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  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 2:35 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The Rhode Island Library Association Executive Board is pleased to endorse Ed Garcia for President of the American Library Association.

    Ed has been a leader in our organization for many years. As chair of our Legislative Action Committee, he has presented testimony at the State House, written bills, and secured key meetings with legislative leadership, the governor, and the Department of Education on important issues, such as state aid to libraries and support of school librarians. Ed has represented Rhode Island on a national level, working with our congressional delegation and as a regular attendee for National Library Legislative Day.

    Ed is an informed, capable, and caring library leader, and will be a positive and visionary ALA president.

    The 2020-2021 RILA Executive Board

  • Monday, October 26, 2020 2:29 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE

    Rhode Island Library Association Awards Librarians, Library Professionals, and Library Supporters

    The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) presented its annual awards at the RILA Annual Conference, which was held virtually on Thursday, May 28th, through Friday, May 29th, 2020 on Zoom. The theme for the conference was “Think Outside the Books,” and the recipients of this year’s awards exemplify the library community’s commitment to finding creative solutions to contemporary challenges.

    “We had hoped to hold an in-person ceremony at some point to recognize the achievements of our award winners,” said RILA president Julie Holden, “but it might be many more months before we can do so. We want to formally congratulate this year’s recipients with the hope that we will be able to celebrate in person at a later date.”

    The 2020 RILA Award winners are:

    • Library Champion Award: Ida D. McGhee (retired) founder of Cornucopia of RI (CORI), a library community of color, and advocate for the power of libraries to change our world.

    • Outstanding Librarian Award: Jana Stevenson, Director of Warwick Public Library.

    • Outstanding Library Paraprofessional Award: Emily Greene, Head of Interlibrary Loan at the University of Rhode Island’s Robert L. Carothers Library.

    • Trustee of the Year Award: Stephen Cicilline, Chair of the Greenville Public Library Board of Trustees.

    • Meritorious Friend of the Library Award: Michelle Lefort, for her volunteer work at Primrose Hill School Library, Hampden Meadows School Library, Barrington Middle School Library, and Barrington Public Library.

    • Special Thanks to Carla Weiss (Rhode Island College, retired) and Jim Kinnie (University of Rhode Island, retired) for their decades of service leading RILA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. Through the years, Carla and Jim have led RILA in championing the value of intellectual freedom in addressing the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the USA PATRIOT Act, banned books, patron privacy and confidentiality, and net neutrality.

    The Rhode Island Library Association is a professional organization that serves its members through career development, education, advocacy, networking partnerships, and legislative action. 

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  • Sunday, October 11, 2020 2:10 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The New York Library Association virtual conference is extending member pricing to Rhode Island. For every RILA member who registers by Oct. 31st, RILA will receive 50% of your registration fee.

    Click here to register. Use the code "PROVIDENCE" to register.

    NYLA 2020 Virtual Conference "Strengthening Our Core"
  • Saturday, October 03, 2020 11:42 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Free virtual event to examine visionary approaches to resource sharing

    On November 18th, the Library of Rhode Island (LORI) Resource Sharing Working Group, in partnership with the state library agencies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, presents a day-long, free, virtual conference to bring together library staff from all over New England to learn about the future of resource sharing. 

    The event, which is called "Sharing Visions" and kicks off at 9:00am, features keynote speaker Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and the May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware. Dawes will speak about the changing landscape of resource sharing and examine its future role as an integral part of library services.

    In other sessions, Nettie Lagace of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) will examine how standards can support resource sharing partnerships. A team from Connecticut State Library will discuss the implementation of its Evergreen FulfILLment project. Sebastian Hammer, Co-Founder and President of Index Data, will speak about Project ReShare, a community-owned resource sharing system. Hammer will be joined by Jill Morris, the Executive Director of PALCI, the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, and Kristen Wilson, Project Manager and Business Analyst at Index Data. Dazza Greenwood of the MIT Media Lab will share insights about patron identity management.

    The day will close with a presentation on delivery sustainability, with remarks by Chaichin Chen of the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services, Dawn LaValle of Connecticut State Library, and Janet McKenney of Maine State Library.

    Staff from all library types are invited to participate. For more information and to register, please visit the conference web page.

  • Saturday, October 03, 2020 11:23 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)


    The Rhode Island COVID-19 Archive is a public digital archive created and maintained by the Providence Public Library and the Rhode Island Historical Society in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. 

    Created in March 2020, during the beginning of our state’s stay-at-home orders, the digital archive is composed of submissions from Rhode Islanders from all walks of life documenting and sharing their lived experiences during the pandemic. The archive strives to represent the diversity of experiences throughout our state; we believe that every person in our community has something of value to contribute to this documented history, and that we are empowered by telling our many stories. We’re particularly interested in views that may be otherwise lost, obscured, or ignored in news media accounts, press releases, and government advisories. 

    The archive is built on an Omeka platform, and uses a number of stock and slightly modified plugins, along with a customized theme. Project team members focus on different aspects of the archive and its operation (technology, cataloging and metadata, outreach, and/or education) based on their interests and skill sets.

    We’re happy to accept contributions to the archive from librarians and library users across the state, and also welcome submissions of collections from individuals or groups. Some examples of collections could include:

    • Classroom assignments

    • Neighborhood support efforts

    • Artistic & creative projects

    • Non-profit organizational responses

    • Social media groups

    We encourage RILA members to contact us if they have questions about the archive or ideas about potential collaborations.

  • Friday, August 14, 2020 10:43 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Pandemic pivot does not dampen enthusiasm or participation

    The Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids (RILINK), the statewide consortium of K-12 school libraries, held its twelfth annual conference in July—this time with a virtual twist. The unusual circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic necessitated either cancelling the event entirely or switching to an exclusively online platform. The former option was out of the question, and RILINK staff felt ready to handle the challenges of the latter.

    With great thanks to the RILA Conference Committee for lending training materials and providing advance support and guidance, RILINK presented “Standard Bearer: Library to Classroom” on July 14, 15, and 16. The event was free to all, featured keynote speakers and 20 sessions, and was broadcast using Zoom.

    Professor Mary Moen of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) joined librarian Marianne Mirando of Westerly High School to present a keynote address that introduced attendees to the new Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide.


    Marianne Mirando co-presents the keynote session on July 14

    According to Moen and Mirando, the development and implementation of the Guide was 4 years in the making and involved a committee of several School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI) members. Taking its foundation (with permission) from similar work done in New York, the Rhode Island School Library Curriculum is “aligned with the 2018 AASL National School Library Standards and includes grade level benchmarks, lesson plan ideas and graphic organizer assessments.” Anchor Standards and Indicators establish a framework for guiding school librarians through the curriculum and scaffolding information literacy and research instruction across all grade levels.

    The Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide is hosted on the RILINK Schools site and may be viewed at guides.rilinkschools.org/riproject.

    Other conference presenters included school and public librarians and library staff, members of AskRI and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS), professional consultants, and vendors. Topics included using social media for library advocacy, capturing library usage data, navigating Google Classroom, and connecting students with #OwnVoices fantasy novels. Members of the Rhode Island Children’s, Middle School, and Teen Book Award Committees (RICBA, RIMSBA, and RITBA, respectively) presented the latest nominees and award-winning titles. RILINK staff offered a variety of sessions on consortium member benefits and services.

    From “Advocating for the Library with Social Media”

    Initial conference feedback was very positive, and RILINK anticipates increased demand for future virtual sessions. Jackie Lamoureux, one of RILINK’s Member Services Librarians, stated that she “missed personally meeting and networking with colleagues [but that] the virtual conference format had a lot going for it. More people were able to attend, and presenters didn’t have any travel issues.” Donna Good, RILINK’s eResources specialist, was impressed that “through the monitoring of the invaluable 'Chat' [feature in Zoom], we were able to observe the participants' enthusiastic comments, questions, sharing, and the resulting flow of their creative juices.”

    Attendees had similarly enthusiastic remarks about both conference topics and the virtual platform, with one who stated that “the Zoom conference was the next best thing to a live conference,” and another who “felt very comfortable with [the technology] and might even prefer this to an in-person conference in the future.” 

    Sharon Webster, who served as the primary conference project manager and is RILINK’s Professional Learning and Technology Support Specialist, was energized by the "positive feedback from participants” and pointed out that “the almost flawless execution of our first virtual conference is testament to the hard work of the entire RILINK team."

    View complete RILINK Summer Conference 2020 details at guides.rilink.org/sc2020.

  • Friday, August 07, 2020 2:12 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    by Stephanie Mills

    School librarians are no stranger to collaborating with teachers within their buildings, but this past school year found them relying on their professional colleagues for ideas. When students and teachers went to distance learning, school librarians immediately tapped into their creativity to continue offering services to students in different ways. From driving house to house to deliver books, as Meredith Moore did, to creating fun Tik Toks to keep their students entertained (we are looking at you, Tasha White), school librarians tried to keep their students at the heart of their plans. 

    As a giant question mark looms over the upcoming school year, Melanie Roy and Stephanie Mills, both middle school librarians, have been brainstorming ideas for how to continue to meet the needs of students. Many schools have already said that traditional library visits will not be allowed. Here’s a list of what they hope to accomplish this year!

    1. Collaborate with our incredible public librarians to ensure we are providing every possible opportunity to our patrons.

    2. Hold a public library card application drive to promote that a library card is an essential “back to school” supply, just like a pen or pencil! Also, provide a link to apply online as another viable option for families. Ask our faculty to put a “public library card” on their back-to-school supply list they provide to students and families.

    3. Plan an online orientation for students, with a focus on accessing digital platforms for reading and research. What we realized in the Spring is that creating short videos for students, teachers, and families to access is just GOOD teaching practice. Plan a place to store these videos for later use by our patrons - preferably on our library websites.

    4. Devise a weekly system to provide readers with book recommendations. Promote ebooks and audiobooks, particularly through BookLynx and Overdrive as a priority. We are unsure about ILL delivery, so finding ways to get books we do not have in the hands of our readers is of utmost importance.

    5. Curate and share up-to-date resources available to students, teachers, and families as well as video tutorials on our library websites. Create a library Google Classroom students and staff can access for login information that cannot be posted publicly.

    6. Devise creative ways to get books into readers’ hands - pod bins for 6 weeks, longer patron checkouts, deliver and pick up books at homerooms.

    7. Be good models of copyright adherence for students and staff by sharing Kiera Parrott’s SLJ Publisher Directory widely, in order to properly implement online read alouds for our students. Perhaps create a video about copyright adherence for our staff to access as well.

    8. Provide “Reader’s Advisory” via a Google Form. While students may be able to use RICAT to log in and place a hold on a specific title, many students will still need to be guided to new reading choices. Having an open-ended Google Form allows students to give examples of books and authors they have enjoyed or topics they would like to know more about, giving the librarian more opportunities to provide personalized titles. Also, be sure to promote AskRI.org’s NoveList to teach students how to advocate for themselves.

    9. Post photos of books and book displays to school social media to provide as many opportunities as possible for our patrons to virtually “browse” the library.

    10. Create ways to keep students engaged in the content-fun distractions like trivia sent out in Google Classroom, “Where’s Waldo” pictures with your Bitmoji hidden, weekly resources featured, ask for student input to establish weekly hashtags to engage the larger community.

    11. Provide online office hours to give staff and students opportunities to see you and learn outside of regular lessons.

    12. Establish a weekly time for students who would normally want to chat about books, life, etc. (your library regulars) a time to Zoom and connect. Create a shared Google Slideshow that they can add book recommendations to and refer back to later for ideas. Consider a blog for students (Thanks, Heidi Blais!) to submit book recommendations! (Here's a middle school example).

    13. Above all, try to think of this as “one difficult year.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the uncertainty and the knowledge that we aren’t able to teach how we normally do. However, librarians are always a mix of creativity and ingenuity, and this can be a year to show all our stakeholders that we can shine, even in the face of adversity.

  • Saturday, July 25, 2020 11:08 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    By Juliann Cerrito

    I had a simple objective: to revisit the village where I was a Peace Corps volunteer and, perhaps, to see if the library I created still existed and to find a former co-teacher or two. Was it that difficult? Apparently, yes, it was. 

    Thirty-seven years ago, I was a senior in college and pondering my future after graduation. A small poster in Emerson Hall at Western New England College caught my attention. It was for the Peace Corps, and I decided to inquire. I ended up applying and, boy, what a process! It took 7 months to receive an acceptance letter. I departed in September 1984 for San Diego, then Manila. I then spent 2½ years living and working in the Philippines; I met my husband there. 

    After a 3-month training, I ended up in a simple town where rice and corn were its main crops. First I reported to the rural health unit in town, and then I made my way from there. Health educators in the Peace Corps have no job descriptions, and the job is as “loosey-goosey” as it comes. I met the doctor that led the clinic, and she was lovely. I also met her midwives and health technicians. Crying babies, frail elderly folks, and the like lined the room on sturdy wooden benches. I noticed that people would show up at 8:00 am, hoping the doctor would arrive at 9:00 am, only to finally be seen by 1:00 pm. Many times, they waited until late in the afternoon to be seen. There was a carinderia (a small outdoor restaurant) outside the clinic where patients and staff could get cold drinks and lunch. 

    I began visiting nearby barrios with the midwives, hoping one would catch my interest and had a need I could fill. I knew I would not stay in town and live the rather luxurious lifestyle of color TV and maid service that I had in the home I was then occupying. I knew the Peace Corps meant sacrifice and aiding others. I finally chose a village, called Aromin, which was led by a woman and was located in a corn-growing region. The village was reachable by public transport—though “transport” meant 25 minutes in a jeep, then a boat ride across the river, then 1 hour on foot…in the hot sun! I did use a parasol. The village was very poor and didn’t have electricity or running water at that time. My home, which was built for me, was constructed of bamboo and had a grass roof. Beautiful as it was, it was fragile and blew away in a typhoon about 20 years ago. 

    Very slowly, I assessed the needs of the community and, as a health volunteer, I determined that dental education in the elementary school and basic health classes at the high school would be my objectives. In addition, I taught mothers’ classes on Saturday, which included dental care, nutrition, family planning, and potable water projects. The high school was one village over and, after speaking to the principal, we agreed I would teach the juniors and seniors three times per week, half in English and half in Tagalog (the medium of instruction in the Philippines). I had my own lingua franca, if you will. The school had a tin roof and no doors. Oftentimes, I would sweat profusely trying to teach and, yes, wonder why I was there. 


    Children in Aromin

    My first observation was that there was no library anywhere. I’m not sure why I was surprised. The entire town did not have one; neither did the local university. The closest libraries were at the prestigious University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de la Philippines, two upper-crust schools. I had grown up privileged, but didn’t know it: my hometown in Rhode Island had a lovely library, as did the surrounding towns. I used to bike to the East Greenwich Public Library to be greeted by Mrs. Rice and Ms. McPartland. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books were my favorites. After being in the Philippines for 4 months, I learned that comic books were one of the only reading sources. The Manila Times was available and read in town, but it never made it out to the village. The paper was considered a luxury. 

    My peers were equally distressed to find out there was no library. After sharing resources with each other, we learned that the US Navy had a book sponsorship program. Books could be mailed to San Diego, and then the Navy would transport them overseas. I proceeded to ask friends and family to put together cartons of books they were not using and mail them out to California. They were happy to oblige. The Navy also contributed books. 

    Approximately 6 months later, a small truck arrived at the high school with many crates of books. It was extremely exciting. I was given a room in which to set up a library. It took a few days! My biggest concern was the security of the books, but I had to let that go. There was no way a building with few doors and no locks could keep a library safe. The rule was that students could read the books during the school period, before and after school, and during lunch. I had chosen elementary-level books for the collection. Although the local children and teens had only a basic knowledge of English, they still enjoyed the pictures and the challenge. 

    My contract expired in December 1986, and I headed home in January of 1987. I decided to return in 2020. My two sons and I had planned this trip for 9 months, and we planned to leave on March 3rd. We discussed the pandemic carefully ahead of time, but we decided to go through with the trip--my sons’ grandmother, Carmen, is 95 years old, and we did not know if we would ever see her again. 

    We were puzzled to find the JFK airport virtually empty. Our flight to Seoul was 75% empty, which was alarming as well. We arrived as the Philippines was experiencing the very early stages of the pandemic. Every store we visited had a temperature taker at the front door, and people were wearing masks. Patience was the only way to endure the visit. 

    One evening at Grandma Carmen’s home, there was a knock on the door. We opened it to find three local health officials. Rumors had circulated that foreigners were in town, and the officials wanted to ask us questions about our health and take our temperatures. It was odd, to say the least. We had a lengthy discussion and because I’d had a cold the week before, we were labeled “suspicious.” We were instructed to visit a hospital the next day for blood tests to see whether our white blood count was elevated; COVID-19 tests were not available. 

    This didn’t go over very well with me or my family. I wanted to proceed to my village the following day, not visit a local hospital. In fact, I was told I couldn’t visit my village. I was beside myself. The people in Aromin had planned an enormous party for me, because they hadn’t seen me in 33 years. The following day, we had to visit two hospitals to get the travel clearance we needed in order to go home the following week. The hospitals were basic, with no gloves and no COVID-19 tests. After getting clearance from hospital number two, the doctor asked to take photos. I thought that was odd. While the doctor took photos, I noticed a sign on the wall announcing that cleft palate surgery was now free and that next week was “Leprosy Prevention Week.” I was perplexed that leprosy was still a problem there. I was glad that cleft palate surgery was now free. What a difference between here and home.


    Juliann and her Family Visiting the Hospital

    After visiting the hospitals, my family was still considered “under suspicion,” but I was given permission to travel to Aromin. I went the next day, but was only able to stay for 4 hours. We had to leave the next morning for Manila, because the capital was closing in so many days and we would have missed our flight back to the United States. 

    I learned that the library I’d established no longer exists. All the books were taken into peoples’ homes; that is fine by me. There has never been another initiative in 33 years to develop another library. Think of this, and love your library.

  • Friday, June 05, 2020 10:35 AM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) condemns the actions of police brutality in Minneapolis that led to the horrific death of George Floyd, and stands with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the American Library Association (ALA) in condemning violence and racism towards black people and all people of color. For far too long, we have witnessed the destruction of lives and communities at the hands of those who feel that people’s skin color determines their worth.  

    We condemn the persistent threats and systemic oppression that people of color face daily in this country and around the world.   

    We affirm libraries as champions of democracy and a free society and will continue to stand up, with, and for people of color in our profession and in our community. 

    RILA believes in advocacy, collaboration, diversity, equity, inclusion, equal access for all, and intellectual freedom. 

    RILA commits to work towards anti-racist education and will use our collective voice to speak against biased behaviors that limit the rights of people of color to equitable treatment in local, state, and national policies. In the darkness, we will bring the light.  

    The RILA Executive Board

    The Rhode Island Library Association is a member organization and includes the following sections: Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI), a library community of color, the Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA), and the School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI). 



  • Monday, May 11, 2020 3:16 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

    Warwick Public Library Children’s Staff Gets Creative

    What Happens When Children’s Librarians Are Put on a Stay-at-Home Order?

    Members of the Warwick Public Library (WPL) Children’s Department have used their natural creativity to reimagine how to deliver vital programs and services to their patrons during the coronavirus pandemic. Their revamp of the Kids Page on the Library’s website was created by Ellen O’Brien, Children’s Department Manager, and staff members Pam Miech, Christine Kayal, Andrea Hutnak, and Corey Paul, and features several ways that children and their families can stay connected to all that WPL has to offer even while staying at home. 

    In addition to recorded story times and Zoom book group meetings, the Children’s Librarians have brainstormed other activities that do not revolve around screen time. The Spring Reading Program started on April 1 and uses the Beanstack reading program tool. In addition to reading, participants are encouraged to complete various activities to earn badges. So far, 303 participants of all ages have logged over 28,000 minutes of reading and activities. Participation is not limited to just Warwick residents—interested patrons from all over the state may join in.

    This summer, WPL will be using Beanstack in place of its usual Summer Reading Program. Activities will include visiting various historical sites in the city, performing Daily Acts of Kindness, and finding different ways to enjoy a book, such as reading to family members or pets. Department Manager O’Brien is working with the Warwick School Department to train teachers on using Beanstack for summer learning assignments.

    “Librarians are naturally resourceful and masters at finding the tools they need to provide the best possible services to patrons,” says Jana Stevenson, WPL Deputy Director. “There are many valuable resources online, but our librarians are also working to provide access to experiences offline. As we move forward to plan for a Summer Reading Program that will be like no other, I am confident the librarians of Rhode Island will provide a reprieve in a time of chaos.”

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