Library Reform Group

May 17, 2008

Proposed “Roadmap” to a Sustainable Library System

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 12:56 pm

Those attending the Library Advisory Partnership Committee meeting on May 5, 2008, make the following recommendations to the PPL Trustees and the City of Providence:  

  1. That PPL continue to provide the current level of library services at the Central Library and all nine branches during the coming fiscal year, with the City contributing $3,300,000 plus the wage and cost of living increases as stipulated in Article 4 of the Memorandum of Agreement.  Any additional funds necessary to fund the present level of services, with the same number of branches and staff, would be paid according to a formula negotiated by representatives of PPL and the City of Providence, with the understanding that this is a temporary situation intended to give LPAC time to devise a plan to move to a financially sustainable library system within the next two years.  

  2. That the City and PPL finance a city-wide assessment of the library system, including condition of the buildings, population demographics and trends, and relative costs of renovating facilities vs. selling them and relocating library services in others. This assessment would be begun by July 1 and completed by October 1.
  3. That LPAC ask the URI Library School to undertake a review of the literature regarding library co-locations to determine their costs and benefits, and to interview librarians and city officials who have participated in this process.  This report would be prepared over the summer and presented to LPAC by August 31.  

  4. That the Long-Term Planning Subcommittee of LPAC, with the assistance of the School Committee’s Chief Financial Officer and the Chair of PPL’s Buildings Committee, draft a proposal to be submitted to LPAC for review and revision.  By December 1, the proposal will be submitted to the PPL trustees and to the City for approval.  This proposal will recommend combination of steps to be taken to achieve a financially sustainable library system:
  • It will use the data from the City-Wide Assessment to determine the feasibility of selling some existing PPL buildings and the cost of relocating library services currently provided in these buildings.
  • It will draw upon the information from the URI study of co-locations to plan the transition of library services at some facilities to co-locations.
  • It will encourage area businesses, colleges and universities to “adopt” branches.


It will determine the relative type and level of library services appropriate to or conditioned by the co-location and ensure that efforts to provide library services for all ages, populations and patrons be accessible through some combination of central and branch locations.


These measures are intended to enable PPL to continue to provide adequate and comprehensive services for library patrons throughout the City, at lower cost to PPL and the City.


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