In 1948 the Book Committee, under the chairmanship of Louise Walcott, undertook the reorganization of the library's book collection, instituted, primarily by Esther P, Jones, who became a member of the committee in 1947. She was aided in this project by other members of the committee, but particularly by Everett H. Fernaldo a member of the committee since 1942.

Several factors entered into consideration for this project. Many of the shelves were filled with double rows of books, the back room held a heterogeneous collection of little used volumes, and specific titles could be located only through the use of handwritten book catalogs, as the books were shelved by accession number within each of the ten categories of the original state classification scheme. Books borrowed by, patrons were also recorded in a handwritten ledger and were cancelled by hand when the volumes were returned.

Mrs. Jones became chairman of the committee in August 1949. She consulted with other libraries in the area for ideas and also called upon Miss Grace Sherwood, Rhode Island State Librarian, who suggested that Mrs. Jones should confer with David A. Jonah, Librarian of Brown University, who could advise her about weeding the book collection. By November 1950, with the consent of the Board of Directors, under Mrs Jones' leadership there was a drastic reduction in the number of volumes by weeding approximately 4,OOO duplicates and obsolete titles. A number of volumes were transferred to the Rhode Island Medical Society Library, the Rhode Island State Library, Brown University Library, and "Our Lady of Refuge". the Cistercian monastery in Glocester, Rhode Island. In addition four tons of books were sold as waste paper at a net gain of $63.32.

Mr. Jonah also suggested that Mrs. Jones contact Kay K. Moore, Head Cataloger at the Brown University Library and a resident of Greenville, for suggestions and assistance in her project. He readily agreed and upon his advice the Dewey classification scheme for the collection was approved, a new accession book was initiated, a book-card record for circulation was established, and a card catalog was started. The Book Committee had already rearranged the fiction titles alphabetically by author.

During the years 1950-1956 the fiction and juvenile collections were completely cataloged, and the non-fiction was reclassified and shelved by the Dewey system. Before the library moved into the new building in 1956, every-title except those in the fields of history, travel and biography were cataloged. Mr. Moore was aided in this project by a number of volunteers, not only from the Book Committee but others as well, who met regularly to accession, to prepare the books with book cards, pockets and date-due slips, to attach labels on the book spines, and to rearrange the books on the shelves, while other volunteers assisted in typing the catalog cards.

In 1950 a number of innovations appeared. The railings in the center of the room were removed, and "to make the library more cheerful and attractive it was voted that all lights be kept on during library hours". Heating of the library was improved by the installation of an oil-burning furnace providing hot air through a central floor register. Counter shelving was built in the front comer of the room making an alcove for the special use of children, with a memorial table given by the Jones family. An extra wooden stack was installed to accommodate the growing collection of books. Shades were removed from windows on the porch to provide display space, and a bulletin board was installed for additional displays. By May 17, 1952, the new book card circulation system was put into effect. Beginning in 1951 the policy of closing the library, for the librarians two-week vacation was rescinded, since Mrs. Jones as assistant librarian was anxious to keep the library open.

The Greenville library played host to the spring meeting of the Rhode Island Library Association in May 1951, with Mrs. Jones as chairman of the arrangements. The meetings were held in the original parish house of St. Thomas Church, and a luncheon was held at the Rustic Inn, in Scituate, with bus transportation provided by the library.

After thirty-four years as librarian, preceded by twelve and a half years as assistant librarian, Cora L. Burlingame announced her retirement as of November 17, 1951. Esther Jones, as assistant librarian, carried the responsibility of keeping the library open through the end of January 1952, when Harriet Scott was named librarian, effective February 1, 1952. Mrs. Scott continued as librarian until September 30, 1957, when she resigned to work full-time in the Town Clerk's office.

During this period, 1948-1956, the library's annual income increased slightly. For 1949/50 there were 132 dues paying, members of the Association. The appropriations from the-Town of Smithfield were increased in 1950 from $200 to $300 annually, and in 1953/54 to $500. Also in 1950 the state-aid grant was raised from $200 to $232. Even so for the year ending May 16, 1956, the treasurer reported a balance of only $35.47.

A sampling of library statistics during 1948-1956 follows:

Volumes in library


Number of patrons






(not available)




(not available)



The Jenckes property and funds continued in the forefront of discussions at meetings of the Board of Directors. The sale of lots #l, 2, 3, and 5 in 1949 added a net sum of $5,568.40 to the building fund. In 1951 it was decided to withdraw $10,000.00 from the savings account

and invest it in stocks and mutual funds, obtaining, better returns, In 1954 an additional $8,000 were also invested. Since there were no interested parties willing to purchase the Jenckes house and move it to lot #4, the Board agreed to have the house moved, and in 1952 the house was then sold to George Parker for $7,500, the library assuming the mortgage.

Various proposals for a new building had been discussed from time to time, but it was not until 1954 that Miss Margaret B. Stillwell, librarian emerita of the Annmary Brown Memorial, Brown University and a newcomer to Greenville, made some practical suggestions to either move and remodel the present building on the Jenckes site or to erect a new building of similar size on this same site. In May 1955 Miss Stillwell was authorized to confer with Charles H. Lockwood, a local architect, regarding a new building based on her preliminary plans. By July of that year blueprints and specifications for a new building to be built of concrete were prepared and bids were received by late September. Fortunately the lowest bid was within the amount of money available from the Jenckes fund, and the contract was awarded to Arthur Newton, of Greenville. Ground was broken October 18 1955 for the new Henry F. Jenckes Memorial Building.

The plans for this new building provided for a large reading room on the main floor with office space at the eastern end. On the lower floor was a meeting room with a slightly raised stage, a kitchen two coatrooms two lavatories and a furnace room. A columned porch was the feature of the main front entrance, with two other entrances located on the parking lot side and on the driveway approach on the east. All of the miscellaneous structures on the lot were removed, except the well-house which was observed.

Miss Stillwell as chairman of the Building Committee was assisted

in the planning and purchasing of the furnishings of shelving furniture, and equipment for the new kitchen by both Mr. and Mrs. Kay K. Moore, Many details of the building plan made by Miss Stillwell were carried out by Mr. Lockwood. By October 1956 the building was completed sufficiently so that some of the books could be removed from the old building, in order to free the shelves there which were to be, rebuilt as shelving on the lower floor. The new building was officially opened for inspection November 17, 1956, with a preview for children on the previous day.

It should be noted that there were four items transferred from the old building to the new. In addition to the rebuilt shelving on the lower floor just mentioned, the original card catalog case, the Jones' memorial table from the former children's alcove, and the most recently built double-faced wooden stack were moved -- all of which are still in use in 1982. In addition mention should be made, that the curve on the lintel above the parking lot entrance porch is in keeping with-the curved framing on the well-house.

It should be recorded that the new library opened its doors with no indebtedness. The total cost of the building, essential furnishings, the parking lot and some landscaping amounted to approximately $40,000,

The Jenckes fund provided roughly $29,000, the Rhode Island Foundation provided a grant of $4,OOO for shelving and furniture, and the balance of $7,000 was raised by a financial appeal initiated by Miss Stillwell and the board, with 128 families, individuals and local organizations contributing this amount.

In addition the library had $4,500 in a contingency fund, realized from the sale of the old library property to St. Thomas Church. This sale had been authorized in November 1955, with the proviso that the library would keep the right of occupancy until the new building was completed. The deed was signed May 18, 1956. Eventually the church sold the building, which was then torn down, providing space for the expanded parking, lot in front of the parish house.

From 1948 through 1956 the following, persons were presidents

of the Board of Directors:

1948-l950 Mr. Charles A. Steere

1950-1951 Rev. Arthur B. Mercer

1951-1952 Mr. Earl R. Knight, Sr.

1952-1955 Dr. Dudley Tyng

1955-1956 Mr. Kay K. Moore

The chairmen of the Book Committee for this same span of years were:

1948-1950 Miss Louise Walcott

1950-1956 Mrs. Esther P. Jones

1956 - 1966