New Library Site Search — updated June 15, 2018
Letter from The Libraries of Foster presented to the Foster Town Council Thursday night, June 14, 2018.
Honorable Members of the Foster Town Council:
The Town of Foster has a long history of supporting public libraries. In fact, the ﬁrst public library in Rhode Island was founded by Theodore Foster himself in Foster in 1781. Public libraries are amazingly democratic institutions. We serve the entire community: young and old, rich and poor, devout and nonbeliever, Democrat, Republican, and Independent. All you need is a library card to enjoy free streaming videos, the latest best sellers, children’s and adult programming, job search databases, computer instruction, and research assistance to name a few of our services. Libraries in the 21st century have evolved to be more than a repository for books. We teach digital literacy, possess some of the latest technology, have eReaders for our patrons, and act as an incubator for small businesses in Foster. The library is the heart and living room of the community, connecting people with one another and with information and entertainment. Unfortunately, The Libraries of Foster are facing a challenge.
Our charming old buildings do not meet state standards for public libraries. We are not handicapped accessible, we do not have quiet study spaces, our parking is inadequate, and we do not have an accessible meeting room for programming. The state has given us waivers in the past to allow us time to address these needs, but they are growing impatient with our lack of progress. We are facing the very real possibility that we may lose state funding, which accounts for 17.5% of our budget if we do not act soon. Without state funding, we would be forced to close our doors and Foster would be denied a very important community service. The Libraries of Foster has hired two library building consultants in the last 12 years to try to ﬁnd a resolution to these inadequacies. Both recommended that a new library be built for the Town of Foster.
As the ﬁrst step in this process, we are conducting a thorough search of Foster for a suitable building site for a new library. We are sensitive to the needs of the community and their wish to preserve a town center. We are also aware that if we buy a lot in town as a 501(c)(3), we will be removing it from the tax rolls. Therefore, we would like to request that the Town Council explore the following talking points on our behalf and let us know if they would be amenable to any of these possibilities.
1. Given the importance of the Libraries of Foster to the entire community, we would like the Town of Foster to include our future building project in their planning for Foster Center. We would like the Town’s police station feasibility study to include the possibility of a new public library on town-owned land close to the new police station and/or Town Hall. This would help to preserve historic Foster Center and would allow us to tie into an existing public well and septic system. It would also ensure that no private land was removed from the town’s tax rolls in the building of a new library.
2. We understand that the proposed police station project is in its infancy and we support a new police station for Foster. We have no desire to compete with the police project but we would be remiss if we did not consider every possibility. Therefore, in the unlikely event that the proposed police station building site becomes available, we would like the Town Council to consider placing the new library building there.
3. The Board of Trustees does not agree to move the existing police station (Aylsworth House) as was suggested at an earlier meeting. We would like to know what that would involve and what the costs and liabilities would be ﬁrst. We have yet to ask for a letter of support from the Preservation Society for moving the Aylsworth House and we do not know where the old police station could be relocated. When these questions have been answered, we will revisit this possibility.
4. If there is no space for a new library building near Town Hall, we would like to explore the possibility of the Town giving or making available to us a piece of property which can accommodate a public well, is centrally located, and is on a well-traveled road.
We thank you for your time and consideration and hope that this will be a beginning of a dialog between the Town Council and The Libraries of Foster’s Board of Trustees. We look forward to working together to provide excellent library services to the Town of Foster for many years to come.
Karen Mueller President of the Board of Trustees The Libraries of Foster
April 2017 update on the New Foster Library Report (published in the Foster Home Journal April, 2017 issue)
What does The Snow Queen, a recent children’s program featuring storyteller Clare Vadeboncoeur, have to do with a new library report? Space — space for programming in our small, but charming libraries. Clare’s program in February at the Eddy Building drew a full house of 52 children and adults, and it highlights both the popularity of the libraries and the lack of a meeting area for programming. This is one of several areas where out libraries fall short of both our community needs and of State required library standards.
In July 2016 the Board of Trustees of the Libraries of Foster took action to remedy the problem ….read more
New Library Project News – The Community Assessment – November 18, 2016
The Survey results are being reviewed and will be shared in January, 2017 after the Library Board has had some time to read and reflect on the responses. The next step is for the Libraries of Foster Facilities Planning Committee to identify possible sites for a library to meet all the Rhode Island State Library Standards as well as a site that fits into the Foster community. Comments and questions are welcome. You can reach the librarian, Katherine Chansky, at 397-4801 or by email at Libraries.email@example.com.
New Library Project News – updated November 2, 2016
Thank you to all who filled in a library survey. The Survey is now closed and a report on the responses will be prepared by our library consultant. Look for results of the survey later this month.
A Public Meeting about Library Services for Foster 10/12/16 —
- Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 6 p.m. Foster Town House, 181 Howard Hill Road, Foster Center
What is it all about? The Libraries are conducting a community assessment of library needs and services. Residents are invited to participate in a community discussion at the Foster Town House on Wed., Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. Our library consultant will facilitate the discussions. Light refreshments provided. Please RSVP to 397-7930 or 397-4801.
Give us five minutes on the survey and we’ll be able to add your ideas to the plan for future library service for Foster.
updated August 15, 2016
A message from Board of Trustees, The Libraries of Foster:
FOCUS GROUPS where you can have a say about your library–
We need to hear from you! We are planning a new library and we want it to suit you and your needs. How do you envision using your dream library? Give our library consultant an hour of your time and help us provide you with the best possible library services. A list of meeting dates and times will be listed on this website and on flyers in the libraries later this week.
The Board of Trustees has hired a Library Consultant, Kay Bullard, with expertise and many years of experience in Rhode Island libraries. Kay’s job is to facilitate focus groups and to report to the Board on a community assessment about library services for the Town of Foster. The focus group meeting are in August, September and early October. Her report to the Board will be done by Thanksgiving.
updated January 17, 2016
The Board of Trustees of Libraries of Foster is researching possible sites in the Town of Foster for a new library building to meet State requirements for 21st century library service and to deliver better value to taxpayers
For more information:
President: Karen Mueller
Vice President: Jack Bongiovanni
Secretary: Joyce Lepaoja
Treasurer: Lori Tellier