Library Reform Group

May 13, 2011

PCL Friends Rally to Transfer the Library Buildings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patricia @ 4:18 pm

Dear Library Supporters,

Yesterday’s rally at PPL was quite successful. People from all over the city attended, several City Councilors walked up from City Hall to support us, and Friends representatives read accounts of the history of their library buildings–which showed that most of the buildings were financed with substantial funding from the City and other public sources–and not primarily with PPL money.

We were covered by the Providence Journal, as well as by several radio stations and websites.

The rally was documented by several photographers. Here are some of the pictures.


February 9, 2011

9 Libraries, 9 Acts, 9 Bucks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patricia @ 8:44 pm

PCL’s fundraiser on January 29 was a big success! First of all, it didn’t snow so we were able to hold the event–given the weather this winter, this was not something we could take for granted.

Lots of people showed up, and everyone seemed to enjoy the music. As the evening wore on, the music got louder and the audience got younger.

It was a pleasure to have so many talented performers volunteering their time to help us out, and it was also great to partner with AS220 on this event. We raised about $1500, after expenses, and more important still than the amount of money we raised was the opportunity to highlight PCL for the Providence community at large and make new friends for the library. (And see old friends, too! Thanks to the Library Friends Groups for their participation, and thanks to City Council President Michael Solomon for dropping by.)

July 11, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Patricia @ 7:16 pm

July 1 marked PCL’s first anniversary as a community-operated library system, and we had a city-wide birthday celebration. We cut cakes at exactly 4:30 at all nine libraries–including, of course, the five libraries PPL had slated for closure last July 1. We are delighted that we have managed to keep all nine libraries open and have finished this first year having spent no more than we have raised. For the first year in some time, there were no threats to close neighborhood libraries, lay off staff or discontinue library programs.

Each library celebrated the occasion as it wished, with parties organized by the Library Friends groups. While a few libraries limited themselves to eating cake (donated by Whole Foods on Waterman Street), others held barbeques, organized games for children, or featured story tellers. One library’s highlighted activity was a visit from the Zoo Mobile, with demonstrations of (small) animals–no giraffes or elephants.

Many City Councilors dropped by to share in the festivities–and to receive our gratitude once again for their assistance in keeping our libraries open–and a number of candidates for public office were also on hand.

We feel that we start our second year with more confidence than we had this time last year. We have proven to ourselves–and to others–that we can operate the PCL library system successfully, and we look forward to strengthening and expanding our programs and services in the year(s) ahead.

Thank YOU for your help in making our venture a success!

April 5, 2010

A Night at Knight

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 12:58 pm

Our gala fund-raiser on Friday, March 26, was a great success. We had approximately 125 guests celebrating PCL’s existence and the survival and vitality of our libraries, marveling at the beauty of Knight Memorial Library, and enjoying each others’ company.

We raised nearly $30,000, which is a pretty amazing amount for an organization that wasn’t even 9 months old yet!

The building looked wonderful–thanks to the hard work of the countless volunteers from the Knight Memorial Friends (and elsewhere) who helped Mike Nickerson and his maintenance crew prepare the building for guests.

Bank RI and Verizon also deserve thanks for sponsoring the event.

April 3, 2010

Fox Point Library Opens a G-Tech Computer Lab

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 6:16 pm

On Thursday, April 25, a G-Tech After School Advantage computer lab was officially opened at Fox Point Library. David J. Goncalves thanked GTech on behalf of the young library patrons who will be using these new computers (see photo). 

This is the final of three GTech computer labs to be installed at PCL libraries this year. Eager users began typing away on the eight new computer keyboards as soon as the ribbon was cut.

We are delighted that G-Tech has partnered with us this year to provide some of our libraries with state-of-the-art computers, and we look forward to a continued partnership with G-Tech next year.

March 1, 2010

Volunteers Work Hard to Paint and Polish Knight Memorial Library

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 1:16 am

About 150 volunteers helped to restore Knight Memorial Library to its former grandeur last Saturday, February 27. The Clean-Up was held in preparation for a Gala event that Providence Community Library has scheduled for March 26 to raise funds for the nine neighborhood libraries of Providence.

Built in 1924, Knight Memorial Library has a monumental outside staircase, bronze doors, balconies lined wrought-iron railings, and even a replica of the famed Parthenon frieze on the upper parts of the walls in the main reading room. Thus, it was long an architectural jewel and a gem in the city’s library system. However, after years of neglect, the library has clearly needed a face-lift for some years now.

Among the volunteers helping spruce up the library was a large contingent of “City Year Young Heroes,” middle-school children from throughout the city who have adopted the library as one of their community projects. “We are delighted to have the City Year Young Heroes pitch in. It shows their recognition of the role that the library plays in the lives of young people both as a site of homework help and as a fun place to hang out, “ said Deborah Schimberg, the president of the Knight Memorial Friends.

Refurbishing was also aided by adult volunteers from the Knight Memorial Friends group and by library supporters across the city.

February 11, 2010

Mount Pleasant Friends Bazaar a Great Success!

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 7:39 pm

This year’s Booksale and Bazaar raised more than last year’s–quite an accomplishment, in view of the economy. The Friends earned over $1,300! Mayor Cicilline updated his library card and bought some brownies. Rep. Joanne Giannini browsed through the books; chatted with Friends, staff, and other library patrons; and posed for pictures. The Mount Pleasant Friends worked hard to make this event a success, and they certainly succeeded!

Thanks to everyone who bought books, raffle tickets, pastries, flea market treasures, etc.

February 4, 2010

PCL Holds Reception at Smith Hill Library

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 9:26 pm

PCL held a reception at Smith Hill Library on January 20th to introduce members of the Providence Delegation of the General Assembly to our Executive Director Anne Robinson and the rest of our administrative staff. We wanted to thank the Delegation for its support last year in helping PCL take over the operation of the nine neighborhood libraries in Providence, and we also wanted to bring the Delegation members up to date on our achievements thus far–as well as our needs.

The legislators were impressed by the tremendous amount of patron activity at Smith Hill Library, as kids were thronging the computers and check-out desk, busy congregating at library tables, and engaging in a variety of after-school activities, but the Delegation was also troubled to see the physical condition of the library building, as plaster is peeling on the ceiling and walls near bookshelves due to a leaky roof and windows.

The legislators saw that the library needs extensive renovation–and is well worth saving. Even in these financially limited times, individual legislators stepped forward to offer help with small legislative grants to the neighborhood libraries located in their districts.

December 24, 2009

G-Tech Opens Second PCL Computer Lab

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 4:42 pm

On December 17, Mayor Cicilline and other public officials joined PCL staff, trustees and patrons to celebrate the opening of a GTech After School Advantage computer lab at Mount Pleasant Library. This is the second of three GTech computer labs to be installed at PCL libraries this year; one at Wanskuck library opened in the fall, and another at Fox Point Library is slated to open a few months from now.

Regional Vice-President Jay Gendron represented GTech at the event, introduced the speakers, and accepted a giant Thank You card from Mount Pleasant Library patron Kinte Howie. After the speeches were over, the children cut the ribbon, with the help of the Mayor and Jay Gendron. Then the kids finally got the chance to try out the eight brand new computers, and they were soon absorbed in the wonders of the digital world.

New Books Arrive at PCL

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 2:01 pm

On December 10, the Mount Pleasant Library staff received a shipment of new books, and Rochambeau’s books arrived a day or two later. The PCL business office has determined that we are doing well enough, budget-wise, to begin purchasing new books. Every library has been allocated a small allowance of $300 a month to order a few high-priority books, and both Mount Pleasant and Rochambeau have also been cleared to resume the monthly Baker & Taylor leasing program to which PPL had formerly subscribed.

These two libraries have begun receiving about 40 books a month, which they will keep for about four months and then return to Baker & Taylor (which is a major distributor of books to libraries and bookstores). These books are contemporary best-sellers, ones that PCL patrons are anxious to read right away–and for which there are long waiting lists of patrons "holds" on them. Typically, demand for books on today’s best-seller lists drops after a few months, so we are delighted to have this cost-efficient method of getting popular titles to PCL readers now and saving our limited shelf space for the future. PCL staff will determine which of these leased books are ones that are likely to have a longer "shelf-life," ones that will be as popular with our patrons next year and the year after as they are now, and we can keep one out of every five books we lease.

What about our other seven libraries? Every Baker & Taylor new book is entered into our computerized catalog, so that you can request the books of your choice and they will be delivered to your neighborhood library. Also, our third larger library, Knight Memorial, is about to begin a Baker & Taylor book program of its own: Knight will be getting new books via the "Automatically Yours" service, whereby the library will automatically receive new titles published by a selected list of best-selling authors. These will be purchased books, not leased ones, and they will stay on our shelves, remaining available to all PCL patrons long after the leased books have been returned.

See the pictures of the Grand Book Openings at Mount Pleasant and Rochambeau on our blog:

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