News Release: Mayor Opts Out of City/Library Agreement

2009 February 28
by sgrabelle

(From the Providence Public Library)

NEWS RELEASE

 Date: February 26, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  Tonia Mason, 401-455-8090; 401-487-7104

 Mayor Opts Out of City/Library Agreement

Library Reviewing Options to Continue Services Moving Forward

PROVIDENCE, RI — In a disappointing development, the Providence Public Library (PPL) and the City administration have failed to achieve an agreement that outlines the process for ongoing funding and administering of City library services.  The agreement was negotiated by the Library and City administration last summer, and approved by the City Council in November, but never signed by the City.  Mayor Cicilline has now informed the Library that he wants a different process.

Although the Library has been funding the cost of maintaining existing services this year as envisioned by the Council-approved agreement, and paying for a deficit projected to exceed $1 million out of the Library’s endowment, the Mayor’s failure to sign has resulted in the City withholding Master Lease money that was to flow to the Library to help pay the current fiscal year’s expenses.

In the absence of an agreement, many questions remain regarding the future relationship between the City and the Library.  The Providence Public Library now is reviewing its options and plans for administering Library service for the next Fiscal Year that begins in July.

“The focus for everyone involved needs to be on finding the best way to provide library service in the City,” said PPL Chairman William Simmons.  “We remain open to ongoing discussions on how to achieve that goal and have communicated to the Mayor our willingness to work with him and the City Council.”

The newly formed Providence Community Library has garnered some support from members of the public and City Council.  The Library has offered to work with the City to explore whether this may be a viable alternative for branch library service.

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