A Section of the Rhode Island Library Association

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The RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) is a grass-roots library support group that seeks to improve the quality of life for Rhode Islanders by supporting libraries of all kinds. Through advocacy, education, and public awareness activities, COLA works to help improve library services throughout the state.

On January 1, 2019, COLA officially became a section of the Rhode Island Library Association(RILA). COLA members now have full access to the vast array of resources and services that RILA offers to its members. Together RILA and COLA can boost significantly COLA’s efforts in the areas of advocacy, education, and public awareness.

To Contact COLA:


Latest News 

 “Launching Young Lives: Why Authors Love Libraries”

COLA and Barrington Public Library Co-host Author Panel and Book Signing

What makes libraries wonderful? At the Barrington Public Library on Saturday, September 21, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., four award-winning authors for children and teens will hold a panel discussion on the subject: “Launching Young Lives: Why Authors Love Libraries.” Moderated by the Lincoln School’s Meagan Lenihan, the event will include a book sale and signing and light refreshments. Sale proceeds will be donated to the RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA), a grass-roots organization supporting the state’s libraries.

Featured authors Linda Crotta Brennan, Kara LaReau, Nancy Tupper Ling, and Padma Venkatraman are linked by excellence. Their prizes and starred reviews are for poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, picture books and books for young teens. Books available for signing range from current events to fantasy, and from light-hearted adventure to fiercely heart-warming realism—for the children on your gift list, look for recent publications such as Brennan’s Climate Change and Air Quality; LaReau’s middle-grade trilogy, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters; Ling’s The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful; and Venkatraman’s The Bridge Home. Books on the Square will handle sales, authors will sign books, and COLA membership materials will be available.

The event is cosponsored by the Barrington Public Library and the Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates. COLA, founded as a citizen activist group in the 1980s and now a section of the RI Library Association, encourages library users to get involved. Libraries promote intellectual freedom and inquiry for all ages and serve as incubators for creativity in childhood and maturity alike. COLA, like a statewide Friends of the Library group, advocates and promotes library services in all types of libraries. Membership information will be available at the event or visit https://colari.org/.   

From ALA

New Library Bill of Rights Provision Recognizes and Defends Library Users’ Privacy

The Library Bill of Rights — first adopted in 1939 and last amended in 1980 — has been updated to include an article focused on the concept of ensuring privacy and confidentiality for library users.

The new article of the Library Bill of Rights, Article VII, states:

"All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information."

“Libraries across the nation now have the support needed to protect and fight for the privacy rights of their patrons,” said Erin Berman, chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Privacy Subcommittee and co-leader of the working group that drafted the new article. “They may use the privacy article to update policies and practices, bringing the new article to governing bodies, vendors, funders and their patrons.”

Helen Adams, an IFC member and co-leader of the working group, commended the working group and those who contributed to the privacy article. She also noted the article’s significance to school libraries.

“With the addition of Article VII, students in K-12 public schools are promised the right of privacy and confidentiality in their library use,” said Adams. “Adding the core values of privacy and confidentiality to one of the profession’s foundational documents places school librarians in a stronger position from which to advocate for and educate about library privacy for minors.”

The revision process began with a joint working group of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) and Privacy Subcommittee. The working group envisioned the article as an opportunity for libraries to reaffirm their commitment to patron privacy for library users of all ages. ALA Council adopted the article at the Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

During the revision process, the working group received valuable feedback from the library community. The working group plans to incorporate these comments into its next project: revising “Privacy: An Interpretation of theLibrary Bill of Rights.” All updated intellectual freedom documents will be included in the 10th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual, scheduled to be published by ALA Editions in 2020.

Older News

The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) welcomes the RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) and Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI) into our organization as RILA Sections.

L to R: Cheryl McCarthy, COLA; Julie Cerrito, CORI; Sharon Lux, COLA; Kieran Ayton and Julie Holden, RILA

“This connection creates a larger advocacy voice for the Rhode Island Library Community”, says Kieran Ayton, President of RILA. “This will allow us to build opportunities around the state with combined networking activities, programming, and professional development.”

The RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) works to improve library services through advocacy, education, and public awareness. For over 30 years COLA has supported Rhode Island Libraries through petitions, Congressional testimony, and strategic communications with RI legislators.

Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI) serves the library community of color. CORI mentors librarians and library staff of color, and promotes the development of multicultural services and programs and professional and educational activities.

Members of all three organizations can now join or renew their Section memberships on the RILA website.

COLA Founder Joan Ress Reeves feted by the Rhode Island Library Association

Sen Jack Reed, Joan Ress Reeves, Ellen Reeves

On Sunday, October   21, RILA honored Joan Ress Reeves, longtime   library advocate and COLA founding   member. Joan received the ALA Distinguished Award from ALA's Washington Office for her tireless efforts advocating on behalf of libraries, both locally and nationally. Senator Jack Reed presented Joan with her award.  Also in the picture is Joan's daughter, Ellen Reeves.

COLA Becomes a Section of RILA

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Sharon Lux

Cheryl McCarthy, COLA Chair

COLA membership voted unanimously to become a section of RILA to preserve COLA’s mission and legacy and continue advocacy for all libraries working together with RILA and our partners in RI. COLA Chair Cheryl Ann McCarthy will continue to work with RILA to implement this transition by January 2019.

"Rhode Island Library Association" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Rhode Island Library Association, P.O. Box 6765, Providence, RI 02940

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