About the Library

MISSION

Barrington Public Library provides free access to empowering, life-enriching knowledge—your community hub for discovery and connection. 

VISION

Helping to create a thriving community where everyone can live their best life.  

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The library adheres to the American Library Association's policies regarding freedom of access. This includes:

We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom, the citizen’s right to information, the right to the confidentiality of users’ records, and oppose censorship.

 


LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

The Library Board of Trustees oversees the operation, care, maintenance and finances of Barrington Public Library. The members of the Library Trustees are appointed by the Town Council to three year terms. They meet on the third Thursday of the month at 7 pm in the library (and on Zoom during the pandemic).

2023 BOARD MEMBERS

  • Vincent Wicker, President
  • Cindy Kaplan, Vice President
  • Fran Rasmussen, Secretary
  • Esme Devault
  • Jordan Jancosek
  • Laura Laurence
  • Chris Watson
  • Annelise Conway, Town Council Representative

Meeting minutes are available to view on website of the RI Secretary of State's office.

 


STRATEGIC GOALS 2021-2025

GOAL 1—Position Barrington Public Library as an essential community resource.  

GOAL 2—Build organizational resilience and sustainability. 

GOAL 3—Create an organization-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

GOAL 4—Be a learning, innovative organization. 

Read more about our strategies to achieve these goals.  

 

PROCESS & COMMITMENT

Barrington Public Library embarked on a strategic planning process in April 2020, requiring community interviews, public surveys, and research into best practices.  

The interviews included community partners, board members from the Friends of Barrington Public Library and the Board of Trustees, municipal government partners, patrons, library staff, teachers, and parents. 

The public survey attracted 468 responses—a tremendous reflection of the important impact of the library on the community. 

 

WHAT WE LEARNED

  • Barrington Public Library is highly regarded within the community and holds the responsibility to continue to earn its trust and respect. 

  • The library is a community gathering place—known as the “hub” of the town. 

  • The library is seen as a place of equity and access. 

  • Although library funding is adequate at this time, there may be future threats to funding for services and programs. 

  • Nationally accepted guiding principles for public libraries promote a responsibility for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

  • The library reinforces and supports the private and public school system. 

  • At this time, the library has successfully met the challenges of the pandemic; however, the library should develop contingencies in cases of other disruptive events. 

  • Library meeting space is highly valued. 

  • The public believes that the library should have a role in fostering interaction among generations, developing ways to reach vulnerable communities, and improving cultural awareness. 

 

Members of 2021-2025 BPL Strategic Planning Committee

 

Kris Chin, Library Director
Doug Swiszcz, Assistant Director
Jessica D'Avanza, Community Engagement Librarian (former)
Patrick Elliot, Technology Coordinator
Benjamin Hanley, Head of Information Services
Lisa Lesinski, Head of Children's Services 
Tanya Paglia, Teen Librarian
Vince Wicker, Library Trustee
Cindy Elder, Library Trustee
Empower Success Corps consultants, Mary Tafuri Ross, Vicky Wicks, Lorraine Hynes

 

 

History of the Library

 

BARRINGTON LIBRARY SOCIETY, 1806

Reverend Samuel Watson, pastor of Barrington Congregational Church helped form the Barrington Library Society where he served as librarian. The Society was composed of 30 charter members (4 women and 26 men) who paid no more than $1 a year for library membership. 

Although not truly a town-supported free public library, the Barrington Library Society was a serious beginning, providing books for its members, particularly history and theology. Fiction, however, was not allowed in the library since it was believed that fiction "worketh abomination and maketh a lie".

The Barrington Library Society continued in its mission for 20 years but gradually fell into disuse.

 

BARRINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, 1880 TO 1983

1880 - The Town of Barrington appropriated $250 for its first library. Residents donated over 2,000 books and the town welcomed the new librarian Isaac Cady, who was able to purchase 212 new books, including fiction.

1885 - Circulation of library materials increased to 6,600 with more than 80% attributed to fiction titles.

1888 - The Town of Barrington built a new Town Hall, creating space for its new library along with town offices, high school, antiquarian society and a one-room jail.

1889 - Emma Staples Bradford became the first library director. She holds the record for longest tenure as library director in Barrington (1889 to 1939). She introduced book classification, children's services and an addition to the library space. While serving as the director, she saw the size of the collection grow from 2,500 to 25,000 items. 

1913 - The Library began offering story hour to children.

DATE UNKNOWN - Susan Demery became the library director. She introduced the card catalog, service for homebound patrons and another addition to the building along with adding phonographic records to the collection.

DATE UNKNOWN - Roberta Cairns became the library director. She expanded the number of staff and the size of the collection while for a few years operating a branch of the library on Bay Spring Ave.

DATE UNKNOWN- Louise Blalock became library director. She helped to form the Friends of Barrington Public Library.

1981 - Ruth Corkill became the library director. She served in this position until 1991. She oversaw the transition of the library from Town Hall to the former Leander R. Peck School.

 

BARRINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, 1984 TO TODAY

1984 - The library moved into the newly renovated Leander R. Peck School, located just across the parking area from Town Hall.

1991 - Joan Schaefer became the library director. She served in this position until 1999. She introduced computers and the Internet into the library,  increased the number and variety of audio-visual materials and received town support to open the library on Sundays.

1999 - Deborah Barchi became the library director. She served in this position until 2017. She was responsible for making the Teen Librarian and Community Services Librarian position full-time and creating the Digital Services Librarian position.

2005 - The library completed a major renovation of the first floor which included: the Circulation Department, the Reference Department, a new Teen Room, computer and printing area and reconfiguring all of the nonfiction and fiction stacks.

2017 - The library completed a major renovation of the second floor which included: the stairwell, Children's Room, the Auditorium/Gallery, Meeting Rooms, the Technical Services Department, the Staff Room and the Administrative Offices.

2017 - Kristen Chin became the current library director.

Information gathered from a report prepared by Deborah Barchi, Library Director, borrowing extensively from a presentation prepared by Joan Schaefer, retired Library Director. Updated by library staff, January 2019.

 

LEANDER R. PECK SCHOOL

The Leander R. Peck School opened September 4, 1917 for Barrington students in grades 6 to 12. The building was a gift to the town from Mrs. Peck, in memory of her husband.

The Peck family's generosity to the Town of Barrington is of historic note. Mrs. Peck's son Frederick was a member of the Building Committee for the school. The deed of gift to the Town for the school included all of the furnishings.

The exterior of the school is brick and was expanded in 1929, and again in 1936. The original school now forms the west wing of the present library/community center.

A declining student population resulted in the closing of the Peck School in 1979. In 1982, the Town approved a bond for renovation of the Peck School into a public library/community center and approved the renovation of the former public library space at Town Hall to make way for the School Administration Offices.

Excerpts from a report printed by the Friends of Barrington Public Library.