Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 02-06-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 PAWTUCKET FEBRUARY 6-12, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION PAWTUCKET – Staff at the Pawtucket Public Library recently upgraded to a pro account on Flickr, gaining access to statistics they'd never had before on how many people were looking at the library's historical photo collection. "We were astounded to find out we have close to 3.5 million views since we started using Flickr back in May of 2016," said Tim McDuff, the tech- nical services librarian doing much of the work with colleague Paul Arsenault and others to create one of the most extensive digital libraries of photos in the state. McDuff said he's most satisfied about the fact that the photos, now out there for everyone to see instead of hidden away in the archives some- where, are being used by Pawtucket residents past and present to connect over shared memories. Many people, some who've moved far away, are sharing photos in public forums, he said, and every day they are discuss- ing and reminiscing in a way "that wasn't possible 15 years ago." The late historian Betty Johnson collected photos for many years as part of the Elizabeth J. Johnson Pawtucket History Research Center, which has since moved from her former home on Fruit Street to the library. "I'd estimate that at this point we've scanned less than 25 percent of the PHRC's image collection and even that may be on the higher side," said McDuff. Johnson's great organization has made it easier to categorize the col- lection online, he said. The physical collection was not one that could be staffed on a full-time basis, making it difficult for people to access it. "In-person use of the photo collec- tion is highly limited to individuals doing research on a specific topic, and browsing is not permitted," he said. "Having the online collection available for anyone to browse has been the major benefit of digitizing our photo collection." The collection can be accessed anytime at pawtucketlibrary/collections. There are three ways on the library's homepage to reach the photos on Flickr. Staff have divided images into three categories so far: year- books, historical photos and maps. Everything is in alphabetical order. The map collection is the newest, and images were primarily collected by Arsenault. The majority of the Johnson photo collection was collected by Johnson herself over many years. There have also been substantial additions to the collection, one from the Pawtucket Planning Department when it relo- cated from the downtown Chester Building to City Hall, and the sec- ond from the late Mayor James Doyle, who left a great deal of mate- rial from his time as mayor. Plans for the immediate future include "scanning, scanning, and more scanning," said McDuff, with new material added weekly and sometimes daily. The library conducted a survey last fall, and tied for second behind parking of what users want more of from the library was local history information. Library staff was previously limited to only anecdotal information about reach and use of the collection, but can now see total views since they went online with yearbooks and a few photos in May of 2016. "These two pieces of information (survey and access to views) spurred us on to try and get new images added at least weekly and we've seen that translate well into views, with over 400,000 views so far this January, and by the end of week I anticipate we'll have over 30,000 images in the Flickr collection," McDuff said last week. Long-term goals include better "tagging" of the photos and trying to identify and record everything in each of the photos as well as cross- posting photos into multiple albums. Staffers are also considering turning to the community to help with the work, but would still require staff to monitor and verify any information and tags provided. "A few eagle-eyed followers have already helped point out a few pho- tos that were mislabeled by Betty Johnson or provided info on photos that were sparse on information," he said. McDuff said one person who has been most helpful in spotting errors is former resident David Crowell, who frequently posts photos online. Treasure trove of Pawtucket Library photos are getting millions of views By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor The most popular photo to date that has been scanned into a new online photo data- base at the Pawtucket Public Library is this 1957 image of the MIDDLE STREET SCHOOL. It had 1,543 views as of Monday, Feb. 4. PAWTUCKET – Dr. Lindsay Thibeault, owner of Pawtucket-based mobile veterinary practice Creature Comforts Veterinary Services, says she can't wait to get to work after being named the new presi- dent of the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association. Thibeault, a Lincoln resi- dent, assumed her new role as head of the 200-member nonprofit organization on Jan. 1. The organization focuses on promot- ing animal welfare, veterinary medi- cine and public health in the state. A member of the RIVMA Board of Directors since 2015, Thibeault says her Creature Comforts spe- cializes in providing high-quality small animal medicine and surgery through the mobile clinic. The prac- tice of providing mobile vet services, including surgeries, is becoming more common, she said, as it is more convenient and is known to reduce stress for both pets and their owners. Many surgeries are per- formed in homes. Thibeault said much of her work as president of the animal welfare organization will be to keep up with legislation impacting animals in the state, as well as advocating on behalf of small business owners in the field. The board keeps up with new laws and intervenes where possible, also running a successful annual educa- tion conference on animal welfare. While there's always room for improvement when it comes to how people look out for their furry friends, Thibeault said Rhode Island Pawtucket's mobile vet gets statewide role protecting animals By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor THIBEAULT See MOBILE VET, Page 15 Elise Vetri Keller Williams Leading Edge Cell: 401-651-1138 Each unit features 2 BR, Master Bedroom Suites, 2+ Baths, Granite Countertops, Central Air, 2 Car Garage, and Deck. One level Units feature a ZERO stair entry. Being offered at a tremendous value with prices starting at $ 309,000 Come see our newest Townhouse Models Available Elise Vetri Realtor OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY and SUNDAY, FEB. 9th and 10th from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Silver Pines Condominums Enter 32 Alpine Way, North Smithfield, RI 02896 into your GPS to find us! Come See Our Newest Model Unit!

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