PCL celebrated its tenth birthday on Monday, July 1 in the same way it celebrated its first day in 2009 - with parties around the neighborhoods. Library users, staff, PCL Board members, Friends and guests assembled at 4:30PM at every location to enjoy cake and lemonade. The festivities are just the start of a special year for PCL and more events are planned.
In 2009, a dedicated group of library supporters reached an agreement with the then Mayor of Providence, David Cicilline, the City of Providence and Providence Public Library (PPL) to take over the running of PPL’s nine branch libraries. Linda Kushner, who co-founded PCL with Patricia Raub, Ellen Schwartz and Marcus Mitchell, admits there were challenges. “None of us had professional experience in running a library but with a wonderful staff, we thrived. Many young people were able to get into college, technical school or get the job they have now because of the support they received in the community libraries.”
The founders, staff, board members, library friends and others who have supported PCL in the years 2009-2019 can be rightly proud of its achievements to date:
- 6,457,601 visits by library users
- 3,979,319 books and other materials circulated
- 45,207 programs presented, designed to meet the diverse needs of the community
- 1,714,896 free public computer sessions
- First library in the United States to loan WiFi “hot spots” to the public
- 628 adult students completed PCL's award-winning, Spanish language GED program
- Computer labs (with support from IGT) and PVD Young Maker makerspaces installed in all our libraries
- Over $3 million raised to renovate and improve buildings
Most importantly, tens of thousands of Providence residents have been able to access their local libraries and use the resources found therein to enhance their lives, or even transform them, thanks to the efforts of a group of people who believed in the power of community libraries.