Official State of Rhode Island website
RIGL 29-6-2: Public Library Services provides for the allocation of state funds to support local public library services in the amount of 25% of funds expended from local tax revenues and the library's private endowment. The statute establishes two types of state aid to public libraries: tax-based and endowment-based.
Tax-based and endowment-based GIA are distributed directly to the 39 Rhode Island municipalities to support public library services. It is important to note that the tax-based funds support library services and not specific libraries; the municipality has the discretion to distribute these funds to the library or libraries it designates as the provider of library services in that community in accordance with the municipality’s application for GIA. In some communities with multiple libraries (e.g., Providence, Warwick), the municipality awards all tax-based GIA to a single system.
Conversely, endowment-based GIA, while awarded to the municipality, must be paid to the library system that has the endowment. In municipalities with multiple libraries with endowments, the endowment-based GIA is awarded to each library based on the expenditure from each library’s endowment.
View current year GIA payments
Tax-based aid is based on a percentage of the total amount of funds appropriated and expended by each municipality to support the operating expenses of its library or libraries during the second preceding fiscal year to the current state fiscal year (e.g., FY22 is the basis for FY24). Funds are then allocated to each municipality at an equal percentage of the amount appropriated and expended by that municipality. When GIA is fully funded by the state, as it was in FY23 and FY24, the amount of the allocation should be equal to “at least 25%” of the municipal funding.
The second type of funding is based on the amount of funds expended from a local public library's private endowment on operating expenses during the second preceding fiscal year to the current state fiscal year (e.g., FY22 is the basis for FY24). Once again, the statute sets that percentage as “at least 25%.”
In April 2016, the Library Board of Rhode Island formed the State Aid Funding Formula Review Committee to review the current Grant-in-Aid funding formula defined in RIGL 29-6-2. To learn about the process and read the committee's recommendations, visit State Aid Funding Formula Study.
The Minimum Standards and Regulations for RI Public Libraries stipulate that each library must complete the Public Library Annual Survey in order to be eligible for state grant-in-aid (GIA). Other eligibility requirements, per RIGL 29-6-3, include:
At a minimum, municipalities must 'level fund' their library at an amount equal to or greater than the preceding year. This requirement is known as 'maintenance of effort.' If a municipality is unable to meet maintenance of effort, they may request from that requirement to the Chief of Library Services. Requests for Waiver of Maintenance of Effort must be completed by the municipality and submitted no later than October 31 of the current fiscal year for which the waiver is sought.
Maintenance of Effort Waiver Procedure
Requirements to meet the Minimum Standards and Regulations for Rhode Island Public Libraries and Maintenance of Effort include a process where the non-compliant community can request a waiver of the requirement from OLIS. Requests for a waiver must be completed by the library and should be submitted to OLIS at the start of the current fiscal year or no later than the submission of the Public Library Annual Survey (September 15).
Request for Waiver of Minimum Standards: Libraries use this online form to submit requests.
Certification of and application for state GIA is completed annually through the Public Library Annual Survey. All funds must be expended in the grant year in accordance with the allocation listed on the GIA application. If libraries need to expend GIA differently than allocated on their application, a Request to Reallocate Grant-in-Aid must be completed and submitted to OLIS for approval prior to the expenditure of funds.
Two certification forms, one for each type of aid.
Two application forms, one for each type of aid.
GIA must first be allocated to Ocean State Libraries (OSL) Membership Fee, then the balance may be allocated to other categories as appropriate to the library. Categories for allocating GIA include: salaries, physical materials, electronic materials, programming, and other.
In municipalities with more than one independent library, only one application is submitted for the municipality.
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