You'll have to bring your lawn chairs if you want to sit down and watch the show.
Apparently, Providence Public Library wants its community meetings to have the ambiance of 1950s cocktail parties. They have four representatives standing next to easels explaining the four options for continuing branch services. Dale Thompson invites "the people" to come up and ask questions. There aren't any chairs set up, so everyone has to sort of mingle. I guess it's easier to deal with people one-on-one than in an angry rabble.
In other words, these aren't meetings. They're poster sessions. With cookies, flowers, and coffee. Decaf, of course.
I went to the first poster session on Monday at Mount Pleasant Public and people were pretty frustruated because the easels, handouts, and socratic convos with PPL reps didn't actually make the situation any easier to understand. People want to know who's responsible for keeping the branches open. PPL says its the city; the city says it's PPL.
Michael Solomon and Joseph DeLuca, the city councilmen for the neighborhood, were in attendance, but there was no chit-chat between Thompson and the gentlemen. The standoff continues. I'm going to Olneyville's meeting tonight. And I'm really looking forward to Monday's meeting at Knight Memorial, because I have high hopes that South Providence will represent itself well.
And if you're wondering about that angry rabble, check out http://libraryreformgroup.org/.