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About Us

Our Story

Providence Community Library (PCL), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, assumed management of Providence’s nine neighborhood libraries in July 2009 after the Providence Public Library determined that it lacked the resources to manage its branches. In response to Providence Public Library’s move to close its branches and reduce services, a dedicated group of volunteers established PCL and sought city support to manage all nine neighborhood libraries. The City of Providence, opposed to PPL’s planned closings, took control of the nine branches and assigned their management to PCL on July 1, 2009.  All nine libraries re-opened that day, ensuring that all Providence residents would continue to have access to libraries in their communities.  PCL immediately became the largest library system in the state and, in effect, the city’s second largest free educational institution after the Providence Public School Department.

Our Mission

PCL provides free, accessible library services to improve and enrich the lives of the people of Providence. Our community libraries serve as vibrant hubs within the neighborhoods of Providence, providing programs and services that respond to the needs of the community.

We carry out our mission by

  • providing a safe physical space where people of all ages can enjoy acquiring, assimilating and sharing information and knowledge to enrich their own lives and that of the community;
  • making available, free of charge, a wide variety of books and other materials from PCL’s own collections and, through inter-library loans, from any library collections in the State, for patrons of all ages to borrow for their enjoyment, education and personal and professional development;
  • serving as an out of school time learning center for children, offering after-school programs, homework assistance, and early childhood story-times;
  • assisting people in reaching their personal literacy goals and enhancing life skills in order to fulfill their responsibilities as parents, citizens and workers; 
  • providing access to computers and Internet services and resources to enable them to obtain and utilize information from the digital world.

Overview of Our Library

Providence Community Library is composed of nine neighborhood libraries. Three of these are larger libraries serving an entire region of the city; these are Rochambeau Library on the East Side, Mt. Pleasant Library on the West Side, and Knight Memorial Library on the South Side. The six additional libraries serve their immediate neighborhoods; these are the libraries in Fox Point, Smith Hill, Washington Park, South Providence, Olneyville and Wanskuck. The individual libraries are linked into a comprehensive library system which is also a member of Ocean State Libraries network.

Providence Community Library is governed by a board of up to 25 members. In order to ensure broad-based representation and accountability to both patrons and taxpayers some board members are elected by each library’s Friends group, others are appointed by the Mayor, the City Council, and the Governor, and some are elected by the Board itself.

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