1956 -1966

If ever there had been a question of Justification for expanded library facilities in Greenville, the answer was soon forthcoming. In the year ending May 31, 1957, the total circulation was 8,333 volumes, an increase of 1,403 over the previous year, despite the fact that the library had been closed four weeks preparatory, for the move. The number, of card holders had increased by 125, to a total of 823, including 530 children.

The library's hours of opening at first continued as before --3-8 on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but in September 1959 the hours were expanded to 2-6, 7-9 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Then again in September 1962 the hours were further expanded to a total of 24 hours a week, being, 2-6, 7-9 Mondays and Wednesdays, 7-9 Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10-6 on Saturdays,

Improvements were made in the financial picture of the library. The town appropriation for 1956/57 was still $500. With the increased costs of maintaining the new building, it was voted to request larger sums from the town, In 1957/58 the appropriation was increased to $700, and with the expanded hours of opening in 1959 and the need for more part-time staff, further increases were made annually, By 1964/65 the town's appropriation toward operating costs was $8,327.

Funds from the state also increased in this period. The state-aid grant administered by the Rhode Island State Librarian continued at $232 annually through 1963/64. In 1958/1959 the new agency, Public Library Services in Rural Areas, began a series of additional grants, ranging from $500 to $2,000 annually. Then in 1964/65 the new Department of State Library Services authorized $2,300 to the Town of Smithfield, based upon the town's population. This amount was distributed among the three libraries in the town: Beron Public Library in Georgiaville, the Esmond Public Library in Esmond, and the Greenville Public Library, by agreement among them, as formulated by the Smithfield Library Council, which was composed of the librarians and at least one. trustee from each library. This organization recommended that by virtue of the population on each side of Wionkhiege Hill that the Greenville Public Library would be allotted 50% of this sum, and Bernon and Esmond libraries would share equally in the other 50%. This recommendation was approved by the Department of State Library Services, with Greenville receiving $1,150 annually through 1966.

As a result of these funds, which were allocated almost entirely for book purchasing, there was a need for expansion of shelf space. The reference collection was moved into the former workroom in the northeast corner of the building, shelving was installed in the upper east hallway, which became known as "Mystery Hall", and shelving was also installed in the lower hallway and in the coatroom on the lower floor.

As reported earlier, Harriet Scott resigned as librarian effective September 30, 1957, to take a full-time position in the Town Clerk's office. Doris Dexter became the next librarian on October 30, 1957. During the month of October the library was kept open by volunteers, Edith Calderara and Florence Hall, under the supervision of Miss Stillwell. The Board of Directors authorized tuition costs for Mrs. Dexter who completed a college degree and eventually the library masters degree at the University of Rhode Island. In 1960 her salary was increased from .75 cents to $1.00 per hour, plus social security. With the increased use of the library, by 1959 it became necessary to add volunteer part-time staff to assist Mrs. Dexter, and in 1961 a part-time assistant librarian Elinore Wright was hired as well.

During Mrs. Dexter's regime a separate collection was initiated for young adults, including not only required reading but also recreational material for high school students.

In carrying out the provision of the original act of incorporation of "promoting literary - and social intercourse among its members", the, library began a series of travel talks, art shows, concerts and lectures in the new building. Between February 1957 and September 1965 the library sponsored 38 events.


This year being the 75th anniversary of the founding of the library, there were many interesting activities beginning in February 7 with an illustrated travel talk on "England by Everett H. Fernald. In March and April a one-man art show by a local artist and teacher, John F. Gallagher, was held. May, known as Rhode Island Heritage, featured Clifford P. Monahon, Director of the Rhode. Island Historical Society, who gave a lecture entitled "Rhode Island Heritage with appropriate piano music given by Louise W, Moore. During the summer Elmer Tolsted, a former professor at Brown University, gave a cello recital accompanied by Mrs. Moore. The fall season opened with an art show of paintings and lithographs by Stowell Sherman, member of the Providence Art Club. On November 24 Prof. Charles H. Smiley, chairman of the Astronomy Department, Brown University, spoke on "Sputnik", while Russia's first satellite was still whirling in outer space. The first of several Christmas programs, "Candlelight and Carols', was held in December, presenting flute solos by Gregory Zeitlin of Chepachet, accompanied by Mrs. Moore. This was followed by carol singing by the audience.


National Library Week in April was celebrated by an amusing talk, 'The Seamy Side of Writing, given by Scott Corbett, author and teacher at Moses Brown School, Providence. Climaxing this 75th anniversary year an art show featuring "New England Iandscapes and Portraits" was given in May by Miss Isabelle R. Reynolds, of the Providence Art Club and Rockport Art Association. A Festival of Arts and Crafts in September was given by artist pupils of, John F. Gallagher and by craftsmen of Greenville and other nearby communities, featuring paintings, ceramics, wood carving, leather work, train models, furniture decoration, sculpture, hooked rugs and other crafts. Celebrating Children's Book Week in November, a lecture on Louisa May Alcott was given by Mrs. Marjorie Gifford, of Duxbury, Massachusetts. Music at the annual program, Candlelight and Carols, was provided by Gregory Zeitlin, flutes and Mary, Aber, of Scituate, harp. Dorothy C. Allan, a Greenville resident, author and playwright, gave poetry readings and also read her Christmas play, "The Midnight Clear."


Many new and varied programs were introduced this year, such as the regional meeting of the Children's Concert Committee of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in February, The subject was the relationship of music and art, with Mrs. Elizabeth Woodhouse from the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, as guest speaker. During National Library Week in April, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Wells gave a talk with pictures on Russia. An exhibition of painters featuring works by six noted artists in the surrounding area was held in May. Entries were submitted by Wilfred I. Daphiney, Johnston; John F. Gallagher, Greenville; C. Gordon Harris, Lincoln; James A. King, Scituate; and Margaret B. Stillwell, Greenville --all members of many art clubs in New England. In November a two-day Junior Arts and Crafts Festival took place. The show consisted of articles made during the Smithfield Recreation Program, representing such crafts as photography jewelry, handweaving and painting by junior artists. The annual December Candlelight and Carols program featured poetry readings by Prof. Sharon Brown of Brown University and seasonal music by the "P.D.Q's" of Pembroke College. This was followed by carols by the audience led by Mr. Joseph Lopez.

1960 Activities

In honor of the addition of Alaska as the 49th state, an illustrated talk was given in March by Miss Alice M. Comstock and Miss Helen E. True. An all-day conference of extension librarians from New England, New York, and Washington, D.C, was held in April. The day's activities included group discussions, and a catered lunch was served. For the second time the Greenville Library was host for the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Library Association in May, with meetings held at the Greenville Baptist Church, followed by lunch served by the ladies of St. Thomas Church. At the end of the day tea was served at the library, giving Rhode Island librarians the opportunity to visit the new building. Twenty-four industries in Smithfield participated in a two-day show called "Industrial Smithfield on Exhibition" on October 22-23. This was made possible through the cooperation of the Smithfield Industrial Development Commission, the Smithfield Planning Board and the Rhode Island Development Council. The annual Candlelight and Carols program featured the Grace Church Bell Choir consisting of thirty-two English handbells, under the leadership of Mr. Fred Cronhimer. As was the custom, carol singing by the audience was led by Mr. Joseph Lopez.

1961 Activities

In the spring a musical program was presented by Thomas Casey Greene, Jr, piano, Janice Nairn, lyric soprano, and Louise W. Moore, accompanist. There was not even standing room for the special event for children, featuring "Miss Bonnie of WRPO-TV as speaker in April. In the fall of that year the main activity was "Fire Apparatus and Survival Equipment" as a special tribute to the local volunteer fire companies. Greenville, Georgiaville and Wionkhiege companies displayed their apparatus in the library's parking lot, together with the rescue boat, rescue truck and the new ambulance. Inside the library there were exhibits showing photographs of local fires, fire companies of the past, and old prints of fire apparatus in Providence were also on view. Equipment and supplies, loaned by local merchants, were shown to demonstrate safety in driving, fire prevention, use of oxygen apparatus and the equipping of fall-out shelters. The year closed with the annual Candlelight and Carols program, again featuring the Grace Church Bell Choir, with Prof. Neil Schroeder of Clark University, who read "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas.


In March Prof. Marion Wright of Rhode Island College gave an illustrated talk on Africa. Also this same month as preliminary to a state-wide meeting of the Rhode Island library trustees to be held in Providence, the library invited the trustees of the libraries of northwestern Rhode Island to an evening meeting and showing of a film on the activities of New England libraries, in which the Greenville library was well represented. As a special feature of the library's 80th anniversary year a spring art show was given by Miss Hope Smith of the Providence Art Club. The oil paintings consisted mainly of familiar Providence scenes. In celebration of Children's Book Week in November it was deemed appropriate to call together the school principals and teachers to study ways in which the library could work more closely with the schools in Smithfield. F. William Summers associate librarian of the Providence Public Library, served as panel moderator, with a large delegation from the town's schools and libraries. The year ended with the traditional Candlelight and Carols program, with singing provided by the "Lambrequins" of Lincoln School, Providence, T. James Hallan, conductor, who also led the community singing. Seasonal readings were given by Prof. James 0. Barnhill, of Brown University.


In recognition of National Library Week in April, Mrs. Herbert N. Couch of Providence showed pictures and gave an account of her trip to the South Sea islands, New Zealand and Australia. "Health Services on Display" was opened in September. This was an exhibit showing services performed by the Smithfield Public Health League, founded 50 years before by civic-minded men and women. The show not only traced the history of the League's service to the town but also showed the kind of service presently available to the community. Candlelight and Carols this year was subtitled "Christmas Around the World". Appearing on this program were Julie Searing, soprano, and Joyce Carlson, harpist, with Louise Moore as narrator.


A regional meeting of public library trustees, one of eight rallies in the state, was held at the library in March, with Dean Charles B. Willard, Rhode Island College, as chairman. This event was to stimulate support of the forthcoming legislation for the improvement of statewide library service. "Art in Leisure Moments" was the title of the spring art show by John J. McLaughry, football coach at Brown University. "Candle Days in Smithfield" was the subject of an exhibition held in the fall. Photographs of 35 houses built before 1800 were on display, and also early household appliances were exhibited. The Year ended with "Christmas in Story, and Art", an exhibit of paintings loaned by the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and also featured art books for children and adults.

At these events Sponsored by the library there was always an opening tea, or refreshments were served following a special program. The trustees and their friends, as well as the library's staff, generously gave time and effort to make each occasion a rewarding celebration. Silver tea service was readily loaned by friends, and the well-equipped kitchen provided the necessary service for such occasions.

A number of varied exhibits were set up in the north hallway leading to the parking lot, and these attracted a great deal of attention. Exhibits were also provided for stores and banks in the area during National Library Week each April. Additional exhibits were also arranged from time to time in nearby schools. Classes from William Winsor school across the street were regularly scheduled for library orientation and story hours. Local organizations, such as the Cranford Club, the Apple Blossom Garden Club, and 4-H groups took advantage of the meeting room on the lower floor. Local piano teachers also scheduled piano recitals on many Sunday afternoons. One year Dr Dudley was the leader of a group discussion on "Great Books".

In 1965/66 there were 115 dues paying members of the Association. In November l960 the 10,000th book had been accessioned since the revised accession record was started in 1950.

A sampling of library statistics for this period are given



Number of patrons
















It soon became evident that the library needed an addition. There were many occasions when school students working on science projects were forced to sit on the floor, even though extra card tables had been brought in, and the shelves were so full that little used material was relegated to storage areas. In December 1062 Miss Stillwell as chairman of the Building Committee, was authorized to prepare preliminary Plans for a new wing, and Mr. Richard Illingworth was appointed chairman of a fund raising committee.

When the Jenckes building was erected in 1956, its size was governed by the amount of money that was available for its construction. However since Miss Stillwell foresaw that eventually an addition would be necessary, a steel beam had been inserted in the north wall of the reading room, so that a wide archway could be opened into a new wing at some future time,

In October 1963 the firm of Johnson and Haynes, of Pawtucket, was authorized to draw up plans and specifications for the "Young People's Wing". By October 1964 the Rhode Island Department of State Library Services indicated that it might grant $44,300, or 50% of the proposed cost. At this same time a drive was initiated under Mr. Iningworth's direction to raise the remaining $44,300 from local organizations, commercial establishments, citizens, foundations, and the town. The Town of Smithfield promised $20,OOO to be spread over four fiscal years, and arrangements were made with the Greenville office of the Citizens Savings Bank to borrow money in advance of payment of pledges.

By May 1965 the approval of the plans was forthcoming from the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare, as well as from the Rhode Island Department of State Library Services. The Rhode Island Foundation pledged a grant of $5,000. As a result, a contract was awarded to the H. M. Soule Company, of Pawtucket, July 23, 1965, and excavation was started on August 9, 1965.


"Creativity and Techniques of Modern Art" was the theme of an art show by John E. DeMelim, Jr, Assistant Professor, at Rhode Island College, in May. The only fall activity was an all day meeting of librarians and trustees of the Northern Region, who met at the library with Miss Elizabeth G. Myer, Director of the Department of State Library Services, presiding. The rapidly growing addition to the library was of much interest, as those present examined the model and plans of the addition.

The new young people's wing provided a large children's room, a story hour alcove, a workroom, an exhibit storage room and an expanded lobby on the main floor. On the lower floor a reading and reference room, an expanded stairway lobby, an additional furnace room, and several storage areas were provided. During June 1966 the library began to move into the new space, but the official opening was deferred until the fall, with a children's preview on October 15 and an informal open house and tea for the general public the next day. The total cost of approximately $100,000 was met by the state and town grants, the Rhode Island Foundation grant, and contributions by 205 individuals and local organizations.

In this period 1956-1966 the Book Committee continued to be responsible for the selection of books to be purchased. In 1956/57 the librarian was named a member of this committee, and in 1958/59 Mrs. Dexter was named chairman of the committee and assumed the responsibility of book selection through the balance of this period.

From May 1956 through May 1966, Kay K. Moore was President, of the Board.