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Library Consolidations Planned in East Providence

A proposed change to the library system would consolidate its operations into the main Weaver Library and the Riverside Branch Library.

The Fuller and Rumford branches of the East Providence Public Library are slated to close, according to budget commission documents.

The proposed change to the library system would consolidate its operations into the main and the Branch Library. The library will be exploring options to maintain pick-up and drop-off services, according to the documents.

"Library services have evolved over the last decade to substantial electronic services. Many users now order books online for pick up at a main or branch library," read the documents.

Part-time employees at the branches would be laid off after they helped with the transition.

Reductions will also occur in collections acquisition, the literacy program, and electronic systems.

The budget commission has been asking every department head to find additional efficiencies to cut 20 percent from their budget. 

mom23 March 05, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Weaver isnt closing- it is Fuller and Rumford that may be closed. Just wondering- will the same parents who trotted their children out to save sports do the same for libraries??
b1 March 05, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Sports has NOT been completely saved.
rhodeman March 06, 2012 at 12:09 AM
This city gets it's money's worth from the library system and the budget commission ought to reconsider closing two branches. In today's economy, people have to cut back on their expenses and one place they do is their internet connection. Internet connections are vital in this day and age in job searches and applying for unemployment and temporary disability compensation, all the libraries provide this service free of charge. Centralizing this service will make it difficult to access on foot or by bus. The libraries provide a free source of information and entertainment for young and old alike, able or disabled who seek to foster an intellectual appetite that can last a lifetime.
chip taylor March 06, 2012 at 02:46 AM
rhodeman is right the city more than gets its money's worth from the library system. The Rumford branch is important to my family and a lot of kids, how much can that thing cost to run, 3 days a week as it is now? How's that going to look, another city building sitting empty like the Union Elementary school just down the road on Pawtucket Ave? If you want to save some $ would somebody please just grow a pair and get the police and fire and their accompanying pensions and retiree benefits under control. There I said it, the sacred cows no-ones dares do anything but revere, but everyone knows it.
JJD March 06, 2012 at 04:41 AM
http://www.change.org/petitions/save-east-providence-community-branch-libraries
Govstench March 06, 2012 at 01:05 PM
In this electronic age, I wondered how long these libraries would continue. They do provide a valuable service to the community but it was a matter of time. Weaver was recently upgraded and is a beautiful library and has a large room for meetings and special events.
sharon March 06, 2012 at 01:52 PM
What about Literacy? Isn't that what the library should be about - LITERACY. People need that service as well. How many people will fight for LITERACY. If you can't read, then what good is the library or the computer services.
Karisa Tashjian March 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I agree, Sharon. As someone familiar with the literacy program in EP. There are 129,957 adults in Rhode Island who lack a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and 39,678 adults with limited English proficiency yet the current adult education system can only serve 4% of that need. Alumni of the literacy program in EP have obtained jobs, kept or improved the ones they had, learned how to help their children with homework, became US citizens, etc. Literacy is critical to a strong Rhode Island!
Rags 1 March 06, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Don't cut me, cut the man behind the tree. Tough decisions ahead for all of EP, and its not rancor or insensitivity; but rather, just plain necessity. Blaming the present overall fiscal problem on this City Council is like blaming them for a sudden emergence of the common cold.
Lady Integrity March 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
In a City of under 50,000, do we really need four libraries? I don't think so, I think Weaver and Riverside would be able to provide the services for the community. Everything is so computerized, librarians hardly have to provide the services of the past. Also, all the schools have libraries, and the senior center has a library, the duplication of services only increases our taxes. Also, the libraries have moved into recreational and entertainment areas as well, more duplication of services. The internet is a vital need of the public, for many reasons, but the internet has tremendously hurt the need for some library services, research as a prime example.
JJD March 06, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Lady Integrity, you would be surprised how many people do not know how to do the kind of research required for academics. Librarians are more than just book-checkers. Libraries still have a role in guiding people and teaching them how to use references, whether online or not. The world-wide web is a tremendously large entity and it is not as easy as opening a search engine and having a go at it. That is why librarians are now information specialists. The renovation at Weaver for example was not because the library looked bad, it was to reflect a new concept in library design that is user-focused, without the need of a giant reference desk and 10 different encyclopedias, but focused instead on librarian-patron interaction, with your librarian as a guide.
Bruce Zarembka March 06, 2012 at 08:48 PM
A very good point. Let's face it we are a city of approximately 47,000 people. while libraries do play an important role in each community, there is no need to have a main library with three additional branches in a city our size. East Providence is 50.7 square miles. One can travel from one end of the city to the other in twenty minutes. In this day and age most people have computers. This is certainly a service that can and should be cut, with minimal impact on the citizens of East Providence. As stated above, there is also duplication in most of the schools and at the Senior Center. Even if we were a cash rich and well goverened city, there isn't a need for four libraries in a city our size.
JJD March 06, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Bruce, nothing against our schools or the wonderful school librarians, but school libraries are nothing like the city library system. I am not sure about how the senior center library works. Perhaps we could bolster services at the schools and senior center in exchange, perhaps incorporate them into OSL, but I'm not sure that's allowed. Anyway, I really think you are underestimating the impact of these closings, particularly on those with limited travel range (children, the disabled and the elderly).
R March 06, 2012 at 11:21 PM
I agree with everything you said. It will cost me a fortune in bus fair and in exercise to go to Weaver. Rumford branch serves many elderly people and children. Where will the children go to do their homework?
Matt March 07, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Don't hold your breath. Many people place greater value on athletic skill over reading and scholarship.
Bruce Zarembka March 07, 2012 at 10:35 PM
JJD, I agree the school libraries do not have the same resources as the Main and Branch libraries in the city. However, East Providence is a small city. We do not need four libraries (I understand, that is my opinion) I find too many people living in RI (and I have been here all my life...but have worked outside of the state as well) have what I call the Rhode Island mentality...it's an overnight trip to cross the Washington Bridge...kids today get rides down the street to their freinds homes. No one wants to walk, or ride a bike these days. If they did more of this we might not have the obesity issues that afflict many of todays youth. (Not to change the subject) In regard to the elderly in our city having access to the library, maybe a solution would be to utilize the Senior Center buses and schedule days and times that would be more cost effective than keeping two branches open.
JJD March 07, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I am not talking about people who don't want to travel farther as a matter of convenience. I am talking about people who can't make that trip. Growing up, there were a few times when my family didn't have a car to make a trip to Weaver, I was lucky to be able to have a community branch in walking distance, and a librarian and library aide that got to know me by name from the time I signed up for my library card at age 5 till today. Closing those branches will cause many of our more dependent citizens, (whether young children, seniors, disabled, etc), to lose access. I also think you underestimate a lot of 'today's youth' with your blanket statements, my teenage brother and his friends walk all over and they love it. I will never understand why we look to valued programs like this to cut first, where are the back-office cuts? where's the call for efficiency at City Hall, why won't the budget commission use it's power to re-open contracts and take back some of these extra perks like longevity pay and uniform allowances (including positions without a uniform). But I guess it is easier to cut school sports and community libraries then do any of that tough work.
Bruce Zarembka March 08, 2012 at 01:56 AM
JJD, I don't disagree with many of your points...but I still cannot justify four Libraries in a city the size of East Providence. I cannot justify cutting middle school sports, I cannot justify taking anything away from the educational system that impacts the students...you are correct the big dollars that need to be saved come from consolidating city/school department functions, pension reform and reopening of contracts. Hopefully once these changes are made they will stay in place, as I am hoping that the citizens of this city have now been awakened and will do some self education before voting for incompetent and corrupt politicians that are in it for themselves and make up the majority of both city council and school committee. Vote for those that are truly qualified and have the professional education to run a city. Stop voting by pulling that democratic party master lever.
JJD March 08, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Don't just blame the democrats Bruce, the republicans had their run not too long ago and didn't do any better, they setup a Bradley partnership that was a great concept but we didn't have the funds to pay for, and on their way out the door they setup ultra-generous department head contracts that are shameful. The only difference between them and the democrats is what groups they used their influence to favor. We have a non-partisan system in EP for a reason, assess each candidate on their merits and credentials.
Govstench March 08, 2012 at 12:35 PM
There are no easy answers’ but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.
Bruce Zarembka March 08, 2012 at 02:29 PM
JJD, Hence my comment from above. "Vote for those that are truly qualified and have the professional education to run a city. Stop voting by pulling that democratic party master lever."
EPSr March 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Just to clarify. Local elections in EP are non-partisan so the voter cannot vote for ward council or school committee by "pulling the master lever". The voter must actually cast a vote for the individual candidate.
Bruce Zarembka March 08, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Correct, I am talking about state/national elections in general and should have clarified. We need to be making better informed decisions on all levels.
JJD March 08, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Same thing with the republican party master lever, Bruce. That's the problem, you say vote for those qualified, but then you name a party to not vote for. Don't say everything is controlled by democrats either, we had the Larisa/Carcieri regime here up until a year and a half ago on the local level, we had a Republican Governor for 16 years between Almond and the other Carcieri and now a Republican turned Independent.
Bruce Zarembka March 08, 2012 at 10:08 PM
JJD, I clarified above...although maybe I should have been more clear. Most qualified from any party (Including independents) Bottomline and there is no way around it...This has been a Democratic controlled State for many many years. Yes there have been some Republicans in office, but very few in the majority. For the record I do not consider myself affiliated with either Party.
JJD March 08, 2012 at 10:58 PM
16 years of republican Governors, but this is not about the state level, it is about local libraries, on the local level power has continually shifted back and forth, one can hardly call three-time mayor Joe Larisa a democrat. I absolutely agree with you, pick the best candidate in your opinion, the one with the best ideas and the skill to make them happen, party-line voting isn't the best answer, regardless of which party.
Bruce Zarembka March 09, 2012 at 01:07 AM
JJD, See it wasn't that hard...in essence we agree. Now if we could get everyone to agree to work together, we'd all be in better shape.
Paula Gordon March 15, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Please tell me that closing both libraries will lower my taxes? If our taxes are not lowered, what is the point? To save money on libraries so we can raise taxes and pay city and school administrators and city employees even more money and benefits? Please tell me our taxes will be lowered, otherwise...
Rick April 11, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I firmly believe that libraries are a vital part of any community however with a city the size of East Providence we can provide library service to all our citizens with only the Weaver and Riverside locations. We can designate other locations as pickup spots with the library system being computerized. Hopefully the citizens of EP get so upset with the loss of libraries and sports for our children that we force our elected leaders to start looking at regionalization of services and finally stand up to the unions and status quo politicians that RI is famous for.
Daniel Socha April 26, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Shame on you East Providence!

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