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Short Video by Rhode Island Filmmaker Shows How Libraries Transform Lives

Published Date: 
May 13, 2016

Providence Patrons Describe What their Neighborhood Library Means to Them – in their Own Words

When Providence Community Library (PCL) set about the task of raising money to balance its books and buy badly needed new library materials, Program Development and Community Relations Coordinator Michelle Novello struck upon the idea of making a movie to support the campaign. Not long afterwards, she ran into documentary videographer David A. Goldenberg, who immediately offered to help.
The resulting video, “Our Libraries: Transforming Lives,” is a sensitive, seven-minute video essay that explains why essential services provided by public libraries remain so important, particularly to people who face challenging life issues in low income neighborhoods in a city like Providence. “I go through a lot of things sometimes” explains little Sheiley, “[the librarians] lift me up and get me more happy.”
The video highlights how public library resources play a big part in the lives of patrons of limited means. Many low income residents rely on libraries for access to computers and the internet and sit outside the buildings to access the WiFi when the buildings are closed. We hear from several patrons who come to PCL to learn English to improve their chances of getting better jobs but Chinese-born Xin Ton has a different motivation: alarmed to receive a jury summons in the mail, she wants to learn English “to be a good citizen.”  The library plays a huge role in lives of some local children and one mother explains how her family takes full advantage of the Summer Reading Program.  ”Seeds of learning are planted and the little ones with fertile minds..grow and the staff..provide the nutrition” explains long-time patron, Gerald Courtney.
The video made its debut at PCL’s recent fundraiser, “Strengthening Our Roots” on May 4, which raised $50,000 for the Library. The fundraising campaign will continue through June 30. PCL Board Treasurer and library co-founder Ellen Schwartz sums up the importance of public libraries from her fiscal viewpoint as a CPA: “They are the best bargain around.”

Our Libraries, Transforming Lives