The Library has had a long-standing relationship with the Narragansett-Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who over many years have generously donated books and shelving for the Library's local history collection. Since the needlework's subject matter was George Washington, the Library approached the Chapter in the spring of 2017 to ask if they would be interested in exploring the possibility of a restoration. They agreed, and the Library contacted the Textile Conservation Laboratory to set up a visit.
The Laboratory, for a nominal standard fee, will examine an item and prepare a "Conservation Analysis & Recommendations and Treatment Report." Rebecca Kelly, Director of the Laboratory, and one or two of her students came to the Library to take a look at “George.” On the basis of that visit, they produced the report laying out the anticipated work and costs. This was shared with the DAR Chapter, which agreed to fund the project.
Framing was done at the Laboratory, with components brought there by the framer, eliminating the need for transport to a different location. The cost of framing, separate from the conservation itself, was shared equally by the DAR Chapter and Friends of the Peace Dale Library.
“George,” newly vibrant, came "home" in May, 2019. On May 22, the Library hosted a public unveiling, with Rebecca Kelly as the featured speaker. As the next century of life for this historic artwork begins, we invite all in the RILA community to come take a look!
In midst of a funding battle, Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett is a finalist to be named one of the Nicest Places in America.
As the people of this seaside town fight to save their library, the librarians go about their business, serving the community.
Narragansett’s public library is so unassuming that you might drive right by it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. But to the 15,000 people who make this seaside town their home, the library is where the knitting club meets, high schoolers hunker with tutors, preschoolers sit wide-eyed at story time—and where it’s impossible to miss how gracious the staff is in the face of an existential threat.
Recently the town council voted to slash the facility’s budget in half and put on hold plans for a much-needed new building for the 10,000 people who visit a month. The library may lose its eligibility for additional state funding, putting five full-time and 14 part-time staffers’ jobs in jeopardy. The fight has gotten ugly at times, with heated arguments at town council meetings. Through it all, the librarians have stayed above the fray, continuing to smile, making the library an oasis of civility even as a battle rages around it.
“We have no say in the politics,” says library director Patti Arkwright. “So we just go with the flow. We’re just happy to serve the people who use our library.”
“As soon as you come through that door, they make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world,” says local resident Suzan Amoruso, who nominated the place. When her grandchildren visit from out of town, the first place they ask to go is the library.
Supporters drop in regularly with boxes of chocolates and plates of cookies for library staffers, who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. Like the time when a woman told a librarian she was lonely and longed for a dog. A short time later another patron mentioned plans to move and the need to rehome a dog. The librarian connected the two parties and a match was made.
At a recent council meeting, one woman stood and gave the crowd a history lesson about the town that has been her home for more than 90 years. The library, she argued, is a reflection of Narragansett’s core values kindness and civility, no matter what you’re facing. Before she sat back down, she said simply, “This is who we are. We are this library.”
As the current town council attempts to dismantle the library, the librarians continue to make it a center of the community. Residents are gathering around to save the library.
In a very outdated space, the librarians continue to run very current and interesting programs. They speak out at every town council meeting to try to convince the present town council that a library is not just a place to check out a book. They stay calm and positive.
The first place my grandchildren want to visit is the library. Other residents in Rhode Island say, “I love your library.” The librarians there are so nice, so helpful.
I had a very sentimental chair that my mother sat in. When it had to be given away the library was the perfect place for it. I can visit it and when I see others in it reading it brings me joy. Residents are doing all they can to prevent the library from being cut and to have it moved into the building that was purchased by the town. And through it all, the library staff keep welcoming all who enter.
A donated chair that reminds our nominator of her mother is one of many things that make this place special. Photo courtesy Suzan Amoruso.
Think that Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett, Rhode Island is the Nicest Place in America? Vote here!
Have you shared a book with young people in your school, family or community that you would recommend to others? The Rhode Island Library and Information Network for Kids (RILINK) invites you to share that title with others in our online survey. Click on the image to participate!
When opportunity comes knocking, make sure you’re ready! The 2019 RILA Conference will offer resume review by professionals in the field who regularly hire staff and know what will get you the attention you desire when applying for jobs.
Resume Review sessions will be held 3-4PM on Wednesday, May 22nd and 10:15-11:15AM on Thursday, May 23rd.
Drop-ins are welcome, so bring your resume with you to the RILA Conference! If you’d like more in-depth, personalized resume advice, please email your resume to email@example.com for review prior to the conference.
Even if you’re not actively job hunting, it’s always a good idea to keep your resume updated. Don’t miss this opportunity to give your resume a spring makeover with professionals from across the library and human resources field!
On April 1, Cranston Public Library’s (CPL’s) Central branch was the gathering place for over 50 library colleagues and special guests for a “Conversation on the State of Our Libraries,” with U.S. Senator Jack Reed and Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), as featured speakers. CPL Director Ed Garcia warmly welcomed guests and turned the podium over to Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who gratefully acknowledged that Senator Reed has long been a champion of libraries.
Senator Reed focused his remarks on the “new and improved” Museum and Library Services Act of 2018, which was signed into law on December 31, 2018. “All Americans are beneficiaries of libraries,” the Senator said. “We are not individual islands—this is a connected system.” Emphasizing the critical nature of these partnerships, he went on to extol the Act’s legislative highlights in making libraries hubs for community involvement and providing crucial support for digital, financial, and other literacies, as well as fostering lifelong learning. Senator Reed also expressed his “special duty” as successor to the late Senator Claiborne Pell to support the IMLS, which he recognized as an important part of the Pell legacy.
Dr. Matthew opened her talk by explaining why the Institute chose its “Transforming Communities” theme for its new Strategic Plan. Libraries must “turn inside out to connect with what your constituents feel is important,” she said, declaring that libraries should “work with the momentum of their communities—it’s not up to the IMLS to say what that is.” Therefore, she continued, that’s why the IMLS has a new mission to “advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development.”
Senator Reed, Dr. Matthew, CPL Director Ed Garcia, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung
(Photo Credit: Sarah Bouvier, CPL Library Communications Manager)
The enthusiastic crowd was especially appreciative of Dr. Matthew’s announcement that all small states will now benefit from a reconfigured IMLS funding formula, with Rhode Island receiving $1,086,913 in 2019. She offered tips for applying for IMLS grants, which include reviewing the Institute’s Strategic Plan, forming meaningful community collaborations and partnerships, understanding the impact of projects (including how to both pilot and evaluate them), anchoring work in what’s already been discovered, and using known data and practice to take risks to evolve. Dr. Matthew also pointed her audience to the IMLS “Biscuits vs. Granola” blog post of June 18, 2018 for practical advice on “how practitioners can scale up a new idea.”
In her conclusion, Dr. Matthew emphasized the need for efforts to “identify opportunities for further capacity- and skill-building” as an essential part of “understanding the social wellbeing impacts of the nation’s libraries and museums. ” A January 2017 “Community Catalyst” report is available online to help with this process.
In the next segment of the program, during which library staff from around the state spoke about new projects and initiatives, Rhode Island Chief of Library Services Karen Mellor kicked things off by recognizing that “We are one of the handful of states that enshrines the right to library services in its Constitution” and by acknowledging that an “extensive network allows Rhode Island to move forward with innovative projects and respond to the needs of all library types.”
Danielle Margarida of OLIS addresses the group
Select speakers then spoke for a few minutes each about resourceful, transformative library projects and services happening in Rhode Island. These include:
The Office of Library and Information Services’ (OLIS) participation in the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) pilot cohort of Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach. Through this project, Danielle Margarida, OLIS Youth Services Coordinator, and Rebecca Ott, Tiverton Public Library Teen Librarian, have been trained to transform teen services by training teen librarians to feel more comfortable integrating connected learning and computational thinking into teen programs and services. The project is being implemented by YALSA in partnership with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and is funded by the IMLS.
The My Woonsocket Life Studio Rhode project at Woonsocket Public Library, described by Library Director Leslie Page as a means to “get people in the community thinking about community identity” through short videos in which patrons talk about the past, present, and future of the city.
The EXCITE Transformation for Libraries “boot camp” training program, in which several RI libraries (including teams from Bryant University, CPL, and Westerly Public Library) were joined by other library teams from around the Northeast to learn how to “reverse engineer” programming and services to better meet the needs of patrons. Julie Holden (Assistant Director, CPL), Maura Keating (Research and Instruction Librarian, Douglas and Judith Krupp Library, Bryant University), and Bill Lancelotta (Assistant Director, Westerly Public Library) described how the training provided valuable tools for refining the design thinking process and enabling library staff to connect with communities in new and exciting ways. Funding for the training is made possible by IMLS grant # RE-95-17-0068-17 in the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.
Using virtual reality to “bring” attractions to Providence Community Library (PCL) patrons, as discussed by Library Director Cheryl Space and IT Manager David Sok. Virtual Providence “is a series of 360-degree video tours of cultural institutions in Providence created by local teens in the library.” PCL has also developed a Computer Builders program that teaches kids and teens how to build computers, which are then fitted with a plaque with their names and added to the computer lab. This is an ongoing program that began in 2017.
The Rhode Island Library Association is pleased to announce that our Annual Conference registration is now open! The 2019 RILA Conference is packed with fantastic keynotes, breakout sessions, poster presentations, and networking opportunities for all library types. Register now to lock in early-bird rates!
RILA 2019: Get Informed!
Bryant University, Smithfield, RI
May 22nd & 23rd, 2019
G. Wayne Miller, Director, Story in the Public Square
Wanda Brown, ALA President-Elect
Michael A. Spikes, Consultant, News Media Literacy
Join your colleagues at the 2019 RILA Conference – we can’t wait to see you there! Early-bird pricing ends May 10th, so don't delay, register today!
New England Library Leadership Symposium Info Night
Wednesday, February 20 at 6 pm
Panera Bread, 4000 Chapel View Blvd in Cranston
Are you looking to enhance your career with library leadership training? The New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS) is a five-day intensive training program designed to foster the mentoring and development of library leaders. Learn about this exciting opportunity for career and personal growth by attending the NELLS Info Night at the Chapel View Panera near Garden City in Cranston on Wed, Feb 20 at 6 pm. Speak with NELLS alum currently working in Rhode Island libraries and NELLS 2017 mentor, Dorothy Swain to gain insight on how this training benefited them and what you can get out of it.
Email your NELA State Representative, Jessica D’Avanza to RSVP and/or for questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or find our Facebook event and let us know you are “going.”
NELLS takes place every other year and this year’s Symposium will be held in North Andover, MA at the Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center from August 12 to 16, 2019. It is led by ALA past-president Maureen Sullivan and is a cooperative effort of the New England Library Association and all six New England state library associations. Applications with 3 letters of reference are being accepted through March 15. More information can be found here.
Money Smart Week begins on March 30th! Still haven’t booked a program? The Financial Literacy Roundtable has compiled a list of contacts for financial education providers throughout the state to help you get started: Financial Literacy Program Resource List.
We would love to help you promote your Money Smart Week events, so please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, March 1st. Events will be listed in our statewide calendar, posted to our Money Smart Week RI Facebook page (follow us there!), and promoted at our kick-off event.
RILA Financial Literacy Roundtable
The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) welcomes the School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI) into our organization as new RILA Section.
“SLRI is excited to move forward and join forces with our colleagues across Rhode Island,” stated Lisa Girard, SLRI President. “We will be stronger together!”
“RILA’s mission is to serve all librarians in our state and this collaboration will help us to further this goal”, says Kieran Ayton, President of RILA.
SLRI is a professional organization representing school library media professionals and support staff working for school library media, computer, and instructional technology programs in Rhode Island. The purpose of SLRI is to provide leadership and support for school library media professionals and support staff in the development, promotion, improvement, and evaluation of school library media, computer, and instructional technology programs in all Rhode Island schools. You can visit the SLRI website here.
Members of all both organizations can now join or renew their Section memberships on the RILA website
The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) is a professional organization that serves its members through career development, education, advocacy, networking partnerships and legislative action. Through collaboration and community partnerships RILA will inspire and promote excellence in library services.
Join us for the 2019 Rhode Island Library Association Annual Conference
on May 22nd & 23rd at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI.
The 2019 RILA Conference will launch a statewide news literacy initiative, featuring engaging sessions on news and media literacy, civic education and democracy, and many other topics of interest to public, academic, school, and special librarians and library staff. We can't wait to see you at the conference!
Interested in presenting? Submit your proposal today! Conference proposals are due February 22nd.
Sponsor & Exhibitor registration is now open! Please review our exhibitor package for details and contact email@example.com with any questions.