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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Is anyone else surprised that it's already November? The days are still a bit unseasonably warm, but Daylight Savings time has reminded us that winter is definitely coming. It's also the time of year where people become stressed. Sometimes, it's simply, "How are we going to fit everyone at the table for Thanksgiving dinner?" Sadly though, for many Rhode Islanders, the stress of the season goes far beyond that. For many, their worries include "will they be able to pull enough together so their children can celebrate the season, yet at the same time still be able pay the bills?" "Will they have enough food (and not just for a Thanksgiving dinner)?" "Will they be able to keep their homes warm when the weather gets colder?" 

So, what can the library do to help during these stressful times? Make sure staff are aware of resources in the area that they can direct patrons to when they come to the library for help. Remember to be a little patient during the season with "difficult" patrons. You may also be feeling the pressures of the season, but their stress may be far outweighing yours right now. And when you feel the stress creeping in, take a minute to take a deep breath, and be thankful that we have libraries that can help point people towards the help they might need, no matter how big or small a problem. 
Andria Tieman and Brandi Fong
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs

Better Know a Library: The Dirt Palace
By Elliott Stevens
Research and Instruction Librarian, Providence College
The word "dirt" is old. It's one of those words - words like "fire," "worm," "black," and "mother" - that are considered so old that you could step into a time machine, go back 15,000 years, find a fellow human in the woods or on a mountain or in a field and say "dirt" in order to find that, yes, they get you completely.
The word "palace" is not nearly as old, and though I think of it as the seat of royalty and rulers, did you know it could also be a term for the roof of your mouth? ("I have too much peanut butter on my palace...")
So what, then, is the meaning of the Dirt Palace?
Oh, wait, are you saying that you haven't heard of the Dirt Palace?
And you've been in Rhode Island for how long?
The Dirt Palace is not really a palace made of dirt, and it's not a palace full of dirt rulers. It's not a mouthful of dirt. What it is, though, is a feminist art collective that lives in what had been Providence's Olneyville neighborhood's old public library.
On a Sunday, I was scheduled to meet Pippi Zornoza, one of the founders of the Dirt Palace, right in front of the building in Olneyville Square. As I waited for her, I found myself gawking at the exterior of the place, which is covered with small, rounded black and white stones that have been arranged into swirling rose-studded vegetation, mountain peaks, and a vigilant-looking peacock. The whole thing is impressively fluid and yet fastidious, ordered and yet obviously handmade - to the point that I was still wandering in its imagery and movement when Pippi popped out from a front door. She wore a fake leather jacket that was crumbling a little at the shoulders and elbows.
She welcomed me to the Dirt Palace before she showed me around on the first floor, which contains big open workspaces for filmmaking, printmaking, music rehearsal, and textile use.
"Seven artists live here at a time," Pippi told me. We were in the music room, and she said, "Believe it or not, at one point, six of them were drummers. You can imagine what that was like!"
She went on to say that the artists can share the spaces, tools, and instruments in the Dirt Palace, but they can also work autonomously if they want.
"Over forty - maybe fifty - artists have come through here since we started in 2000," Pippi said. She mentioned an installation called "Living as Form" that the Dirt Palace had presented at the Harvard Carpenter Center, which highlighted many of its artists over the past decade and a half.
Living as Form, Dirt Palace Installation at Harvard's Carpenter Center
Living as Form, Dirt Palace Installation at Harvard's Carpenter Center
"It's important that everyone is acknowledged," Pippi said. "The focus is on everyone, on the collective."
Pippi led me to a staircase, and before going up it, I noticed furniture that looked like pews. Evidently, aside from being a library, in the past, the Dirt Palace's building had been a church at one time and a factory at another. At one point, its top floor, which had boasted a pointy spire, had burned up. I wondered if that had happened before or after the great Olneyville rain of fish (perch, mostly) in 1900.
Once we got to the second floor, we were soon in the library, where we met Xander Marro, O Horvath, and a very comfy cat named Baby, who squinted kindly at me as I settled into a chair.
Xander - a visual artist, puppeteer, and the other founder of the Dirt Palace - explained that the beautiful wood shelves I saw were the old Olneyville Library's originals and that some of the titles I was looking at had come from Fort Thunder, which was another greatly influential artist collective and music venue that had existed in the area but that had been destroyed by developers. I looked around some more and noticed the shelves were categorized into idiosyncratic but meaningful categories: "Sexy Books." "Drugs and Music." "Puppets."
"It's a little cuckoo, I'll admit," Xander joked, but the more she talked about the collection, the more I understood its organization and how useful it is to its artists and community.
And O Horvath, who is not only an artist at the Dirt Palace but who is also a librarian in Rhode Island, pointed out that they archive rare zines, comics, and handmade books - books representing subcultures that you wouldn't find in any library except for the Dirt Palace's.
Part of the library's zine collection 
"But we want our collections to be seen and used instead of kept hidden away," O emphasized. They spoke of how important it is for a library to exude kindness and warmth. "And scrappiness," O added.
Aside from serving the Providence community by maintaining a unique, special collection, the members of the Dirt Palace also run a programming series in the library called "The Shivering Shelves," in which they host readings, screen films, and serve dessert.
Nevertheless, despite the library's undoubted functionality and importance, the members of the Dirt Palace did admit that it can be tough to take on the collections of other artist collectives, accept donated books, maintain special collections, and run programming.
"We are at peace with it being a slow evolution," Xander said, referring to the fact that they don't always have enough people in residence to continuously keep their books and materials organized. She added, "Sometimes, it's enough just to get the books on the shelves."
Our interview over, Pippi led me out of the Dirt Palace, and as I went, on one wall, I saw fascinating masks marked with black, red, and white patterns. On the floor of a hall, I saw sculptures resembling sea creatures, which were made of satiny cloth, stuffing, metallic ribbon, buttons, and beads.
Stepping out the front door, I said to Pippi how gorgeous the mosaic on the front of the building is, and she smiled and mentioned that she herself is the one who did it.
The next time you're in Olneyville and at the Dirt Palace, you might want to take a look at that enchanting mural, to, or perhaps check out a puppet show, listen to some music, hear someone read a story, or read a one-of-a-kind zine off the Shivering Shelves.
To subscribe to the Dirt Palace's newsletter, which is something all should do, follow this link.
What's the Buzz about Media Smart Libraries?
By Mary Moen
Media Smart Libraries is an IMLS grant-funded initiative that brings together University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS), the Providence Children's Film Festival (PCFF), and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) for a two-year project designed to advance digital and media literacy competencies of children, teens, families, communities, educators, and librarians.
Media Smart Libraries harnesses the power of a university-community partnership to provide a series of 15 continuing education programs and events emphasizing the use of film and media texts and digital media tools and technologies to promote expanded literacy. In addition, five public programs intended for families, parents, children, and teens will be implemented across the state to provide access, awareness, and education on digital and media literacy topics.
The Media Smart Libraries program got underway with its first CE workshop, Twitter 101, on October 6th. Catherine Damiani, Digital Services Librarian at the East Providence Public Library, helped librarians not only learn how to use Twitter but why librarians should be tweeting . A workshop on Media Literacy and Children's Independent Film Discussions were held in early November. The next scheduled workshop will be Stop Motion Animation on a Budget December 9th from 6-8 pm at the Feinstein Middle School in Coventry. Librarians will learn about Stop Motion Animation, have the chance to create one, and discuss possibilities for library programming. Register for the workshop on the OLIS Continuing Education Program website.
Media Smart Libraries will provide librarians the opportunity to earn digital badges in the areas of Access and Use, Analyze and Evaluate, Create and Collaborate, Reflect, and Take Action. Each digital badge is earned by attending a workshop or event and completing activities that provide hands-on experience. These badge activities allow librarians to test the skills they've learned, join in the larger discussion on media and digital literacy, and produce tangible evidence of their learning. Once earned, these digital badges identify librarians as leaders in Rhode Island's media and digital literacy and library communities.
Additionally, Media Smart Libraries has selected a cohort of 24 school and public librarians dedicated to the Media Smart Libraries program who have agreed not only to participate in the Media Smart Libraries workshops and events and complete all five badges culminating in earning the Media Smart Certificate, but also to share their knowledge and experiences locally, nationally, and globally. These librarians are leaders in the field and were selected for their enthusiasm, dedication, and skill.
The Media Smart Librarians Cohort members are:
Kristin Almeida, Westerly Middle School
James Barrett, Nathan Bishop Middle School
Emily Brown, Cranston Public Library
Meri Carney, Marian J. Mohr Memorial Library
Suzanne Costa, Barrington High School
Jennifer Cournoyer, Cumberland Public Library
Dianne Du, Foster Public Library and Tyler Free Library,
David Fountaine, Middletown High School
Lee-Ann Galli, Narragansett Public Library
Suzanne Jordan, Myron J. Francis Elementary School
Carrie Kelly, John Wickes Elementary School
Karen McHenry, Del Sesto Middle School
Barbara Miller, West Glocester Elementary School
Marianne Mirando, Westerly High School
Susan Murphy, Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School of Coventry
Robin Nyzio, Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library
Rebecca Ott from Marian J. Mohr Memorial Library
Tanya Paglia, Barrington Public Library
Kathryn Powers, James M. Quinn Elementary School
Susan Rose, Chester Barrows Elementary School
Terri Spisso, Ponaganset High School
Gail Stokes, Cranston Public Library
Jennifer Thomas, Paul Cuffee School
Christopher Zanghi, Ranger Elementary School
If you are interested in learning more about the Media Smart Libraries program please contact Program Director, Mary Moen, at
Sponsor Spotlight
Based in Oxford, Massachusetts, VenMill Industries is a leading developer and manufacturer of professional disc repair equipment. Disc repair is an effective means to reduce the costs of replacing damaged media and increase the life of your AV titles. VenMill's disc repair machines are used in schools, libraries, and video and video game stores worldwide. 
To learn more about how disc repair can help your library save money, visit or call our office at 866-864-0210
 and mention the RILA discount. 

News From the Field
Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University's McKillop Library   is excited to welcome back the university's Writing Center and Academic Center for Excellence, which includes the Tutoring Center, English for Academic Purposes, and Disability Services. This moves us closer to the commons model we've been steadily working towards. The library is now home to the university's ACE, Writing Center, and Center for Teaching and Learning, which supports faculty teaching and administers our course management system. Renovations were completed in September 2014, and included   a glassed-in  space on the second floor  for consultations and staff offices. We also moved or shifted the entire main collection to the third floor, much of it to new compact shelving. Students love our compact shelving system and think we're very advanced. The second floor of McKillop Library also hosts a Makerspace, including a button maker, a laminating machine, a Cricut machine, and craft materials.   Our annual survey shows that students are thrilled with the Makerspace, though the removal of the main collection books resulted in noise problems on the second floor.
In staff news,   Olga Verbeek has been serving as acting director since September 2014.
Collection Services Librarian John Lewis received his Ph.D. from University of Maryland, University College. His dissertation title is "The Academic Library in the 21st Century: Competencies Library Directors and Senior Managers Must Possess to Successfully Lead Their Organizations into the Future." We look forward to hearing his findings at an upcoming presentation.
Special Programs Librarian Lisa Kenyon left us to become a school media specialist in Westerly. 
Kristin "Kiki" Butler was promoted to special programs librarian. Previously working in access services, Kiki has a B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island. Kiki will be in charge of coordinating all library programming,   and will provide outreach and library services to   Salve's  Center for Adult Education in Warwick. Bethany Blycker Koll, a Salve Regina University graduate with a B.A. in Studio Art: Photography and minors in Art History and Anthropology, was recently hired as evening circulation supervisor.
Dawn Emsellem was promoted to Assistant Director for Research and Instruction. Dawn will promote the library's information literacy program and coordinating research services. Dawn has a B.A. in political science from Barnard College and a M.L.I.S. from University of Illinois.

Greenville Public Library
The Greenville Public Library Board of Trustees has appointed a new assistant director,  Cassie Patterson.  Mrs. Patterson obtained her MLIS from the University of Rhode Island.  She previously worked in the Mansfield Public Library where she was the head of reference and adult services.  She was also responsible for programming for teens and adults. She has also worked at the Attleboro Public Library in the reference and  circulation departments.  Mrs. Patterson is a Rhode Island native.

Pawtucket Public Library
Library Director Susan Reed announced that Amy Rosa has joined the staff of the library as the part-time Community Engagement Librarian.   Amy stated that "I am greatly looking forward to becoming a part of the Pawtucket community".  Amy is a native of Taunton, Massachusetts and currently resides in North Providence with her husband and daughter.  She received her Masters of Library Science degree at Indiana University and has worked at many libraries in various roles, most recently as the Young Adult Librarian at the Milton Public Library.  

Warwick Public Library
We recently hired two new staff members:
Cathleen McManus - Part time Circulation
and Kristin Munson - Part time Reference Librarian

Providence College
Norman Desmarais, professor emeritus and former acquisitions librarian  at Providence College, was inducted into the American French Genealogical Society Hall of Fame on October 16.
Mr. Desmarais's  most recent article, The French Soldiers Commemorated at the North Burial Ground in Providence,  identifies the 25 French soldiers of General Rochambeau 's army who died at Providence and are buried in the North Burial Ground.  You can read the article at:

The RILA Conference Committee is expanding the vendor exhibit area this year and wants to know who you love!  Do you have a vendor that you think other libraries would like as well?  Do you have a need for a vendor and want us to help you find one?  This year we are in a much larger space, so the goal is to have twice as many vendors!  We are looking for suggestions of vendors that you currently use or would like to learn more about at the RILA Conference.   If you currently use a vendor that you'd like to recommend, or have a vendor or a vendor need that you'd like to see, please email
 and put "Vendor" in the subject line.  We look forward to making this the best RILA conference experience possible.  Thank you for your input!

The Information Literacy Action Round Table (ILART) seeks a new member for their advisory board as we broaden our focus to support all library types. ILART is looking for a librarian who is excited about teaching and learning in public libraries. Public librarians who teach classes, work with community groups, or work at a research/reference desk would be an ideal fit. Time commitment is low, but we are looking for someone who will jump in as needed. ILART hosts three to four events per year and the ILART advisory board meets several times between events to brainstorm and plan events, advocacy, and other methods to promote information literacy in Rhode Island.  Please email Maura Keating at or Mary MacDonald at if you are interested.

Third Annual ILART Event Shines Light on
State Information Literacy Efforts
RILA and SLRI co-sponsored the third annual October is Information Literacy Month Celebration: Celebrating Life Long Learning Across Rhode Island on Monday, October 26 at the Cranston Public Library. The showcase illuminated what information literacy looks like across RI  academic, school and public libraries and how it affects Rhode Islanders of every age.
Approximately fifty librarians and educators attended the event to network and talk with the fourteen showcase presentations by academic, school and public librarians. Cranston Mayor Alan Fung presented RILA and SLRI with a citation celebrating the "October is Information Literacy Month!" proclamation. Meg McEntee,  Constituent Services Representative of Congressman Jim Langevin's office attended the event and shared her congratulations.

Attendees were able to visit the presentations and learn from each other while enjoying snacks and networking - a rare opportunity, indeed, for some librarians. Start thinking about how to spotlight your own information literacy efforts for next year's event!

Financial Literacy @your Library
Tuesday January 5, 2016
Marian J. Mohr Memorial Library 
1 Memorial Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919

Want to learn more about financial literacy programming and resources that are available in your community?  The Office of Library and Information Services
Multi-type Reference Advisory Group  and the Rhode Island Library Association Financial Literacy Round Table  are joining forces to assist librarians in developing and promoting financial education programs at libraries across the state. 
Meet representatives from financial organizations who have partnered with libraries during RILA's Money Smart Week and can offer resources and programming. This is a great opportunity to learn more about financial education programs your library may offer during Money Smart Week, which will take place April 23-30, 2016
Learn about the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)  partnership with libraries.  Printed resources will be available to libraries.   Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the resources and programs available so that your library can join financial literacy awareness.
Registration is requested for this event at

Copyright Bootcamp
This fall, ACRL New England's Scholarly Communication Interest Group has teamed up with the New England Copyright Crew to offer a one- or two-day copyright workshop, in two different locations.
Day 1 is a "Foundational Copyright" session including:
      the basics about what copyright is and what it covers;
      an introduction to fair use;
      a review of copyright law's particular provisions for those working in Libraries in academic settings; and
      an introduction to licensing and its relationship to copyright, including Open Access, Creative Commons, and contracts.
Day 2 is for "Advanced Copyright Topics" including:
      a deeper dive into scholarly publishing issues, e.g. author contracts, making use of Creative Commons licenses, supporting journals in the campus repository;
      an intensive look at licensing in the library setting; and
      some discussion of the orphan works/public domain challenge.
 Those who are already familiar with "Foundational Copyright" topics may elect to attend only the second day; others may wish to attend only the first day, or both days.
In an effort to reach as many people as possible, each sessions will be held twice, in two different locations.
Presenters will be:
      Laura Quilter (Copyright and Information Policy Librarian, UMass Amherst)
      Kyle Courtney (Copyright Advisor, Harvard University)
      Ellen Finnie (Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright & Licensing, MIT Libraries)
      Joan Emmet (Licensing & Copyright Librarian, Yale University).
Please register for each day separately. 
When: Tuesday & Wednesday, December 1-2, 2015, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: University of Massachusetts, Boston, Center for Library Instruction, Room 04/015
Registration cost: $30 each day (includes continental breakfast and a boxed lunch)
Register for Day 1 Boston here! 
Register for Day 2 Boston here! 
When: Tuesday & Wednesday, December 15-16, 2015, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Du Bois Library, Room 2601
Registration cost: $30 each day (includes continental breakfast and a boxed lunch) 
Register for Day 1 Amherst here! 
Register for Day 2 Amherst here! 

Two more school librarians were named 2015 Teacher of the Year in their districts; Suzanne Lynch of Stony Lane and Forest Park Elementary Schools in North Kingstown and Beth Gorter of Hanaford Elementary in East Greenwich join Joan Mouradjian of Narragansett Middle School in Narragansett and Jennifer Robinson of Thompson Middle School in Newport as honorees this year. In 2014, three other school librarians received the honor. Ironically, four of these seven districts have cut library staffing and/or funding for the current school year:
  • Coventry: As the district moves to Chromebooks, librarians are being given tech duties, reducing time to teach students library skills. There is no book budget - at the Feinstein Middle School, 2014 Teacher of the Year Susan Murphy's budget has gone from $7,500 to $0 in just a few years.
  • East Greenwich: While positions were spared this year after being on the chopping block, budgets were obliterated. 2015 Teacher of the Year Beth Gorter's Hanaford Elementary went from $3,000 for collection development last year to $0.
  • Newport: 2015 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Robinson has gone from having a half-time assistant librarian and full-time clerk two years ago to being a solo practitioner.
"The fact that 7 out of 36 districts have recognized the work done by school librarians as educators shows that fellow teachers appreciate the value the position - and the highly trained professionals who fill it - brings to both their students and their colleagues," says Sarah Hunicke of Portsmouth High School, president of School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI). "Unfortunately, some school committees see the library department as dispensable. But   research has shown a correlation between school library programs and student achievement. When a school district thinks that cutting certified school librarians is an easy way to save money, they may actually end up costing themselves more in the long run."
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 & Brandi Fong


Rhode Island Library Association