In This Issue
President's Corner ~ Legislative Update ~ Libraries = Strong Communities
Presenting in Support of School Libraries at AL A
Maria Cotto Named Arnulfo D. Trejo Librarian of the Year
News From the Rhode Island Library Community ~ Save the Date!
President's Corner
I hope you all are enjoying this sunny summer weather as much as I am. We had a fantastic year for our organization, culminating in an informative and inspiring RILA Conference in May at Bryant University. As always, we are grateful to the amazing Bryant team and our conference chair, Mackenzie Dunn, for hosting. This year, we were pleased to welcome ALA President Wanda Brown to speak at our awards luncheon as well as consultant Michael Spikes, who served as our luncheon speaker on Day 2. We honored our annual award recipients (congratulations to all) and enjoyed a late-afternoon reception with our new sections: the RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA), Cornucopia of Rhode Island (CORI), and School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI). We had cake for days!

Our public libraries received good news in late June with the addition of $200K in state aid to libraries added to the state’s budget. While we still have a way to go to reach the level of aid outlined in state law, we thank the legislators who fought this year for library funding, and we especially thank our legislative action chair, Ed Garcia, for his tireless efforts on this matter. Please see our Legislative Update below. 

Finally, I wish to congratulate and thank Kieran Ayton, our outgoing RILA president, for his 2 extraordinary years at the helm. I look forward to continuing the work he started with our newly elected executive board. 

Have a wonderful summer!
Julie Holden, RILA President
Legislative Update

This spring was a busy legislative session. The RILA Legislative Action Committee continued to advocate for our legislative priorities: State Aid to Public Libraries, Net Neutrality, Funding for, the Importance of School Librarians, and Gun Safety.

We made significant progress in some of those areas and also worked to defeat several unfriendly library bills. RILA provided testimony on seven different bills and met with legislators to advocate for increased state aid to libraries.
Libraries = Strong Communities

ALA Immediate Past President Loida Garcia-Febo recently released this video promoting her Libraries = Strong Communities campaign. Her visit to Cranston High School East Library Media Center is featured at the 2:01 mark.
Presenting in Support of School Libraries at ALA

Mary Moen, from University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, and Karen Mellor, Chief of Library Services at the Office of Library and Information Services, presented a poster at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. as part of the outreach session called “Fight for School Libraries: A Statewide Advocacy Approach.” 

Moen and Mellor shared how organizations in Rhode Island are working together to support school libraries and increase awareness of their value using a more comprehensive advocacy plan. They hoped to inspire others to join the movement to advocate for school libraries as essential to every learning community. 
Maria Cotto Named Arnulfo D. Trejo Librarian of the Year

Maria Cotto, the bilingual children’s librarian at the Pawtucket Public Library, has been named the Arnulfo D. Trejo Librarian of the Year by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, an affiliate of the American Library Association.

Maria is an engaged and enthusiastic advocate for inclusive library services, and her innate ability to lead with joy, humor, and empathy has resulted in projects and partnerships that support Rhode Island's Spanish-speaking and Latino communities. She is the program coordinator for Latino Books Month, a statewide youth choice book award program that promotes literacy among Latinos and celebrates Latino authors, illustrators, and books. The literacy initiative is now in its sixth year and has continued to grow thanks to her commitment to the community and her collaborative spirit. Maria is also the cofounder of the Rhode Island Sensory Story Time Support Group, a grassroots community of practice that seeks to empower youth services librarians to better serve children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Maria's work has been acknowledged nationally. She was selected as 2018 Librarian of the Year by the Rhode Island Library Association. She was selected to serve on the 2015 Pura Belpré Book Selection Award Committee, where she contributed her broad knowledge of children's literature by Latino authors and illustrators. Recently, she was voted by the ALA Association for Library Services to Children to serve on the 2021 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award Committee. She has truly demonstrated a remarkable record of service to both her library and to the library profession.
News From the Rhode Island Library Community
Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett Is a Finalist for Nicest Places in America 2019

In the midst of a funding battle, Maury Loontjens Memorial Library is a finalist to be named one of the "Nicest Places in America ."

Recently, the town council voted to slash the facility’s budget in half and put on hold plans for a much-needed new building for the 10,000 people who visit a month. The library may lose its eligibility for additional state funding, putting 5 full-time and 14 part-time staffers’ jobs in jeopardy. The fight has gotten ugly at times, with heated arguments at town council meetings. Through it all, the librarians have stayed above the fray, continuing to smile, making the library an oasis of civility even as a battle rages around it.

“We have no say in the politics,” says library director Patti Arkwright. “So we just go with the flow. We’re just happy to serve the people who use our library.”

“As soon as you come through that door, they make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world,” says local resident Suzan Amoruso, who nominated the library. "Residents are doing all they can to prevent the library from being cut and to have it moved into the building that was purchased by the town. And through it all, the library staff keep welcoming all who enter."

Read more on our Blog .
Peace Dale Library's Restored George Washington Needlework

Many Rhode Island libraries reside in historic buildings and contain legacy artwork that may eventually need attention and care. This was the case with a large, framed 19th-century needlework at Peace Dale Library depicting Gilbert Stuart's Landsdowne portrait of George Washington. It has hung in the Library's Rhode Island History Room for decades, and its provenance and creator are unknown.

Over time, staff and patrons had noted that threads appeared damaged, and canvas showed through, so the Library partnered with the Narragansett-Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Friends of the Peace Dale Library, and the the University of Rhode Island's Textile Conservation Laboratory to bring this piece new life.

Learn more about this collaboration here .
News from the University of Rhode Island

Providing Training on Fake News
Joanna Burkhardt, librarian and professor at the University of Rhode Island (URI), visited Romania in May as part of a grant from the U.S. State Department to provide rural public librarians with training concerning “fake news.” Three-hour workshops were offered at county libraries in four major cities. She also delivered the keynote address at the National Conference for Public Librarians of Romania (their equivalent of the Public Library Association conference in the United States).

On June 19th, David Freudberg of WGBH radio in Boston will interview Joanna Burkhardt about “fake news” and its effects on democracy. This interview will air as part of a program on “The Future of Libraries” being created for the NPR program Humankind.

Joanna Burkhardt will advance to Full Professor III as of July 2019.
Researching Across the Disciplines
This spring, Mary MacDonald and Amanda Izenstark teamed with URI’s Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning to offer a three-and-a-half day, high-impact teaching seminar for URI faculty, focused on supporting the integration of information literacy into courses across the disciplines. The seminar was supported by a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation.

Seventeen faculty members applied to join the early June seminar titled “Researching Across the Disciplines,” and 11 were selected to attend. Using interactive learning techniques and building the development of new and modified assignments into the seminar, attendees left with several possibilities for their classes going forward. At the end of the sessions, attendees produced action plans that outlined how they’ll incorporate increased information literacy instruction in their courses and provide scaffolded learning experiences for their students.
News from Tiverton Public Library

Blast-Off Boxes and Backpacks
Thanks to a grant from the RI Office of Library and Information Services, using funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Tiverton Public Library now has a variety of Blast-Off Boxes and Backpacks--space-themed activity kits available for families to check out:
  • 3, 2 ,1…lift-OFF! Explore the history of spacecraft and launch a rocket high into the sky while playing and learning with Stomp Rockets.
  • Botley the Robot: Learn about Curiosity, the Mars rover, and then help program Botley for his own stellar mission.
  • Starry, Starry Night: View objects in the night sky with our astronomy binoculars.
  • Super Solar System: Spin your way through space with a variety of books and fun family games.
  • A Trip to Mars: Imagine you’re on a mission to Mars. Use a Crazy Fort kit to build a home on the Red Planet.
  • Astronomical View: Enjoy a detailed look at the solar system with our Orion Starblast 4.5 Reflector Tabletop Telescope.
Books @ the Beach
Librarians Deb and Meg can be found under the shade pavilion at the new Grinnell’s Beach in Tiverton every Monday morning in July! We’ll have information about library services, fun giveaways, and stories and activities for the kids.

Little Free Library at Grinnell's Beach
This July, the Tiverton Library set up a little red cart at Grinnell's Beach, which is a registered Little Free Library ! A Little Free Library is a free book exchange. Beachgoers are welcome to take a book, return it, keep it, or pass it on and to bring books to share when they can. 

This Little Free Library was furnished by the Friends of Tiverton Libraries and is supported by the Tiverton Public Library, the Grinnell's Beach Improvement Committee, the Tiverton Recreation Department, and the residents of Tiverton.
News from Providence Community Library
Happy Tenth Birthday, PCL!
PCL celebrated its 10th birthday on Monday, July 1, in the same way it celebrated its first day in 2009 - with parties at all PCL locations. Library users, staff, Friends, and guests were served cake and lemonade, which they consumed with enthusiasm. The festivities launched a special anniversary year for the Library, which plans other events to celebrate its first decade, in which Providence library users made almost 6.5 million visits to PCL’s nine library locations.
PCL Pilots a Free Book Giveaway to School Students 
Students from William d'Abate, Broad Street, and Alfred Lima Elementary Schools in Providence have each been given five books plus a special reusable bookbag printed with the inspiring message "Take Me to the Library." The three schools selected for the pilot produced the highest percentages of returned  Passports to Summer Learning  at the end of the 2018 Summer Reading Program. PCL purchased the books with funding received from United Way of Rhode Island.  

PCL will monitor the reading habits of the students to see if the extra incentive has a measurable effect on their reading results and may expand the initiative to other schools.
PCL’s Everyplace Makerspace Provides Creative Opportunities for Summer Readers
Kids visiting PCL's Mobile Library at several schools on  its regular schedule  this summer have the opportunity to try out some creative projects using tools and materials from PCL's new  Everyplace Makerspace  truck. The Everyspace Makerspace is equipped with a vinyl cutter, 3-D printer, Surface Pro devices with pens, programmable Dash Robots, 360-degree (virtual reality) cameras, a poster printer, sewing machines with carts, a 4K laser projector and giant inflatable screen, plus STEM sets, building kits, and a giant tent. Everyspace Makerspace is working also with participating summer camps. Everyplace Makerspace was made possible in part thanks to a generous $45,300 Studio Rhode grant from the RI Office of Library and Information Services, using funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
PCL at PrideFest
On Saturday, June 15, PCL had a booth at the Rhode Island PrideFest for the first time! With themed book raffles, crafts, and fun activities, library staff interacted with well over 200 attendees and spread the message that the library is a welcoming and safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. It was a wonderful day!
PCL will present a fun and imaginative Drag Queen Story Hour, with guest reader Ms. Naomi Chomsky, on Saturday, July 20 at 10:30AM at its Rochambeau Location. The story hour is for families with kids of all ages.
Save the Date!

The Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA), a Section of RILA, presents "Launching Young Lives: Why Authors Love Libraries" on September 21, 2019 from 2:30-4:00pm at the Barrington Public Library, 281 County Rd, Barrington, RI 02806.

Panelists include authors Linda Crotta Brennan, Kara LaReau, Nancy Tupper Ling, and Padma Venkatraman.

All are welcome to attend! More details and information will be announced very soon.
The Rhode Island Library Association
is a professional organization that serves its members through career development, education, advocacy, networking partnerships, and legislative action .
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 include publishing the RILA Bulletin, managing social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, and exploring other media as needed.

Rhode Island Library Association members can contribute content to the RILA Bulletin by  submitting an article  or emailing the editors at