Online library services available

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 11:00am

The following was forwarded to The Block Island Times by Library Director Kristin Baumann:

High Demand for Digital Library Services in Rhode Island

Libraries are busier than they’ve ever been right now.

While public library buildings are closed, Rhode Island’s public libraries continue to offer vital 24/7 digital services to their communities. Through their public libraries and AskRI, public libraries have access to digital books, magazines and newspapers and a wealth of online learning tools.  From the comfort of home, Rhode Island residents have full access to:

  • 125,000+ ebooks and digital audiobooks in Ocean State Libraries’ eZone.
  • Encyclopedias for all ages, including
  • English and Spanish editions in AskRI
  • Millions of full text articles for students and online learners in AskRI.
  • Online learning tools to learn a language or to prepare for a test in AskRI

Access all these resources are more via the Ocean State Libraries website:

Library card sign-ups have increased by 167%!  Prior to this crisis, OSL received an average of 9 applications each day.  Since public library buildings closed, this average has grown to 24 applications each day with a recent high of 55 applications on March 23!

Ebook and digital audiobook use has increased by 23%!  Ocean State Libraries’ eZone is seeing a large spike in new users and ebook use.  Comparing the last 7 days against the first week of March, OSL has seen a 23% increase in circulation and a 255% increase in new users.

AskRI [] provides free online resources for Rhode Islanders. Mango Languages has courses to learn over 70 languages, and 19 English as a Second Language courses. Learning Express includes free test preparation - for SATs, various graduate school entrance exams, professional certification, and citizenship (in English and Spanish).

New digital resources are on the way, too!  Stay tuned for news at and about exciting new resources that will become available statewide soon.  Many individual public libraries are also working on new digital resources, too. Check your local library website to see what’s available today and what’s on the way!

To find online learning and enrichment resources from Ocean State Libraries and AskRI, visit

Rhode Island public libraries have plans to offer library programs digitally!  Just a small selection in the works include:

Ocean State Libraries Executive Director Stephen Spohn states, “This event underscores the essential roles that libraries play in the fabric of American society.  Libraries empower learning, community and imagination. Today, libraries are reaching out to their communities with digital story times, digital book clubs and other digital programs to help communities to come together when the events of the day are keeping us all apart.”

Island Free Library Director Kristin Baumann reports, “Our virtual Story Time, Music Time and Kid Yoga programs were quite successful this week, with all positive reviews from viewers and loads of gratitude.  Last night, a Spanish translation of the local emergency declaration was broadcasted by the library to ensure that all members of the community understood the health and safety measures expected of residents. As always, the Island Free Library is committed to everyone’s well-being and will continue to educate, inform, engage and entertain patrons, lighting the way through these uncertain times.”

For the latest information about Ocean State Libraries and COVID-19, visit us online at