Public Library Minimum Standards & Regulations

In order to be eligible to receive state aid pursuant to section 29-6-3(3) of the Rhode Island General Law, a library must meet the following Minimum Standards and Regulations for Rhode Island Public Libraries:

  1. The library operates according to relevant federal, state, and local laws. The library must be in compliance with all federal, state, and local building, fire, safety, and handicapped access codes for public buildings, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as relevant portions of RIGL Title 29 entitled Libraries, RIGL section 38-2-3 entitled Access to Public Records, and RIGL section 42-46 entitled Open Meetings.
  2. The library operates according to relevant American Library Association (ALA) ethical and philosophical statements for public libraries. Relevant statements will be enumerated on the OLIS websites.
  3. The library adopts and periodically reviews written policies governing its services.
  4. The library is open a minimum number of hours each week based on community needs and the population of the city/town (or combined cities/towns) according to the most recent census. Unique hours are the total hours all public library facilities in a city/town (cities/towns) are open with concurrent hours being counted only once.

    Hours refer to the winter schedule in cases where winter and summer hours differ.

    Unique Hours
    Each Combined Library
    Under 10,000
    35 Hours
    25 Hours
    50 Hours
    25 Hours
    60 Hours
    25 Hours
    50,000 and over
    64 Hours
    25 Hours
    In the case of combined libraries, each individual library must meet the Combined Library minimum,and the aggregate of all library hours in the city/town (cities/towns) must meet the Unique Hours minimum.
  5. The library extends full access and borrowing privileges without charge to all Rhode Island residents.
  6. The library makes its entire range of materials and services available to everyone regardless of ability, providing assistive technology, software, materials, alternative access to library resources, and staff assistance in using them as needed.
  7. The library provides trained staff to help patrons use library resources, including electronic and digital resources, during all operating hours.
  8. The library provides its community with resources and assistance to support digital literacy.
  9. The library provides a website with access to online library resources, promotion of, and current information about library services, including hours of operation, schedules of library events, contact information, and other information necessary to inform the community about library operations.
  10. The library has a director who is a professional librarian.
  11. The library/combined libraries of a city/town (cities/towns) have a minimum of 1 FTE staff excluding custodians, security staff, and pages for each 3,000 population (rounded to the nearest 3,000) based on the most recent census.
  12. Library staff are trained in and assigned to provide the following services at the minimum level specified in the chart below. More than one requirement may be met by a single qualified staff member; conversely, more than one qualified staff member may be designated to meet the requirement. In the case of combined libraries, each library must meet the requirements for the Under 10,000 category and the combined libraries together must meet the requirements for their population category.

    Core Competency
    Under 10,000
    10,000 - 19,999
    20,000 - 49,999
    Over 50,000
    Management (Director)
    1/2 FTE 1 FTE 1 FTE 1 FTE
    Youth Services (professional librarian)
    1/2 the time the library is open 1 FTE Children: 1 FTE Young Adult: 1/2 FTE Children: 1 FTE Young Adult: 1 FTE
    (professional librarian)
    1/2 the time the library is open 1/2 FTE 1 FTE and additional professional librarian (s) whenever the library is open 1 FTE and additional trained staff whenever the library is open
    Public Access Computing Technology (trained staff)
    whenever the library is open whenever the library is open 1 FTE and additional trained staff whenever the library is open 1 FTE and additional trained staff whenever the library is open
    Digital Literacy
    (trained staff)
    whenever the library is open whenever the library is open whenever the library is open whenever the library is open
    Librarians (s)
          1 FTE professional librarian per 10,000 population (rounded to the nearest 10,000) in addition to the above requirements
  13. For safety reasons, at least two workers, who may include custodians, security staff, or pages, are in the building during all open hours.
  14. The library conducts a community needs assessment at least every five years.
  15. The library adopts a five-year long range plan of service, based in part on the community needs assessment, and reviews it annually.
  16. The library adopts personnel policies and procedures that apply to all staff and volunteers and makes them available to staff and volunteers.
  17. In a city/town (cities/towns) that has designated more than one library to provide library services, a library council composed of the chair of the board of trustees and the director of each library, and a representative of the city/town (cities/towns) meets annually to coordinate services and make a joint application for state grant-in-aid.
  18. The library is a certified member of the Library of Rhode Island.
  19. The library is a member in good standing of Ocean State Libraries, Inc.
  20. The library provides adequate space to implement a full range of library services, including community meeting space (s), as determined by its long-range plan.
  21. The library provides free access to computers for public use.
  22. The library offers free access to the Internet, industry-compatible office productivity software, and the ability to use personal storage devices on public computers.
  23. The library ensures that all public hardware and software are updated regularly and in proper working order.