We love our neighborhood libraries – every one of them an essential community hub for gathering to learn, socialize, and connect. – Anisa
The Friends of Providence Community Library (PCL) system — Fox Point, Knight Memorial, Mt Pleasant, Olneyville, Rochambeau,
Smith Hill, South Providence, Wanskuck and Washington Park libraries — will rally on Thursday, March 24 at 3:45pm at Providence City Hall to ask Mayor Jorge Elorza to provide additional funding support.
This rally is to alert the Mayor to the dire budgetary needs of the libraries as they struggle to continue to provide services to their communities. For the past six years, PCL has had no increase in funding from the city. During this time, more and more people have come to rely on the libraries’ services and programs. With inflation, skyrocketing healthcare and other costs, PCL is floundering to keep up with the rising costs of infrastructure, programs, books, computer equipment and personnel.
The Friends of PCL have launched a citywide advocacy campaign using postcards that ask individuals to write their reasons for believing that the libraries need additional support from the City of Providence. Thousands of people have responded, and at this rally, the Friends of PCL will present these postcards to the Mayor. The many supporters who have filled out the cards speak eloquently on how PCL has helped them in their lives. One patron wrote, “I’ve been a member since the age of nine. I still enjoy the books, videos and musical materials. Now, my children and grandchildren are enjoying the vast resources of the library. It is a vital part of the community. Please increase PCL’s funding so it can continue to provide all the services and programs we rely upon.”
Many people do not realize that the libraries’ services go beyond book lending. In fact, many kids look for a place to learn since they have no computer or fast Internet at home. The elderly seek a safe space to read and keep up with basic computer skills. The unemployed come to work and send their resumes and many non-profit institutions and small businesses use PCL’s meeting rooms, at no cost. A Smith Hill patron stated, “If you’ve never been poor, you may not understand the importance of having local PCL’s.”
At the rally on the 24th, the Friends of PCL will be joined by a large and vocal turnout of other concerned seniors, teens, parents and children and business leaders. A marching band will be on hand to add a rousing musical accompaniment, as will members of the Providence City Council.