OLIS Bids Fond Farewell to Technology Innovator

Chaichin Chen
Chaichin Chen has retired after 26 years at the Office of Library and Information Services

Long-time staff member Chaichin Chen retired from the Office of Library and Information Services on December 31, 2022. Chaichin served as Resource Sharing and Network Services Coordinator for many years, overseeing delivery, Interlibrary Loan, Library of Rhode Island (LORI) Certification and functions, and the ever-evolving OLIS website.  She also served as eRate Coordinator, navigating the complex world of federal reimbursement for internet, and previously telephone, services for RI public libraries.

Chaichin joined the newly formed OLIS in 1997, which had been created when the Department of State Library Services was dissolved and moved into the Department of Administration. She witnessed the creation of the Library of Rhode Island (formerly RHILINET) and for many years served as the coordinator of the advisory group for LORI, the Resource Sharing Working Group.  Her career at OLIS saw many firsts: OLIS’ first website, the first email service for libraries, the first discussion boards, the first Jobline, the first online CE registration, the first online LORI Certification – and Chaichin played a significant role first in the development of those services then leading the development of new iterations with others.  In addition to her technical work, Chaichin’s long commitment to resource sharing culminated in the development of the regional Sharing Visions summits that began in 2020 and brought together state library agency staff and librarians from across New England to discuss developments and innovation in resource-sharinng, a project that drew the interest of librarians from around the country.

Prior to working at OLIS, Chaichin worked at the RI State Library, where she developed the first online catalog for the library.  The catalog remained in place until 2017.  Before joining the State Library, she worked as a librarian for Plan International, after earning her library degree at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

Chaichin’s unfailingly pleasant demeanor and extensive knowledge made technical innovations that much easier for library staff to navigate and adopt, from getting their first email account in the late 1990s (when OLIS provided all libraries and their staff with LORI email accounts) to applying for American Rescue Plan Act technology grants this past year. Chaichin leaves big shoes to fill at OLIS and will be much missed here and in the library community.  We wish her the very best in her retirement!