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)

Find us on Facebook
Twitter &   Youtube

There's a meme that has been floating around Internet lately that recently made its way to a library focused Facebook group. Badly describe your job. The answers ranged the gamut of funny, quirky, and at times stereotypical-- " I read all day." "Printer and copier customer assistant. "Programmer for an empty audience." "I frown and shush people." "I'm a glorified Googler."

In a group of librarians, we recognize that these answers are all in good fun. However, floating around in there are tiny threads of not-so-positive public opinion. We've all heard them:
·          People still go to the library?
·          Why do we need libraries, everyone has Google on their phones!
·          All libraries have are books-and I don't read.

So while we may joke around about our jobs, what does this actually say about the perceived state of our profession? And more importantly, what are we going to do about it?

This is where advocacy comes in. It's the focus of this month's RILA Bulletin, and for good reason.  It's more important now than ever for librarians to share with the public what we really do---that we don't read all day, and we aren't just about books. We're about education. We're about connecting with the community. We're about helping people learn necessary skills, from computer literacy to job search help. Yes, we are still about books, but we are also so much more. So learn to describe not only what you do, but why it's important. And the next time someone says to you "Why do we need libraries?", tell them. 
Tell them exactly why.

Until next time,

Andria Tieman & Brandi Fong
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs

President's Corner
As I sit here typing this, I am thinking about how quickly the last two years have gone by. With the conference just around the corner, my term as RILA President is coming to a close. It truly has been an honor to work with so many wonderful people on the Executive and Full Boards as well as all the other wonderful volunteers who work on our various committees and roundtables. It is clear that our profession is thriving when looking at all the dedicated people who work to make RILA everything it can be. I would like to put out a call to everyone in RILA to consider volunteer to serve on one of the committees or volunteers. This organization wouldn't be able to survive without such people.
Over the past few years, our board team was able to accomplish the following things:
  • Expanded of RI Library Day in April to make it an annual event with academic, public, and special libraries across the state participating;
  • Scheduled quarterly Library Libations events, allowing RILA members to socialize with each other as well as NELA members;
  • Expanded Money Smart Week further to include record numbers of programs and patrons participation at participating academic and public libraries;
  • Established the Financial Literacy Round Table (FLRT) to support the implementation of financial literacy programs year round rather than just during Money Smart Week;
  • The creation of a RILA shop at Cafe Press, where anyone can buy all sorts of RILA-related swag.
  • In 2016, we were able to convince the General Assembly to increase budgetary support for the Grant-in-Aid program providing state funds to public libraries, bringing state funding up from 22% to 23.65% of municipal expenditures of the fiscal year two years prior. There is hope that this year, we will be able to increase budgetary support to fully fund the program at 25% of municipal expenditures;
  • Updated our membership enrollment/renewal system to allow members to renew membership for a full year not just in January but on a rolling basis throughout the whole calendar year. We have also expanded possibilities to enjoy joint membership not just with ALA, but also with NELA. We have also made arrangements to implement further join memberships with both COLA and Cornucopia of Rhode Island;
  • Started planning for a joint RILA/NELA conference in the fall of 2018. That conference will merge that year's annual conferences for both associations into a single event;
  • Started working with OLIS and URI GSLIS to start expanding attempts to expand diverse representation in the library profession;
  • Established a non-discrimination statement that will hopefully be added to the RILA Constitution with a vote by the membership during this year's election;
  • Created of a marketing video/advertisement to promote the value of all libraries of all types in Rhode Island. The video has been made available online and through television advertisements on a number of local stations. Please read more about this initiative below; and
  • Started the process to create an implement RILA's first Strategic Plan.
As mentioned above, all of this is due to the various members of RILA's Executive and Full Boards and of our various committees and roundtables. I would link to thank each and every one of them for these accomplishments. I hope they will inspire all of you to help RILA continue to be a successful professional organization.

"Take Action Now!" Library Advocacy TV Spot
This spring, RILA and the Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) collaborated on a powerful library advocacy TV spot .  It is part of a "Take Action Now!" statewide library advocacy campaign to encourage library patrons and the general public to call and email their elected officials to voice their support for all RI Libraries.  Individuals can visit the   Secretary of State website and click on the " Look up General Voter Information " tab to find their local legislators.

RILA and COLA are encouraging the public to tell their legislators, "I support and depend on my local library for"
  • Free wifi and computers
  • Job search help
  • Tech help
  • Language classes
  • ESL, GED, and citizenship classes
  • Web coding and other continuing education programs
  • Business Services (printers, copiers, faxes, and meeting rooms)
  • Homework help and online tutor
  • College info
  • Teen summer reading programs, including scifi & mystery book clubs
  • "Cradle to Crayons" and "Story Time" for toddlers.
  • Museum passes

In the first week in June, the RI State House will make final decisions on the state budget for the next fiscal year.  As we know, the State has leveled funded its allocation to public libraries across the state, and libraries are currently receiving less than the 25% of their city or town's allocation for library support allowed by state law.  We want to raise the state funding to the full 25% level and we need your support in persuading the Assembly to do so. Every dollar counts and provides support for vital programming and services throughout Rhode Island. We need your help.

Please spread the word!  For more information, visit

Donate Now to Air the Library Advocacy Video on TV!

RILA and the Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) are in the process of raising funds for TV ad time to air this powerful library advocacy video
on TV stations across the state. These are a few times and channels the video could air:
Eyewitness News mornings, evening news, Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune, Sunday morning news
WPRI: Eyewitness News mornings, evening news, Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune, Sunday morning news  
Fox-Providence: Weekday morning news, weekday evening news  
ABC6: Good Morning Providence weekdays, Good Morning America, 11pm news weekdays, Good Morning America Weekend  
Cox Cable: Cox Plus, NESN-TV, 2 in game Red Sox spots, ESPN sports center mornings, CNN mornings, FXNC mornings, Golf weekends and "Origins: Journey of Man" show on National Geographic Channel.
Please consider making a donation towards the TV ad time.  RILA and COLA have fully financed the production costs of the video.   We are looking to the broader library community to help make it possible to invest in an appropriate ad buy for airing the commercial in a way that will help us reach the intended audience The ad buy will require an investment of approximately $10,000 in order to achieve that goal.   All money raised as part of this drive will be dedicated to the ad buy.

Donors contributing any dollar amount will be recognized on the RILA website.

The following donation categories will additionally include:
  • $50 (name & library logo displayed)
  • $100 (name & library logo displayed)
  • $250 (name & library logo displayed; recognized at RILA Conference)
  • $500 + (name & library logo displayed; recognized at RILA Conference)
RILA hopes to receive donations before June 3, 2017.

Checks can be sent to:
Cumberland Public Library
1464 Diamond Hill Road
Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864
Online donations and more information can be found at:

Thank You for Your Support!
RILA and COLA would like to thank our donors who have contributed towards the TV ad time.  Your support helps the Rhode Island Library Community to grow stronger in these challenging times.  It allows our organizations to better advocate for all RI Libraries.

RILA and COLA would also like to thank those involved in the production and marketing of this advocacy video.   Stepha nie Alvarez Ewens was our videographer.  Stephanie is a photographer/filmmaker.  She is  based in Rhode Island but available for travel throughout New England.  Her work has been published in both local and national publications. Her clients include artists, designers, schools, and organizations throughout New England.  Stephanie can be contacted at / (401) 484-1651.  Her website is:

Tony Aguilar was our marketing and public relations manager for this project  Tony is the founder and principal of New Flavor Media, LLC, an advertising and publishing company.  He is a marketing professional with expert knowledge of the entire advertising spectrum and has worked in advertising in Los Angeles, New York City and with his own company New Flavor Media, in Providence, RI. His company has successfully launched brands by using market strategy and all media. Tony can be contacted at / (401) 331-1413.  His website is:

PCL's Computer Builders Program
Olneyville Library Reopens!
Olneyville Library reopened its doors to patrons on May 15. The library suffered damage in April 2016 when heavy rains caused a rise in the water table underneath the building. Supportive local residents raised $10,000 at a June fundraiser to help with the cost of renovations and after extensive work on the building, which now features new carpet, fittings and moveable furniture, the library looks like new. Staff and volunteers have worked very hard getting the library collection out of storage and back on display.

Olneyville Library is now fully open for business. PCL is currently organizing an appropriate celebration to thank the community for its support and patience during the closure.

Computer Builders Program
PCL has successfully piloted an exciting an exciting, hands-on project that trains youth ages 12 to 17 how to build computers. The Computer Builders Program produces fully functioning devices that replace aging machines in the library's existing computer labs. The prototypes were built at Olneyville Library during the April school recess and the project attracted much interest when it was exhibited at the Rhode Island Robot Block Party exhibition at Brown University on April 30.

The one week course is the brainchild of David Sok, PCL's IT Manager. David came up with the Computer Builders Program as imaginative way to replace computer hardware through innovative educational programming. The result is a win-win for everyone; the library produces bespoke devices at reduced replacement cost and young people acquire skills that equip them to compete in the twenty-first century job market.

The course features two hours of instruction a day. Students begin by learning about computer components and what they do and how they interact with one another. They learn about the hardware of different manufacturers and which parts are compatible between systems. What makes a computer a good one? How can you make it even better? The course concludes with the hands-on build of the new computer, with participants working in pairs to put together a single device. Participants receive a certificate of course completion and plaques are fitted on the computers stating the names of the builders and the date of assembly. Kids have the additional satisfaction of seeing their computers used by library patrons every time they visit the library.

Three program participants and proud family members accompanied David and PCL staff to the Pizzitola Center at Brown University on April 30 to show off the new devices. While exhibiting and visiting organizations took a closer look, tweens and teens touring the displays happily took turns surfing and playing on the computers until closing time. The Computer Builders Program is now receiving statewide attention from IT professionals who see potential in this approach to solving some of the IT challenges currently facing Rhode Island libraries.

The pilot program was made possible thanks to a grant from the United Way Olneyville Community Fund and will be replicated at other PCL locations. The biggest surprise? Absolutely no drop-outs. "I had anticipated some kids would stop coming." Said David. "We asked tweens and teens to come in during their school vacation, sit down, look at a whiteboard and concentrate for two hours every day. But every day, they came back. They loved the experience and all 16 participants finished the course."
News From the Field
Students from URI's LIB 350 Current Issues of the Information Age produced an information issues forum on April 26 titled,  Alternative Facts!?! Accuracy in Online Medical Information, Sponsored Research, and the News. Panelists explored issues of accuracy in their respective fields for an audience of students and faculty at URI Libraries' Galanti Lounge.

Dr. Fortunato Procopio MD, Medical Director and Staff Physician, URI Health Services, Alan Rothman MD, Head, URI Laboratory of Viral Immunity and Pathogenesis, and Emma Gauthier, Editor-in-Chief,  Good Five Cent Cigarshared their   expertise in presentations and an informal discussion.

Dr. Procopio explained how physicians diagnose illnesses and how students can identify characteristics of valid medical Web sites. Dr. Rothman showed how research can be manipulated and how to critically appraise a research article. Emma Gauthier explored the difference between fake news and false news and put in a pitch for legitimate news sources. The discussion put everything in perspective for the audience as they try to navigate an online world that can mislead, obfuscate, and present outright falsehoods.  

LIB 350 is a 3-credit course offered by University Libraries that explores current information issues built on the framework of privacy, accuracy, property and access. Projects in the course address the General Education outcomes of Information Literacy and Civic Knowledge and Responsibilities. Earlier class projects included presentations on access and property (digital divide, music industry licensing, net neutrality) and press releases and public service announcements promoting ALA's Choose Privacy Week. Jim Kinnie, URI Libraries, was the instructor for LIB 350 this semester. Photos courtesy of Mary MacDonald, URI Libraries.

East Providence Public Library
Joyce May has been promoted to the Assistant Director/Adult Services position at the East Providence Public Library effective May 1, 2017.  Joyce has been a member of the East Providence Public Library professional staff since June, 2002.

Pawtucket Public Library
Whitney Pape has joined the staff of the Pawtucket Public Library as part-time Community Engagement Librarian planning adult programs for the library.   

Cranston Public Library 
The Cranston Public Library is excited to announce that it will provide three Learning Gardens to youth and families this summer. Supported by a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, and donations from the William Hall Library Board of Trustees and the Cranston Public Library Teen Team, gardens at the Central Library, William Hall Library, and Oak Lawn Branch will be built throughout the month of May.
"After the success of William Hall Library's Seed Library and Agricultural Fair in recent years, we realized that gardens provide beautiful learning opportunities to residents of all ages," explained Community Engagement Manager, Katy Dorchies. 
The Oak Lawn Branch will welcome two raised bed herb gardens to their property, while the Central Library and William Hall Library will support one vegetable garden each. The gardens will be built by teens and families on separate Saturdays through May, then maintained by teen volunteers throughout the summer.

Dhana Whiteing
Providence Community Library
Dhana Whiteing, Regional Library Manager at Mount Pleasant Library, received the Established Alumni of the Year Award on April 21 from the Harrington School of Communication and Media at URI GSLIS. She received her award for outstanding contributions to the field of library and information studies. Congratulations Dhana!

More acclaim for PCL staff: Acontecer Latino , a Spanish language publication, published a feature about the life and career of Carolina Briones, PCL's Latino Program Coordinator.  Carolina has worked for 19 years at libraries in Providence, in addition to her other cultural and artistic commitments, including President of the La Asociación de Ecuatorianos de RI. She has also been nominated by RISCA as their choice for an award from the RI Council on the Humanities 

The Rhode Island Children's Book Award committee is seeking a Public Youth Services Librarian to serve a three year term beginning September 2017.  The RICBA committee is responsible for selecting the twenty books nominated for the RICBA award each year.  Rhode Island children in grades 3 through 5 can read books from this list and vote for an overall winner.  For more information, visit here:
The representative to the committee should:

*Be a Public Youth Services Librarian in the State of Rhode Island
*Work (or have worked) with children in grades 3 through 5
*Have an interest in children's literature
*Commit to a high volume of reading - at least 8 to 10 chapter books each month, with additional picture books and graphic novels
*Meet with the committee on the second Thursday of each month starting in September,   5pm-7:30pm, from September to April

If you are interested in serving on the committee, please fill out this form by   Sunday, June 4th:

If you have any questions, please contact the RICBA Committee at

NELLS Deadline Extended for RI Applicants!
Were you thinking about applying for the New England Library Leadership Symposium, but weren't sure you had enough time to submit your application? Well, the April 30 deadline has been EXTENDED for RI Applicants to   Friday, May 19

NELLS takes place this   August 14 to 18  at the Rolling Ridge Conference and Event Center in North Andover, Mass.

Maureen Sullivan,  past president of the American Library Association, who is widely recognized as a leader and educator in the library profession will be leading NELLS 2017
Who can attend?
NELLS students will be library professionals, paraprofessionals, or volunteers (trustees, friends, etc.) in mid-career (3-15 years experience in or with libraries). The attendees may be recommended by someone or may make their own application for this leadership training. Each student must be a member of his or her state library association or NELA in order to apply.
What does it cost?
There is a nominal cost to the student to participate in the Symposium. NELA and all six state associations are financially supporting NELLS to keep the costs low for the Symposium attendees. There may also be scholarships available from your state association.
What is taught?
The curriculum covers the following areas:
  • getting to know your leadership style
  • interpersonal communication
  • presentation skills
  • managing differences
  • risk taking
  • the library within the community
  • using power and influence
  • understanding libraries as organizational systems
  • transforming libraries
  • the leader as a catalyst for change
  • the leader's role as coach and mentor
  • achieving your potential
Attendees develop an action plan for their future commitments.

If you plan to apply for the extended deadline (after April 30) please contact your NELA State Representative.

Jessica D'Avanza, NELA State Representative  OR
401.247.1920 x312
Barrington Public Library

Apply for NELLS today!
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