Magazine article American Libraries

Group Seeks to Run Providence Branches

Magazine article American Libraries

Group Seeks to Run Providence Branches

Article excerpt

In response to Providence (R.I.) Public Library's recent proposal to close five of its branches, a newly formed nonprofit organization is seeking to take over all nine of the system's branches.

The board of trustees of PPL--a private nonprofit organization that receives funding from the city and state--voted December 18 to close the libraries next summer in order to create a "sustainable" library system in light of a $l.4-million operating deficit in the current fiscal year. The branches would be converted to "city-or community-owned Neighborhood Learning Centers" that would serve as "gathering places for afterschool activities and provide access to computers," according to a statement issued by the board.

However, the Providence Community Library, a group comprising area civic and business leaders, says it can run the branches with an operating budget of $4.8 million for fiscal 2010 without reducing services. The branches currently receive some $7.5 million of the library's total $9.7-million operating budget; PCL board Chairman Marcus Mitchell said the group expects to get the branches' portion of the city and state contributions as well as to conduct "considerable fundraising, which the current management hasn't been pursuing."

Mitchell told American Libraries that PCL was "adamant about leaving the current staff in place" and planned to hire a professional librarian as executive director. He added that the organization hoped to enhance services and expand programs, particularly those for youth and seniors. …

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