In This Issue
President's Corner.
Winning the War Against Graphic Novel Haters
AS220 Digitization Project
The Uganda Community Library Association
Award Committee Reading
Financial Literacy @Your Library
Call for LITA Bloggers
Better Know a Library
News From the Field

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The air is getting crisp, pumpkin flavored everything has taken over, school supplies are already in the clearance aisle...sure signs that Fall as finally arrived!


Fall brings a plethora of campaigns and celebrations to the library world! September is Library Card Sign-Up Month...time to welcome new patrons and remind the community about the value of their local library. In addition, Banned Books Week starts next week with ALA stepping up to defend graphic novels. 


October not only features Teen Read Week (October 12-18), but it is also Information Literary Month in Rhode Island! As librarians, one of the most important things we do is help patrons successfully find, analyze, and use information. RILA's Information Literacy Action Round Table is celebrating its first anniversary by hosting a social and everyone is invited!  Co-sponsored by RILA & SLRI, the conversation will focus on teaching information literacy skills at all levels and across all library environments. See the News From the Field section in this issue for more details on this event - and many others on the fall calendar.


In between all the exciting fall library happenings, don't forget to take a bit of time for yourself! Dig out a sweater, curl up with a favorite book and a pumpkin latte and enjoy the season!



Andria Tieman and Brandi Kenyon 

RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs

President's Corner
By Jenifer Bond
RILA President & Associate Director, Krupp Library @Bryant University
Jenifer Bond

New RILA Season 

RILA's 2014-2015 season is already in full swing. The Executive Board, various committees, and the Information Literacy Action Round Table (ILART) are all actively working on new business and strategic planning for the upcoming year. A full slate of exciting library related events is on offer this fall, brought to you by RILA and other organizations. There are plenty of opportunities for professional development, trendspotting, and information sharing on tap, and it all kicks off on October 9 at OLIS & RILA's Financial Literacy @ Your Library event. See more event listings in the News from the Field section and mark your calendars!  

We're in Good Shape!
I am pleased to report that RILA is a vibrant and growing organization. Over the past few years, we've made great strides with our finances and our membership numbers. We currently have 247 members, a record high when compared with previous six membership cycles! RILA's Annual Conference was also well received and highly profitable again this year. Thanks to a consistent rise in memberships and a succession of successful conferences, RILA is in good financial standing. We survived the tough economic climate that resulted in a dip in total memberships and lower conference returns for several years in a row. And we did it without raising membership dues!  We will continue to practice sound fiscal management with an eye on maintaining RILA's long term finances. Kudos to both the Membership Committee and the Conference Committee for their much needed efforts with our two main revenue streams!

RILA & NELA: Together Again
After a 4 year absence from the New England Library Association (NELA) network, RILA is focused on redeveloping our regional relationships. Members of RILA's Full Board recently met with current NELA President, Deborah Hoadley, for updates on NELA's structure, internal operations, and strategic vision. Deb shared NELA's goals and provided interesting insight into the organization's long term plans. There are some exciting developments in the works for expanded programs in support of the New England library community and voices from every state are needed at the NELA table to accomplish these plans. The RILA Board voted unanimously to rejoin NELA as a full participant, effective immediately. RILA looks forward to continuing the New England conversation in the spirit of collaboration, networking, and regional camaraderie.

We encourage everyone to attend NELA's 2014 Annual Conference in October entitled "Be Bold: Libraries in the Center Ring." In keeping with that theme, RILA is committed to being a bold partner in NELA's future.

Hope to see you all at an upcoming fall event!


~ Jenifer

Banned Books Week 2014: Standing up for Graphic Novels
By Emily Grace LeMay
Children's Librarian, Mount Pleasant Library

I try to live every week like it's Banned Books Week, but it's actually the third week of September and that means the time has officially come to celebrate your favorite envelope-pushing classics and scintillating guilty pleasures in literature! This year, the American Library Association is drawing (pun not intended - no, just kidding, it totally was) special attention to the plight of the  Graphic Novel as being a frequently misunderstood, challenged, and banned form of great literature.


This is my first year as a Children's Librarian, and the overwhelming perception that I have observed among parents is that graphic novels are the "lazy" way out of reading, and if they see their child is interested in either an original work of literature in this format or a graphic adaptation of another work, they will swipe it away and loudly complain that they want their child to read something "real." I see this on a regular basis, but it's always unsettling to me for a number of reasons, and I therefore try to arm myself with some of the following beliefs and statements to combat parents like this and defend their child's Freedom to Read.


Since I am a librarian and therefore am fundamentally opposed to censorship, I am a firm believer that you should be able to read whatever you want, of course. However, I also believe just as firmly that you should be able to read however you want, as I am an incredibly reluctant reader myself even to this day, and my heart in particular goes out to anyone else who struggles to find things worth reading in a medium that is best for them. My preference is audiobooks, but everyone is different, and I try to always to be forthcoming with this information when dealing with anti-graphic-novelists.


I strongly believe that the library should be a place for children to freely explore their interests. When a parent reacts this way to a graphic novel, it completely tramples upon the kid's autonomy and establishes a really negative and patronizing environment that pervades the surrounding area, and who wants to stick around a place like that? No one, and especially not a kid who may already feel frustrated and out of place. By sticking up for their choices and preferences and interests, you can help tip the scales back in favor of the library being perceived as the cool, welcoming place you should want it to be.


Furthermore, this attitude disparages all of the time and effort that the illustrator spent on creating the artwork of the novel. Think of any great piece of art throughout history - most will not include words. Art without words is still art, a book without art is still a book, but mix words and art together for anyone over the age of five and suddenly it's not "real." While we're on the subject, and without getting too philosophical for the sake of brevity, what is "real" anyway, and who gets to decide upon it, and why? The Bone series is no less real to their kid than A Wrinkle in Time was when they were growing up (and by the way, there's a graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time now, too). 


Finally, it is naive to belittle the value of visual context clues in terms of more deeply understanding and connecting with a text, particularly when these clues make the practical applications of graphic novels unparalleled. Most of us use visual cues in addition to (or sometimes entirely in place of) textual ones from the moment we get out of bed in the morning. Colorful, dynamic illustrations can bridge reading level gaps and catapult over language barriers for easier and fuller understanding of the characters and plot in precisely the same ways that body language, facial expressions, and street signs impact our understanding of the people and world around us. Whether a graphic novel is read alone as an independent piece of literature or as graphic adaptation to supplement the original work, the appeal and the message of the art is generally broad enough to pull even the most reluctant reader in to a story they may otherwise have never attempted and learn valuable facts and lessons that would have been lost on them otherwise. For more information about how graphic novels promote literacy and other benefits of the format, please check out this Guide for Teachers and Librarians by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic.


I just want to encourage you all to keep fighting the good fight on behalf of your patrons, young or old, who struggle with reading and may be struggling even harder to have their mode of reading be accepted. Just as many (arguably, most) great works of literature are challenged and banned by too-narrow views, many potentially great readers and thinkers may be challenged and forbidden to explore their

interests in a medium that makes them comfortable or excited by a too-narrow definition of what counts as "real reading." Fighting for your patrons' right to read graphic novels is a highly effective way to combat censorship and ignorance on two fronts with one tactical approach.


Once more into the fray, and happy Banned Books Week, comrades!

AS220 Digitization Project

David Madruga, Andy Davis, & Kieran Ayton
Rhode Island College Library

AS220 is well known in Providence as an outstanding community arts organization providing an opportunity for local artists to live, work, exhibit and perform in its facilities, which include several gallery spaces, a performance stage, a theater, a print shop, a darkroom and media arts lab, a fabrication and electronics lab, a dance studio, a youth program, dozens of affordable live/work studios for artists, a bar and a restaurant.


In Spring 2013, the Digital Initiatives Department at the James P. Adams Library, Rhode Island College began the process of digitizing items that had been housed in a storage room at the AS220 offices on Mathewson Street in downtown Providence.


Under the direction of the late Professor Kresten Jespersen, spearheaded by Brendan Ryan and Andy Davis, and with the  support of then Director of Adams Library, Hedi BenAicha, Digital Initiatives began to archive and digitize large amounts of material in various analog formats, including items on paper, slides, as well as audio and video cassettes.  With the assistance of Emily Perry, Melinda Golembeske, Jessica Lombardi, Cedar Hayes and now David Madruga, Digital Initiatives is in the process of creating an online archive of the AS220 collection, which can be viewed at .  


Throughout the month of September, the James P. Adams Library at Rhode Island College will be featuring an exhibit of selected AS220 items which have been digitized by Andy Davis. More information about the exhibit can be found here:  .


Picture taken in front of the main gallery and performance space on Empire Street in downtown Providence circa 1994. Click to enlarge

The Uganda Community Library Association:

A Grassroots, Self-sustaining Model of Building a Network of Community Libraries

By Lavinia Gadsden

I have had the opportunity to participate first hand in the work of the Uganda Community Library Association (UgCLA). It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to:

1)     Complement the educational system of Uganda and to encourage and support the growth of community libraries. The goal is the development of productive literacy practices for the purpose of economic development at the local level.

  1. First and foremost, community libraries provide the resources and services that support basic learning. Students are provided with access to books and sometimes computers resources that are not available in their schools. Adults are provided with reading materials that allow them to practice reading, learn new skills, and gather together to share ideas for improving their living conditions.
  2. Secondly, community libraries have the capacity to provide additional services that aid economic development. These programs can teach skills on agricultural production, soil and water conservation, provide information about basic health care, and programs specifically designed to promote literacy for women.

2)     Help establish and maintain a network of such libraries throughout Uganda, cooperate with other national organizations with similar interests, as well as international organizations that are concerned with the promotion of literacy for development.

The services that UgCLA provide are:

1)     Workshops for the leaders of these village libraries who have no experience running a library.

a.They are taught how to create literacy programs for their users: children and adults, both men and women.

b.They learn how to write and apply for grants, as well as suggested grantors. Recipients of past grants share about the projects they have been put in place.       For example one library that I visited in 2010 and again in 2013 received a grant for 20,000 pounds and has been able to triple the size of his building, added plastic chairs and shelving, started a farming program and of course been able to buy books.


Participants share their experiences with activities, programs, projects. I have heard over and over again how invaluable these workshops are in terms of networking and learning from each other.  


Each conference has a theme such as creating week long health camps to teach children and teen about hygiene, safety, and HIV. Their days include reading and writing and three meals a day.  


Participants are learning how to write bilingual books, in English and their particular Ugandan dialect.


2)     Oversight of the Grant funds by a part-time administrator. She visits member libraries to support them as they build the programs and services funded by their grants.


3)    Work to build partnerships with organizations within Uganda such as TASO - The AIDS Support Organization. A very small grant was given UgCLA to support the Health Camps.
I took my first trip to Uganda in the summer of 2010 for three weeks. I came home overwhelmed by the experience of visiting Africa for the first time. It was an experience of traveling by bus from one village to the next, living in very basic conditions, of experiencing everyday life in Uganda at the most basic levels. I saw the poverty, the lack of resources such as food and running water and the small homes of families with an average of 7 children. I experienced the lack of electricity and the limited access to transportation. The most common method of travel was on the back of a "boda-boda" or motor scooter. I didn't see this, but a Canadian intern said she saw a boda-boda with a casket tied to the seat behind the driver!! Farmers take their crops to town on the back of bicycles, up and down the steep hills throughout the country.


The condition of the schools made it clear that libraries are an invaluable resource for every community throughout the country. Primary education is available to every child, but students do not have text books and rarely have the government provided workbooks, nor pencils and papers to write their lesson. Teachers rarely have blackboards and chalk. Teachers are poorly trained and there may be as many as 40 or 50 kids in a single room. They are paid very little and often do not come to school. Sometimes children meet with a teacher under a tree.  


The best possible education is in a private school, which is a huge cost to a family. Often a single child is able to attend such a school and they are great distances from the rural areas that dominate the country. Few of these schools have libraries.


The best antidote to this kind of educational system, which has such a huge challenge creating a literate populace is to create centers of learning - community libraries for both children and adults. Uganda now has over 100 community libraries or what I call "grassroots libraries" that are a result of local community initiatives. They have come about because local community leaders, people who understand the value of an education and know that the ability to read is the foundation of education. They know that these children have very little experience of books and that access because their classroom teachers have a single textbook for the entire class, at best.

The most amazing and heartwarming aspect of these community libraries is the level of commitment by the men/women who have stepped up to the plate.  They have embraced the idea of making books available to everyone in their community and have done what they can to make this idea into reality. Some of these libraries are more a concept than a physical space with a person in charge - 85% of the time that person is a volunteer.

1)     There is a "library" that is a meeting under a tree twice a week. A teacher/volunteer brings two boxes of books to share with the growing number of children and adults that attend.

2)     There is a library that is a small building with no table or chairs, but some books, some volunteers and bunches of kids who come to read and be together.  The woman who heads up this library is particularly proud that seven women come in once a week to learn to read.  They were completely illiterate - couldn't write their names - but are now making progress together and are able to read with their children.  I loved my visit to this library.  There were about 10 kids there when we arrived and 20 by the time we left.  I had a book about Elmo making friends with animals in the jungle.  It was a HUGE hit because it had a button that you push, a melody that plays and words to sing as you read the story.

3)     One of the largest libraries has grown over the past 12 years to consist of a room for over 3,000 books, a room with twelve laptops and a very large community room. It has solar panels which means they have electricity for computers and lights. It has a salaried librarian - $100 a month which supports his family of five. He has been invited to talk about UgCLA international conferences throughout Africa and in the United States.


Bottom line is that the Uganda Community Library Association is a model for self-sustaining learning centers that are enabling the residents of their communities to build the foundational skills of reading and writing. It is bringing awareness of the possibilities of libraries to those who want to help their communities grow. It is up to someone in that community to take the initiative to make it happen. 


Post Script: I returned last summer for 4 weeks, saw great progress, and then returned to Little Compton to discover that a Catholic Priest from Uganda was here for a year as an Assistant at the local church. We have worked together to write a plan for the library network that he intends to create when he gets back. He left on Saturday and has a meeting with the Chair of UgCLA and the Administrative Assistant to get first steps in place. He told me he could die and go to heaven now that this dream of his is in the works!

by Babs Wells
Children's Librarian, Greenville Public Library
Butterflies, sea creatures and stomp rockets were just some of the science related fun at the Greenville Public Library this summer. We enjoyed a fantastic adaption of Alice in Wonderland performed by the talented actors of the Hampstead Theater Company, messy science experiments and a traditional storytelling program featuring shadow puppets. A series of four dynamic writing sessions for 4th/5th graders
develop character, plot and setting. The ideas were bouncing around like firecrackers!

Crafts that floated, enjoying bedtime stories wearing comfy pajamas, reading with a beautiful black lab and a spunky Irish setter were popular additions to the reading program.

Along the way several young patrons have shared what they were up to this summer in regards to their favorite books and movies, who they admire and their best advice.

The Harry Potter books continue to stand tall along with the Rainbow Magic series, the Bible, How to Train Your Dragon and any book written by Mo Willems.

Frozen, big surprise there, is among the favorites DVD's borrowed, along with the Lone Ranger and all of the American Girl movies.

Steve Jobs, my poppa, Jesus Christ, mom, dad, teachers, and my younger sister are people that are admired.

Just in case you need inspired advice about life in general, here are some suggestions from young patrons: "Eat more chicken, never give up, stay in there, be nice to others and hopefully they will be nice to you, keep on doing your best and enjoy the day! "
Award Committee Reading: The Good, The Bad and
The Bleary Eyes
By Stephanie Barta

YA Librarian, Westerly Public Library  

Most librarians, myself included, love to pore over award lists.  They are great for enhancing collections, making recommendations and creating displays.  Even better is the conversation and dialog they create, when a book we love is on (or off!) the list, or, even better when a book we loathe makes the cut.  "What were they thinking?!" is a common phrase associated with these discussions and can inspire volunteering for these committees.  

Joining a reading committee is a rewarding task that comes with animated book discussing, gushing and arguing.  In short, it is a lot of fun for any book lover.  However, it is a lot of work and a big commitment, so it is important to know the rules, requirements and goals of any award committee before officially signing up.  Many people volunteer for these award committees with the best of intentions, but become quickly overwhelmed with the workload.  I am starting on my fourth year of reading for the Rhode Island Teen Book Awards (RITBA) and am currently reading for YALSA's Morris Award, so here is an overview of what to think about and expect with award committee reading.


Here are a few things to ask yourself to begin with:

  1. How much do I read a week?  Do I have time to read more?  Examine your calendar through the span of the committee term.  If you know you have large life events going on, consider how they might affect your ability to read.
  2. How many of these books are audiobooks? Some committees might require print reading.
  3. Do I  have time to commit to meetings?  Meetings may be virtual, face-to-face and often have requirements.  For the RITBA, you must attend 3 meetings plus the initial kick-off meeting.  Most YALSA committees require attendance at ALA summer and mid-winter conferences, which leads to the final questions:
  4. Do I have the finances to attend meetings?  Travel to national conferences adds up fast, plane, hotel, registration, etc. and every institution is different so be aware of the financial aspect.  Some workplaces help, others do not have the means, but it never hurts to ask!
  5. How will this affect work?  Having work support is a big plus, especially if you have to take off time for meetings.

 It is important to note that every committee, whether national or local has different reading, format and meeting requirements, so it is important to do your homework before signing up.  Email the current committee chair and ask questions about the committee you are interested in joining.  YALSA lists committee chairs on their website as does RITBA, and these folks can give you specifics on the reading load and other requirements.  Examine the selection criteria and goals of the committee you are volunteering for because every committee looks for something different (popularity, message, literary merit, etc.).  This also gives you an idea of the amount of reading. For example the Morris Award exclusively looks at debut writers, so the pool of books is much smaller than that of Printz.  There are awards for audiobooks, graphic novels, fiction, non-fiction, etc. so look for committees that align with your reading interests, especially if it is your first time, and that will help you find success on the committee.

The most important part of being on a reading committee is the reading.  So what exactly is the workload?  How can you make it work?   


Since I am currently reading for two committees, I am reading like it is my job!  For RITBA, membership requires reading at least 15 titles in order to vote on the final list.  The Morris Award is a much bigger award and requires a lot more reading since there are fewer committee members.  For the Morris Award I read 2-3 print books a week (no audio!), and for confidentiality reasons, I cannot discuss these titles, so these books cannot overlap with another committee.  Therefore, my RITBA reading must be non-Morris eligible titles, so I read about one book every two weeks plus any audiobooks I can work in.  When my Morris term ends in January, I will be able to focus more reading for RITBA.  My final monthly tally is around 10-14 books a month all for award committees.  Anything I read for personal pleasure is a bonus, but right now it's on the backburner!  

Obviously award committee reading is a time commitment and others depend upon you to do your fair share of the reading.  Most award lists are held in high regard by educators, librarians and readers, and in order to maintain the integrity of these lists members must hold themselves accountable to the requirements of the committee.  Many have wait lists and get lots of volunteer applications, but have a limited number of members.  It's better to postpone involvement during a busy year, than to not fulfil the basic requirements and potentially be ineligible to decide on the final list!   


To be a successful committee member here are a few final thoughts to bear in mind:

  1. Remember, you are not reading for yourself.  If you get to read a book you've been dying to read, great!  It often happens that the popular books get read quickly and meet  readership requirements in no time.  Smaller, less popular titles deserve equal readership and attention.  We all want to read the new John Green or Laurie Halse Anderson, but if those books have hit the required number of readers and there are many titles without any readers, the best thing for the committee is that you read these titles.  You can always catch up after your term.
  2. You will probably read titles by authors you dislike, genres you hate or books that just aren't good.  This is part of reading for a committee.  Sometimes you've gotta "take one for the team" and get through a book that isn't good.  Every eligible or nominated book deserves fair and honest consideration and must meet readership requirements, so don't leave them all for other committee members.  Plus, you never know when a book will take you by surprise, so keep an open mind!  Some of the best books I've read and passionately argued for are those I did not think I would like!
  3. Read, read, read and read!  Did I mention read?  I am never without a book!  I keep piles in each room of my house, loaded onto my kindle, which is synced with the kindle app on my iphone.  I keep audiobooks in my car and downloaded onto my phone.  So I don't allow myself the opportunity to say I don't have a book.  If you need to, create a reading schedule and hold yourself accountable.  

The goal of this article is not to scare readers away, but to give an honest picture of the work involved.  Again, don't be afraid to ask about what is involved in a committee, email committee chairs, members you might know or email me,

Financial Literacy @ Your Library

Want To Learn More About Financial Literacy Programming and Resources?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

9:30am - 12:30pm

Cumberland Public Library

1464 Diamond Hill Rd, Cumberland, RI 

Registration is open!


The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) the Office of Library and Information Services, and the RI Library Association are joining forces to assist librarians in developing and promoting financial education programs at libraries across the state.  Learn about the CFPB's new partnership with libraries and the resources to support libraries from staff of the CFPB's Office of Financial Education.  Hear from libraries that have hosted financial education programs during Money Smart Week, which is a national program through the Chicago Federal Reserve that takes place annually in April.   Meet representatives from community organizations and state agencies who have partnered with Rhode Island libraries during Money Smart Week- RI

and learn how they can offer programming and services for patrons.    


In June, Senator Jack Reed and Director Richard Cordray of the CFPB announced that Rhode Island would be the first state to participate in the CFPB's financial education campaign.  Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the resources and programs available so that your library can join in this effort.


Attendees will take away ideas for successful financial literacy programs that can be adapted to their local community and find out about the wealth of programs and services that can help your patrons become more financially savvy.


Whether or not you attend, RILA would like to know more about your library's programming and initiatives around financial literacy (ex. taxes, student loans, saving and preparing for college, mortgage and housing assistance, etc.).  Please take this brief survey.

Finally, 'Save the Date' for Money Smart Week- RI, April 18-25, 2014.  If you are interested in participating this year, please contact Julie DeCesare ( or Chris Wallace-Goldstein (


Call for LITA Bloggers
By Kasia Piasecka

Have you heard about LITA? You know, the Library, Information & Technology Association. You might follow the Information Technology jobs RSS feed, but what you may not know is that LITA is about to unveil innovative, informative content on a blog that will be much more than job announcements.  

Brianna Marshall will be the new editor of the LITA Blog. Brianna is the Digital Curation Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and earned her MLS and MIS from Indiana University in May 2014. She most recently was the Managing Editor of the popular Hack Library School blog, and brings a lot of great experience and ideas to the LITA Blog.

So far, the blog doesn't seem like much besides a squeaky clean wordpress theme, but don't be fooled. The LITA team is currently looking for writers who would like to contribute on an guest blogger basis to write easily digestible, thought-provoking blog posts that are fun to read (and hopefully to write!). The blog will showcase innovative ideas and projects happening in the library technology world, so there is a lot of room for contributor creativity. Some possible post formats could include interviews, how-tos, hacks, and beyond.

Hey, I'm looking at you! Even if you don't think you have something to offer to the technology oasis that is libraryland, I bet that you do. If you're interested, send an email to Brianna (briannahmarshall at gmail dot com) with some information about yourself, a few examples of your writing (this could be a blog, personal, professional, or a mix of both) and a few topics that are floating around in your brain (it doesn't have to be crystal clear, yet. You can work out the kinks, together with Brianna).

The formal deadline for guest contributors has passed, but if you mention this RILA shout-out, you won't be ignored. Excited to see your contribution to the blog!

Better Know a Library--Washington Park
By Elliott Stevens
Library Assistant, Providence College

The hardest working room in Providence must be the Washington Park Library, which is way down Broad Street on the South Side of Providence. That's right. The entire library fits in one room. The first third of it is for children, the second third of it has computers for kids and adults, and its last third is stacks of books.


Much could be written about the way the librarians and volunteers at this micro Providence Community Library branch serve their adult patrons, but here let's take a look at how they provide for their youngest ones.


If you were to find yourself in WPK a little after public school lets out, say 3:30 PM, you'd suddenly notice a stream of small, cheerful humans-most of whom wear backpacks twice as big as they are-pour into the one-room library. These children do not slink past the circulation desk and into some dark corner, failing to make eye contact with librarians. Instead, these kids say hey (by name) to whoever's behind the desk or shelving books. In fact, the kids appear to have everyone's work schedule memorized because if someone calls in sick, then the children won't fail to ask where that person is. What's more, they won't fail to make sure that that person is coming back.


Verenis Polanco, a children's librarian at WPK, explains that these children crave and rely on stability, and in all the years that Verenis has worked at the library-with her creative, consistent programming and devoted presence-she has furnished them with just that. For the past few years, for example, the WPK Summer Reading Program has been stalwart, and this recent summer's program was its greatest success with 159 children participating in and 121 completing the program. Aside from reading, many of Verenis's programs challenge the children to create their own stories, too.


"We have a program called 'Storytellers,'"Verenis says. She relates how the children brainstorm up their own protagonists, antagonists, and conflicts before they write short stories about them and even act their creations out. Evidently, one story featured zebras, Moses, and a cheeseburger. "They go wild," Verenis says, giggling at the memory.


Since the WPK Library has so many young patrons visit after school lets out, it would not be able to function without the help of volunteers like Ms. Carol, who is a member of the library's Foster Grandparent Program.


Ms. Carol is another perfect example of how the library provides tonic stability for its youngest users, and after school, she can be counted on to be at her special desk to help children with reading, writing, and homework.


"See that little girl with the pink bow sitting at the computers?" Ms. Carol whispers. She points to a ten-year-old girl with a gigantic bow perched jauntily on one side of her head. "When I first started working with her five months ago, she could barely read."


Ms. Carol speaks of how the girl was too embarrassed to select books or ask for homework help in front of other children. But Ms. Carol, being intuitive to an uncanny degree, gently spoke with the child apart from the rest and got her to agree to a series of private tutorials. Now, though the girl still struggles, she's making progress. "She's no longer confusing 'was' or 'saw' or 'his' or 'has'," Ms. Carol says. "She's sounding out words and remembering them."


It's a great honor-but certainly no surprise-that, this past June, Mayor Taveras awarded Ms. Carol a plaque for her dedication to young people. "I love this job," she says, even though she does it for love alone. "I wish I came earlier."  


So if you're ever coasting down Broad Street, make sure to visit The Hardest Working Room in Providence. Just walk through those doors and say hey to the likes of Verenis and Ms. Carol.

News From the Field
Exploring the New Normal: Trends in Library Services
The Coalition of Library Advocates, the Office of Library and Information Services, and RILA will sponsor a November forum designed to showcase emerging trends, innovative projects, and new initiatives at libraries across the state.  Designed to expand awareness of what's happening in libraries today (maker spaces! learning lounges! metaliteracy!) with an eye to the future, this event will be of special interest to trustees, friends groups, and library stakeholders, as well as librarians. A dynamic collection of short presentations by speakers from a variety of libraries will inspire you to think differently about your services.  A mini show and tell fair will also be featured.  Bring your trustees, your friends, your local officials, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about what the new normal is for libraries!
Date: Thursday, 11/13 @ 5:30-8:30pm 
Location: Cranston Central Library
140 Sockanosset Cross Rd, Cranston, RI 02920

Refreshments will be served.  Register now!

Cranston Teacher of the Year
This year, a school librarian was selected as Cranston's Teacher of the Year! Heidi Blais, Librarian/Media Specialist at Cranston East High School, was honored for her dedication, skill, and active engagement.  Read all about it!  Congratulations, Heidi!

Jessie M. Smith Memorial Library
Robin Nyzio is now Head Children's Librarian at the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Burrillville. After spending 10 years in teen and children's services at Pawtucket PL then two years in Middleboro, MA with a short stint at the Lincoln Public Library, she is very pleased to be working full-time in such a beautiful Rhode Island library with a dedicated staff in her department!

Dr. Cheryl Ann McCarthy, professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies in the Harrington School of Communication and Media at University of Rhode Island, was appointed Interim Dean of University Libraries in July.  She will remain in the post for 1 year.   
The University of Rhode Island University Library's Information Literacy Program was listed in the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) exemplary programs for information literacy best practices. The program was recognized for its exemplary best practice in three of ten Best Practice categories: Category 2: Goals and Objectives, Category 5: Articulation within the Curriculum, and Category 7: Pedagogy.
These three Best Practices categories are outlined and explained in the following web page: 

Julie Holden
Cranston Public Library

Julie Holden has been named Assistant Library Director. Julie has been at the Cranston Public Library for two years serving as Emerging Technologies Librarian. She previously worked at the Pawtucket Public Library for 12 years as a reference librarian. Julie replaces Ann Osbom, who retires October 3rd.

Elise Petrarca has been appointed the new Youth Services Librarian at the William Hall Library.

Kathryn Dorchies has been appointed Community Engagement Manager.

Jane Maciorowski retired as Library Assistant at the Cranston Public Library in July 2014. Jane was with the library for 23 years. Cranston's Technology Librarian Corrie MacDonald said, "Jane worked at the library for over 20 years, and was a favorite with patrons because she always had a kind word or story to share with them. She visited the library on her first day of retirement and has already become a regular patrons who brings treats in for the library staff."

Coventry Public Library
Sandy Dupree retired from Coventry Public Library in June 2014. Her career as a librarian included 28 years as full time Head of Reference Services at Coventry, and many years working part time at Coventry Public Library and other Rhode Island school and public libraries previously.

"I want to say goodbye to all my library friends and colleagues that I have worked with and known throughout the years. Keep up your dedication and the great work of bringing people, books, and information together!"

Providence Community Library
The Providence Community Library is pleased to announce the hiring of Cheryl Space as our new Youth Services Coordinator!  Most recently Cheryl served as the Youth Services Librarian at the Office of Library and Information Services.  While she was there, she coordinated the state-wide Summer Reading Program for children and teens, helped to launch the Kids Reading Across RI program in partnership with the RI Center for the Book and the Children's Services Advisory Council, and Cheryl has consistently been a strong advocate for early and childhood literacy programs.
PCL is excited to have Cheryl join our team!

RILA & SLRI Information Literacy Month Social
It's official - October is Information Literacy Month in RI!  To celebrate, School Librarians of Rhode Island and RILA's Information Literacy Action Round Table are co-hosting an Information Literacy Social designed to attract folks from all library types. This will be a fun, informal networking & information sharing opportunity that focuses teaching information literacy skills at all levels, across all library environments. Join the conversation!

Date: Thursday, October 16 @ 4:30-7pm
Location: William Hall Library, 1825 Broad St. Cranston, RI
Light bites and refreshments will be served.

More information and registration details coming soon - watch the RILA & SLRI listservs!

Overdrive's Digital Bookmobile Back in Rhode Island

The Cumberland Public Library and the Middletown Public Library are pleased to announce they will be hosting Overdrive's traveling digital bookmobile this fall. The 74-foot-long custom tractor trailer has been traveling around the U.S. and Canada for the last few years, and showcases the latest offerings in ebooks, audiobooks, and more. According to the digital bookmobile website, "the mission of the Digital Bookmobile is to help libraries across North America promote the digital services available to their communities." The digital bookmobile's last visit to Rhode Island was in 2009.


With five separate rooms aboard the vehicle, library patrons can take a walk through and learn how to check out and download materials using the Ocean State Libraries' eZone. Guests will be able to sample devices in the Gadget Gallery and catch some movie clips in the Video Lounge. "This is a great opportunity for people all across the state to come and experience the latest content we are offering on the eZone" said Cumberland Library Director Celeste Dyer.

Cumberland will host the vehicle on September 30, and then it will travel south to Middletown on October 2. Both day-long events will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and are free and open to the public. Hope to see everyone there!


The Cumberland Public Library will be hosting an UNconference on Friday, September 26th from 9-3:30.  Nationally recognized award winning author and speaker Kathy Dempsey will keynote this event Making Marketing Fun: An UNusually Interesting UNconference on Marketing and Promotion.  Marketing and promotion are two skills that are essential to our success as 21st century librarians, but they are also skills that are often overlooked in library skills and even the field.  
Marketing can be the key to taking your career to the next level. Why wouldn't you want to join us?! We invite any library employee who wants to increase circulation statistics or event attendance, to make a bigger impact on their community, and to add a highly in-demand skill to their resume. 

This one day conference costs only $25!  Breakfast and lunch are included.  Every attendee will receive a free gift and will be entered into a drawing with 3 grand prizes!  You won't find a professional development opportunity of this quality at this price (or this fun) anywhere, so don't miss out!  More information can be found at here. Email Melissa @ to register or for more information.

Financial Literacy Webinar: Setting money goals
The following webinar is provided by the Office of Financial Education at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of their ongoing series to assist librarians in meeting the financial needs of patrons.


Setting money goals - September 23, 2:30-3:30 p.m. EDT

Sometimes, if you're offering programs on money topics, patrons may come to you with questions about setting money goals. In this webinar, we will start to dig in to the basics of money management. The goal of this webinar will be to introduce you to financial goals and how you can show patrons to create effective money goals.  


Registration and further details are at the Rhodarian blog:
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 Kenyon
Rhode Island Library Association