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Providence Community Library proposes a new neighborhood-based branch library system

Blue+Sq+Box+Logo AmPatricia Raub from the newly formed Providence Community Library group shares a little background about what has been happening with the Providence Public Library in recent months and about this newly formed organization. Providence Community Library has set up a number of public community forums to discuss the issue of saving the PPL branches slated to close by summer. Representatives from both PPL and Providence Community Library will be on hand at these forums to present their respective plans for the coming fiscal year, and elected representatives from the neighborhoods will be participating in these forums as well.

The forum at the Rocahambeau branch last week was well attended. If you missed it or want to learn more, here is a list of upcoming forums:

– South Providence Library forum, Tuesday, February 3, 6:30 to 7:30pm. Sponsored by Saint Michael’s Church
– Smith Hill Library forum, Wednesday, February 4, 6:30 to 7:30pm. Sponsored by Smith Hill Friends.
– Mount Pleasant forum, February 10, 7:00 to 8:00pm. Sponsored by Mount Pleasant Friends
– Knight Memorial forum, February 11, 6:30 to 7:30pm. Sponsored by Save Our Branches.
– Olneyville forum, February 18, 6:30 to 7:30.
– Wanskuck forum, February 19. 6:30 to 7:30.
The Fox Point forum is still being scheduled.


For the past six months, Providence Public Library has been considering how to restructure the library system to make it more “sustainable.” At its December meeting, the PPL Board of Trustees approved a plan to keep Central open but reduce the number of branches from the current nine down to FOUR. The four branches to remain open will be Rochambeau, Knight Memorial, South Providence, and Mount Pleasant. Threatened with closure are Smith Hill, Wanskuck, Fox Point, Olneyville and Washington Park (which has been closed for more than two years!)

If the City accepts this plan, it will go into effect by July 2009 and many branches will be closed in less than six months.


We urge the City to refuse to commit the present level of library funding of $3.4 million to a library system which will offer patrons less than the current level of library services currently provided by PPL.

Instead, we call upon City officials to enter into partnership with a new, neighborhood-based library organization called the “Providence Community Library,” (PCL). Because the founders of PCL believe Providence residents throughout the City need access to a full library services, the PCL is prepared to raise funds for and will operate a 9-branch library system that will continue to provide library patrons at least the level of library services and programs that currently exists.

The board of the Providence Community Library includes representatives of ALL NINE library branches, several publicly appointed members, and members elected by the Providence Community Library Board itself. No longer will policy for our city libraries be determined by people who do not represent the interests of our City!

Founders of the PCL developed an operating budget based on the real costs of running the 9 branches, not a budget based upon inflated costs, a lack of fund development and poor management. OUR budget shows that, with the same level of city funding , more efficient operations and a commitment to robust fundraising, the Providence Community Library can successfully operate a nine-branch library system.

In fact, not being burdened with PPL’s troubled history and poor management practices, library patrons can expect the current branch library system to not only operate the current branches but strategically expand our City’s branch library services beyond the current programs over the next five years.

For the first time in decades, the City of Providence will have a branch library system that will
– put patrons first!
– maintain all nine branches!
– sustain and expand branch library staff and services!
– be guided by a board of directors that includes people from all neighborhoods of Providence!
– Place our City’s public interest and needs first when policy decisions regarding library services are made!

For more info, please visit the Providence Community Library website.

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