Fall 2020


Dearest Membership,

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our jobs and our lives in a huge way. And as a result of the dangers this virus represents, many school librarians who were nearing retirement took the plunge and left their jobs this year. Many others took leaves of absences due to an at-risk family member or similar situation. This has left a number of school librarian positions vacant in many districts, with no action taken from those districts to fill the vacancies. This leaves many students from all grades without the important and necessary services that a school librarian provides. In order to drive home that message, the Advocacy Committee for SLRI has begun meeting to discuss ways to let people know that school librarians are essential. Some of our ideas include: getting our documentary on PBS; writing letters to the editor of local newspapers; meeting with RIDE regarding the adoption of our national standards; and holding a press conference or PR event.

To help us do this, I am asking you to fill out this quick 4 question survey to help us gather the information we need to move forward with our advocacy plans.

If you are interested in sharing your ideas with the advocacy committee, please feel free to email me or attend our next Zoom meeting which is this Thursday, November 19th at 4:30 PM.

Thank you for your continued support and for all you do for your libraries in these uncertain times. Heroes, every one of you.

Very truly yours,

Deanna Brooks

SLRI President


School librarians play integral roles in their schools. Overdue: The Value of School Librarians, a SLRI-produced documentary-style advocacy film, highlights this fact through interviews with administrators, parents, students and colleagues of Rhode Island school librarians. It was created and is being shared here to facilitate discussions in schools and districts. Read more about how you can use the film as an advocacy tool.


The Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide serves as a statewide resource to assist in the development of curriculum and instruction. SLRI Curriculum Committee Co-Chairs Dr. Mary Moen and Marianne Mirando presented the guide at the RILINK Summer conference in July, where they delivered the keynote presentation.

Katie O'Kane, of Barrington's Primrose Hill Elementary School, is using the guide and is developing a database of lessons created by Rhode Island school librarians. She has created a generic RISLCG Unit/Lesson Plan Template for librarians to use; users can also submit the completed template to the database. Check out a sample unit on diverse books she created for third grade.


This year’s festival, a year-round virtual celebration featuring Rhode Island authors and illustrators, kicked off on October 15. Award-winning Rhode Island author and illustrator John Rocco talked about his new book, How We Got to the Moon, a 2020 finalist for the National Book Award. In November, Anika Aldumay Denise discussed her new book, A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno:Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer! If you missed them, both events were recorded and are now available.

The next event is on December 3 at 1 PM and will feature a conversation with Gaia Cornwell, author of Jabari Jumps and the soon-to-be-released The Best Bed for Me. All events are open to the public (via Zoom) and will include book giveaways, book signings, and activities. The events are co-hosted by Lincoln School. Click here for more information.


And the Winner Is....


SLRI Award Winners

At the RILA Conference in May, SLRI awarded members for their services to the profession. Dawn Warnock, of the M. Virginia Cunningham Elementary School in Pawtucket, won the Maurice Tougas Award. Michele Steever, of East Greenwich High School, won the Mini-Grant Award, and School Librarian of the Year Award went to Stephanie Mills of Park View Middle School in Cranston. Congratulations to all!



If you have begun teaching at a new school, please email Alyssa Taft so she can update our membership list.



  • SLRI Advocacy Meeting: Did you know many districts are not moving to fill vacated librarian positions in schools? If this pandemic is being used to phase out library programs, we need to use our time and resources to change their minds. School librarians and library programs are NOT expendable! Please plan on sending a representative from your district, or if your school is experiencing unfilled school librarian positions, please do your best to attend. Please join us for our next advocacy meeting on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 4:30 PM on Zoom (meeting ID: 836 7264 8932).
  • "Share Your Favorites": Get ready for the Rhode Island Department of Education's social media campaign, "Share Your Favorites" from December 2-8, 2020. This initiative seeks posts from educators, students, families, and community members to promote literacy. Participants can post about favorite books from childhood and about different cultures, and are encouraged to post in different languages.
  • Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors: On December 3, 2020 at 1 PM, the yearlong celebration will feature a conversation with Gaia Cornwell, author of Jabari Jumps and the soon-to-be-released The Best Bed for Me. Click here for more information.
  • SLRI Board Meeting: Our next board meeting will be in January 2021, date TBA.