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LSTA Funding and RI Libraries

The President's 2018 Budget Blueprint to Congress proposed eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is the federal agency that administers the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which provides critical funding to the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services. Since the release of the federal budget proposal, the Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) has received a number of questions regarding how the elimination of LSTA funding would impact Rhode Island libraries.

LSTA funding administered by the IMLS has a substantial role in enabling OLIS to provide services and support to Rhode Island's libraries; elimination of this funding would thus substantially impact Rhode Island libraries. OLIS is funded by the State of Rhode Island and LSTA funds. In federal fiscal year 2016 (Oct. 1, 2015- Sept. 30, 2016), the last year for which full data is available, the State provided 52.52% ($1,184,669) of OLIS' operating budget while the IMLS provided 47.48% ($1,070,842). In addition, the State of Rhode Island provided $11.4 million in direct aid to Rhode Island cities and towns for library services, which are administered by OLIS.

Office of Library & Information Services Budget 2016
State Funds $1,184,669
Federal LSTA Funds (through IMLS) $1,070,842
OLIS Total Operating Budget 2016 (federal fiscal year) $2,255,511
State Aid to Libraries 2016
Grant-in-aid to Cities and Towns, Public Library Services $7,698,411
Grant-in-aid to Institutional Libraries $62,609
Statewide Reference Resource Center (AskRI)* $1,012,378
Public Library Construction Reimbursement $2,663,600
Total State Aid to Libraries (state fiscal year) $11,436,998

LSTA funding supports statewide programs provided to libraries and Rhode Islanders by OLIS, along with the personnel who coordinate those programs. Most programs are a mix of federal and state funds, with some programs funded predominately by the state (state aid, AskRI, LORI delivery) while others are funded primarily with federal funds (Talking Books Plus, summer reading, youth services). All programs offered by OLIS would be impacted by any reduction in LSTA funding, though some to a greater extent than others.

LSTA Funded Programs

The following OLIS programs and services are funded in part or in whole by federal funds. If federal funding were eliminated, these programs would be severely impacted or eliminated:

  • Summer Reading Programs.
    LSTA funds support the statewide summer reading programs hosted by every public library in Rhode Island. OLIS coordinates programs for children, teens, and adults and provides materials created by the Collaborative Summer Library Program along with educational programs in libraries (2 for every public library building in the state). LSTA funds also support Kids Reading Across Rhode Island, a statewide reading initiative for children in grades 3-5.
  • Resource Sharing (Interlibrary Loan and Delivery).
    LSTA funds enable Rhode Islanders to connect with hard-to-find research materials at libraries around the state or around the world. OLIS subscribes to OCLC FirstSearch and WorldShare to facilitate resource discovery and borrowing for libraries, and obtains these items for them. LSTA funds also supplement state funds to support inter-library delivery in Rhode Island (LORI Delivery).
  • Talking Books Plus.
    LSTA funds make it possible for Rhode Islanders who are blind, visually impaired or physically disabled to receive library materials in accessible formats for free through the US Postal Service. OLIS provides service as a regional library for the blind and physically handicapped, coordinating access to and delivery of reading materials for people who are not able to read traditional print material.
  • Workforce Support and Language Learning.
    LSTA funds are used to purchase Learning Express Library, an online test preparation service, and Mango Languages, a language learning tool, on AskRI. Learning Express provides test preparation resources for professional certification examinations for electricians, plumbers, commercial truck drivers, firefighters, nurses, teachers and more, as well as for college entrance exams, citizenship tests and high school equivalency. Mango Languages provides language learning tools for over 70 languages and 20 languages for non-English speakers seeking to learn English.
  • Support for Libraries.
    LSTA funds enable OLIS to provide a wide variety of services to libraries to develop and preserve collections and to enhance and expand learning opportunities offered by Rhode Island libraries. OLIS helps coordinate statewide programs on financial, health and digital literacy. OLIS staff provide professional workshops that expand the skills of librarians.

LSTA Funding in Rhode Island - Additional Resources