The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) applauds the RI House of Representatives' passage of the Fiscal 2023 state budget which includes $1.4 million in additional funding for libraries. For the first time since 2009, this budget fully funds state aid to public libraries at the funding level outlined in RI General Law 29-6-2. This additional funding will positively impact public libraries in every city and town in Rhode Island. Also included in the $1.4 million is additional funding for the Statewide Reference Resource Center also known as AskRI to continue funding for online learning and tutoring services available to all Rhode Islanders.
“The Rhode Island Library Association applauds the House for its visible support of Rhode Island libraries by fully funding state aid to libraries. This action continues to build our communities resources and we are excited to see this commitment,” said RILA President Rachael Juskuv.
RILA thanks Speaker Joe Shekarchi for his support of libraries and his recognition of the role libraries play in supporting constituents’ needs for access to information, technology, health and wellness resources, educational supports, and social connections. We thank the Speaker for his strong leadership for including this additional funding in the budget.
RILA also thanks Representative David Morales (Providence) and Representative Jackie Baginski (Cranston) for being strong library advocates and their efforts along with the 40-plus sponsors of House bill 7916 for bringing much needed attention to this long standing funding issue.
During National Library Week in April, Representative Morales and fellow legislators highlighted the essential work performed by libraries during the pandemic and the importance of full state funding by visiting all nine Community Libraries of Providence. “It was gratifying to host Representative Morales and to share the impact these state resources will have on our community,” said CLPVD Director Cheryl Space.
The Rhode Island Library Association urges the RI Senate to pass the FY23 budget with the inclusion of these important funds for our public libraries.