Community Libraries of Providence

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Knight Memorial Library in Elmwood (vintage postcard)

In honor of  National  Library Week (April 7-13), we’re featuring information from the Community Libraries of Providence (CLP). CLP is the private nonprofit that operates the  neighborhood-based libraries closest to where most of us live. (The big downtown library is run by the separate Providence Public Library organization.  It’s a long story – and you can read about it in Roseanne Camacho’s excellent Providence Eye article PVD Libraries Seeing Double.)  We don’t have recent data for the Providence Public Libraries, but here’s what the Community Libraries of Providence were up to in 2023.

9                        Number of Community Libraries operated by CLP: Smith Hill, Wanskuck, Rochambeau, Mount Pleasant, Olneyville, Fox Point, Washington Park, Knight Memorial and South Providence.

423,543            Number of visits to the nine Community Libraries.

425,617            Total number of items checked out, including digital materials. Thirty percent of all circulation in 2023 was digital.

45%                   Percent of circulation borrowed by teens and younger children.

780                    Number of “Maker Space” programs held at the libraries, with 4,803 people participating.

36,258              Number of public computer sessions logged.

4,885                Adult education participants in workforce development, ESL, GED, citizenship, resume and language classes.

8,722                Number of people attending CLP’s 623 Spanish, American Sign Language and bilingual events.

4,593                Youth Participating in CLP’s Summer Reading Program.

100                    Average number of CLP events held each week (a total of 5,210 events with a total of 56,455 people attending).

Source: Community Libraries of Providence, 2023 Annual Report

Jonathan Howard is Co-founder of Cause & Effect, Inc., a consulting company that provides strategic planning facilitation, fund development planning and board strengthening to mission-driven organizations. He is a long- time resident of Providence.