Long Range Plan - 2007-2012

Patricia Redfearn, MLIS

Library Director

530 Main St. Warren, RI 02885

(401) 245-7686


The library administration wishes to acknowledge the participation of the following Long Range Planning Committee members:

Anna Gempp

Denise Kinney

Michelle Maher

Patricia Redfearn, Director

Wendell B. Pols

Anne Toll, Chair


And the following staff members:

Desiree Brunton, Circulation Assistant

Prudence Fallon, Reference Librarian

Peggy Gossage, Children's Librarian


Special thanks go to Michelle Maher for her help with constructing and posting the surveys


Approved by the Board of Trustees

September 2007


John Millard, President

Marcia Blount

Michael Carbone

John Chaney

Jane Harrison

Tony Rego

Justin Shireman

Eileen Socha

Anne Toll

Thomas E. (Tucker) Wright





The George Hail Free Library Board of Trustees envisions a future in which the library’s collections, programs, and leadership help to ensure:

· That every Warren resident has the opportunity to enjoy an intellectually and culturally rich life

· That every child experiences the pleasure of reading and the joy of learning

· That patrons can find assistance and information with ease





The George Hail Free Library is committed to providing materials that meet the educational, recreational and technological needs of library patrons and potential library patrons within the constraints of space, staffing and funding.




Warren, Rhode Island, is a small community of approximately 11,360 residents located on the eastern side of Narragansett Bay. It is the smallest town in Bristol County, Rhode Island, with a land mass of 5.8 square miles. Geographically, Warren is bordered by Barrington to its north and Bristol to its south. Its eastern limits border the town of Swansea, Massachusetts, and at its western boundary is the Warren River.


Warren is comprised of diverse ethnic groups, with a population that is mainly Caucasian.

The town developed historically with the immigration of various groups, which led to certain areas developing into ethnic neighborhoods. Although these neighborhoods are less evident today than fifty or even twenty years ago, their relationship to the evolution of Warren is important. Imaginary geographical boundaries divide the town into several regions such as the North End, South End, Downtown, Metacom Avenue and East Warren and Touisset.


Each section has special needs and concerns which will be examined so the library can respond accordingly.


The North End has seen succeeding ethnic populations come and go. This area had high levels of ethnic concentrations which settled the region, then, in later years, moved on. Redevelopment and restoration projects were undertaken to revitalize this area of 19th century mill, factory tenements and other homes. The South End, on and off Main Street, is an area featuring mostly single family homes along with several relatively new upscale condominium complexes.


The George Hail Library is located in the downtown area, a section built up before the concept of shopping malls came into existence. In addition to homes, many historic, this area contains numerous businesses, retail and antiques shops, and restaurants and is considered a first class example of an old New England business district. It remains to this day the center of operation for town citizens and features town offices located in Town Hall, just north of the library. Also down town is the Government Center, once the site of Joyce Street School, which houses the police department and main branch of the fire department and branch offices of the state Registry of Motor Vehicles and the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. Pedestrian travel in this area is brisk.


Two other significant areas that have seen improvements and development in recent years are Water Street, running parallel to the Warren River. The site of the Town Beach and waterfront-related businesses, Water Street now features a Town Wharf along with shops, restaurants, artists' studios and residences. Also of note are two renovated mill complexes on Cutler Street off Child Street that have attracted small retail and other businesses along with artists' studios and a gallery.


The Metacom Avenue area, which developed randomly on rural farmland, is lined with fast food outlets, small commercial plazas and other sales-related establishments and is considered the town's newest commercial center. Touisset, in the easternmost section of town was once primarily agricultural, with a summer colony at its point. Today, the area has evolved into a year-round community. Over the past five years, Touisset has seen substantial growth with the construction of numerous single family homes, many of them upscale, which has resulted in an influx of new residents.






According to the 2000 US Census, the Town of Warren is home to 11,360 persons with 71% of the population over the age of 25. Residents in Warren fall within the 35-45 year old category represent 17% of the population and those over 65 representing 18% of the population. The number of children residing in Warren has increased over the last decade with the Census indicating that 24% of Warren’s population was under the age of 18 at the time of the 2000 Census. Projections as provided by Rhode Island Statewide Planning indicate that Warren’s population will grow progressively for the next 22 years, but in the end the total number of expected new residents is only estimated to increase the town’s population by less than 1000 persons. These numbers though do not take into consideration proposed housing developments, including the redevelopment of the American Tourister Mill, which would represent an influx of an additional 700 residents to the town.




The median income for Warren, as of 2007 was $68,300. This is an increase from the median income for Warren at the time of the 2000 Census. That data indicates that the median income seven years ago was $41,285. This increase is an indication that the influx of new residents in recent years has lead to an increase in “affluence.”


According to the 2000 Census, 9,199 residents over the age of 16 are employed. Of the number, 5,623 employed residents commuted to jobs outside of Warren.


The majority of Warren residents were employed in management, profession and related occupations. Other categories in which a large number of Warren residents indicated employment included sales and office occupations; educational, health and social service industries; and manufacturing.


In 1999, there were 963 families and individuals living under the poverty level. Of this number 273 were under the age of 18. It should be noted that the Town of Warren is the only suburban community in the State of Rhode Island that has an entire US Census Tract classified as low and moderate income. This census tract, Tract 305, encompasses the most densely populated area of Warren, its downtown. This area is home to the largest number of rental properties and rental households. This demographic is experiencing changes though. In the 1990 Census the area of downtown that is bordered between Washington Street to Liberty Street and Main Street to Water Street had a low and moderate income population of 63%. In 2000 this same area’s low and moderate income population dropped to 23%. As individuals with higher income moved in to this area the lower income families were displaced to Warren’s North End which experienced a percentage increase in the number of low income families from 64% to 77%.



Number of students (Figures are as of June 2007 closing date)

Hugh Cole Pre K – 5

Bristol. 13 Warren. 445 Total 458

Kickemuit Middle School

Bristol 493 Warren. 288 Total 781

High School

Bristol. 723 Warren 399 Total 1122

Private Schools

Bristol 665 Warren 244 Total 909

Home schooled 24

Charter school students 3

Vocation Schools 26

Special Out placed Ed 88

June 2007 237 graduates from High School

4 yr schools 111 - 47%

1-2 yr schools 63 - 27%

1-2 Bristol Business schools 4 - 2%

1-2 tech schools 12 - 5%

Armed Forces 4 - 2%

Work, need jobs 25 - 10%

Undecided 18 - 7%



The ethnic background of the residents of Warren is primarily White/Caucasian. Of the 11,360 residents, 10,999 designate their race as Caucasian. The next largest ethnic population is Latinos at 106 and African Americans at 94 residents. The fourth largest ethnic group in Warren is Asian at 57 residents. Of all census respondents 147 indicated that they were of two or more races.




Library service in Warren dates back to the 1790's. A reading room was opened to the public in January 1871. Located in a building at the northeast corner of Main and Market streets, it was incorporated as "The Warren Public Reading Room Association." In 1877, the name was changed to the Warren Public Library and it was housed at the comer of Main and Baker streets.


In 1882, Martha Hail, the widow of prominent Warren citizen George Hail, made a bequest of $12,800 to the library in memory of her husband. The name was then changed to the George Hail Free Library. It was not until 1888 that enough money was raised to erect a building on the library's present site at 530 Main St. With a fund of approximately $18,000, the building was constructed in the style of the famed architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The beamed interior and the stained glass windows are characteristic of the Victorian period while the structure's exterior incorporates castle-like elements from Romanesque architecture in the treatment of granite walls and rounded arches.


A substantial renovation and restoration project costing approximately $250,000 was done in the late 1970' s. At that time, a room on the second floor was dedicated as the Charles Whipple Greene Museum and a children's room and staff room created in the basement. The first and second floors were restored to their original Victorian design.


Today, a ten-member Board of Trustees - with two of its members appointed by the Warren Town Council- governs the George Hail Library. There is also a Friends of the Library volunteer group, which assists with fundraising. Although not a town department, the library receives the majority of its operating revenue from an annual appropriation from the Town of Warren. These funds are supplemented by the Grant- in- Aid to Libraries from the State of Rhode Island and from monies generated by the library through sources such as late fees, donations and fund-raising events.


The George Hail Library is a participant in the Ocean State Libraries network, which means the library is able to provide patrons with materials not available on the premises through a shared network that includes public libraries in other cities and towns. Services to patrons have increased over the past 25 years. In addition to lending books, the library today also lends DVDs and books on CDs, audiocassettes and videocassettes. There are also on-site computers available for public use providing patrons with Internet access. In 2006, wireless access was added.


In 1990, the library embarked on a project to computerize the entire collection. In 2002, the library established its own Website at www.georgehail.org which furnishes patrons with additional information concerning the library, its services and the availability of materials. Today, nearly 100% of the collection is available through the on-line catalogue.


Other services at the George Hail Library include children's programs, such as story hours, programs geared to families, and adult programming, such as book club groups, lectures and musical events.

Adhering to a state mandate, in late 2002 the position of part-time reference librarian was added to the staff. Presently three positions, namely the director, children's librarian and reference librarian, require library science degrees.


In 2007, the George Hail Library remains committed to its mission, to meet the educational, informational, recreational and now the technological needs of its patrons within the constraints of its budget.








The goals of the previous plan were achieved with the exception of:


Goal B. Improve Library Services

Objective 1

Continue to make the Summer Reading Program available to children unable to get to the library.


1. The Children’s Librarian will provide story hours, book checkout and Summer Reading Club recognition at five playgrounds in Warren for eight weeks during each summer.

This objective was not achieved due to lack of staff



Goal D. Provide Sufficient Space for the Library’s Collections and Services

Objective 1

To find the most efficient use of Croade Street property


1. Hire a Library Building Consultant to advise the Board on space needs and the best use of this property.

2. Meet with LVA Board chair regarding LVA’s space needs.

This objective has not yet been achieved.

Goal F. Maintain Museum Collections

Objective 1

To conserve Museum collections


1. Request funds from Champlin Foundations to conserve at least four documents every two years.

This objective has not been achieved, as Champlin Foundations no longer funds these requests. 


The survey was completed by 330 people and showed the following responses from adults.

65% of respondents live in Warren. 

Of the Warren residents, the largest number live in the Downtown area – 22%. The next highest live in the Touisset area – 17%; Metacom area – 15%; E. Warren - 14%; North End – 12% South Warren – 14%;* Half of the respondents skipped this question.

2/3rds of the respondents are female.

91% own computers. The majority own VCRs, DVD players, video game players or iPods.

The majority were familiar with the library’s services with the exception of the following - Visit with Santa, December Open House, Voter registration, Genealogy research assistance, Trustees Open Meetings.

90% of respondents had library cards

76% think tax support for the library should be increased.

67% would support a bond issue for an addition to the library

57% think it is important that property is already available for expansion.

The majority use the library for personal and leisure reading. But this question asked for one important reason while many people checked more than one answer.

Services used most often are checking out books, requesting materials from other libraries, checking out videos and DVDs.

The services that respondents would like to see added are different or longer hours, more quiet work study areas, open Sundays, more books, magazines, newspapers, more children’s materials, more audio books, more DVDs/videos, better lighting, more physical space, more parking, more variety of programs, including discussion groups and book groups, expanded electronic information sources, more staff, more public meeting space, improved accessibility to all areas for everyone.

Other included longer checkouts, nameplates for staff, ADA access

Priorities for providing programs should go to preschoolers and elementary school children

Non-users to be targeted are teenagers and the homebound

Only 23% of respondents are members of the Friends of the Library

Respondents rated the library's location the highest.

The lowest ratings went to: lack of quiet space, signage, parking, lighting, sufficient space, lack of adequate access to all floors

71% think the staff are friendly, 74% think staff are willing to help, 60% think the staff are knowledgeable, only 34% think there are sufficient staff on duty

90% of self-identified non-users are in the 10-15 year old range

Among the reasons for not using George Hail are: they go to either Barrington or Bristol or other libraries, they don’t know where George Hail is located, the website Myspace is blocked, use school library, or have a computer at home.

Programs that would entice them are: larger children’s section, computer games to play, more computers and longer time on the computers, more war books and animal books

48% of teenagers filling out the survey use George Hail, the biggest percentage – 39% use the library to check out books for pleasure

The following are individual comments from the survey.

57% say they find what they are looking for most of the time, only 31% call the library to reserve materials or with a question, only 12% know the library has a blog,

71% say that if the library provided homework help, they would use it.

Among the suggestions made by teenaged survey takers were the following: different hours, more quiet spaces, more audio books, drinking fountain, less dust and mold around books, ability to use myspace.com, more chairs, bigger tables, vending machines, take away the stuffed animals in the taxidermy collection, better lighting, more physical space, more parking, and more electronic resources


The survey consistently showed that the library has outgrown its present space. 

· There is no meeting space for programming either for adults, children or teenagers. 

· There are no quiet spaces for studying. 

· There is no space set aside for teenagers.

· Access to the upper floors is impossible for physically handicapped people.

· More library materials are requested but there is no space for additional materials

· More computers for the public and longer times allocated for each person is requested but there is no space for additional computers

· Due to more stringent fire codes, attendance at children’s programs is now limited to 30 people. When parents and grandparents accompany children, this severely limits the number of children who can attend.

· Parking is inadequate

· Signage and lighting need to be improved

· Outreach to children is limited by lack of staff

In addition:

· Services for teenagers and the homebound need to be improved

· Only 23% of adult responders are members of the Friends of the Library

However, the majority of respondents - 76%- think tax support should be increased. And 67% would support a bond issue to expand the building. 


Goal 1 Collections and Services for the community

I. Collections and services for children and Young Adults (YA)

Objective A Increase YA/teen usage of the library by 10%

Strategy 1 Provide training for staff to develop a homework help blog for teens

Strategy 2 Provide a link to the homework help blog for teens on the front page of the library’s website

Strategy 3 Provide links to other homework help blogs

Strategy 4 Continue to expand and update the YA/Teen collection

Objective B Start programs for YA/teens

Strategy 1 Start a book discussion group in the summer to discuss books on reading lists

Objective C Work with English Departments in local schools to have the summer reading lists before the end of the school year

Strategy 1 Develop contacts with the English teachers and school librarians as to homework/assignments

II. Collections and Services for Adults

Objective A Update the reference collection

Strategy 1 Provide more online resources for patrons

Strategy 2 Provide more computers for patrons

Objective B Develop a method to accurately count reference questions

Strategy 1 Train staff to recognize reference questions

Strategy 2 Increase reference questions answered by a minimum of 10% each year

Strategy 3 Increase access to library services and reference services by improving the library’s website

Objective C Increase Readers’ Advisory Services

Strategy 1 Develop handouts/lists of various genres

Strategy 2 Develop effective book displays that encourage circulation

Strategy 3 Develop a Readers Advisory page on the library’s website

Objective D Improve patron access to new materials

Strategy 1 Purchase 2nd copies of selected popular new books and DVDs and set them as “no holds allowed”

Strategy 2 Produce a monthly newsletter or list of new fiction and non-fiction

Strategy 3. Develop a page on the library’s website for new fiction and non- fiction lists

Objective E Find ways to improve the non-fiction circulation by 10%

Strategy 1 Contact local artists to talk about their area of expertise

Strategy 2 Continue Poetry Month with contributions from patrons

Strategy 3 Start a poetry reading group

Strategy 4 Start a memoir-writing program

Strategy 5 Increase DVD documentary collection

Strategy 6 Start a film program series based on the Film Movement Series

Objective F Increase access to library technology

Strategy 1 Start a computer mentoring program with teens helping adults

Goal 2 Sufficient staff so they can work effectively in a positive environment

Objective A Increase staffing to cover Children’s Services during story hours, children’s programming and outreach

Strategy 1 Budget for a second person, part-time for the Children’s Room

Objective B Increase staffing so that 2 people are on duty at all times in the Adult area

Strategy 1 Budget for Pages to assist the staff

Objective C Provide services to those in nursing homes and the homebound

Strategy 1 Establish “Library Visitor” groups to provide services to patients on a regular basis

Goal 3 Facilities that provide a welcoming environment for patrons

Objective A Improve the following:

Improve signage

Improve lighting on 1st and 2nd floors and back entryway

Improve lighting in main entryway vestibule

Provide space dedicated to YA/teens

Provide quiet area for reading/studying

Provide safe, dedicated program area for lapsit and other children’s programs

Redesign children’s circulation area to eliminate the bottleneck created by computer users and people wanting to check out materials

Provide more space for public computers

Goal 4 Increased Marketing and Funding to support the above goals and to enhance visibility for the library

Objective A Increase membership in the Friends of the Library

Strategy 1 Improve publicity for Friends

Strategy 2 Recruit parents who use the Children’s Room for membership in the Friends

Strategy 3 Establish a Board with a rotating membership and rotating elected officers

Strategy 4 Review bylaws and revise as necessary

Goal 5 Maintain Museum Collections

Objective A Improve access to museum collections

Strategy 1 Recruit 1-2 more volunteers so the Museum can be open more often

Goal 6 Sufficient Space for the Library’s Collections and Services

Objective 1 To find the most efficient use of Croade Street property

Strategy 1 Hire a Library Building Consultant to advise the Board on space needs and the best use of this property.

Strategy 2 Meet with LVA Board chair regarding LVA’s space needs.


The Board of Trustees will evaluate the plan annually and update it, as necessary.