Public Library Standards: Philosophical Statement

To ensure equal and open access to organized resources and information, public libraries in Rhode Island must take an active, vital role in the communities they serve. This is essential for the continued personal, cultural, and intellectual growth of all Rhode Islanders.

Libraries provide a legacy to each generation, preserving the heritage of the past and offering the promise of the future. Therefore, Rhode Island public libraries must:

  • Reflect the diversity of communities served and sustain our democratic society by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions and ideas, so that all individuals have the opportunity to become lifelong learners - informed, literate, educated, productive, and culturally enriched.
  • Defend the constitutional rights of all individuals to use library resources and services while affirming the responsibility and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children's use of the library.
  • Respect individual privacy and preserve confidentiality in the use of library resources.
  • Provide trained personnel to connect people with the resources they need within the library, throughout the Rhode Island library network, via electronic resources, and through referrals to outside agencies.
  • Act as community centers by promoting social, cultural, and educational programming for the benefit of the public.
  • Respond to the needs and desires of their communities, and encourage feedback regarding services, programs and facilities.
  • Design services and facilities so that all Rhode Islanders, regardless of age, sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, handicap, economic status, or educational ability, may freely use the library.
  • Promote public awareness of the services available to all Rhode Islanders by establishing and maintaining effective communication with the media, business and community groups, and government officials.