East Side Librarians

Get to know your neighborhood librarians


Providence Community Libraries (PCL) are not just about books. On the East Side they are also the 15 people who work at the Rochambeau and Fox Point Libraries. Ed Graves, who as regional librarian supervises the Fox Point, Rochambeau and Smith Hill Libraries, joined us this past June. Although you can usually find him in his office behind the reference desk at Rochambeau, you may also spot him at one of the other two libraries as he manages the staffing, programming and facilities of the three libraries.

Ed came to PCL from Rutland, Vermont, where he managed a library serving five communities. What attracted him to PCL was its innovative approach to urban public library service. “I like the fact that we have the opportunity to reinvent the library and focus on services that are needed for the 21st century. And I am deeply impressed that PCL owes its existence to community action.”

Besides ensuring that every child has a library card (an activity which demands constant outreach) Ed wants to make sure that our libraries continue to serve adult populations. A new fun after-hours event planned for adults is “Dear Diorama” – a literary mini-diorama contest taking place March 4 at 7pm at Rochambeau.

Geared to stir up the creative in all of us, the challenge is to create a scene, no larger than a shoebox, from a book you have read (see for more details). Enlist help from your kids or friends, but make sure you come join your neighbors on March 4 to see all the boxes and enjoy the party.

The Fox Point Library boasts Sandy Oliviera, PCL’s longest serving East Side employee, whose smiling face has greeted patrons there since 1987. Sandy whose duty as clerk involves checking books in and out finds herself doing so much more. People come in to look for a book, but theyend up “checking out” Sandy – drawing on her wealth of community information to find answers to all kinds of questions. Sometimes they even pull a chair up for a chat. Although it is one of PCL’s smallest libraries, Fox Point is known to all. Kids, adults and even Brown students (craving a touch of humanity) are drawn to it. They come not just for the books and computers but to see Sandy’s butterflies hatch in the spring. A couple of years ago, when a woman at a Florida airport learned I was from Providence she immediately asked “Do you know that librarian Sandy at Fox Point?” Well, doesn’t everybody?