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Foster Community Libraries Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / November 28, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

The buildings that house the two libraries in the Town of Foster, the Foster Public Library and the Tyler Free Library, both were once one-room schoolhouses. From the outside, they are quaint and historic. “But when you walk through the doors, you walk into the future,” exclaims Karen Mueller, president of the board of directors of the Libraries of Foster.

“We are a very progressive library for our work in digital technology,” Karen continues, noting that due to the rural nature of Foster not all residents have access to high speed Internet service at their homes, so rely on the libraries.

“The libraries also are major networking and community centers for the Town,” states Katherine Chansky, executive director, explaining that the libraries’ offerings include not only books, audio books, DVDs, and computers, but also a weekly teen night, programs for children from infants through elementary school, and a myriad of monthly programs and special events.

“People don’t always realize how relevant libraries are in day-to-day life. We touch people’s lives every single day,” Karen notes, sharing how a resident recently wanted to build a pole barn, but was unable to afford books that would provide needed instruction. “He contacted the library and was excited about what we could do for him. He’d last had a library card 20 years ago, when he was five years old.”

She continues, “Foster has a long history of providing library services to its citizens, opening the first public lending library in Rhode Island in 1806 with a gift from Theodore Foster himself.” 

The Tyler Free Library was organized later in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the libraries’ two boards were dissolved and one board was installed for the newly-formed corporation, the Libraries of Foster. The Libraries’ board now is looking to construct a new, 21st century facility.

“We really have to build a secure future for the libraries,” Katherine states, with Karen adding, “And we believe that partnering with the Foundation will help us do that. This endowment provides a new way to save for the libraries’ future.”

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