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Happy Birthday, PCL! Providence Community Library Celebrates 6.5 Million Visits Since 2009

Published Date: 
June 28, 2019

Rhode Island’s Biggest Library System is Having a Party on July 1

Providence Community Library (PCL) will mark its 10th birthday on Monday, July 1, in the same way it celebrated its first day in 2009--with parties at all PCL locations. The Library extends a warm invitation to City and State leaders, staff past and present, library users, community partners, friends and members of the media to join us at 4:30PM at any of our nine neighborhood libraries. Birthday cake will be served! Monday's festivities launch a special anniversary year for the Library, which will feature also other events and activities.

PCL is proud of its many achievements, 2009-2019; here are just a few:

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
Tens of thousands of school students inspired to participate in afterschool activities, summer reading program and mobile library services

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. On July 1 of that year, PCL was born. 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.” 

With a new strategic plan in place, PCL looks forward to the future. “We’re building on existing partnerships and creating new ones in the business and nonprofit sectors,” said Library Director Cheryl Space. “The neighborhoods and schools of Providence need libraries more than ever and PCL has a lot to offer both the City and State to help them achieve their goals,” she added.