Checkin' Out for a Cause

Check out your favorite Rhode Islanders while supporting literacy in Providence.

Usually when you check people out at the library, it’s a completely different monster than checking out books. But the folks at the Providence Community Libraries don’t seem to think so.

This Friday, local personalities will be offered up as living books at the Great Checkout, a gala to support the expansion of PCL’s educational and cultural programming for youths and adults at all nine community libraries.

The raffle at the Great Checkout will allow library supporters to “check out” real life experiences with well-known Rhode Islanders, including elected officials, historians, artists, farmers and others. Here are some of the living books you could check out at Friday’s gala:

Author: John O'Flaherty        

Title: Executive Director, Community Boating Center

Plot summary: Sail the bay and let your troubles slip away on an hour’s sail with John O’Flaherty, executive director of the Community Boating Center at India Point Park.


Author: Gina Raimondo        

Title: General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island

Plot summary: Sit down for a half-hour conversation with General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and learn first-hand what it took to bring the state back from the brink of bankruptcy.


Author: Richard Gutman        

Title: Director, Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts Museum

Plot summary: Immerse yourself in food, cooking and tales of diners galore on a private tour of the Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts Museum with its director, Richard Gutman, noted historian of the American diner.


Author: Diana Kushner

Title: Organic farmer, Arcadian Fields Farm   

Plot summary: Participate in a tomato harvest with organic farmer Diana Kushner. Eat as many heirloom tomatoes as you please and take some home to share. If the watermelons are ripe, you can eat them, too!


Author: Misha Djuric  

Title: Artistic Director, Festival Ballet Providence

Plot summary: Enjoy a rehearsal of Swan Lake performed by Festival Ballet at the studio on Hope Street.

Additional living books include: glass sculptor Toots Zynsky, Seven Stars baker Jim Williams, mindbender Rory Raven, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, planetary geologist Jim Head, city archivist Paul Campbell, origami artist Rod Nice, RISD Museum Director John W. Smith, Trinity Brewhouse brewer Sean Larkin, founder of Community MusicWorks/MacArthur Genius Sebastian Ruth, the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence’s Teny Gross, Tennis Hall of Fame guide Liz Morancy, Providence Police’s Mounted Command, Providence Police’s Harbor Patrol, famed drag queen Miss Kitty Litter, Ladd Observatory Director Dean David Targan, Swan Point Cemetery’s architectural historian Mack Woodward, piano teacher Bela Miller, and Governor Lincoln Chafee.

The gala, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at Rochambeau Library on Hope Street, will also include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Ticket prices are $75 for Readers and $125 for Patrons. Each ticket includes one entry into the living books raffle, however guests are encouraged to purchase as many $25 raffle tickets as they’d like.

For more information, contact Steve Kumins at 467-2700 or