In This Issue

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
services throughout  
Rhode Island.
Contact us at:
PO Box 6765
Providence, RI 02940
401-203-READ (7323)

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One of the great things about September and October is their focus on libraries and literacy---Library Card Sign-Up Month, Banned Banned Books Week, and Teen Read Week are all either happening right now or coming soon! How are you celebrating literacy and the right to read in your library? Remember, sometimes small efforts such as displays and bookmarks can have just as much impact on a patron as a larger initiative!

September also brings the beginning of the school year, and just like many library programs, art education often has a limited focus. Need some inspiration on how to add art to your youth library programs? Check out the collaborations below between Babs Wells and Olivia Horvath.

Of course, let's not forget the best parts of the season...cooler weather, fresh apple cider, and colorful fall leaves! Be sure to take some time to head outside to enjoy, perhaps even with a Banned Book in hand!

Until next time!

Andria Tieman Michney and Brandi Fong
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs
Book Censorship in Libraries  
By Carla Weiss
RILA Intellectual Freedom Committee Co-Chair  
The section on censorship in libraries, the State of America's Libraries 2016: A Report from the American Library Association (p. 18), reveals the results of a Harris Poll from July 2015. Of the 2,244 U.S. adults who participated, 28% believe that certain books should be banned in school libraries. Three fifths believe children should not have access in libraries to books containing explicit language or books with subjects such as witchcraft, sorcery, sex, drug, alcohol, and vampires. One third would like school libraries to remove the Koran, the Torah, and the Talmud. According to the report, the responses to the survey raise important concern about the state of civic education in the U.S. regarding civil rights and the First Amendment.
Consider these incidents across the U.S. regarding complaints and challenges in school and public libraries:
  • In Hood County, TX the books, My Princess Boy, by Cheryl Kilodavis, and the 2015 ALA Stonewall Book Award winner This Day in June, by Gayle Pitman, came under fire in early June, when the library received 52 reconsideration forms asking for the books' removal. Their main complaints were that the books promote "perversion" and the "gay lifestyle" and "brainwash children." The matter went before the Library Advisory Board, which "found nothing in the text of the books that was inappropriate for children." The board concluded that they met the library's policies regarding diversity of opinion and recommended that both remain in the collection.
  • A sex education book full of illustrations depicting sexual acts is creating a controversy at a Hudson Park Elementary School in Rainier, OR. Parents said the book was shown to their kids without their permission, and now the school is pulling the book from library shelves. The book in question, titled It's Perfectly Normal, touts itself as a children's book for ages 10 and up, that talks all about changing bodies, sex and sexual health.
  • A Knightdale, NC parent is raising concern over a book her first grader checked out from his elementary school's library Monday. It's a graphic novel about a ghost story that is written specifically for kids. The parent said it's not appropriate for students of any age. "It was talking about a man who murders his family and shows a man walking with his shotgun going to his parents and his sister and brother." The book Amityville is part of a series called "Junior Graphic Ghost Stories". After notification school officials said the book has been taken out of the library.
  • By consensus, the Richmond, VA School Board agreed Tuesday that a high school English teacher should mark out an offensive word in A Long Way Gone, a memoir written by a child soldier in Sierra Leone. The book, by author Ishmael Beah, is an account of his experiences as a conscripted government soldier during that country's civil war.
  • Parents were upset to learn their daughter was assigned to read a book they describe as racist and sexually explicit in Ambridge, PA. The parents addressed the school board and read an excerpt riddled with racial slurs from "The Glass Castle, and asked that the 2005 memoir authored by Jeannette Walls be removed from the course.  The autobiographical memoir that brings attention to issues of poverty and family dysfunction was banned from a high school in Dallas, TX after several complaints from parents. A high school in Michigan also banned the book after parents complained of "explicit language and references to child molestation, adolescent sexual exploits, and violence."  The school director motioned to suspend the use of the book, which was seconded, until an investigation could be conducted. None of the board members were opposed. The school solicitor said the board has the ability to request that students not proceed with this particular assignment until administrators can conduct an investigation.
Rhode Island has been very fortunate that over the years there have not been any occurrences of challenges to books in school and public libraries. But, as the examples above indicate, there may be the possibility that some library in Rhode Island may be faced with similar incidents. The RILA Intellectual Freedom Committee welcomes any questions from librarians concerning intellectual freedom issues in your institution.

This year, Banned Books Week will occur Sept. 25- Oct. 1, 2016. Out of 275 challenges recorded by the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the "Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2015" are:
  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green.                                Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2.  Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.                          Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other, poorly written, concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it.
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Hershel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other "wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints".
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and "profanity and atheism"
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other ("graphic images").
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter                                                               Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan.
    Reasons: Homosexuality and "condones public displays of affection".
  1. State of America's Libraries 
  2. Celebrating the Freedom to Read, Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2016 (Banned Books Week).
Ready, Set...Collaborate!
By Babs Wells and Olivia Horvath
Greenville Public Library
It all started last summer as Olivia and I were brainstorming about ways to sprinkle more art programs into the summer reading program. We work together at the Greenville Public Library and are often having "on the fly" discussions about all sorts of things, one of them being innovative ideas for programs we would like to participate  in and we think kids would like to experience.

As we all know, craft programs are a staple of youth services programming at public libraries. They are usually well attended and can range from the simple to the complex, sometimes stretching the projects created over a few afternoons or on Saturdays.

I have learned that students in elementary and middle school have art class at school once a week or once every few weeks for an hour. This is not nearly enough! They are hungry for places to create, get messy and hang out with their friends. The public library is just the place for all of this to happen!

Olivia says I've found libraries to be some of the most powerful sites of creativity and exploration and I love having the opportunity to try new programming with Babs and our fantastic young patrons!"
Olivia and I work well together, both being open to dare greatly and just throw out crazy ideas that just might work. One such idea was to offer a screen printing workshop as part of our 2015 summer reading program.

Thanks to my brainstorming session with Babs, I have had great experiences running summer reading-adjacent programs in the past few years. For the 2015 Summer Reading Program "Every Hero Has A Story," I held both a screen printing program and a comic writing workshop. For the screen printing program, I created a summer reading logo for the Greenville Public Library and invited young patrons and their family members to print it in vivid colors on perfectly book-sized totes. I love the drop-in nature of this program, and how there are always a few kids (and parents!) who leave energized to make and modify their own clothes at home.
The comic writing workshop was held over four sessions, and involved collaborative games, short experiments and the opportunity to write longer stories which we bound into a zine. I prefer not to focus on "how to draw" and instead work with kids on character development, timing, and movement. I'm always blown away by the work my patrons make in these classes- their creativity, sense of humor and passion for storytelling is amazing and inspiring.
This year, I wanted to bring the excitement of figuring out "how it's made" from my printmaking classes together with the storytelling development from the comics classes. I was also excited to try a program that took advantage both of Greenville's tech resources and creative space. The animation program consisted of three sessions. On day one we used tracing paper to make flipbooks, day two was focused on ABCYA's amazing free animation program and on the third day kids worked digitally or on paper on a final animation using the skills they learned.  The kids jumped in with so much creative vigor, especially working with the digital program, where stamps and text tools made it easy to tell a story (or choreograph a robot dance) at lightning speed. At the end of the first session one patron asked, "Can we make the next class three hours longer?" The rest of the class echoed the sentiment, as did I!"

The program was a total success and we are thrilled to have the fruits of our collaboration well-received by our young friends. Starting September 18th, we will be holding a monthly Animation Club to continue working on the projects we started this summer and try new things. Olivia is hoping to bring in new techniques in the coming months, including stop motion, claymation and making our own soundtracks.

As public libraries are more and more emerging as creative social centers, library professionals have a responsibility to challenge ourselves and make creative strides forward. Keep in mind- your next innovation may be just a coworker away! It can be hard to break from work routines but we've ultimately found fulfillment and inspiration from being brave, reaching out, and seeing what our coworkers have cooking.
You can see our students' work at  
News From the Field
Ocean State Libraries (OSL) is pleased to announce that Susan Moreland Straub has been named its new Executive Director. Susan has been at OSL since January 2016 as Cataloger/eZone Support. Prior to her arrival at OSL, she worked at the North Kingstown Free Library starting in 1998, serving for 7 years as Assistant Director of Technology and Access Services and 7 years as Deputy Director.
Susan graduated with an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island in 2000. She has a wealth of experience within OSL serving on multiple committees, including as chair of both the Emerging Technologies and LIT committees.
After a nationwide search, the OSL Steering Committee chose Susan for her experience working with OSL and Rhode Island libraries and her ability to lead OSL as the organization faces several near-term challenges, including the need for a new strategic plan.
"We are grateful that OSL's new executive director comes from within the Rhode Island library community. Susan will be able to provide stability, professionalism, and innovation," said Brigitte Hopkins, OSL Steering President. As Executive Director, Susan will administer the operations of Ocean State Libraries and its services and provide leadership in achieving consortium goals.
Susan's official start date in her new role will be September 6th

Providence College
Peter Rogers arrives at Providence College's Phillips Memorial Library from the position of Data Librarian at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.  As the new Head of Research & Education, he looks forward to collaborating with his colleagues at Providence College as well as librarians and other academic throughout Rhode Island.
Providence Community Library
--For the 4th summer, Knight Memorial Library successfully hosted a 6 week, comprehensive camp / tutoring program for rising 6th graders entering Gilbert Stuart Middle School this fall.   This year the "Summer It Up" program extended its daily hours to allow for swimming lessons, recreational play and lunch.  Providence teachers worked closely with 35 volunteer tutors to improve math & literacy skills engaging 25 students in challenging but fun activities.  Supporting partners included The Rhode Island Foundation, Providence Parks & Rec Dept, Center for Southeast Asians, Benny's, and Community Boating Center.

--PCL to discuss technology and partnerships at its annual meeting September 19th.
Board, staff and supporters will meet in the State Room of the State House to celebrate the achievements of 2015-2016, pick up a copy of the new Annual Report and honor PCL Employees of the Year, Judanne Hamidzada and Mike Nickerson, and Volunteer of the Year, Ellen Schwartz. Cheryl Space, Youth Services Coordinator, will talk about PCL's successful mobile library project, "Summer Learning in the Schoolyard." Jeff Cannell, PCL Library Director. will lead Richard Culatta, Chief Innovation Officer of Rhode Island, and Tom Flanagan, Chief Academic Officer of Providence Schools, in a discussion of how library, schools and city can work together to take literacy, learning and opportunity to the next level.
The meeting will take place 6:00pm -8:00pm, with free parking in the lower State House lot on Smith St. at the corner of Smith & Gaspee. Please come and enjoy delicious refreshments, interesting discussion and great conversation!
Feria del Libro y Las Artes de Providence (Feria) returns on Saturday, October 1 at Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA). Writers, visual artists, musicians and dancers will gather at a one-day event for discussions, readings, book sales and performances of Latino arts and culture. This year, Feria, an annual event founded by Providence Community Library, has merged with Feria Artisanal (the yearly Latin American Artisans' Fair organized in collaboration with AS220) and features arts and crafts available for purchase. Additionally, Feria has partnered with the Providence Latin American Film Festival (PLAFF) to present a free movie. Feria will take place 930A.M. -7:00P.M. at PCTA, 41 Fricker Street, Providence. Entry is free.
Feria's keynote speaker is Mercedes Guzmán, international author and presenter, who will talk about her book, El Niño Olvidado (The Forgotten Child). Other writers attending Feria include Rhode Island author Alvaro Espino and Edgar Smith from New York. Acclaimed Colombian photographer Daniel Ochoan Vidal will fly to the U.S. to make a special appearance and give a talk entitled La fotografía, el Cuerpo y el Espacio (Photography, the Body and Space) with an exhibition of his work. Dance presentations include Ballet Guadalupano (Mexico) Los Cibaeños (Dominican Republic) and Cacica Dulima (Colombia).
A special forum, led by José Itzigsohn and Elvys Ruiz, will discuss Incorporación, Cultura e Identidad (Incorporation, Culture and Identity), reflecting on current immigration issues. The day concludes with a screening of Güeros (Mexico, 2015), directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles.
This year's event has been made possible through generous funding and support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Providence Schools, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and Sodexo. For more information, visit or call Carolina Briones, 401-467-2700, x 1608.

Cranston Public Library
The Cranston Public Library launched a new program on September 1 that offers students of all ages live, one-to-one help from professional tutors online. Any community member with a Cranston Public Library card can access the new online services from the library or right from home on any computer or mobile device connect to the Internet. has been purchased and made available to Cranston residents through a collaborative purchase made by the Cranston Public Library and the Cranston Public School Department. Up until August 2016, the Office of Library and Information Services provided to Rhode Island libraries through However, due to budget constraints, the service was cut. 

"Shortly after we received the news that we would be losing access to, we heard from the teachers and school librarians across the city that this was an invaluable resource to Cranston students. We began working with the Cranston School Department to figure out how we could continue to offer these services to Cranston cardholders," explains Cranston Public Library Director, Ed Garcia. 

"We're pleased to announce that this collaborative effort has resulted in free tutoring and homework assistance for any student with a Cranston Public Library card."

GSLIS is delighted to welcome Two New Full-Time Faculty Members this year: Dr. Mary Moen, and Dr. Melissa Villa Nicholas.  
Dr. Mary Moen recently earned her PhD in Education from the URI-RIC joint program. Her research interests include digital literacy in libraries and classrooms, continuous professional learning, and online badging systems. This past year she she served as the Program Director of Media Smart Libraries, an IMLS grant-funded project awarded to URI's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Prior to this, she was a School Media Specialist at Chariho Regional High School in Wood River Jct. RI, where she participated in the implementation of a 1:1 laptop program by providing teacher training, leading policy revision, and designing a digital citizenship curriculum.  Dr. Moen will be the school library media coordinator and teach LSC520 and LSC596 this year.
Dr. Villa Nicholas received  her PhD from the iSchool of Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the social history of information and technologies and the intersectional analysis of race, gender, culture, and information and technologies. Dr. Nicholas joins us with expertise in reference, and race/gender studies. She is teaching LSC 504, 525, and 557 this semester.

By the time you read this edition of The RILA Bulletin, RI students have registered for their school or higher ed classes. Now it's your turn to register for continuing education offered by OLIS! There are a bunch of exciting programs this semester, including those with nationally renowned speakers Faith Rogow and Marshall Breeding. OLIS Continuing Education programs are great opportunities to engage in career-enhancing conversations with your peers (or peeps!), learn something new, or get a different perspective.
You don't have to be a full-time adult services librarian to attend programs sponsored by the Adult Services Round Table. Two of its programs, "Meeting Men and Other Folks You Don't Usually See in Your Programs" and "Intersecting Missions", hold the promise of wider conversations about expanding your patron base and cultivating partnerships with local organizations. And, in January you can get in on planning adult summer reading.
Join "Media Literacy Education Maven" Faith Rogow for a lively day exploring the role of technology in supporting children's literacy.  Learn how to be a media mentor and how to integrate media literacy into programs and services for children and families. This program is in partnership with the Media Smart Libraries project, made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Want to explore the solutions and other collaborative spaces for LORI resource sharing? Sign up for " Envisioning the Future of Resource Sharing in Rhode Island: Aspiration Meets Practicality" featuring international expert on library technology, Marshall Breeding, who will deliver a keynote and later participate in a dialogue with RI librarians to chart a course for resource sharing.
If you work in a public library, you can learn how to use the data collected for the annual Public Library Survey by attending "Tell Your Story: Annual Survey Data Reports." Take a behind the scenes tour of OLIS-LORI Delivery at the LORI Delivery Open House in October, when it's guaranteed not to snow like it did when we scheduled this last spring . . .
Programs for children's and young adult librarians: include the Young Adult Round Tables (YART) which is taking on a variety of topics; children's literature sessions focused on the best books of 2016; and summer reading.
Check the OLIS Continuing Education brochure for all the details on every program scheduled through January. Programs are free, but please register .
OLIS CE programming is supported by an LSTA grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

2016 NELA Conference is seeking volunteers!
Volunteer jobs available: 
-Program Helper - assist program speakers in setting up and help with questions 
-Registration Table Helper - check in conference attendees & help with questions 
-Exhibitor Hall Helper - check in exhibitor attendees & help with questions 
-Conference Photographer - take photos of the conference for a shift or two

Signing up is super easy.  Contact Maura Deedy, Ambassador Volunteer Coordinator at and let her know what jobs you'd like to do and what days you'll be a conference.

Harry Potter Alliance
Greetings, Witches, Wizards, and Muggles alike!
Good news - Rhode Island now has its very own chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance and is ready to join forces with libraries and librarians in the quest for social justice, human rights, and literacy! The Harry Potter Alliance makes activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, the organization has empowered millions of fans to fight for equality, human rights, and literacy.
The Burrow: HPA is your local extension of the global nonprofit and meets monthly to plan and implement campaign events ranging from trans* rights to the environment and many more to come. We even have our own Comic Book Club! We're also very keen on learning how best the Harry Potter Alliance can help you help your patrons, so if you have suggestions we'd love to hear them.

Earlier in the year, the Burrow ran a local extension of HPA's annual book drive "Accio Books," which donates materials to readers in need all around the world, and has recently put together a suggested reading list of books for all ages with positive presentations of trans* or gender non-conforming characters, which will soon be available to print for free. We also lent a hand during the release party for The Cursed Child at Barnes and Noble in Warwick, and are looking forward to running a panel discussion at this year's Rhode Island Comic Con.

To think globally, act locally, and amplify your voice even louder than by casting the Sonorus spell, consider joining us at our next meeting or event! You can learn more by finding us on Facebook or by emailing Chapter President Ashley Perry: ."

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:



Andria Tieman Michney & Brandi Fong



Rhode Island Library Association