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Construction Reimbursement

The State of Rhode Island, via the Office of Library & Information Services, provides grant-in-aid for the construction and capital improvement of any free public library in the state to provide better free library services to the public. Up to 50% of the eligible costs of public library construction and capital improvement projects may be reimbursed through this program.

The Regulations for Public Library Construction Reimbursement, approved by the Library Board of Rhode Island, define the eligibility criteria for construction projects and application for construction reimbursement and were updated in 2018. The application period is rolling; the program is not competitive.

Libraries must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the construction reimbursement program. See regulations for more details on individual criterion.

  • the library must be legally established as a free public library; 
  • the library and its municipality must be eligible for state aid to libraries;
  • the library must have a regular source of operating income, and provide proof that the library will continue to have operating income to operate the new or improved facility and meet the Minimum Standards and Regulations for Rhode Island Public Libraries;
  • the library must secure 100% of funding for the project before OLIS signs a reimbursement agreement; 
  • the library must clearly demonstrate the need for the project.

The Public Library Construction Reimbursement Program funds three categories of construction projects:

  • Construction of new buildings to be used specifically as public library facilities.
  • Expansion, remodeling, and alteration of existing buildings to be used for public library purposes.
    • This is distinct from maintenance and repair, which is defined in regulation as "maintenance and repair that must be undertaken periodically due to wear and tear of the facility and/or the fixed life of building features such as HVAC systems, roofs, carpets, wall coverings, and other fixed assets within the building."
  • Construction, expansion, remodeling and alteration of the portion of a multipurpose building in which a library is to be housed. 

Your library meets all eligibility criteria, and you are ready to get started on an eligible project. What's the next step? Visit Getting Started for further details.

Current year reimbursement payments.

View the funding history of public library construction projects reimbursed by the State of Rhode Island since the program's inception.

Learn more about the program by reviewing the FAQs. Contact OLIS if you have any other questions about the program.