What has 1.7 million books, eBooks, audiobooks, video, and online resources with 160 locations in Rhode Island? The answer is RICAT, providing online library services to more than 80,000 K-12 students, teachers, and parents statewide. RICAT—RILINK’s online catalog—added another life to its nine lives, thanks to a $50,000 grant through the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services. This Library Services and Technology Act award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services provided funding for the purchase and installation of new web and database servers for RICAT.

The old servers, at the end of their useful lifespan, could not keep up with all the new software features that allow for student interaction and online research. In the first two weeks of June, two drives failed, leaving the system limping along in anticipation of the end of the school year. With the new grant-funded servers that have just been installed, RILINK member libraries can look forward to using a more robust RICAT system in the fall. RILINK also now has the capacity to serve additional schools that want to join the Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids (RILINK) to share their library resources and expertise.

In spite of our current economic hard times, schools are continuing to see the advantages of RILINK membership. The new servers provide the essential foundation to support RILINK’s mission of fostering innovative learning and creative research in school libraries through partnerships and resource sharing for student success. RICAT creates a user-friendly digital learning environment where students, teachers, administrators, librarians, and parents can discover, share, organize, and collaborate. To learn more about RILINK, please visit www.rilink.org. ###

About the Author:

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones is a technology specialist in Virginia. A former French teacher, she currently supports technology integration in a middle school.