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Strategic Plan

Pawtucket Public Library

Plan to Improve Library Services

January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2021



The population of the city of Pawtucket 71,449 (2014 estimate)[1] has slightly increased in recent years. The percent of population in specific age groupings has varied slightly.

Age 2000 Census 2010 Census[2]
Under 5 years 6.7% 7.0%
5-14 14.3% 12.2%
15-24 12.9% 13.9%
25-44 31.3% 28.5%
45-64 19.9% 25.7%
Over 65 15.0% 12.6%

The library can be an important resource to members of the community especially those who lack the financial means to purchase their own informational and entertainment resources or subscribe to the Internet.  The U.S. Census Bureau  2009 -2013 median family income figures indicate that the median income for Pawtucket families is $40,379 as compared to $56,361[3] statewide. Our citizens have suffered from the economic downturn.  The unemployment rate in the city as of Sept, 2015 was 5.6 % as compared to 5.4% statewide.[4] The national unemployment rate in April was 5.1%[5].

According to the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training average employment in the city is down from 28,406 in 2000 to 22,736 in 2015. The number of manufacturing jobs went from 10,829 in 2000 to 3,820 in 2015.[6] The library’s recent survey indicated that many library users would like the library to help them improve their computer and job skills.  Some also need help in filling out online job applications, creating resumes and preparing for interviews.

The City of Pawtucket has a long history of welcoming immigrants which is reflected in the many languages that are spoken by city residents.  According to the 2009-2013 US Census figures 24.1% of the population in Pawtucket is foreign born as compared to 13.1% in Rhode Island.  39.4% of Pawtucket residents speak a language other than English at home compared to 21.1% statewide.[7]

Pawtucket’s percentage has grown since the 2000 Census when it was 35.7%.  19.7% of Pawtucket residents are of Hispanic/Latino heritage.[8]  Many of the immigrants come from countries where the standard of education is lower than the United States and where there is little or no access to library services.

The percentage of Pawtucket residents over 25 who have completed high school has increased to 76.7% but it is still below the state wide percentage of 85.2%.[9] The city is also home to many college-educated individuals.  The library’s collection must meet the needs of all the city’s residents.

43% of the 16,550 children in Pawtucket live in single-parent households.[10]  28.9.3% of Pawtucket’s children are living below the Federal Poverty Threshold and 14.2% are living in extreme poverty which is defined as families with incomes below 50% of the federal poverty level.[11] Many children are in need of after-school care or after-school activities as there is no one at home to take care of them while their parents are at work.

Fourth-grade students in Pawtucket are less proficient in skills than are students statewide.[12]

Percentage at or above proficiency in 2011 Pawtucket Rhode Island
Fourth Grade Reading Skills 60% 71%
Fourth Grade Math Skills 48% 65%
Goal One: To identify and secure the critical resources and funding necessary to implement this plan.


1.1 The library will continue to work with its coalition of supporters to lobby state, local government and other stake holders to support the mission of the library.
1.2 The library will support “Friends of the Library” efforts to create an organization that provides an opportunity for fellowship for its members while helping to support the library’s mission.
1.3 The library will apply for at least one grant from a new resource each year and investigate other fundraising opportunities.

Goal Two: To improve access to educational services that are needed by the community.


2.1 The library will continue to partner with other community organizations to provide educational and programs that are needed by community members of all ages.
2.2 The library will continue to seek new ways to communicate information about library programs and resources to the public including an E Newsletter.
2.3 The library will continue to develop a closer relationship with the schools and will work toward providing the necessary public library resources students need to succeed in school and their careers.
2.4. The library will continue to provide and expand where possible online training opportunities for local residents.

Goal Three: To become a proactive resource to the community.


3.1 The library will survey library users at least once a year about some aspect of library service to help assess community needs and will continue to interview community stake holders to find out how we can better serve the community.
3.2 The library will work with other local organizations to help keep the public informed about the programs and resources that are available in the community.

Goal Four: To evaluate and refine collections, programs, and services to meet current and evolving community needs.


4.1 The library will develop its collection based on the needs of the community, keeping it up-to-date and in good condition.
4.2 The library will provide programs and services that help children enter school ready to learn, to read, to write and to listen.
4.3 The library will continue to provide after school activities that meet the needs of Pawtucket students in the elementary grades.
4.4 The library will continue to work with the teen population to help them with their school work as well as other educational and informational needs.
4.5 The library will continue to collect material about the history of Pawtucket, interfile the library’s Pawtucket vertical and picture files with the files held in the Elizabeth J. Johnson Pawtucket History Research Center and assist researchers with their research about the city.
4.6 The residents will have access to programs and services that promote appreciation and understanding of their personal heritage and the heritage of others in the community.
4.7 The residents will have access to materials and programs that are of interest to them.
4.8 The Library will provide adults and teens with access to the resources they need to identify career opportunities and the skills needed to fill out job applications and create resumes.

Goal Five: To maximize technology to meet patron and staff needs.


5.1 Implement the Technology Plan with the goal of increasing patron and staff access to the best current technology, equipment, software and training.

Goal Six: To effectively use and develop our talent.


6.1 Every staff member will be provided with the opportunity to participate in a minimum of twenty (20) hours per year of professional development activity.
6.2 Staff will have the opportunity to participate in a minimum of eighteen (18) hours per year in activities related to implementing the strategic plan.
6.3 Library will work to improve internal communication among library staff members by scheduling regular department head meetings and semiannual staff meetings.
6.5 The library will offer in-house yearly workshops when appropriate.  The staff will be surveyed on what type of workshop they would benefit from.

Goal Seven: To improve and maintain library facilities.


7.1 The library will update and prioritize a list of ongoing facility needs.
7.2 The library staff will work to improve building signage and organization of the collection so users can easily find what they need.
7.3 The library will seek to create a welcoming enclosed space for teens which will include appropriate resources including but not limited to computers, an up-to-date collection of materials that meets the needs of teens, room for the teens to work together on projects.
7.4 The library will study and create a plan on how best to provide Reference Services. Some things that should be considered are the location of staff and configuration of service areas.
7.5 The library will be a safe, comfortable and clean place for people to meet with others, interact with others, or sit quietly and read or study.


Staff members will meet regularly to implement the plan.

The Library’s Board of Trustees will dedicate time at some of their meetings to assess progress, refine goals and evaluate outcomes.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees on 12/15/15

  1. U.S. Census Bureau. American FactFinder. 7.1.2014. http://factfinder2.census.gov.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau. American FactFinder. 6.11.2012 http://factfinder2.census.gov.
  3. U.S. Census Bureau. Quick Facts form the US Census Bureau. 2009-2013 http://quickfacts.census.gov.
  4. RI Department of Labor and Training. Rhode Island Labor Force Statistics – Seasonally Adjusted. 9.2015 http://www.dlt.ri.gov.
  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Employment Situation in September 2015 http://www.bls.gov.
  6. Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages City & Town Report - First Quarter 2015,  http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/es202/town/2015.html.
  7. U.S. Census Bureau. Quick Facts form the US Census Bureau. 2009-2013 http://quickfacts.census.gov.
  8. U.S. Census Bureau. American FactFinder. 7.1.2014 http://factfinder2.census.gov.
  9. U.S. Census Bureau. Quick Facts form the US Census Bureau. 2014. http://quickfacts.census.gov.
  10. Rhode Island Kids Count. 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook, p. 37.
  11. Rhode Island Kids Count. 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook, p. 39.
  12. Rhode Island Kids Count. 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook, p.145-149.


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