Rise Together: Building a stronger & more equitable Rhode Island - The Raimondo Administration
Rise Together: Building a stronger & more equitable Rhode Island - The Raimondo Administration

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Raimondo Announces Next Generation Library Challenge

Program Will Support Rhode Island Libraries with Digital Training, Modern Technology

PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced the Studio Rhode Next Generation Libraries Challenge, an innovative approach to supporting public libraries with new technology and training to engage with Rhode Islanders in the digital age.

"Libraries are an integral part of every community," Raimondo said. "My grandfather learned English at his local public library, and it was hearing about the closure of libraries around the state that inspired me to get involved with public service. As our world changes, Rhode Islanders need these vital centers of knowledge to keep up with the times, so they can continue to be places of learning for future generations. I look forward to seeing how communities from around the state get involved with this challenge."

Led by the Rhode Island Office of Innovation in partnership with the Office of Library and Information Services, Studio Rhode will provide all libraries in Rhode Island with a chance to explore the use of innovative technologies to develop a digital creation hub in their library. This challenge will serve as a model for how libraries can be transformed, through technology, to better support high-needs communities in an increasingly digital world.

"Public libraries are true pillars of our community and our democracy. Our libraries help educate, inform, engage, and connect people from all walks of life. From offering literacy programs to homework help to resume writing workshops to computer access, our libraries fulfill a vital need. Libraries have always been on the front lines of addressing changing community needs and the new ways of sharing and understanding information. With greater support and resources, they could accomplish even more, and I know this effort being launched today will help our libraries better serve our communities," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the leading champion of public libraries in the U.S. Senate and the author of the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act.

"Libraries in Rhode Island are already embracing their role as community hubs that empower residents to be active learners and creators, said RI Chief Innovation Officer Richard Culatta. "We hope that Studio Rhode will spark new approaches to tackling tough problems with the library user at the center."

"Studio Rhode will bring the transformative power of libraries to another level, providing the latest technology to engage people in new ways and enable them to find solutions to individual and community challenges," said Chief of Library Services Karen Mellor. "The Office of Library and Information Services is excited to partner with the Office of Innovation on this unique project that will enrich and expand the library experience of Rhode Islanders."

Any Rhode Island public library is invited to submit an application for how they would reimagine their role around becoming a next generation library and leverage the Studio Rhode framework to solve a pressing challenge facing their community. Once selected, one library will receive Apple technology and professional services to outfit their Studio space. This donation includes 10 iPad Pro with Apple Pencils, 30 iPad Air, as well as an Apple TV, an iMac, a MacBook Air, accessories, a lock and charge storage cart, Apple professional services and Apple Care protection for all devices.

All public libraries are invited to attend a Next Generation Libraries workshop on February 6th to develop their next generation library vision, collaborate with other libraries, and learn strategies for rapid prototyping, collaborative design, crowdsourcing, ideation, user experience design, and community storytelling.

For more information or to apply, please visit the link below.