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South Providence Library

(401) 467-2619

South Providence Library is a beautiful neighborhood library serving a Latino-majority community in a historic urban setting. The population within a half-mile radius comprises some 13 thousand residents. Several schools are within walking distance of the library, including one middle school and three elementary schools, whose teachers and students make regular use of the library’s programs and resources. St. Michael’s Church (Catholic) and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence are two important presences in the immediate neighborhood.

The library consists of one floor, with office and programming space downstairs. Large collections of Urban Fiction and Spanish-language fiction and nonfiction are particularly well used by adults. A children’s reading room offers comfortable space for children with accompanying adults. Teens have their own small room for reading and quiet hangout.

Adult programs include ESL, GED, and Spanish classes. Under Carolina Briones’s leadership, numerous programs for Latinos are offered at the library, including an active monthly book club, authors’ visits, readings and performances, computer classes, and family events. These always draw a crowd and are a vital part of the cultural life of the Latino community. Children’s programs include Pre-Kindergarten support, craft and game hours, and homework help. In addition, the library offers 11 public computers, a scanner, a photocopy machine, and fax service – all of which are very well used.

The library is dedicated to serving the community’s many recreational, informational, and educational needs. Celebrating our community’s linguistic diversity, while supporting language learning for our residents at all levels, is a core value for the library. We welcome volunteers, and are always open to ideas, projects, and partnerships.

A big meeting room is available to community groups at no cost. Call the library at (401) 467-2619 to make reservations.

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Currently closed
Monday: 1:00 pm-6:00 pm
Tuesday: 1:00 pm-8:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am-5:30 pm
Thursday: 1:00 pm-6:00 pm
Friday: 1:00 pm-6:00 pm
Fax number: 
(401) 223-0339

This library began as a small community library organized by the South Providence Community Club in 1923 and housed in a small room at the Oxford Street Grammar school. Soon afterward, it became part of PPL and moved to the Sixth Ward Room on Burnside Street. In 1929, PPL erected a new building for the library on Prairie Avenue near Oxford Street that opened in January of 1930 on property deeded to Providence Public Library.Check Journal article on April 16, 1929: 3. See also "Branch to Open" in Journal, January 19, 1930: 12. See Books for All, Volume 2, No. 9 (November 1927): 347-48. With the opening of the new library building in 1930, the community finally had a substantial library with a separate circulation room, an adult reading room, a children's reading room, and a reference room, as well as shelving for 12,000 books. Like Wanskuck Library, the building was designed by Clark & Howe. The general contractor was C. K. Rathbone."Library Branch Opens Tomorrow," Providence Journal (January 19, 1930): 12. In 2003, PPL undertook a $3.2 million renovation and expansion of the now-seventy-year-old library building, restoring the exterior, doubling the space, installing an elevator, and erecting a glass entryway, among other changes. Despite widespread poverty in the South Providence community, local residents succeeded in raising $75,000 toward the cost of the renovation.Karen A. Davis, “Library Makeover,” Providence Journal, (August 29, 2003): C.01. PPL was able to pay for part of the costs of the project through the state's Public Library Construction Reimbursement Program, which pays for up to 50% of the construction or capital improvement costs for Rhode Island's public libraries. For South Providence's makeover, the state agreed to reimburse PPL nearly $1 million (just over 31% of the total), in yearly installments over a twenty-year period ending in 2024.Any funding provided by the state's Public Library Construction Reimbursement Program is provided with the understand that "the facility to be constructed under this agreement will give public library services which are free and without discrimination and that the facility will continue to be used to provide such services unless its use for another purpose is approved by the Office of Library and Information Services." http://www.olis.ri.gov/grants/construction/regulations/appendix_h.php See also: Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Service website, http://www.olis.ri.gov/grants/construction/planning/funding.php and http://www.olis.ri.gov/grants/construction/conproj.php.

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