• 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.

  • Saturday, October 03, 2020 11:23 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The Rhode Island COVID-19 Archive is a public digital archive created and maintained by the Providence Public Library and the Rhode Island Historical Society in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. 

    Created in March 2020, during the beginning of our state’s stay-at-home orders, the digital archive is composed of submissions from Rhode Islanders from all walks of life documenting and sharing their lived experiences during the pandemic. The archive strives to represent the diversity of experiences throughout our state; we believe that every person in our community has something of value to contribute to this documented history, and that we are empowered by telling our many stories. We’re particularly interested in views that may be otherwise lost, obscured, or ignored in news media accounts, press releases, and government advisories. 

    The archive is built on an Omeka platform, and uses a number of stock and slightly modified plugins, along with a customized theme. Project team members focus on different aspects of the archive and its operation (technology, cataloging and metadata, outreach, and/or education) based on their interests and skill sets.

    We’re happy to accept contributions to the archive from librarians and library users across the state, and also welcome submissions of collections from individuals or groups. Some examples of collections could include:

    • Classroom assignments

    • Neighborhood support efforts

    • Artistic & creative projects

    • Non-profit organizational responses

    • Social media groups

    We encourage RILA members to contact us if they have questions about the archive or ideas about potential collaborations.

  • Friday, August 14, 2020 10:43 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Pandemic pivot does not dampen enthusiasm or participation

    The Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids (RILINK), the statewide consortium of K-12 school libraries, held its twelfth annual conference in July—this time with a virtual twist. The unusual circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic necessitated either cancelling the event entirely or switching to an exclusively online platform. The former option was out of the question, and RILINK staff felt ready to handle the challenges of the latter.

    With great thanks to the RILA Conference Committee for lending training materials and providing advance support and guidance, RILINK presented “Standard Bearer: Library to Classroom” on July 14, 15, and 16. The event was free to all, featured keynote speakers and 20 sessions, and was broadcast using Zoom.

    Professor Mary Moen of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) joined librarian Marianne Mirando of Westerly High School to present a keynote address that introduced attendees to the new Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide.

    Marianne Mirando co-presents the keynote session on July 14

    According to Moen and Mirando, the development and implementation of the Guide was 4 years in the making and involved a committee of several School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI) members. Taking its foundation (with permission) from similar work done in New York, the Rhode Island School Library Curriculum is “aligned with the 2018 AASL National School Library Standards and includes grade level benchmarks, lesson plan ideas and graphic organizer assessments.” Anchor Standards and Indicators establish a framework for guiding school librarians through the curriculum and scaffolding information literacy and research instruction across all grade levels.

    The Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide is hosted on the RILINK Schools site and may be viewed at guides.rilinkschools.org/riproject.

    Other conference presenters included school and public librarians and library staff, members of AskRI and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS), professional consultants, and vendors. Topics included using social media for library advocacy, capturing library usage data, navigating Google Classroom, and connecting students with #OwnVoices fantasy novels. Members of the Rhode Island Children’s, Middle School, and Teen Book Award Committees (RICBA, RIMSBA, and RITBA, respectively) presented the latest nominees and award-winning titles. RILINK staff offered a variety of sessions on consortium member benefits and services.

    From “Advocating for the Library with Social Media”

    Initial conference feedback was very positive, and RILINK anticipates increased demand for future virtual sessions. Jackie Lamoureux, one of RILINK’s Member Services Librarians, stated that she “missed personally meeting and networking with colleagues [but that] the virtual conference format had a lot going for it. More people were able to attend, and presenters didn’t have any travel issues.” Donna Good, RILINK’s eResources specialist, was impressed that “through the monitoring of the invaluable 'Chat' [feature in Zoom], we were able to observe the participants' enthusiastic comments, questions, sharing, and the resulting flow of their creative juices.”

    Attendees had similarly enthusiastic remarks about both conference topics and the virtual platform, with one who stated that “the Zoom conference was the next best thing to a live conference,” and another who “felt very comfortable with [the technology] and might even prefer this to an in-person conference in the future.” 

    Sharon Webster, who served as the primary conference project manager and is RILINK’s Professional Learning and Technology Support Specialist, was energized by the "positive feedback from participants” and pointed out that “the almost flawless execution of our first virtual conference is testament to the hard work of the entire RILINK team."

    View complete RILINK Summer Conference 2020 details at guides.rilink.org/sc2020.

  • Friday, August 07, 2020 2:12 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    by Stephanie Mills

    School librarians are no stranger to collaborating with teachers within their buildings, but this past school year found them relying on their professional colleagues for ideas. When students and teachers went to distance learning, school librarians immediately tapped into their creativity to continue offering services to students in different ways. From driving house to house to deliver books, as Meredith Moore did, to creating fun Tik Toks to keep their students entertained (we are looking at you, Tasha White), school librarians tried to keep their students at the heart of their plans. 

    As a giant question mark looms over the upcoming school year, Melanie Roy and Stephanie Mills, both middle school librarians, have been brainstorming ideas for how to continue to meet the needs of students. Many schools have already said that traditional library visits will not be allowed. Here’s a list of what they hope to accomplish this year!

    1. Collaborate with our incredible public librarians to ensure we are providing every possible opportunity to our patrons.

    2. Hold a public library card application drive to promote that a library card is an essential “back to school” supply, just like a pen or pencil! Also, provide a link to apply online as another viable option for families. Ask our faculty to put a “public library card” on their back-to-school supply list they provide to students and families.

    3. Plan an online orientation for students, with a focus on accessing digital platforms for reading and research. What we realized in the Spring is that creating short videos for students, teachers, and families to access is just GOOD teaching practice. Plan a place to store these videos for later use by our patrons - preferably on our library websites.

    4. Devise a weekly system to provide readers with book recommendations. Promote ebooks and audiobooks, particularly through BookLynx and Overdrive as a priority. We are unsure about ILL delivery, so finding ways to get books we do not have in the hands of our readers is of utmost importance.

    5. Curate and share up-to-date resources available to students, teachers, and families as well as video tutorials on our library websites. Create a library Google Classroom students and staff can access for login information that cannot be posted publicly.

    6. Devise creative ways to get books into readers’ hands - pod bins for 6 weeks, longer patron checkouts, deliver and pick up books at homerooms.

    7. Be good models of copyright adherence for students and staff by sharing Kiera Parrott’s SLJ Publisher Directory widely, in order to properly implement online read alouds for our students. Perhaps create a video about copyright adherence for our staff to access as well.

    8. Provide “Reader’s Advisory” via a Google Form. While students may be able to use RICAT to log in and place a hold on a specific title, many students will still need to be guided to new reading choices. Having an open-ended Google Form allows students to give examples of books and authors they have enjoyed or topics they would like to know more about, giving the librarian more opportunities to provide personalized titles. Also, be sure to promote AskRI.org’s NoveList to teach students how to advocate for themselves.

    9. Post photos of books and book displays to school social media to provide as many opportunities as possible for our patrons to virtually “browse” the library.

    10. Create ways to keep students engaged in the content-fun distractions like trivia sent out in Google Classroom, “Where’s Waldo” pictures with your Bitmoji hidden, weekly resources featured, ask for student input to establish weekly hashtags to engage the larger community.

    11. Provide online office hours to give staff and students opportunities to see you and learn outside of regular lessons.

    12. Establish a weekly time for students who would normally want to chat about books, life, etc. (your library regulars) a time to Zoom and connect. Create a shared Google Slideshow that they can add book recommendations to and refer back to later for ideas. Consider a blog for students (Thanks, Heidi Blais!) to submit book recommendations! (Here's a middle school example).

    13. Above all, try to think of this as “one difficult year.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the uncertainty and the knowledge that we aren’t able to teach how we normally do. However, librarians are always a mix of creativity and ingenuity, and this can be a year to show all our stakeholders that we can shine, even in the face of adversity.

"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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