Library Reform Group

June 30, 2009

Library Update: We OPEN on July 1 (tomorrow)!

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 10:53 pm
Dear library supporters,
We are delighted to announce that PCL and the City, as well as PPL and the City, have signed a series of Agreements making it possible for PCL to manage the neighborhood libraries, in partnership with the City, starting tomorrow!
PCL library staff should report for their first day of work as PCL employees.  Community libraries will be open through the summer for the same hours as they have previously been open.
Library patrons and staff:  be prepared for a Celebration tomorrow!  Here is the list of events:
Fox Point–Live music inside and outside, kids’ crafts, and food, from 5-7pm.  This event will be taking place, weather permitting, in the courtyard in front of the library, and will last beyond the library’s scheduled closing hour.

Knight Memorial–Potluck from 6-7:30.

Mount Pleasant–Refreshments and kids’ events from 4-6.

Olneyville–Karaoke party from 5-7:30.

Rochambeau–Party in front of the library from 3-5:30.  Live music, origami demonstrations, and food.

Smith Hill–A cookout in the back garden and kids’ programs inside, from 4-7pm.  Food donated by Councilman Hassett.

South Providence–Party from 3-6.  Councilman Aponte will be providing hamburgers, the street will be blocked off, and a police horse will elay a book from South Providence to Fox Point at 3:30.

Wanskuck–Planting in front of the library, beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1. Refreshments will follow.

Washington Park–A Bigfoot film festival, debate and popcorn, starting at 2.

See you tomorrow!


June 29, 2009

Library Update

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 12:33 pm
Dear Library Supporters,
July 1 is nearly upon us.  As usual, we have a number of achievements to report–and one possibly major problem.

Our Executive Director search is running smoothly.  The first candidate, Donna Riegel, visited Providence at the end of the week, met with the Search Committee, the PCL Executive Committee, representatives from the PCL staff, the Mayor and his aides, etc., etc., and gave a presentation at Wanskuck Library on Thursday night.  The second candidate, Ophelia Gregiev Roop, director of the San Bernadino Library, will be given a public presentation at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday at Mount Pleasant Library.  There has been a change in the schedule for the third candidate.  Well, the schedule actually remains the same but the candidate has changed.

The person we had orignially planned to interview on Thursday has withdrawn her application, but fortunately, the Search Committee had another highly qualified candidate they wanted to interview in her place, so Ann Robinson, former library administrator from the Worcester/Framingham area, is now scheduled to speak at Rochambeau Library on July 2 at 7:00 p.m.

We have nearly finalized our official LIBRARY website, which will go live very shortly.  In the meantime, we hope you will visit the original PCL website one last time.  It has just been updated by Anisha Raoof, publisher of  Anisha has been managing our website for several months now, and she has done a wonderful job.

Since the PCL library staff is so close to the end of their jobs with PPL, we felt there could be no problem with naming the people who have been working so hard on our Transition Teams, so we have now publically acknowledged them online.  See We are very grateful to them for volunteering many hours of work to insure that PCL would be a success.

The July 1 Celebration schedule is posted both on our blog and our website Please visit these pages for the details. The Celebration Committee, with the assistance of all the Friends groups, has prepared a wonderful line-up of events, and we invite you all to participate.


With some very dedicated volunteer help, the Wanskuck Library storage room has been prepared for PCL office space,   Our staff should be able to move right into the room on Wednesday.  Likewise, the administrative space in South Providence is nearly ready.  Unfortunately, PPL has not yet agreed to permit our Tech Services staff to stay at Central for the one month until our lease begins on Olneyville House office space, so the people in that department may be starting work with PCL on August 1 unless PPL changes its mind.

We were unable to persuade PPL to part with its delivery truck, but we have been scouting around the used car dealers throughout the Providence area looking for a box truck and a pick-up truck that we can afford–and I think we are making progress.

Even though we have been working non-stop to ensure a smooth transfer from PPL to PCL on Wednesday, there is still a major threat confronting us. The City and PPL are negotiating a six-month renewable lease of the branch library buildings from PPL to the City, with the probability that the buildings would ultimately be conveyed outright to the City.  In either case, PCL would lease the buildings from the City.  After reviewing the lease this weekend, our lawyer is not certain that PCL is adequately protected by the terms of the lease and fears that we will be hampered in our ability to provide full library services to the public unless the wording of the lease is changed.  The City has a strong will to resolve this matter in a way that will be satisfactory to PCL and we can only hope that the matter is resolved by June 30, as we are very anxious to open on July 1 and avoid any interruption in neighborhood library service.  We will let you know as soon as we have more information on this.

June 27, 2009

PCL News

Filed under: News — Patricia @ 7:22 pm

PCL News

Search for PCL Executive Director

The three finalists for the position of Executive Director of the new Providence Community Library (PCL), will appear at public meetings where library patrons can learn about their backgrounds and hear them present their views on the present and future role of the public library in the urban community.

The first public meeting, with Donna Riegal, director of the North Palm Beach Library in Florida, took place on Thursday June 25th at 6:30 at the Wanskuck Library (223 Veasie St.)

The 2nd meeting, with Ophelia Gregiev Roop, director of the San Bernadino (CA) Library, will be held on Tuesday June 30th at 7:00 at the Mount Pleasant Library (314 Academy Avenue.) .

There has been a change in the scheduling of the final candidate for the position of PCL Executive Director. Ann Robinson, until recently the Associate Head Librarian of the Worcester Public Library, will be speaking at the 3rd Meeting on Thursday, July 2nd at 7:00 at Rochambeau Library (708 Hope St.)

Please feel free to come to as many meetings as you wish. This is a chance to meet the person who may be directing our library!

July 1 Celebration

To commemorate the transfer of library operations from Providence Public Library to Providence Community Library on July 1, local libraries will be marking this historic event, with celebrations at each of the nine libraries. To start, a day of amnesty has been declared on library fines, meaning that overdue books owned by the nine libraries can be returned without charge. Ribbons will be cut to open each building that day, and books will ceremonially be relayed from neighborhood to neighborhood over the course of the afternoon. The relay kicks off at the Knight Memorial branch at 2:30 pm, traveling counter-clockwise around the city and arriving back on Elmwood Avenue at 7:00 pm. Commemorative T-shirts will also be for sale at every library.

Additionally, each branch planned its own celebration for the day. The activities will include karaoke at Olneyville Library, origami lessons at Rochambeau and a cookout at Smith Hill. “This is an exciting day for the city of Providence,” says Matthew Lawrence, one of the organizers of the celebrations. “It’s also a great opportunity for people to rediscover their neighborhood libraries, and a chance for each neighborhood to show off for an afternoon.”

The relay times are:

2:30 Knight Memorial
3:00 Washington Park
3:30 South Providence
4:00 Fox Point
4:30 Rochambeau
5:00 Wanskuck
5:30 Smith Hill
6:00 Mount Pleasant (as they close…)
6:30 Olneyville
back to Knight for 7:00.

Picture 2Picture 1

June 23, 2009

PCL Update–June 23

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 3:48 pm

Dear library advocates,

Now that we are into the final stretch and almost ready to open the neighborhood libraries as part of the Providence Community Library next week, things are happening fast, and we have more news to report to you.

First of all, a couple of corrections:

I unaccountably left Fox Point Library off of the list of libraries that are keeping 100% of their current staff. We are all delighted that Julie Sabourin, Ann Schattle and Sandy Oliviera will continue to serve Fox Point patrons.

As a non-truck driver, I gave you the wrong type of truck that we need for our maintenance crew. We are looking for a 3/4 ton pick-up truck, not a flat-bed truck.

A Call for Help

This Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m. we will be reorganizing one of the basement rooms at Wanskuck Library on Veasie Street to make room for some of our PCL staff members. Please drop off empty packing boxes today or tomorrow. We need volunteers to help with the packing on Thursday morning.

Children’s Librarian Search

Mary Ellen Scott will be leaving her position as Children’s Librarian at Knight Memorial to go to Rochambeau as the Young Adult Librarian there. We are hiring a half-time Children’s Librarian for Knight. Please see our job posting below. We will also be posting this job on the OLIS jobline.)

Public Presentations by Candidates for PCL Executive Director

Our Search Committee has completed its review of the applicants and selected three finalists for the position of PCL Executive Director. All these applicants will be visiting Providence and giving public lectures over the next few days. We hope you can attend these presentations and check out the candidates yourselves.

The first public meeting, with Donna Riegal, director of the North Palm Beach Library in Florida, will take place on this Thursday June 25th at 6:30 at the Wanskuck Library (223 Veasie St.)
The 2nd meeting, with Ophelia Gregiev Roop, director of the San Bernadino (CA) Library, will be held on Tuesday June 30th at 7:00 at the Mount Pleasant Library (314 Academy Avenue.) .
The 3rd Meeting, with Nancy Lee Milnor, director of the Somerville (MA) Public Library, will be on Thursday, July 2nd at 7:00 at Rochambeau Library (708 Hope St.)

July 1 Celebrations

We are finalizing the plans for our reopening of the neighborhood libraries as PCL. I’ll be sending you further information in a few days.


Children’s Librarian

Providence Community Library

Providence RI

Salary: $19,000 to $25,000, with benefits

Status: 20 hours a week

Posted: June 22, 2009

Deadline: July 10, 2009

Providence Community Library is searching for a Children’s Librarian to work in a busy neighborhood library. The Children’s Librarian plans and implements a comprehensive program of service to young library users.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to

* selecting and purchasing library materials aimed at children and youth,
* planning, developing, coordinating and executing programs designed to serve children from toddlers to teens;
* providing reader’s advisory and reference assistance to parents, teachers and caregivers to develop pre-literacy and literacy skills to children;
* assisting patrons, particularly children and youth, in researching information on a wide variety of subjects
* acting as liaison with other agencies in the community serving children;
* creating an environment in the children’s area which provides for enjoyable and productive use of library resources.


MLS from an ALA accredited school is required, with a background in children’s work preferred.

Annual salary range of $19,000 to $25,000.

Applications received by July 10, 2009, will receive first consideration.

Please send a cover letter, a resume, and three references to

Providence Community Library is an equal-opportunity employer.

June 20, 2009

Library Update–June 20

Filed under: News — Patricia @ 10:09 pm

Dear library supporters,

Only a week and a half go until we open the PPL branches as PCL neighborhood libraries! We have accomplished much so far–with much left to do. We are fairly certain the libraries will open on July 1st, as planned, unless there are serious delays in the negotiations between PPL and the City to determine the status of the branch library buildings themselves.

But first for the good news.

The telephone network needs to be separated from PPL, and we have selected an excellent company to do this work. They assure us that they can set up our own telephone network with a minimum of disruption to staff and patrons, and they will be beginning their work next week.

The Celebration Committee has planned a gala event for July 1, with commemorative T-shirts for sale, events at all the libraries, and a ceremonial passing of new books from one library to another. Invitations will be going out soon. Attend the celebration at your local library and buy a PCL T-shirt!

The first round of the staffing process is drawing to a close, with nearly all of the positions in the neighborhood libraries filled. Although there were some unavoidable staffing changes, largely due to PPL’s having laid off a larger number of employees than PCL could accommodate, we are pleased to report that the staffing changes were fewer than we had anticipated. In fact, 100% of the same staff will remain at Mount Pleasant, Olneyville, Smith Hill, Washington Park, and Wanskuck.

The second round of the staffing process largely involves administrative positions. We have hired an excellent development director, Steven Kumins. Steve, who brings to the job his successful experience as the Development Director of Water Fire (2000-2004) and the Executive Director of the Pawtucket Armory Association (2004-2008). We are interviewing and on the cusp of hiring our Business Manager and the Human Resource director.

The Executive Director Search Committee has conducted a nationwide search and selected three finalists–from Massachusetts, Florida and California–to travel to Providence for interviews and to give public presentations. As soon as we have dates and locations for the presentations, we will let you know and we hope you will attend all of them.

Thanks for your help in finding us office space for our Technical Services department. Several people sent us suggestions and tips, and we have arranged to rent an office on Manton Avenue from Olneyville Housing Corporation. Thanks especially to Frank Shea and Ray O’Grady, of OHC, for their assistance and generosity.

The Friends Groups are continuing to strengthen and grow. South Providence and Washington Park Friends have taken a little while to get organized, but they are making good progress now. South Providence is having a Friends organizing meeting this Monday, and Washington Park Friends met last week. Wanskuck Friends held a successful book sale last Saturday. Mount Pleasant Friends has had great news. They were given a $2000 state grant for library programs last year; their state representative, Joanne Giannini was so pleased with their careful and effective spending of the money that she has recommended that they receive $3000 for this year! The Friends Council, composed of representatives from Friends Groups from across the City, has continued to meet and discuss common concerns. Their next meeting is scheduled for July 8.

All the Friends groups are selecting representatives for the PCL board, in time to attend the first board meeting at 5:30 on July 22 at Knight Memorial. Speaking of Board members, we are happy that the Governor has designated Mark McKenney as his representative on the PCL board; Mark has been a long-time advocate for library patrons–and for library staff–and we have always respected his comments and his votes on the PPL board.

Despite these many signs of progress, we must tell you that there are two major problems yet to be resolved.

The status of the library buildings themselves:

The City and PPL are continuing to negotiate over the fate of the branch buildings. According to the terms of the Library Agreement ratified last fall by the PPL Board of Trustees and the Providence City Council, the branch buildings would have been conveyed to the City in the case of the break up of the library system. This spring PPL declared that the Library Agreement was no longer in effect, even though it had been legally agreed upon by both parties. Lawyers for PPL and the City are working on a new agreement whereby the City would temporarily lease the buildings from PPL for a nominal amount, and PCL would in turn sublease the buildings from the City. Later on, PPL may agree to “convey” the buildings to City, so that the City would own them and then lease them to PCL. Whatever happens, we hope that PPL and the City can sign an agreement by July 1, as we cannot legally start operating our library system in the neighborhood library buildings until there is an agreement. Time is running short for resolving this issue.

Equipment needs:

We are still missing considerable equipment and furniture we will need to operate our libraries. We are again asking PPL to allow the technical and support employees who are coming to PPL to be permitted to bring “their” computers as well as other equipment and furniture related to their continued performance of services for branch patrons. This equipment, such as the book delivery truck, has been used for branch functions and as such we believe it should be given to PCL rather than left idle at Central.

A department that is crucial to keeping our libraries operating smoothly is the Maintenance Department. Our maintenance staff needs a considerable amount of equipment to help PCL get started, the most important of which is a flat-bed truck. PPL has only one such truck, and it is obviously impossible to divide it in half. If anyone can let us know of a truck we could purchase for PCL–at a fairly low price–we would be very grateful.

Our maintenance department is also going to need tools. Could anyone donate any of the following general tools? screw drivers, linesman pliers, plumbing pliers, pipe wrenches, a pipe cutter, sledge hammers, carpenter hammers, a nut driver set, a socket set, a wrench set, a pry bar, levels, a hand snake, wire strippers, a tube bender, t-squares, wire snips, trowels, a putty knife, a razor knife, c-clamps, a flexible conduit cutter, flashlights, drop lights, extension cords, propane torch, heavy-duty staple gun, electricial testers, plungers, and hacksaws. They also need a hand truck and 4-wheel dollies.

AND they need the following power tools: a screw gun, skill saw, table saw, jigsaw, hammer drill, power drill, power snake, wet/dry vac, power grinder, belt sander, palm sander, 6-gal air compressor and a chainsaw.

If you can provide us with any maintenance equipment, please let us know.

As you can see, there are a myriad of details involved in this transfer but with your continuing help we will pull it off!



P.S. In case you haven’t written these dates yet on your calendar:

Monday, June 22, is the annual Spelling Bee, sponsored by NotAboutTheBuildings. It starts at 9 p.m. and will take place at AS220. It’s free to watch and only $5 to spell. (Come early if you plan to compete.)

The Books Through Bars read-a-thon starts tomorrow. For both of these events, see the for details.

June 9, 2009

Looking for Office Space

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 8:46 pm

Dear library advocates,

One issue that still needs to be addressed before PCL can assume operation of the PPL neighborhood libraries on July 1 has to do with office space. While we eventually plan to renovate the second floor of Washington Park Library for our administrative and Tech Services offices, we need to house these operations for the next six to twelve months in temporary spaces until we can prepare the second floor of Washington Park for occupancy. We have found room within the existing branch library system for our temporary administrative offices, but we are still looking for temporary space suitable for Technical Services.

The Technical Services staff processes new books and other materials–and repairs damaged books, DVDs, and CDs. Heavy cartons of books are delivered by library suppliers and must be carried from delivery trucks to the Tech Services workspace. Once the library materials are processed, they must be carried out to the PCL van and distributed to the various neighborhood libraries.

We are looking for space that meets the following requirements:

* located in Providence
* has workspace easily accessible from a street-level delivery space (a second-floor space is fine–IF there is an elevator)
* can be securely locked
* has adequate lighting
* has wiring that will support computer use without the need for extensive cabling or sharing of computer drops
* is at least 600 square feet in dimension
* is climate-controlled, preferably with air conditioning

On top of all these requirements, we are looking for a space that will be relatively inexpensive to rent. We are hoping that someone who hasn’t managed to rent their office space, given the sluggish real estate market, would be willing to do a civic good deed for a few months and then have the building back again to rent at full market value once the economy starts to revive.

Please let me know if you can suggest any buildings that might fit our needs.

June 3, 2009

Making Progress

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 7:36 pm

Dear library supporters,

We are continuing to be making progress, although July 1 is getting VERY close.

The Executive Director Search Committee is reviewing applications from prospective candidates. They hope to bring two or three applicants to Providence later in June, and these finalists will give a public lecture to which everyone will be invited.

The Facilities Committee is examining several possible locations for Administrative and Tech Services offices and we should have definite news about the placement of these departments within the next week or so.

PPL issued its final list of staff positions last week, and PCL issued its list on Friday. Unfortunately, PPL is planning to lay off so many people that PCL can’t manage to pick up everyone whose job is being discontinued Downtown. Those staff members in the union who are being laid off by PPL can “bump” those with less seniority in the same job-category at the branches. While we hope that there will be as much continuity of branch staff as possible, we also are honoring the right of those with long-time service to PPL to keep jobs.

PCL has determined that the organizational structure of the neighborhood library system will be somewhat different from that which existed under PPL. Instead of three clusters of libraries, there will be two clusters—an eastern cluster which will probably include Rochambeau, Smith Hill, Fox Point, South Providence and Washington Park and a western cluster probably comprising Mount Pleasant, Knight Memorial, Olneyville and Wanskuck. These clusters will be administered by two Regional Supervisors. These Supervisors, together with a supervisor for a combined IT/Technical Services department, will constitute a new three-person administrative level just below the Executive and Deputy Directors.

The first PCL board meeting will be held at Knight Memorial Library at 5:30 on Wednesday, July 22, at which time we hope the nine Library Friends representatives and six public appointees will be present. Under PCL by-laws the Board meets monthly except August. The board will meet on Sept 16th for our first Annual meeting, when the board will formally elect its officers as well as the remaining board members–those members who are elected directly by the board. All meetings are open to the public and will run from 5:30 to 7:00. Except for the July meeting, we are planning to have all board meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Their location will rotate between the various branches.

We are contracting with Mouse Works to create and maintain our website, with in-house assistance from our staff. Mouse Works maintains several library websites in this area–including those for the Cranston, Pawtucket and Central Falls Libraries–and also the website for the RI Library Association. Our public meetings will be posted on our new website starting on July 1.

As July 1 approaches, the neighborhood library Friends groups are planning a celebration. There will be festivities held at every library, as well as general events on July 1. The Celebration Committee is hard at work on planning for the occasion, so we will have more details later on.

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