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Community Volunteer Leadership at the Library

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

BY CHUCK VAN SLUYTER, RESIDENT, INTERIM PRESIDENT




Barrington is one of the most coveted places to live in Rhode Island but not only because of its bucolic setting along Narragansett Bay. Barrington, at its core, is top rated because of the volunteerism among community members who commit to doing the good work of the myriad of boards and committees.


STEM Awe Station for kids Barrington Public Library (BPL) is fortunate to have two groups of dedicated volunteers who support the library’s mission and facilitate its growth. While your tax generously funds salaries for our professional staff as well as our books and materials, it is the work of the Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Barrington Public Library that make BPL one of the top-five public libraries in the state.


While both groups support the library, they do so in different ways. The Town Council appoints community members to the Board of Trustees to oversee the library’s operation, care, maintenance and expenses. Their responsibilities include strategic planning, selection of the director and policy development.


The trustees also oversee the Barrington Public Library Corporation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that has established and maintains an endowment. This endowment serves as the fiscal agent for grants and donations used to fund the library’s strategic initiatives and capital projects.


Recent examples of the corporation’s financial support include:

  • The strategic planning process

  • The second-floor and ground-floor renovation projects

  • A 3-D printer for Makerspace

  • Computers and ongoing technical upgrades

  • Professional staff development

The second and perhaps more visible organization is The Friends of the Barrington Public Library, which was formed over 40 years ago as a 501(c)(3) not- for-profit organization. The Friends currently have a membership of over 160 families and individuals.


Annually, The Friends’ members select a volunteer board whose mission is to raise funds for and increase awareness of the library’s programs and services. Funds are raised primarily through the sale of donated books, memberships and financial donations.

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