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Providence Community Library System Faces $100K Shortfall

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The Providence Community Library system is facing a $100,000 deficit by this summer. The system operates nine neighborhood libraries across the capital....

The Providence Community Library system is facing a $100,000 deficit by this summer. The system operates nine neighborhood libraries across the capital. The organization is seeking $250,000 in additional funding from the city.

Advocates for the PCL are pushing city lawmakers to approve the increase with a letter-writing campaign and a rally scheduled for Thursday.

Currently the Providence Community Library receives about $3.5 million from the city budget. That funding level has remained level for the last six years. With growing costs, PCL chief operating officer Sue Gibbs said the system needs a quick influx of cash to stay afloat.

“We’re projecting about a $100,000 deficit by the end of June,” said Gibbs. “So we have to make some serious decisions, because that won’t work, because we have no reserves.”

Gibbs said they have no reserve cash because the organization is still so young. The Providence Community Library system was created in 2009, after splitting from the downtown Providence Public Library.

Gibbs said the costs accrued are just for normal operations and regular programming. She said building upkeep is also a major expense.

“We’ve maintained eight city buildings for the last seven years, and when we took over in 2009 there was a lot of deferred maintenance,” said Gibbs. “The buildings were in very tough shape, and they needed a lot of work.”

Gibbs said without more funding the organization may have to close at least one branch.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated that the PCL operated eight libraries, it is in fact nine.

Smith Hill Library
Smith Hill Library