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Adams Public Library Endowment Fund and Adams Public Library Flexible Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / October 26, 2016 /   Loading Disqus...
Supporters of the Adams Public Library in Central Falls include the rich and famous – Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep, and Viola Davis, among others – as well as hundreds of lesser-known individuals including Stephen L. Adams, Lysander Flagg, and Raymond M. Rivard.

The library gained national – and even international – attention when it was closed in 2011 after the City of Central Falls went into receivership. A September 30, 2011 New York Times article states, “The handsome building (a Greek Revival structure that has been the library’s home since 1910) went dark, its books unread, its videos unwatched, and its computers unavailable to those looking for jobs.”

But the closure also moved local residents to action. Jerauld Adams, then president of the library board of trustees, organized a group of volunteers to make repairs and do extensive painting. He and Gayle Corrigan, treasurer of the library board of trustees and chief of staff for the City of Central Falls, Office of the Receiver, worked to create a nonprofit entity with a solid business plan to operate the library.

“The library was a gathering place. People really rose up and said, ‘How can you take away our library?’ The library was the thing the citizens needed the most,” Jerauld says.

One month after it closed, the library re-opened. Jerauld recalls, “We had so many volunteers who helped staff the library. They were all die-hard library fans. And word got out (about the re-opening) through newspapers and television. People brought bags of books, and then donations came in from around the world.”

Today, the library is on solid financial footing and has a paid staff. Members of its board see this newly-established endowment – made possible with bequests from the library’s namesake, Stephen L. Adams, Civil War General Lysander Flagg, and Raymond M. Rivard – as supporting the library’s long-term stability.

“We consolidated the money of those generous people’s bequests into this one endowment,” explains Gayle, noting, “We want these bequests to be preserved in perpetuity, and we know the Foundation will always be here to do that.”
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