Community Library in Crisis

The Providence Community Library has been an amazing success story. Seeing closed branches re-opened and full of children and adults enjoying books and programs is one of the few bright spots in a city hit with hard times. Now the library is facing a crisis…

PROVIDENCE — The nonprofit organization that manages Providence’s neighborhood libraries for the city will soon issue layoff notices to all its employees.

The Providence Community Library leaders say its decision is a result of uncertainty about whether it can remain in seven of the nine branch buildings. The Providence Public Library organization has leased each building to the city — which in turn subleases them to the nonprofit group — since 2009 for $1 a year. That rental agreement expires June 30.

Sixty-five workers, union and non-union, will get the letters shortly. Contract language mandates employees receive 30 days’ notice of a potential job loss.

“We find ourselves in this intractable position only due to the Providence Public Library’s stubborn refusal to live up to its pledge to transfer the library buildings to the city,” said Marcus Mitchell, president of the community group’s board, in a news release Friday. “It’s shameful that our staff and our library patrons must now bear the brunt of this uncertainty.”

I’m a library patron and fan, and hope to write more about this soon. You can find the Providence Community Library site here.

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