The Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) applauds Governor Dan McKee’s introduction of his Fiscal 2024 state budget which includes $484,000 in additional funding for libraries. For only the second time since 2009, the state budget will fully fund state aid to libraries at the level outlined in RI General Law 29-6-2. Existing state law specifies that the state contribute to each city and town an amount equal to 25% of municipal expenditures and 25% of expenditures from a library’s private endowment that supplements that expenditure.
This additional funding will positively impact public libraries in every city and town in Rhode Island. The budget also includes additional funding for AskRI, the Statewide Reference Resource Center, to fully support online learning, tutoring, and job upskilling support services for all Rhode Islanders.
"The Rhode Island Library Association is excited to see the Governor’s visible support of Rhode Island libraries by fully funding state aid to libraries. This action continues to build community resources, and we are gratified to see this commitment,"" said RILA President Rachael Juskuv.
RILA thanks Governor McKee for his support of libraries and his recognition of the role libraries play in supporting Rhode Islanders' need for access to information, technology, health and wellness resources, educational supports, and social connections. We thank the Governor for his strong leadership for including this funding in the budget.
RILA also thanks Representative David Morales (D7, Providence) and Representative Jackie Baginski (D17, Cranston) for being strong library advocates and their efforts along with the 40- plus sponsors of House Bill 5095 for bringing much needed attention to this long-standing funding issue.
"Public libraries are the heart of our communities and a public resource for all people, regardless of background or socioeconomic status," Representative Morales said. "Therefore, it is in all of our interests to ensure our libraries are well-funded and have the resources needed to remain strong and vibrant in the years ahead."
The Rhode Island Library Association urges the General Assembly to pass the FY24 budget with the inclusion of these important funds for our public libraries.
The RI Library Association is a professional organization that serves its members through career development, education, networking partnerships and legislative action and seeks to inspire and promote excellence in library services, through training, innovation, and advocacy. RILA also supports libraries and library workers to meet the diverse needs of the populations they serve.