Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 08-08-2019

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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8 NORTH COUNTY AUGUST 8-14, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION in the 2017-2018 fiscal year to $23,000 in 2018-2019. It's a significant decline in a community where the annual city budget only covers a por- tion of the cost of new materials, with the library forced to make up the rest with revenue collected on overdue books. "A lot of it goes to buying DVDs and print material for children and adults," she said. "We don't have enough from the city, so the money we get from fines is helpful." While the automatic renewals are not the only culprit behind the declining revenue – fines, she said, have been down since the network started sending out reminder notifica- tions several years ago – it's the latest change in a system that increasingly favors patrons over cash-strapped libraries trying to enforce late fines on materials. In North Smithfield, Library Director Sue Dubois said she expects to collect about a third less in fines this year due to the automatic renew- al system and other factors, but she's not worried about the impact on the library's materials budget. The bud- get, she said, comes from a combina- tion of state aid and town funding with fundraising for some specific items conducted during the year. "I was never comfortable with fines to begin with," she said. "A lot of times it's used as incentive to bring things back which definitely helps, but to count on money based on peo- ple's behavior is probably not the way to go for budgeting purposes." Dubois serves as treasurer of the board of directors of Ocean State Libraries, the library consortium over- seeing the interlibrary loan system in the state. Last November, consortium members took a vote as to whether or not the network should institute the new automatic renewal system as part of a software update. While a few members, including Pawtucket and Woonsocket, voted against the changes, the vast majority of mem- bers voted in favor, prompting a network-wide change that went into effect Dec. 10 of last year. Overall, local library directors said the reaction has been positive as patrons have been able to focus less on fines and more on enjoying the library's services. In Cumberland, where the library requested addi- tional funds from the town this year to make up for a projected $5,000 revenue loss, Library Director Celeste Dyer said they're trying to change the library's image from a penny- pinching, silent one to a place where patrons feel comfortable. "You just don't want to keep having those same arguments about the quar- ter or the 10 cents," she said. "We knew it was going to impact our fines, but we thought the goodwill it would generate would be better." The same is true in Greenville, where a $3,500 drop in revenue over the past fiscal year hasn't stopped LIBRARIES From Page One Continues on next page BREEZE PHOTOS BY ROBERT EMERSON VERA DEMARCO, of Cumberland, browses the racks at the North Smithfield Public Library on Monday afternoon. She said she knew about the auto- renewal program and uses it and other library programs often. She said that the library probably loses money because of auto-renew- al, but she still insists on voluntarily paying fines and considers it her donation to the library. FREE GRANITE REMNANTS* *SELECT REMNANTS AS IS FABRICATION & INSTALLATION EXTRA Minimum sq. ft. applies Saturday, August 10 th & Saturday, September 14 th 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. 9 Enterprise Lane, Smithfield, RI 02917 $29.99/sq. ft. Granite & Quartz Installed** SILESTONE • CAESARSTONE AND OTHERS **Limited slabs and remnants Price includes material, fabrication and installation. Minimum sq. ft. applies. For more information call: 401-233-0666 MOVING SALE! HURRY – TWO DAYS ONLY! Stainless Sinks / Stone Sinks / Faucets

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