The Rhode Island Library Association
is a professional association of Librarians, Library Staff, Trustees, and library supporters whose purpose is to promote the profession of librarianship and to improve the visibility, accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness of library and information
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Summer temperatures are finally here and with them, a slew of fun conferences! We have NELIG June 3, ALA June 23 and the best one right before those--the annual RILA Conference! The last chance to register for RILA 2016 is tomorrow, May 17th! Be sure not to miss out as RILA presents a more interactive conference experience at which you can connect with your colleagues to grow as a librarian as well as share and learn about new ideas. Register today!! #ColorRILA #RILA2016
We'll see you in Warwick!
Andria Tieman & Brandi Fong
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs
By Aaron Coutu
This month is chock full of excitement. The RILA Conference is quickly approaching! There will be loads of great sessions, vendors, and time with our colleagues to help make it a great experience for everyone attending. We also have some wonderful people receiving awards, including the inaugural winner of the Paraprofessional of the Year Award! While it is past the early bird registration period, there is still some time to sign up to attend. We would love to see you there.
I am going to follow up my piece in the previous RILA Bulletin to highlight the call for directors, trustees, friends, and other library advocates to reach out to their municipal councils in the hopes of getting all 29 city and town councils to pass resolutions in support of the State fully funding the Grant-in-Aid to public libraries program. As many of you may know, the State provides financial support to libraries in accordance with
. In order to receive funding, each community's public libraries must fulfill the
Minimum Standards & Regulations for RI Public Libraries
, which were last updated in 2013. Members of our Executive Board and Legislative Action Committee has been working very hard on this issue, and the response from the Governor's Office and many General Assembly members have been more positive to this than ever.
We have already had 14 municipal councils pass the resolution and there are seven more in the works, but we can't stop there since that is just about 1/2 of the state. RILA is asking every public library's director and board of trustee to reach out to their town/city council with the hopes of passing a resolution to provide a united request from all the communities of Rhode Island to the State indicating they believe the State should fully fund this program to the full requirements of the law. Visit
for a map of what communities have already passed the resolution and some samples you could use to help compose one in your city or town.
Don't just stop with the local approach, though! Call and email your state representatives and urge them to include enough money in the budget to cover Rhode Island's full obligations to its citizens. Here are some helpful resources to help with doing so:
- Governor Gina Raimondo: (401) 222-2080
- House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello: (401) 222-2466
- Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed: (401) 222-6655
- To find your State Representative and State Senator visit https://sos.ri.gov/vic
Digitized Special Collections at Rhode Island College Library
By Kieran Ayton
Emerging Technologies Librarian
Digital Initiatives Technician
Since 2010 the James P. Adams Library at Rhode Island College has been digitizing a variety of special collections materials, initiated by a collection of slides donated by the family of the late RIC Prof. Chester Smolski. This began a series of digitization initiatives including photographs, oral histories, correspondence, artwork, yearbooks, and college catalogs in Rhode Island College's Special Collections and other areas of campus. These digitized objects are hosted on our
Digital Commons repository
. The repository is maintained by the library's Digital Initiatives Department. One of the challenges the library ran into was how best to showcase its image and photography collections. The
open source web-publishing platform was selected as a supplement to the existing collections in our Digital Commons repository. Many libraries are already using Omeka to showcase their digital collections. Examples are
Providence Public Library
Providence College Library
In addition to these projects, the RIC library is continually building new image galleries with the Omeka web publishing platform. We look forward to sharing these projects with the library community.
Celebrating Student Scholarship
By Andria Tieman
Research and Education Librarian, Providence College
One of the downsides of being a Research and Education librarian is that we frequently help students get started on their research, but rarely get to see the final product. We spend so much money on research databases, but aside from cold statistics in a spreadsheet, we don't get a true sense of how students are using them. In order to be able to peek behind this curtain a little bit, Providence College's Phillips Memorial Library has partnered with our Center for Engaged Learning to offer the Phillips Memorial Library Undergraduate Craft of Research Prize for the last two years. While it's rewarding and fun to recognize student achievement in research, it's also an excellent form of outreach to students and faculty and a low-cost way to promote the library.
Many colleges and universities offer a similar type of research prize, so when we were thinking about how to structure ours, we found many examples online to borrow from. What we tried to do was to make the student submissions not overly burdensome for students, but also ensure that the focus is on the research, not just the final paper. Our rubric includes points for originality of topic and quality of writing, but more so for use of a variety of sources and supporting claims with appropriate research.
In order to be eligible students need to submit three elements to the research prize committee:
An original paper of at least 700 words in length.
An annotated bibliography with at least 10 sources.
A one-page research statement that covers the process the student went through to both locate and evaluate the sources used in the final paper.
The papers are due at the end of spring semester, with prizes being awarded in the fall. We also created a Research Guide <
> with helpful links, research tips, citation help and links to databases and the catalog.
The review committee, which is a mix of librarians and faculty, receives an anonymized batch of submissions in early summer, and then meets in late August to make the determination of which papers are the winners. There are prizes for first, second and third place as well as two honorable mentions. Winners receive a prize and publication in Phillips Memorial Library's Digital Commons
. In the first year that we offered the prize, we had two submissions and one winner; in the second year, we had six submissions, five of which were eligible. We have just begun promoting this year's prize, are expecting an even bigger jump in submissions.
This is a pretty low-key endeavor for most of the committee members, with the bulk of the work falling on the person who receives and anonymizes the submissions. Since we are a very small staff, and this is an endeavor I've spearheaded from the beginning, most of the administrative work falls to me, which includes:
Promotion through email lists, digital signage, word of mouth and other channels.
Receiving and anonymizing student submissions and often following up with students if their submissions lack a required element like the annotated bibliography.
Recruitment of faculty to serve on the committee. We have one faculty member who has partnered with us from the beginning, but others rotate in and out as their schedules permit. Finding new faculty and reaching people in a variety of departments has proven to be a bit of a challenge.
Managing growth. Due to limited time, committee members and the fact that we're still fine tuning the process, I've held back significantly on promotion in order for this to be a manageable endeavor. This year, year three, we've worked out many of the kinks and have promoted the prize to the faculty listserv, which should increase the number of submissions significantly, but also increase visibility of the prize and potentially give us new faculty to recruit in the future.
A couple other issues that we never anticipated were random quirks like what do we do if a student submits a paper in French? What if the School of Business requires papers only be 500 words? What prizes can we give out now that we can no longer give gift cards due to their being considered taxable income? Some of these issues remain unsolved, and we will likely encounter some new oddness every year, but it keeps the process interesting.
The benefits of an endeavor like this far outweigh the challenges. Not only are we constantly surprised and delighted by the research skills our students have, but this is also an ideal partnership for library staff and faculty. We rely very much on relationships with faculty in order to promote and grow library instruction services and resources, so any opportunity to collaborate and establish friendships benefits us ten-fold. This also reinforces for the students that we value the work they do and that research is tied to academic success as much as grades are. As we continue to grow and promote the program, I suspect we will make new inroads into academic departments beyond the 'usual suspects' of English and History and further cement the idea of the library as more than just a quiet study space into the minds of our students and faculty.
If anyone has any questions about starting something like this at his or her own institution feel free to reach out to me at atieman [at] providence.edu.
On Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice
By Elliott Stevens
Research and Education Librarian, Providence College
In my last article for the RILA Bulletin, I wrote about librarians who are part of the group
Cornucopia of Rhode Island
, which seeks to aid librarians and library staff of color. In doing some research for that article, I came across information about the state of diversity in the field of librarianship - information like the ALA's
"Diversity Counts" numbers
, which reveal that, in 2007, a collection of 118,666 surveyed librarians overwhelmingly identified as female (83%) and white (88%).
The Diversity Counts numbers are clearly out-of-date, and they also reveal themselves to be outmoded in that, for gender, the only options are "male" or "female." Furthermore, sexuality is not considered, disability is not included, and the representations of race don't go far enough in capturing how layered, overlapping, or multiform a person's identity can be.
In order to get a better idea about the lack of diversity in librarianship, not to mention the challenges of quantifying disparities, I spoke with Jody Gray, who is the ALA's Director of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach.
For example, one important issue that has come up with these groups is Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law" and the effect it could have on librarians of color who will attend the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Orlando.
"This law has some librarians worried," Jody said, "and we want to make sure that things are equitable for everyone."
Another issue is the rash of trans-phobic laws that have recently surfaced in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
"We're always worried about our members and the wider library community that have found themselves in harm's way," Jody said.
When I asked Jody about the state of diversity in librarianship, she said, "I think it's improving, but getting people interested can be tough. Our profession can be a hard sell to people who know nothing about it."
Here, Jody shared that she is American Indian and that when she had spent time on a reservation, she noticed that many people there didn't have access to programs or mentors who would expose them to the library field.
"And there are people on reservations who do good work in libraries, but they don't happen to have an MLIS," she said. "We need to help people know how to become a librarian and how to get paid."
When I mentioned the Diversity Counts numbers to Jody, she granted that they are old and that they need to be updated. She also pointed out that how people actually identify is far more complex than what the original Diversity Counts numbers tried to capture.
Going even further, she raised the argument that those old numbers might even be obsolete: "Things like race are a social construct. If constructs change, then the data is meaningless."
With those words in mind, I asked Jody, "Then what can be done about diversity in librarianship? What can individual librarians or graduate programs do to be more inclusive?"
Jody responded, "We need to find a common language about social justice. We need to find spaces - or create places - where people can talk, make mistakes, and challenge one another. We need to ask questions like 'What is white privilege?' or 'What is ability privilege?' We can't serve everyone in the same way without someone losing, so we need to make sure that people have a voice and that everyone is part of the conversation."
She went on to say that those of us in the field - or those of us who prepare students for the field - have to exhibit an active interest in diversity. Diversity shouldn't be something that's penciled into a program simply to meet accreditation requirements.
"In meaningful ways," Jody said, "programs need to address equity, diversity, and inclusion. In classes, teachers and students could consult case studies, models, and best practices."
Long after speaking with Jody, these final words stuck with me, especially the ones dealing with social justice. They reminded me of a presentation I had gone to that was given by Laura Saunders, who is a professor in Simmons College's SLIS program. In this presentation, which was called
Re-Framing the Framework: Information Literacy Frames through a Social-Justice Lens,
Laura spoke about her experiences working on the committee that put together the ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy. On this committee, she and other members had pushed for social justice to be a threshold concept of the Framework, only to have their
So I contacted Laura, and after quickly summarizing my discussion with Jody, I asked her what her definition of "social justice" is and why some people might be wary or even fearful of the term.
She granted that social justice is an incredibly broad term but that "It can be applied in different ways. It's about examining structures to identify inequality and then to address it."
With regard to why some people might be afraid of the term - or why they might choose to deride it - she said, "It's frightening for people. It's natural for people to be scared of big, systematic change. That, or they might feel threatened in that they think you're criticizing them personally."
Furthermore, in the classes that Laura teaches at Simmons, classes like Information Services for Diverse Users and
she mentioned that she uses aspects of social justice and critical theory to examine the profession of librarianship and the ways librarians serve patrons.
Social justice - as well as its relationship to diversity and inclusion - is even being employed as members of a committee at Simmons are preparing to conduct a diversity audit of the SLIS program there.
I had never heard of a school doing a diversity audit, so I asked Laura about it, and she said, "The auditors - a group that includes faculty, administrators, and students - will look at the curriculum in our program. They'll look at readings and ask, 'Are there authors of color?' They'll examine our admissions and see if we're working to reach out to different communities of people who maybe haven't considered librarianship as a profession."
I asked Laura if this is something the Simmons SLIS program elected to do, and she said, "Oh, yes, and we have strong support for it." She said that they are discussing bringing in external auditors after their internal review in order to get a full picture of their program's strengths and weaknesses with regard to diversity and inclusion.
As Laura finished telling me about this auditing process, it made me think back to what Jody Gray said about library programs needing to address equity in committed, meaningful ways. Though the passive, old cliché "strides are being made" is always available to hedge on the subject of something as difficult and complex as diversity in the library field, it's only through concepts like social justice and the gumption of programs like Simmons's that anyone will know where those strides are going and who's taking them.
Money Smart Week 2016 Wrap Up
By Lori DeCesare and Chris Wallace-Goldstein
Financial Literacy RoundTable Co-Chairs
| For a fifth year, the Rhode Island Library Association participated in Money Smart Week events with the support of many libraries and dedicated community partners during the week of April 23-30, 2016. Money Smart Week, which started in 2002, is a national program created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Programming is the core of MSW and its mission to promote financial literacy. Libraries and our MSW partners serve families, job seekers, investors, entrepreneurs, students, and executives by providing current and unbiased information needed to make informed financial decisions. This year a wider range of topics were presented to a greater audience, with increased support of libraries, state and non-profit partners and agencies who volunteered their time to participate in Money Smart Week RI.
Money Smart Week 2016 By the Numbers:
63 events for all ages (31% increase from 2015)
28 libraries participated with 31 different community partners/presenters (51% increase from 2015)
5 counties represented (25% increase from 2015)
[Total attendance for 2016 has yet to be determined]
The greatest benefit from these events is to provide attendees, who already have a goal of increasing their financial literacy, the skills to feel empowered, advocate for themselves and to pass that knowledge down to their children, allowing for a more financial literate society. Up until a few years ago, financial literacy programming was often an loaded topic for many libraries because of public perception - is it too sensitive a topic in a public setting? Will patrons feel like the program is a solicitation, rather than for educational purposes? It is apparent that in RI, this is no longer the case. For those who still haven't explored these programming topics or are looking to expand or vary their offerings, here are some helpful tips from other librarians.
- Phillips Memorial Library at Providence College presented a unique and successful program titled "How to Competitively Read the Wall Street Journal" (with Professor Jeff Kotz from PC's Finance Department)
- Over 80 patrons were able to dispose of their electronic waste at East Providence Public Library's Indie Cycle event
- Bill Bianchi, from the RI Student Loan Authority, held 5 programs (in public and academic libraries during MSW) and launched an initiative in late April to supply educational resources (topics ranging from personal finance to paying for college and paying student loans) to all public libraries for distribution to their patrons
- Several programs were offered in Spanish. The Olneyville Library hosted a "Buying Your First Home" program in Spanish and several of PCL's children's programs were presented in both Spanish and English.
- The Cumberland Public Library presented a program just for teens, "Everything No One Will Tell You About Owning Your Own Business". Panelist Randall Sacilotto from Navigant Credit Union and Andrea Imafidon, life coach and owner of Brown Girl, presented a "fantastic program and session," according to teen attendee Reece Franklin. "It was great not to just have people talking at us, they were interesting and helpful."
- FLRT established new partnerships with Home Loan Investment Bank, RI State Police Computer Crime Unit and AARP RI. All are excited to provide programs in libraries.
- FLRT continued partnerships with RISLA, Junior Achievement RI, Coastway Community Bank, BBB, RI Treasurer's Office, Money Management International, Crystal Hall and many others.
Looking ahead to next year, RILA's Financial Literacy Roundtable (FLRT) is encouraging libraries to expand programming beyond Money Smart Week and Financial Literacy Month in April. To help make this task easier, we have created a resource list of community partners who have agreed to partner with RI libraries to offer financial literacy programs. Visit the RILA's Money Smart Week page for more information.
- Creating partnerships with other local community groups can be a successful tool for libraries. Greenville Public Library scheduled a BBB scam program at the Smithfield Senior Center after a popular bingo event, and was proud to report 30 attended!
- Programs can be fun - Money Myths with Crystal Hall, banking for teens, Piggy bank/Duct Tape Wallets crafts, money board games for kids, composting, electronics recycling and more!
- Financial literacy programs can be "different" or unique - small business/entrepreneurial advice for teens and adults (Cumberland); Home Buying Workshop (Newport); Age discrimination in workplace (Tiverton); Life Reimagined w/ AARP (Johnston & North Scituate) or Save Money by Organizing (Greenville).
RILA's Financial Literacy Round Table would like to thank the speakers and libraries who participated in Money Smart Week 2016 to make it a great success! A special thank you is also extended to FLRT members Charlotte Boisclair (NSM), Joanna Burkhardt (URI), Cassie Patterson (GVL) and Megan Whedon (COV) for their dedication and efforts in kicking off FLRT during its first year. We welcome new members who are interested in helping plan statewide financial literacy programs for both librarians and the public. Involvement and commitment can be at any level, depending upon your availability.
Please contact Lori or Christine (email@example.com) if you are interested in becoming a member of FLRT or have any questions, comments or ideas about financial literacy initiatives in RI libraries. We look forward to hearing from you!
News From the Field
Providence Public Library
Providence Public Library's PORTALS: The History of the Future, which kicked off in February with a variety of experiential and learning opportunities for all ages, will continue through June. Meanwhile, the Library's 2016 Exhibition will officially open March 3, highlighting the material trails left by the people of the past as they looked to the future. It will include imaginative visions of futures that never came to pass, illustrations of fantastical contraptions, reflections on the nature of time, and other artifacts testifying to a human desire to visit eras besides our own.
PORTALS: The History of the Future
is PPL's second annual Exhibition & Program Series. "As we began with DON'T STOP THE MUSIC in 2015, we seek to engage the community in a multi-faceted conversation inspired by history and our collections. In addition to an exhibition featuring PPL's unique collections, along with contributions and program offerings by many partner organizations, our goal with this library/community-wide experience is to provide a broad range of interactive and creative learning opportunities for all ages
," said Library Director Jack Martin.
Providence Public Library (PPL) has received a three-year IMLS National Leadership Grant totaling $529,997. This matching grant to create a high impact teen workforce development program model represents a $1.6 million initiative to which PPL is committed.
Planning for this Teen Workforce Development Collaboration is underway through the Library's Education Department, with teen programs slated to begin in the fall of this year. PPL and its local and national partners will develop, implement, and disseminate a high-impact teen workforce development collective impact project that will serve as a national program model. Locally, the project will support more than 600 underserved teens who will receive free, accessible, high-quality competency-based learning opportunities, leading to digital credentials (acknowledging participant achievement in a topic), academic credit, exposure to the world of work, and entry into education and career pathways.
"This project represents one of the Library's key areas of focus in our ongoing Think Again Strategic Plan," said Martin. "We'll be announcing local and national project partners over the next few months."
Providence Community Library
Thanks to a major grant award from United Way, PCL will re-equip its mobile library in 2016 and take summer learning on the road to ten Providence elementary schools and a number of City Recreation Centers. "Summer in the Schoolyard" a three year project, will form an ambitious partnership between PCL, the Providence Public School District and the City's Healthy Communities Office to expand the number of youth who participate in summer reading activities. PCL's revamped mobile library will carry 6,000 books, a sound system, mobile hot spots for WiFi access, Microsoft Surface Pros, shade tents, tables, chairs and a number of hands-on toys and games.
Youth participating in City-run summer and sports camps will be issued with a library card and visit the PCL location closest to their camp. Additionally, the mobile library will visit camps on site at schools and recreation centers on a weekly basis. A special Program Manager will work closely with library staff, recreation center staff and six youth associates, who will work with campers. PCL will track participants' activities and reading achievements and accumulate valuable data about summer learning.
Details are being finalized and more information will be announced soon. PCL Youth Services Coordinator Cheryl Space hopes that this exciting summer reading initiative will not only encourage Providence youth to read during the summer, but also to become year-round library users.
--PCL's Fundraiser, "Strengthening Our Roots" took place on May 4 and raised around $50,000. Sales of raffle tickets exceeded $10,000, with the lucky winner taking home half the pot! More than 150 guests, sponsors and staff filled Hotel Providence to honor special guests Congressman David Cicilline and PCL co-founder Linda J Kushner. Both honorees were presented with books and commemorative bookplates that have been inserted into 100 new books in PCL's collection in their honor. Guests at the fundraiser were moved and entertained by film maker David Goldenberg's 6-minute video "Our Libraries: Transforming Lives," which was screened during the course of the evening. Grateful thanks go to the event's generous sponsors, advertisers and donors, which included IGT, RDW Group, Adler, Pollock & Sheehan, P.C., United Healthcare, Santander Bank, Residential Properties Ltd, CVS Health, McKenney, Quigley, Izzo & Clarkin LLP, Hotel Providence and Silvershell Hospitality Services.
|Our Libraries, Transforming Lives
--Providence Community Library has reduced opening hours for two days a week at its Knight Memorial, Mount Pleasant and Rochambeau locations until the end of June. The three locations will open one hour later at 1:00P.M. on Fridays and Saturdays until the end of June. The PCL Board hopes that the small reduction in hours will be a temporary measure.
Olneyville Library is currently closed due to flooding with several inches of water. A full assessment and clean-up is in progress. The library is likely to be closed until the end of June and patrons are advised to use other PCL locations in the meantime.
Rhode Island Historical Society
In April the Archives of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (known as the Quakers) formally moved from the Rhode Island Historical Society's Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center to
the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. All inquiries about the collection can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The R.I.H.S. Research Center will host several classes in the "Digging Your Roots" Genealogy Workshop Series in collaboration with the Providence Public Library. From researching immigrant ancestors to "Pretty Preservation", there is something for everyone interested in family history! For more information on the full series see:
or for questions contact
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhode Island College
The James P. Adams Library at Rhode Island College wishes to announce the retirements of Judith Stokes, Associate Professor and E-Resources Librarian, and Tovah Reis, Interim Director. Judith has been at Adams Library for 37 years, starting as Library Assistant in our Government Publications Dept., while she attended library school at Simmons College. She then became our first full time Government Publications Librarian. After a year as Documents Librarian at the University of Delaware, she returned to Rhode Island College as our Serials Librarian and eventually, Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian.
Tovah Reis has had a 50+ year career as a librarian, primarily in medical and science libraries in Israel and the U.S. She came to RI in 1991 to be the Librarian of the Brown University Medical School. She retired from Brown in 2010. Tovah continued working as a librarian part time at the synagogue library at Temple Emanu-El in Providence. She became our full time Interim Director in March of 2014. Judith and Tovah will officially retire June 30, 2016. Please join us in wishing them "Happy Retirement!"
But wait there's more..........!! Adams Library would like to announce we have chosen a new library director, Ms. Carissa DeLizio. Carissa is currently the director at the Franklin Pierce University Library. She has worked in a wide array of libraries in assistant, paraprofessional and professional positions. These positions have included Library Assistant, Clinical Librarian, Reference Librarian and Cataloging/Technical Services Head Librarian before entering library administration. Ms. DeLizio joins us on August 1st 2016.
Save the Date-- CORI Conference
Cornucopia of Rhode Island: A Library Community of Color
Anniversary Celebration: An Evening of Memories & Celebration
Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6:00 PM
Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick Campus
Join CORI for an engaging anniversary and network celebration featuring Karen Mellor, Chief of Library Services, State of Rhode Island and ending with a sweet conclusion.
Latino Books Month,
which is a program that has the goal of promoting bilingual literature, authors, and illustrators to Rhode Islanders. Adult readers can participate in the
2016 Reading Challenge
. Children and teens can take part in the Rhode Island Latino Books Month Award, where they can read at least three books from
a list of titles
vote for their favorite
. The winning title will be announced at a celebration on Saturday, June 4, at the Pawtucket Public Library (3 Summer St. / Pawtucket, RI / 02860).
Also, at this celebration, there will be
, who is a Cuban-American author for children and young adults. She has won the ALSC's Pura Belpré Award for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Cristina Rodgriquez, who is an award-winning children's illustrator of more than a dozen children's books (like Adelita and the Veggies Cousins/Adelita y las primas verduritas) will also attend, so make sure to bring your books for signings! For more information, you can contact Maria Cotto at the Pawtucket Public Library:
|The RILA Bulletin is produced by the RILA Communications Committee. The RILA Communications Committee is responsible for publicizing and supporting Rhode Island Library Association activities using a variety of communication tools. Responsibilities including publishing the RILA Bulletin, managing social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and exploring other mediums as needed. The Communications Committee may cooperate with the publicity efforts of the Public Relations Committee to promote library services statewide.
Rhode Island Library Association members can contribute content to the RILA Bulletin by emailing the editors: email@example.com
Andria Tieman & Brandi Fong
Rhode Island Library Association