2018 LORI Data Executive Summary


The data used in this report was collected in the 2018 Library of Rhode Island (LORI) Certification, which includes the collection of ILL statistics and a Technology Scan.  The Technology Scan consists of 4 surveys. While the LORI Certification was held during fiscal year 2018, the ILL statistics collected were from fiscal year 2017.

The goal of this report is to provide the library community with an overview of the library services and cutting-edge initiatives happening statewide in academic, public, special, and school libraries.  The information and data can be used to identify, and learn from, trailblazing LORI libraries. It can also be used to identify gaps in services.

The section on Creative Spaces in LORI libraries, included in Emerging Technology, highlights the importance of libraries in equalizing learning opportunities for all.  It also underscores the school librarians’ critical role to students and teachers.

The data calls attention to gaps in library services, especially in services for the physically handicapped. Of the 180 LORI libraries, only 50 (28%) indicated that they offer some forms of assistive technology services and only 25 (14%) confirmed that their web sites are ADA compliant.

The Technology Scan is updated every 3-4 years and was completely re-designed in the summer of 2017 by an ad hoc committee of 8 librarians.  The committee met in July 2018 to review the data collected during the 2018 LORI Certification.  Using the 2018 Library of Rhode Island ILL Statistics and Technology Scan summary report for framework, the committee expanded the report with enhanced presentations and narratives.

We encourage you to explore additional data and to reach out to OLIS in discovering more ways to tell stories with LORI data.

Composition of LORI Libraries

Library of Rhode Island (LORI) libraries share a reciprocal lending and borrowing agreement that enables residents, students, and faculties access to the collective holdings of all members. LORI is a multi-type library network coordinated by OLIS and governed by resource sharing standards established by the Library Board of Rhode Island.

180 LORI Library Systems  209 LORI Library Facilities

LORI ILL Statistics

Every weekday, thousands of library books and materials (dvds, cds, audiobooks, musical scores, etc.) are delivered to LORI libraries (academic, hospital, public, school and special libraries) around the Ocean State. This sharing of resources enables Rhode Islanders to obtain resources from over 200 libraries across the state or from out of the state and pick them up at their local library. Among LORI libraries, the top libraries supplying the other libraries around the state using the LORI delivery system are:

  • Cranston Public Library
  • Lincoln Public Library
  • Warwick Public Library
  • Providence Public Library
  • Providence Community Library
  • Barrington Public Library
  • Newport Public Library
  • Cumberland Public Library
  • Coventry Public Library
  • Pawtucket Public Library
  • East Providence Public Library
  • North Providence Union Free Library

Top 12 supplying libraries

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Types of Computers Used in Libraries

Many LORI libraries are outfitted with some type of classroom space to accommodate workshops or other hands-on learning experiences and laptops meet this flexible need.  Other libraries are also using tablets or iPads in smaller workshops that may require internet access but not the computing power of a typical computer.

Public libraries within the LORI Network reported nearly a million uses of its public computers and nearly half a million wifi sessions (source: LORI Annual Public Library Usage Survey) in 2017. Approximately half of public computers available for use by patrons in libraries are desktop computers, with laptop use following closely behind at 39 percent.

Computers Used in Libraries

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Hardware/Technology Used in Libraries

The most-used piece of technology is the phone barcode scanner. Out of the 180 respondents, 63 (35%) libraries answered are equipped with the tool..

Providence Public Library, Langworthy, and LaSalle Academy reported using beacon technology. Libraries use beacons for in-library navigation, location-based recommendations, and virtual tours among other things. (Learn more at ACRL - “Keeping up with...Beacons.” )

Seven libraries have implemented RFID (radio frequency identification. See ALA’s “Implementing Library Technology: RFID” for more information). These are the libraries that currently use RFID:

  • Alan S. Feinstein Middle School Library (Coventry)
  • North Scituate Public Library
  • Warwick Public Library
  • Providence College
  • Exeter-West Greenwich Junior/Senior High School
  • Newport Public Library
  • Providence Public Library

Four libraries--Cumberland, Tiverton, Greenville, and the Providence Community Libraries--have dedicated gaming servers to play multiplayer games such as Minecraft.

Hardware/Technology Used by Libraries

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Emerging Technology

Of the 180 LORI library systems, 73 provide training or tools for digital creation. 31 libraries have a dedicated makerspace or innovation lab for equipment and activities.

During the Certification period, the 8 LORI libraries that provide VR headsets & software are:

  • Ponaganset Middle School
  • Moses Brown Library
  • Cranston Public Library
  • East Smithfield Public Library
  • Exeter West Greenwich High Library
  • Dunn's Corners School Library, Westerly
  • URI - University Libraries
  • Foster Public Library

Since March 2018, a number of libraries have acquired VR headsets and software.

View the map of Creative Spaces in LORI libraries.

Imerging Technology

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Assistive Technology

Different types of libraries reported diversed assistive technology (AT) landscapes. In addition to the survey listings, a handful of libraries of all types reported reliance on built-in hardware and software settings and browser extensions, such as text to speech and screen magnification.

Public and academic libraries offer the most AT services. Of the 48 public libraries reporting, 30 (63%) offer some form of AT in at least one or more survey categories, and of the 11 academic libraries reporting, seven (or 64%) offer some form of AT. Two academic libraries have Kurzweil technology suites, while one public library installed a hearing loop in its meeting room and another offers a Merlin Enhanced Vision machine. No public or academic library reported use of a Braille printer.

Of the 107 school libraries reporting, 11 (10%) offer AT in some form, though two libraries point out that students requiring AT as mandated in their IEP or 504 plans will have personal devices of their own or that are provided by the school district. One school library offers a Braille printer. Of the 14 special libraries reporting, three (21%) offer AT in some form. One reports use of a MagniSight Explorer Standalone Text Enlarger.

Assistive Technology Services

A significant area for training and growth is in website Section 508 compliance. Below is the breakdown of compliance as reported by each library type:

Library Type
(# reporting)
Website Is 508 Compliant Website Is Not 508 Compliant Unsure Question Left Blank
Academic (11) 4 (36%) 1 6 0
Public (48) 11 (22%) 4 28 5
School (107) 7 (7%) 5 87 8
Special (14) 3 (21%) 2 8


Website 508 Compliance

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Digital Content

Many types of libraries in Rhode Island curate and host digital collections. The content ranges widely in subject, date, and format.

Digital Content

These are some examples:

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Electronic Resources

Database Subscription

In addition to the state-wide or consortium-wide access, 85 libraries individually subscribe to databases on their own.  These resources are usually open to these individual library’s registered library users or walk-in patrons. Of these specialty databases, Tutor.com and Heritage Quest had been part of AskRI’s statewide database subscription until 2016.

Database Subscription

Of the 180 libraries, 58 reported they do not individually acquire items in electronic format.  1 library has 100% of its acquisition budget in electronic resources. A significant number of the libraries (42%) allocate 1%-25% of their acquisition budget to electronic resources.


Acquisition Budget in E-Resources

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Learning in Libraries

Libraryh3lp, Google hangouts, and Skype are among the most popular tools used by libraries that offer virtual reference, virtual training and meetings.  56% percent of LORI libraries hold training or instruction programs in their own electronic classrooms or computer laboratories. ScreenCastify is the most used free online tutorial tool and LibGuide and Camtasia the paid software used by 59 libraries that create online tutorials. Easy Bib, NoodleTools, Citation Machine and Bibme are among the most recommended citation tools by libraries.

Libraries reported providing the following technology training on a regular basis. Information and Digital Literacy training as well as eBook training are among the most popular classes.  eBook classes are offered by 35 (73%) public libraries and 60 (56%) school libraries, 5 academic and 5 special libraries.

It would be interesting to know whether the trainings involving using eBooks, Basic Computer Skills, Information Literacy and Online Privacy are now understood by more staff and therefore more are capable and comfortable teaching these skills.

Technology Training Provided by Libraries

For library staff, YouTube is the most used professional development tool. This is followed by Springshare, Lynda.com, Follett Community, and Khan Academy.  YouTube is about as ubiquitous and accessible as Google and is free to use. Lynda.com was offered to staff through OSL and AskRI. Though restricted by the usage licenses, it was offered at no cost to libraries and contains more vetted information.

Professional Development


LORI Technology Scan development committee members:

  • Kieran Ayton, Rhode Island College - Adams Library
  • Zach Berger, Cranston Public Library / RILINK
  • Chaichin Chen, Office of Library & Information Services
  • Julie Holden, Cranston Public Library
  • David Meincke, Johnson & Wales University Library
  • Lauren Plews, Office of Library & Information Services
  • Beatrice Pulliam, Providence Public Library
  • Lisa Sallee, Ocean State Libraries

In addition to the committee members, Karen Shore / RILINK participated in the data review effort in 2018.

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