2022 Year in Review

At the close of 2021, OLIS staff identified the agency’s guiding words as connection, learning, listening, and exploration to carry us into 2022.

What followed was a year of intention that brought with it a combination of endings, new beginnings and exciting opportunities.


Over the course of the year, OLIS said goodbye to several staff members: Information Services Technician Jeremy Cutler (January) and Digital Resources Coordinator Jason Ackermann (July) both went on to other state agencies to share their talents, while Resource Sharing Coordinator and long-time OLIS staff member Chaichin Chen ended the year with retirement. In July, the OLIS team welcomed new staff member David Marrocco as Information Services Technician and looks forward to welcoming new colleagues to fill the Digital Resources Coordinator and Resource Sharing Coordinator positions in 2023. Throughout the year, all OLIS staff worked tirelessly to advance programs and services for the state’s libraries.

Strategic Plan

OLIS spent the first half of 2022 developing our new Strategic Plan for 2023-2027. The year started with external evaluation of the previous Five-Year Plan and the agency’s progress towards its goals, all of which were rated as completed. OLIS conducted a thorough community needs assessment and environmental scan, inviting stakeholders from different types of libraries across the state to provide feedback through surveys and focus groups. The three goal framework, Access, Learning, and Engagement, was retained for the new plan, while projects and activities under those goals were updated or completely revised for the years ahead. Over the next five years, the OLIS team will implement the new plan through annual workplans that include short-term, long-term, and ongoing projects established in the plan.

Data, Digitization and Dollars

At the beginning of 2022, OLIS published statistical reports from 2021 on various OLIS programs. Comparable statistics compiled from the Public Library Survey from the previous year assist libraries and the public in understanding the current landscape of libraries in Rhode Island. The LORI Data Executive Summary provided an overview of resource sharing and technology services at Library of Rhode Island member libraries to help identify innovation as well as service gaps throughout the state across all library types.

The year also saw OLIS resume work on the development of a Rhode Island hub of the Digital Public Library of America. The project kicked off with a statewide meeting on May 4, followed by a statewide survey of digital collections. The DPLA Survey Report was published in August and provided a comprehensive overview of digital collections at RI libraries and other cultural organizations. The report enabled the DPLA steering committee to identify collections for inclusion in the initial launch of the Digital Library of Rhode Island (D-LORI) in addition to providing a better understanding of the various institutions' workflows around digitization and metadata. D-LORI is scheduled to launch in June 2023.

In June, OLIS was pleased to report that the FY23 Grant-in-Aid enacted by the General Assembly was fully funded at 25% of funds appropriated and expended by municipalities per RIGL 29-6-2. In FY22, the total State Grant in Aid awarded to libraries was $8,715,158, while the appropriated 25% for FY23 increases that number to $9,827,339, an increase of $1,112,181. Funding for the Statewide Reference Resource Center (AskRI), was also increased, from $701,052 to $1,101,101, enabling OLIS to continue subscriptions to statewide databases and the development of other electronic resource funded in FY22 with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. In FY22, OLIS also distributed $2.1 million dollars as reimbursement to 12 libraries for construction projects. $5.3 million in new funding was also approved and awarded for reimbursement of library construction projects in Jamestown and Narragansett.

ARPA Grants

In September 2022, OLIS’ American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant program, supported with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, came to an end after a final round of technology grants that brought self-check machines and more technology to libraries. Since April 2021, OLIS has received and disbursed $2,230,333 in funds to RI libraries. Notably, these grants were managed through an entirely digital process built and maintained by OLIS staff.

Through the program, every public library in Rhode Island received funds for updated technology to support their work through public access computers, self-check machines, virtual and hybrid programming, digital literacy training, and workforce development. Further grant funds went towards updating existing and implementing new statewide resources such as the re-branded and expanded AskRI and, in partnership with Ocean State Libraries, a new eBook platform, Palace. OLIS also partnered with the Providence Public Library to provide digital literacy training at libraries statewide. Finally, OLIS was proud to support the development of new library professionals through scholarships for University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, as well as grants to libraries to support paid professional field experience internships in partnership with GSLIS.

Statewide Services

The statewide delivery service coordinated by OLIS allowed 150 participating libraries to share over 10 million items to provide patrons with materials not available at their local library. Network membership has rebounded to nearly 85% of pre-pandemic membership; 1.5 million items circulated among Rhode Island libraries over the year, approximately 75% of pre-pandemic volume. The Talking Books Library further provided 1300 state residents with home delivery of over 50,000 recorded materials physically circulated or downloaded through BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download).

OLIS continued its robust program of professional development for library staff working in libraries around the state. 872 attendees participated in 83 synchronous programs (virtual and in-person) coordinated by OLIS. An additional 309 attendees engaged with 1652 asynchronous sessions in the OLIS Online Learning Center provided through Niche Academy.

Youth Services & Reading Programs

OLIS supported many statewide programming efforts for children and young adults in 2022. With participation from library staff throughout the state, OLIS announced a robust selection of nominees and winners for the Mock Newbery Award, the RI Children’s Book Award, and Kids Reading Across Rhode Island. OLIS launched a wide variety of programming kits (developed with ARPA funding) for libraries to borrow and engage youth in their communities with STEM programming such as coding, printmaking, and construction/engineering. OLIS continued youth-focused Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work with funding to support inclusive collections through grants to libraries participating in the Project Ready Program.

OLIS’ Summer Reading Program thundered back, taking readers off the beaten path through a new partnership with the Illinois Library Association’s iRead program. OLIS also continued to offer subscriptions to Beanstack for all public libraries. Participation in summer reading returned to pre-pandemic levels, with over 14,000 children and teens taking part; program attendance soared to over 36,000 people attending in-person programs at libraries, more than double the number attending programs in 2019. Adults were also welcome to participate in the adult Summer Reading Program, with OLIS providing summer reading grants to support services for youth and adults. OLIS also continued its support for the RI Center for the Book’s Reading Across Rhode Island program.

As OLIS closes the chapter on 2022 with the conclusion of various projects, we look thoughtfully and excitedly at the opportunity to continue existing programs and engage with new projects, including those started or planned this past year, under the guidance of our newly refreshed strategic plan.


2022 Headlines on the OLIS Website

LORI Delivery Cancelled, January 7, 2022

LORI Delivery is cancelled on Friday, January 7, 2022 due to inclement weather.

January, 6, 2022

2021: Year in Review

Despite the continuing pandemic, 2021 was a year of opportunity for OLIS and Rhode Island's libraries.

January, 27, 2022

Proposed State Aid to Libraries FY2023

The Governor's proposed budget includes level funding of state aid to libraries in fiscal year 2023.

January, 27, 2022

2022 Rhode Island Mock Newbery Award Winner Announced

On January 13, 2022 children's librarians and school librarians met virtually to vote for the most distinguished children's book of 2021.

January, 28, 2022

OLIS Job Opportunity: Information Services Technician

OLIS is seeking a dedicated individual to join our team to perform technical work in support of OLIS operations.

February, 15, 2022

Announcing Kids Reading Across RI 2022

The Kids Reading Across RI Committee is proud to announce that How to Win a Slime War by Mae Respicio is this year's selection! School and public libraries can request book sets through April 1. Register now for the virtual kickoff on April 28.

March, 3, 2022

2021 Library of Rhode Island Data Executive Summary

This publication summarizes information gathered from the 2021 Library of Rhode Island Certification which includes interlibrary loan statistics and the LORI Technology Scan.

March, 15, 2022

FY2021 Public Library Staffing and Salaries Report Available

A report containing staffing and salary data from the FY2021 Public Library Annual Survey is now available.

March, 18, 2022

2022 Spring LORI Delivery Item Count

The LORI Delivery Item Count will take place from Sunday April 3 to Saturday April 9, 2022.

March, 21, 2022

ARPA Technology Grants, Round 2

OLIS is offering Technology Grants funded through the American Rescue Plan Act for the purchase of computers and other technology to expand digital access and services to the public. The application is open through April 22, 2022.

March, 21, 2022

Statewide Survey to Inform Strategic Plan

OLIS is gathering information from the RI library community to prepare its new strategic plan for statewide library services. Your answers will help OLIS assess what areas of library service we can provide that will be most impactful over the next five years.

March, 21, 2022

Focus Groups to Inform Strategic Plan

Library staff statewide are invited to participate in focus groups to inform OLIS' new strategic plan for statewide library services.

March, 22, 2022

ECF Third Application Filing Window

On March 23, 2022, the FCC announced a third 15-day Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Filing Window. The ECF application filing window will open on Thursday, April 28, 2022, and close on Friday, May 13, 2022. The Commission anticipates that a minimum of $1 billion will be available for commitment and disbursement.

March, 25, 2022

FY21 Comparable Statistics Reports Available

Comparable statistics reports for FY21 are now available on OLIS' website. Reports cover library services, collections, facilities, operations, and finances.

March, 30, 2022

RI Children's Book Award 2022 Winner and 2023 Nominees Announced

The 2022 Rhode Island Children's Book Award winner is The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora! This year 6,609 students from 85 schools and public libraries voted for their favorite 2022 nominee. Check out the Award Winners and Nominees page for more details, including the breakdown of votes and the list of 2023 nominees.

March, 31, 2022

Submit LORI Item Count Data

Submit the LORI delivery items count collected April 3 through April 9. Questions? Contact Kelley Lima at 574-9308 or Jason Ackermann at 574-9317. 

April, 11, 2022

OLIS Five-Year Plan Framework

Provide input on OLIS' framework for the Five-Year Plan for statewide library services.

May, 23, 2022

OLIS Five-Year Plan 2023-2027

OLIS has completed its new Five-Year State Plan for the expenditure of federal LSTA funds. Following approval by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the plan will go into effect on October 1, 2023.

July, 5, 2022

Enacted Grant-in-Aid FY23

State Aid to Libraries is fully funded at 25% of local expenditures in FY23. Funding has also been increased to the Statewide Reference Resource Center (AskRI), supporting databases added in FY22 with coronavirus stimulus funds.

July, 5, 2022

2022 Library of Rhode Island Certification

LORI membership renewal and new applications are open July 18 through September 16, 2022.

July, 19, 2022

Job Opening: Library Program Specialist

OLIS is seeking a Library Program Specialist to serve as Digital Resources Coordinator. Applications are due July 28.

July, 19, 2022

Mock Newbery 2023

It's time to start taking a closer look at the children's books of 2022! Each fall Rhode Island librarians gather to select the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in a "mock" version of the Newbery Medal award. Mark your calendar for the fall/winter discussion meetings and check out the first reading list.

July, 21, 2022

Mock Caldecott 2023

Mock Caldecott returns after a four year hiatus! It's time to start taking a closer look at 2022 picture books. Participating in the Mock Caldecott is an opportunity to sharpen selection skills and learn about the award process for the Caldecott Medal. Mark your calendar for the fall/winter discussion meetings and check out the first reading list.

July, 21, 2022

2022 RI DPLA Survey Report

Results from the 2022 RI DPLA Survey are now available for download.

August, 2, 2022

Job Opening: Library Program Specialist

OLIS is seeking a Library Program Specialist to serve as Digital Resources Coordinator. Applications are due September 23, 2022.

September, 14, 2022

2022 FallLORI Delivery Item Count

The LORI Delivery Item Count will take place from Sunday October 30 to Saturday November 5, 2022.

October, 17, 2022

Youth Services Programming Kits Now Available

OLIS is pleased to announce the development of Programming Kits and StoryWalk® Sets for Rhode Island public libraries to borrow and use with their communities. The purpose of the kits is to support library staff with programming for youth and families. The kits will facilitate learning activities and early literacy skills using a variety of materials libraries may not be able to purchase or store on their own. Kit materials will also offer youth and families access to new tools and activities they may not otherwise experience. A focus on the kits is to provide communities with enhanced STEAM opportunities, such as robotics, audio/video production, and maker tools. StoryWalk® sets will not only relieve library staff of the time and expense of creating their own StoryWalk® but streamlines resource sharing among libraries to produce an efficient and effective model of service. This project is proudly made possible with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

October, 26, 2022

Pilot Libraries Sought for Equity Initiative

The Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) is one of six state library agencies piloting the IMLS grant-funded initiative Building Equity Based Summers Through Libraries & Communities (BEBS). BEBS will build on the work of the California Library Association and the California State Library in developing a shared language of equity and a set of tools and resources for library staff to build community-centered, equitable summer programs and services. OLIS is seeking five public libraries to participate in the first year of this three-year initiative. Each participating library will be represented by one staff member or a team of of up to three people. Team members should have roles in summer services work and may be frontline staff, staff from other departments, supervisors, directors and community partners outside the library.

October, 28, 2022