Library has 31,514 cardholders, seeks to expand outreach

Posted 1/24/24

Cranston Public Libraries reported a year of growth and outreach in its 2023 Impact Report.

Director for CPL Edward Garcia explained in a letter published in the report the staff and …

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Library has 31,514 cardholders, seeks to expand outreach


Cranston Public Libraries reported a year of growth and outreach in its 2023 Impact Report.

Director for CPL Edward Garcia explained in a letter published in the report the staff and administration’s plans to expand programming both inside and outside the walls of the library’s six branches, especially to neighborhoods where access to service has been least readily available.

“In creating our most recent strategic plan we identified a need to provide outreach and library services to underserved areas of the community,” Garcia said. “With this in mind, we offered outdoor programming across the city, many in non-library settings.”

The report goes on to highlight a number of efforts undertaken by Cranston Public Libraries to reach Cranstonians where they are.

CPL took part in OneCranston Health Equity Zone’s farmers markets at Bain Middle School, at which they handed out summer reading activity kits, registered people for library cards, gave away books, and live-recorded the library’s book review podcast.

For its expanded summer reading program, CPL kicked off its nine week summer reading program at Sprague Mansion, which is in a neighborhood with the lowest rate of youth library card ownership. CPL would go on to host 250 programs over nine weeks all over the city as part of the summer reading program.

With a grant from the Public Library Association and in partnership with Providence Public Library, CPL offered digital skills training in both English and Spanish at the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center.

Towards the end of the year, the library rolled out its newest, most mobile effort to reach the community: The Branch 7 Van. The van, which began appearing at events around the city in November, is equipped with WiFi, and from allows for patrons are able to sign up for library cards, and check out or return books.

“Our new community outreach van, Branch7, will increase our ability to provide access to essential library services throughout underserved neighborhoods,” the report reads. “Branch 7 will visit different locations and events across the city, bringing library services, materials, and programs to neighborhoods that are not near the library’s other physical branch locations.”

Within library walls, CPL provided numerous opportunities for adults and children alike to find community in reading. The Central Library hosted a number of popular book discussion groups covering several popular genres. Nearly 400 attendees came to join in the discussions across 38 meetings.

CPL expanded access to its popular storytime events for young Cranstonians and their parents. The Knightsville branch began hosting morning storytimes, bringing more easy opportunities for folks in the north of the city. CPL also tripled the number of storytimes available during evenings and weekends, to accommodate parents and caregivers working throughout the day.

CPL also provided opportunities for Cranstonian youth to engage in the sciences, including an AI camp at Central for kids in grades 4-8, seven STEM programs for children and adults, and two eclipse viewing parties.

Almost all the programming listed in the Impact Report was done with the help of CPL’s Teen Volunteers, the program for which expanded dramatically in 2023. According to the report, 235 teens earned over 2000 hours of volunteering with CPL. The report notes this is a 63% increase in the number of teens volunteering and a 100% increase in the number of hours earned compared to 2022.

The volunteers were involved outreach events such as the OneCranston HEZ farmers market, they were allowed to participate in program planning, and they solely executed certain children’s programs such as Play Date.

The report reads “our ultimate goal has been to allow our enthusiastic, diverse, and welcoming teen volunteer team to become the face of the library.”

The report also highlights the accomplishments of two CPL librarians recognized in 2023 by outside organizations for their accomplishments. Tayla Cardillo, a librarian at Oak Lawn Branch, was named the Recent Alumna of the Year for 2023 at her alma mater, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Youth services librarian Elena Rios was named a 2024 Emerging Leader by the American Library Association.

The report acknowledged the numerical achievements of CPL in 2023. The library reports 31,514 library cardholders in 2023. Programs at CPL saw 18,449 attendees. Cranstonians used the library’s free notary service 957 times. They also checked out 433,116 items in physical circulation and 109,993 items in digital circulation. Users of the library’s databases and online services topped out at 34,192.

Cranston Public Library’s 2023 Budget was $3,891,500, with 3,150,219 provided from the city of Cranston and $699,781 from state funding. In 2024, the report lists the library’s budget as $4,026,055 with $3,186,998 from the city and $797,557 from the state.


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