2023 Legislative Agenda

Funding & Support

To maintain critical state funding for public libraries and AskRI at the 25% level prescribed in RI General Laws and achieved in the FY23 state budget, Governor McKee provided an additional $484,000 in his proposed FY24 budget.

→ RILA urges the RI General Assembly to pass the FY24 budget with full funding as proposed.


RILA advocates for fair access and pricing for digital content to libraries. Currently, libraries face many barriers to meet the ebook needs of Rhode Islanders:

  • Some publishers do not allow libraries to purchase licenses to some or all of their digital works.
  • Many major publishers set library pricing as much as 6 times (or more) the cost to consumers for ebooks. (Note that libraries often purchase print books at a discount from consumer prices.)
  • Increasingly, publishers license ebooks to libraries that expire after one or two years, forcing libraries to repurchase ebooks to sustain access and further inflating the actual costs for an individual ebook.
  • Repurchasing ebooks requires constant monitoring and analysis of both patron demand and shrinking budgets, leading to an unnecessarily complicated workflow for library staff - diverting time and energy from more important services to library patrons.
  • Some publishers embargo new ebooks, disallowing library purchasing for several months.

These barriers hit hardest on those who face technology or financial challenges, inflaming the digital divide.

→ RILA calls for legislation that requires any publisher who licenses electronic books and digital audiobooks to the general public (consumer) in Rhode Island to also offer such licenses to libraries in the state on reasonable terms.

Protections for Library Workers

In Rhode Island's obscenity and harmful to minors laws, there is no stated protection for library workers, educators, and museum professionals. All of the other New England states have these protections codified into law.

Across the nation, with increasing frequency, librarians and educators have been subject to criminal prosecution for teaching about health and sexuality and/or circulating books with information about sex, or containing sexual or LGBTQ themes. Efforts to criminalize these normal practices of education and librarianship have included the introduction of legislation and criminal complaints to law enforcement.

We will remain steadfast in our defense of intellectual freedom and the freedom to read.

→ RILA advocates to codify legal protections into state law.

"Rhode Island Library Association" is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Rhode Island Library Association, P.O. Box 6765, Providence, RI 02940

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