To learn more about CORI, visit our Blog or Facebook page.

2021 Annual CORI Fall Mini Conference

Empowering Rhode Island Communities Through History and Service

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021, 2-4 pm (Online & Free)

Register *


2:00 pm: Opening Remarks, Bohyun Kim (Chair, Cornucopia of Rhode Island)

2:05 pm: Panel Discussion: Building Strong Communities: How We Can Better Serve Families with Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder

Learn how you can make a difference by bringing community experts, parents, teachers, and other caregivers together and sharing best practices to facilitate growth and learning. We will provide ideas for hosting and promoting inclusive programs for all ages.


  • Susan Jewel, The Autism Project, Manager of Family Support
  • Tara Hayes, Rhode Island Parent Information Network, Family Voice Manager 
  • Barbara Wells, Greenville Public Library (RI), Children’s Librarian/Department Head 
  • Lisa Lesinski, Barrington Public Library (RI), Head of Children Services
  • Kristen Spencer, Social Sparks, Owner/Clinical Director
  • Dr. Paul G. LaCava, RIC Department of Special Education, Sherlock Center, Associate Professor

3:00 pm: Peter Fay: Jamestown Mariners of Color: From Bondage to Boat Steerer

Peter Fay is a public historian who researches, writes, and lectures about the role of Rhode Island in slave labor and the American slave trade. For centuries, Rhode Island sent its young men to sea. As agriculture and slavery slowly declined, hundreds left the rural towns, many of them African American and Native American men seeking opportunities aboard ships. As seamen, cooks, first mates, oarsmen, or boat steerers, they crossed the bay, the Atlantic, and the world in pursuit of a livelihood that had eluded them at home. What they found were South Sea islands, wondrous creatures, warlike tribes, hardship, and occasionally, stunning achievement.

For questions, contact CORI at

About CORI

THE MISSION of Cornucopia of Rhode Island is to serve the library community of color. OUR OBJECTIVES are to promote library services to people of color within Rhode Island and the development of librarians and library staff of color.

What do we do?

Provide a forum that encourages the exchange of ideas and the discussion of issues, problems and concerns of librarians and library staff of color; mentor librarians and library staff of color and encourage librarianship as a profession to people of color; promote the development and delivery of multi-cultural collections, services, and programs; foster outreach into the community across cultures and languages; promote professional and educational activities; engage in charitable and social activities; and collaborate with other organizations to achieve similar goals.


The initiative to start CORNUCOPIA began in the summer of 2004 when Ida D. McGhee, who had recently retired from Hartford Public Library (CT) and relocated to Rhode Island, approached Dr. Michael Havener, former director of URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, with a proposal that would encourage people of color to consider librarianship as a career and support for those already in the profession. Ida had been an active member of the Connecticut chapter of the Black Caucus of ALA and Northeast Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and Spanish Speakers and wanted to continue that experience in Rhode Island. In turn, Dr. Havener contacted URI Professor Dr. Donna Gilton, and Dr. Gilton enlisted Denise Dowdell, a former librarian and now tribal judge for the Narraganset Indian Tribe. The four of them created CORI. 

The first official CORI meeting took place in September 2005 at the University Club on the URI campus in Kingston.

The following year, Ida invited Dr. Carla Hayden, who is now the Librarian of Congress and former CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and who was the fourth black president of ALA to speak at the annual RILA conference on behalf of CORI. CORI has continued to present at the annual RILA conferences. 

The group’s emphasis has, and always will be, on multi-culturalism. CORI strives to network with a broader community to help make the library profession visible, with an emphasis on addressing the issue of bringing multi-culturalism to the forefront and encouraging people of color to consider librarianship as a profession, as well as educating the general public.  We encourage people of all colors to join CORI and share the message of diversity to the library community.

On January 1, 2019, CORI officially became a section of the Rhode Island Library Association.


2022 Officers

* Dymond Bush, President

* Charlene Williams, Secretary

* Maria Cotto, Webmaster

To learn more about CORI, visit our Blog or Facebook 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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