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Rhode Island. Office of Library and Information Services (1995-present) | State Archives Catalog

Name: Rhode Island. Office of Library and Information Services (1995-present)

Historical Note:

The Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) is the state library agency for Rhode Island. OLIS supports and strengthens library and information services in the state to ensure that all residents will benefit from free and convenient access to library and information resources and services. In addition, OLIS participates in planning and providing access to online government information for state agencies and the public.

OLIS has the statutory authority and responsibility to administer state and federal funding and to coordinate and support programs for libraries of all types. It is part of the Executive Branch of state government located in the Department of Administration under the direction of the Chief of Library Services. OLIS works with the Library Board of Rhode Island to establish priorities and policies to carry out its mission.

The Library of Rhode Island (LORI) is the Rhode Island Library network, a virtual library consisting of the collected resources and services available from all Rhode Island libraries. The physical network is coordinated and administered by OLIS.

The predecessor to the Office of Library and Information Services was Public Library Services (P.L.S.) in Rural Areas that succeeded in providing library services to rural libraries.  The P.L.S. was formed in 1957 (Chapter 93) in order to meet the requirements of the Federal Library Services Act.  The Department of State was empowered to co-operate with the commissioner of Education of the United States in the carrying out of the library services act (public law 597 – 84 congress, chapter 407 second session, H.R. 2840 approved June 19, 1956.)  The Department of State was authorized to present a plan for the extension of public library services to rural areas in compliance with the provisions of the federal act.

The Department of State Library Services (DSLS) was established in 1964 under Public Law Chapter 233.  Upon passage of the act, the supervisor of the P.L.S. (Elizabeth Myer) became the  first director of the Department of State Library Services.  The Department included the following Divisions:  Division of Administrative Services; Division of Planning and Development; Division of Special Library Services.

Originally located on 30 Benefit Street, Providence, the P.L.S. was moved to the Roger Williams Building on 22 Hayes Street in 1959.  In 1967 the department moved to 95 Davis Street, to 300 Richmond Street in 1988 and finally to their current address at 1 Capitol Hill in 1997.

In 1996 the DSLS was dissolved as a department and became the Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) under the Department of Administration (Public Law 1996, Chapter 100, Article 29).  The head of OLIS is the Chief Information Officer.

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