Plan 2007 - 2012
Patricia Redfearn, MLIS
530 Main St. Warren, RI 02885
The library administration wishes to acknowledge the participation
of the following Long Range Planning Committee members:
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
John Millard, President
Thomas E. (Tucker) Wright
The George Hail Free Library Board of Trustees envisions a future in which
library’s collections, programs, and leadership help to ensure:
· That every Warren resident has the opportunity to enjoy an intellectually
culturally rich life
· That every child experiences the pleasure of reading and the joy of
· 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
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
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%.
c. EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS
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
Bristol. 723 Warren 399 Total 1122
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%
d. RACE AND ETHNICITY
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
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
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
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.
COLLECTIONS AND CIRCULATION
OTHER LIBRARY SERVICES
EVALUATION OF PREVIOUS PLAN
The goals of the previous plan were achieved with the exception of:
Goal B. Improve Library Services
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
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
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
ANALYSIS OF SURVEY DATA
The survey was completed by 330 people and showed the following responses from
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
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
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
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
STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY NEEDS
The survey consistently showed that the library has outgrown its present space.
· There is no meeting space for programming either for adults, children
· 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
· More library materials are requested but there is no space for additional
· More computers for the public and longer times allocated for each person
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
· 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.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES 2007-2012
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
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
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
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 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
Strategy 3 Establish a Board with a rotating membership and rotating elected
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.
PLAN FOR EVALUATION
The Board of Trustees will evaluate the plan annually and update it, as necessary.