Introducing the Rumford Library Project

“We have to keep them all,” my 8-year-old self demanded.

My mother, slightly exasperated and attempting to get my bedroom packed up into boxes for moving day, sighed tiredly. “You have plenty of books. And you have already read these ones.” Adamant, I informed her: “When I grow up I am going to own a library with lots of books. So we have to keep them until then.”

My mother will tell anyone we know embarrassing stories of the youthful beginnings of my overconfident ambitions. We never could have guessed that I would get that particular proclamation right. (I can however concede that I am probably never going to be a Supreme Court Judge, a geneticist or an astronaut).

The Library plan was a long forgotten childhood memory until earlier this year. I was finally home after a particularly long day cooking dinner, and Shamila was interrupting my night with a crazy phone call about a vacant library in Rumford. “Trust me,” she said. “Just go drive by.”

I was tired, and at loss to connect why I should be concerned with a city library at that particular moment. We didn’t have a client looking for a library did we? No one came to mind. Shamila, however, is the most confident, intuitive and determined woman I have ever met. And she knows how to push my buttons. Five minutes after we hung up I was in the car taking the 20 minute drive over to Rumford.

I am delighted to announce the commencement of my Library Project; the restoration and conversion of the historic Rumford Library into my home. I am inviting all of you to share with me the disasters that are sure to ensue during the Project on my blog “”

My mom will be thrilled when I finally pick up all the dusty boxes of books from her attic.

31 thoughts on “Introducing the Rumford Library Project”

  1. Rita,
    Just Read The Article In The Projo, And I Thought , “How Wonderful! ” I Love Libraries, Love Reusing. Looking Forward To Seeing How You Make This Your Own.

  2. I’m so glad that you are sharing this adventure us I just LOVE old buildings, even more when they are restored. Good luck Carol Gilmore

  3. Rita,
    I enjoyed reading the article in The Prov Journal. I wish you , your family & Cookie the best with the project and I look forward to seeing this former library transform into your home!

  4. Old buildings have a charm and character that can’t be matched elsewhere. Credit to you and the team for pursuing this. There will likely be days when you’ll 2nd guess your decision but in the end you’ll know it was the right move. Congrats and enjoy!
    Paul Murgo

  5. Rita,
    I enjoyed reading the article in The Journal. I wish you , your family the best with the project and I look forward to seeing this former library transform into your House. Also if you need any hardwood floor restoration let us know we would be glad to help you, and we are the only ones in the state to be dust free and environmental friendly.

  6. I grew up in Rumford, and the Rumford Library was one of my favorite haunts. would ride there on my bike to het a new book as soon as I finished the one I had. I am thrilled to here that you are lovingly restoring that magical place. Will follow your progress with great interest.

  7. The staff of the East Providence Public Library are super excited to follow this transformation! Thanks for doing a public blog.

    1. Thank you Meredith! As a side note, I will be in touch soon regarding some arts and crafts materials that were in the property that I boxed up for the other libraries should there be a need for them.

  8. Used to drive to Rumford from Cumberland to go antiquing and always admired the Rumford Library building. Sad that it was closed and neglected but happy that you appreciate its beauty. Good luck.

  9. As a former East Providence libraries trustee, I am very glad to see such remarkable respect shown for this building’s heritage as it converts to private use. All the best in your new home.

  10. I was so happy to hear that you are making the library your home. I always liked the inside especially the fireplaces. They had a wing chair beside one fireplace and it looked so cozy. Every time I drove by and noticed the for sale sign, I hoped someone would buy the library for their home. I will be following your progress.

  11. So exciting – I am a resident of EP and a lifelong (don’t ask how long) user of the library. I fondly remember spending time there as a child, and as an adult. I am so glad you will be re-purposing and enjoying that lovely, lovely space – best wishes, I will be following your blog. BTW, I would gladly bribe you with some original artwork or arrange some performance art (theater) for an invite if you ever plan on hosting a function there… I am but a message away 🙂

  12. Like Donna, I grew up in this library. We could walk. There was always a special smell that said, “We have arrived”. Little did I rwalize that my daughter stowed away that special smell in her memory. Her two loittle girls loved walking to get new books from the Library when they visited. Now I drive by almost daily and am restarining myslef from dropping by to see the progress. So glad someone will love this special pllace.

  13. Hi Rita,
    Congratulations on your amazing purchase!! I read the article on you in The Providence Journal yesterday and I think it is so awesome what you are doing. I own the limousine company in Rumford, and I drive by your new house everyday. I always glare at it with an architectural eye, and it seems like its found the perfect owner. I too have so many books that I will never get rid of, to the point where I have designed and built bookshelves in my studio at my house to perfectly fit inbetween windows, thus maximizing the space, so I can relate. I also read Articture Digest every month to get ideas for my “someday” house. It’s super cool you’ve found yours. I admire you purchase and I’ll think about you fixing up the old Rumford Library as I drive by everyday. Good luck with it!!


  14. Welcome to the neighborhood! Like so many others have already said, it was very sad to see the library close but wonderful to see it brought back to use so quickly and by a bibliophile at that. I hope you enjoy your new old space and I look forward to following your experience with the project. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I grew up in Rumford and spent many hours in the building you will now call home.If those walls could talk or whisper what wonderful stories they could tell. Best of luck it will be a labor of love. Looking forward to updates.

  16. Welcome to Rumford! And thanks so much for sharing your experience as you restore. We loved the Rumford Library for years and were sad to see it close. We miss it terribly. But it is so exciting to find out the someone with such a love of books and libraries has purchased it to make it her home. Perfection! Can’t wait to see more!

  17. I live in the neighborhood and was concerned and sad to see the library close. Concerned because I didn’t want to see the bldg vacant and what that could mean, and sad because of the memories of my son going to the library. I am thankful you were able to do such a beautiful job. I hope I have an opportunity to see the transformation one day!

  18. Long time visitor of this library. Noted that a date is set in April to allow viewing of your lovely home. Could you please state the date/time? Thanks you. This building was always a special place.

    1. Monday, April 27 @6-7, Rumford Library, also tour First Baptist Church and 6:30-7 Church of the Epiphany. Info on Rumford Library to be discussed.

  19. Thanks, Rita, for sharing the wonderful renovation project with us, both on your website and, best of all, allowing the public to view the results. Your home is unique, personal and the culmination of a child’s “dream come true”. Beautiful. Loved it! Wish you much happiness in your historic Rumford Library home.

  20. Wow. What a gorgeous transformation. I grew up in Rumford right down the road (on Hood Ave) from the library in the 70-80s. My sister and I would cut through the First Baptist Church parking lot and up the front hill – rolling down it on our way home 🙂
    So many hours spent there.


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Books + Historic Restoration = My Happy Place

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