Library Reform Group

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:

December 23, 2009

Santa Comes Early to Smith Hill Library

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 11:26 pm

The Smith Hill Friends held its annual holiday bazaar on Saturday, December 5, with baked goods for sale, a holiday raffle, craft activities–and a visit from Santa. Here are some photos of the event, including a picture of Santa in action.

November 16, 2009

Knight Memorial Holds Open House

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 4:49 pm

On Saturday, November 14, the Open House sponsored by the Knight Memorial Friends of the Library drew a crowd, despite heavy wind and rain. Members of the Library Friends furnished a wide variety of foods, including a number of delicious desserts, and there was a crowd assembled all afternoon around the refreshment tables.

Knight Memorial Library took full advantage of its many separate rooms on two floors to offer over a dozen separate events. While some library patrons, as usual, looked for books, did homework, and used the computers, others practiced line dancing, listened to chamber music and poetry by performers from AUREA–or music by guitarist Art Toegemann, painted ceramics, engaged in craft making, bought a PCL T-shirt, visited the Anti-Tobacco table, read the asthma literature, had their blood pressure checked, watched a slide show of historic photos of the Knight Memorial Library, viewed a video on KML today produced by KML Friend Daniel Leone, played chess, or just visited with one another and with the Knight Memorial Library staff. RISD professor Jim Barnes strolled through the library with the RISD students (Ming-Yi Wong, Kevin Crace, and Lilli Avenia) who are preparing an architectural report on the Knight Memorial Library building.

It is hard to believe that the KML’s Friends group is only six months old!

November 15, 2009

Senator Whitehouse Visits PCL Libraries

Filed under: 1 — Patricia @ 7:52 pm

We are delighted to report that Senator Shelton Whitehouse visited two of PCL’s community libraries on Thursday, November 12.

He began his visit at Smith Hill Library, where, guided around the main library floor by librarian Alan Gunther, he met and talked with the many children and some adults checking out books, lining up for the computers and interacting freely to one another around tables of games and books. In the community room downstairs, Children’s Specialist Jennifer Romans was conducting a PASA class – “Read and Rap”–where the kids took turns reading poems. Pressured to recite a poem himself, Senator Whitehouse rose to the occasion and did so!

The Senator remarked to PCL Trustee Linda Kushner that he was really impressed with the vitality of Smith Hill. “Those children own that place; they are so at home,” he remarked. “They weren’t at all disturbed by us adults being there.” The kids may have been slightly nonplussed at having several adults visiting their class, but they were really impressed when the Senator joined in with a poem of his own. What a great experience for those children and for the Senator!

Sen. Whitehouse then went South Providence Library, where he had the opportunity to see a busy renovated library that is in excellent physical condition. Since Smith Hill and South Providence were both built in the early 1930s, the physical differences between the two buildings and the urgent repair needs of Smith Hill were clear to the Senator.

At South Providence Library the Senator met PCL Executive Director Ann Robinson and the administrative staff of PCL. He toured the PCL administrative office, the small computer laboratory in the basement of South Providence where 5 of our 6 administrators are now camped. We hope to move our administrative offices to a more suitable location as soon as we can and return this space to South Providence to have for patrons’ computer use.

It’s great that Senator Whitehouse had the opportunity to see how important our neighborhood libraries are to Providence communities, and we thank him for taking the time to visit us.

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