Winter 2022

Message From The President

Dear Members,

Wishing you the best in 2022!. In the fall, the SLRI board set goals for the upcoming year and we are working diligently to attain and address those goals. During the past six months, SLRI and its members have faced a multitude of challenges but the organization also has many reasons to celebrate and be hopeful.

On the celebratory side, in an effort to increase membership, the board decided to waive SLRI membership fees for the coming year. We hope membership in our organization will be even more meaningful with added member-only benefits like the “Conversation” series, discussions held via Zoom every other month. Also, our advocacy committee's work was on display In December, when it presented the documentary Overdue: The Value of School Librarians to the Coventry School Committee. We also promote the work of colleagues like Vicki Blaser, school library media specialist at Tiverton High School. She is the Tiverton Lions Club Teacher of the Year. One of several nominees; she was chosen by her principal to receive the well deserved honor.

Now, for the challenges. SLRI and all librarians are under fire. Some of us, North Kingstown and Westerly High Schools, for example, have already faced book challenges. The novel All American Boys was challenged as part of the curriculum at Tiverton High School. As an organization, we must be vigilant against the tide of censorship and work together to ensure that all students are represented in our libraries. A strong and committed membership is needed more than ever, so thank you for being part of this organization.

We value your input or questions at all times. Please consider attending one of our board meetings, joining a committee, or just sending us an email to ask a question.


Joan Mouradjian

SLRI President

Join Our Next Conversation

SLRI recently launched a new members-only initiative, the Conversation Series. Genre-fying Your Collection (November) brought members together to discuss their experiences with this process. Censorship in the Library (January) featured Rhode Island ACLU Executive Director Steven Brown, who offered background information on challenges libraries have faced in the past, First Amendment rights and steps to take to prevent and fight book challenges.

Building a Diverse Collection: The First Step will be the featured topic of our next Conversation, to be held on March 15 at 4:30. Registration information to come.

SLRI Membership Free in 2022

This year, SLRI is waiving its annual membership fee! Membership will be free (with your RILA paid membership -- just be sure to check the box next to SLRI under "RILA Sections"). New members also join for FREE!

The benefits of SLRI membership include:

  • a community of fellow school librarians with whom you can discuss important issues
  • access to professional development events to help you broaden your professional knowledge
  • a voice in the leadership of your profession at the state level
  • the opportunity to engage with authors and presenters at conferences and
  • a role in an organization that continually advocates for school libraries and librarians.

Renew your membership here.

SLRI Members Offer "Joy" at MassCUE

SLRI members Melanie Roy (at right) and Steph Mills (at left, below) were presenters at the February Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE) Virtual Conference. Creating Joy in the Library Media Center, their session, grew from their discussions of ways the library could support students and staff and how they saw the state of education at this particular moment. Mills notes that although their respective schools are very different, they both saw that students "from different communities are operating the same -- they are desperate for relationships and feeling the toll of COVID. We took this from the standpoint of, 'How can you create a smile in your space?'"

Mills and Roy have collaborated on many projects in the past, so their collaboration came easily. "We researched, read about and tested passive ways to engage students and make them feel like part of something. We didn't include anything in our presentation that we haven't done ourselves in our library," Mills says, adding that they view it as "keeping it light, keeping it fun and keeping kids at the center of what [we] do on a day-to-day basis."

Film Screening Supports Advocacy Efforts

Overdue:The Value of School Librarians, the SLRI advocacy documentary, had another showing during the December Coventry School Committee meeting, where it was well-received by committee members. Former SLRI President Deanna Brooks introduced the film, and Coventry library media specialists and other SLRI members offered insight and answered questions from the committee. Sharing the film with school administrators and school committees can serve as a reminder of the significant role school librarians play in their school communities.

RILA Conference Slated for May

Restore, Reconnect, Reflect is the theme of this year's RILA Conference, to be held in person at Bryant University on Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26. The school library/youth services track, which will focus on Intellectual Freedom, Community, EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion), Access and Book Promotion themes, will be on May 26.

The conference will feature more than 25 educational sessions offered over the two days. ALA President Elect Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, will give Wednesday's keynote address in person, while Jarrett Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the Lunch Lady series and National Book Award Finalist for Hey, Kiddo, will present the keynote address in person on Thursday.

In addition, the conference will live-stream the Rhode Island Center for the Book event with Angeline Boulley, author of Firekeeper's Daughter, winner of the 2022 YALSA Morris Award, 2022 Walter Award, 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Award and the 2022 Printz Award. A facilitated discussion of the book will be offered after the author event. Other presenters include Martin Garner, editor of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual and trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Awards Nominations Now Being Accepted

Do you want to recognize a colleague for their accomplishments this year? Are you interested in applying for a grant for your own library? Know a deserving principal or superintendent? SLRI is accepting nominations for the Linda Aldrich Leadership Award, the SLRI Mini Grant and the Wilfred Berube Administrator Excellence Award. Nominations are due May 1. Find more information here.

Rhode Island Festival Features Author Visits

The Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors continues in the virtual format in the coming months. Its next author visit is with Kara LaReau, author of The Infamous Ratsos series, on March 8 at 1 PM. Future visits include authors Cynthia Leitich Smith, Calef Brown, Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade. More Information is available here.

Keep Us In the Loop

Do you have good news to share about your library or work with students and your community? Let SLRI help you spread the word! Please let us know about your great work by using this form.

Ask Us Anything

Did you know that one of the benefits of your SLRI membership is that you can consult with other members at any time? Whether it's a question about a particular book, a policy or just input from a colleague, you can use the the SLRI listserv to solicit advice from the membership. Just send an email with your question to

Where Are You?

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

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