode Island. These include:

    • The Office of Library and Information Services’ (OLIS) participation in the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) pilot cohort of Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach. Through this project, Danielle Margarida, OLIS Youth Services Coordinator, and Rebecca Ott, Tiverton Public Library Teen Librarian, have been trained to transform teen services by training teen librarians to feel more comfortable integrating connected learning and computational thinking into teen programs and services. The project is being implemented by YALSA in partnership with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and is funded by the IMLS.

    • The My Woonsocket Life Studio Rhode project at Woonsocket Public Library, described by Library Director Leslie Page as a means to “get people in the community thinking about community identity” through short videos in which patrons talk about the past, present, and future of the city.

    • The EXCITE Transformation for Libraries “boot camp” training program, in which several RI libraries (including teams from Bryant University, CPL, and Westerly Public Library) were joined by other library teams from around the Northeast to learn how to “reverse engineer” programming and services to better meet the needs of patrons. Julie Holden (Assistant Director, CPL), Maura Keating (Research and Instruction Librarian, Douglas and Judith Krupp Library, Bryant University), and Bill Lancelotta (Assistant Director, Westerly Public Library) described how the training provided valuable tools for refining the design thinking process and enabling library staff to connect with communities in new and exciting ways. Funding for the training is made possible by IMLS grant # RE-95-17-0068-17 in the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

    • Using virtual reality to “bring” attractions to Providence Community Library (PCL) patrons, as discussed by Library Director Cheryl Space and IT Manager David Sok. Virtual Providence is a series of 360-degree video tours of cultural institutions in Providence created by local teens in the library.” PCL has also developed a Computer Builders program that teaches kids and teens how to build computers, which are then fitted with a plaque with their names and added to the computer lab. This is an ongoing program that began in 2017.

    Written by Zach Berger, RILA Communications

"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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