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Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids: RILINK Stories

RILINK Schools Makes Springhare Buzz

RILINK Stories


whaleA Whale of a Tale - RILINK saved the day for me when a teacher suddenly wanted to do a Moby Dick project.  We had some material, but not enough for an entire class.  I needed material on Melville, both biography and criticism, whales, and whaling.  RILINK added to the sources beautifully, and I learned about some wonderful resources on these topics.  I looked at the materials we borrowed from other RILINK libraries to decide whether or not to purchase them when I have additional funds.

RILINK can serve as a way to get books for immediate use and preview them for future use. Last year, a school nurse asked if I had any books about germs and illnesses. I used RICAT to locate books in my library. Then, I used RILINK to find many other books and order them. When the books arrived, the nurse was surprised to see how many resources we could borrow from all over the state. She perused the books, picked her favorites, and I ordered some of the best books to be added to our school library collection this year. I followed the same procedure when a physical education teacher asked me for books about sportsmanship.

Finding the Night - For Reading Week, one class read the book Night by Elie Wiesel.  I used RILINK to gather the additional copies that we needed.  We needed more copies than we had in our class set, as the class was larger than the year before.

Bees and math - We use the Interactive Math Program at this school.  The students research, write, and do calculations for math-related projects.  The project on bees, their flight patterns and their communication “dances” sent us to RILINK for more information. 

World History Project - This past fall, the World History teacher came to speak with me about a project she wanted to do with her two 10th grade classes (about 45-50 students). She told me the area of the project - Great Religions - and she wanted each student to read a biography of one of the 6 great religious leaders:  Jesus, Moses, Confucius, Muhammad, Buddha, or Dalai Lama. Well, I have biographies on all of them here in this library but not enough for 50 students each to have one. RILINK saved the day. We sent requests to many, many schools to find biographies for every student. Then the RILINK librarians were kind enough to let us keep the books for a longer period of time than normal, because this was a term project.  After they did the project on the people, they studied the details of the religion associated with each individual.


  • “RICAT website was very easy to navigate, very user friendly. We will be visiting a lot more.”
  • “It’s amazing how much information is available to us via the web! The library website (catalog) is very fun and easy to use. We enjoyed looking for various subjects and reading the results!”
  • “Great idea. Olivia loves going on-line and this will give me something to try out with her.”
  • “Good information.”
  • “Easy to use, very intuitive.”
  • “It was easy to access and it will be great to use as a classroom teacher. It will be helpful to access the library from home!”
  • “It was fun going on line at this site and researching surfing books with Sarah!! I think it’s a GREAT IDEA. Thanks, Mrs. Perry!”
  • “It was fun!”
  • “This is an easy site for students to find information.”
  • “This web site is a great learning experience for every child, and allows them the opportunity of broadening their horizon toward many materials that are found in the library. My child was very enthusiastic about researching information from the internet.”
  • “I had no idea this existed! Thanks.”
  • “We researched for J.K. Rowling and found Coggeshall has all her Harry Potter books except the first one! Grade level categorization is very helpful and summary of books is great!”
  • “I like this website. It’s a nice way for kids to find the books they need.”

Here are some comments from school library media specialist Jean Wickenden:

  •  I love being able to work at home. I ordered books this spring and I was able to check out what was already in my collection at home. I have been given many paperbacks from book fairs and I was able to enter them into my collection working at home.
  • Being able to work at home allows me to spend more time with the children on instruction and assisting / gathering resources for teachers. It is so easy to make a booklist on a topic and gather books for the teachers. Lists can be saved for the next year as well.
  • I am able to print out overdues in minutes; it took me hours with the old check out system. More books are being returned on time.
  • A few of my teachers are making booklists of materials they need for school at their homes and leaving them on my desk for me gather and check out for them. Teachers are checking out more books as they plan their lessons and resources needed. Many are very interested in interlibrary loan.
  • I believe the children are enjoying using the on-line catalog. They were just introduced to the visual search today and all were able to locate a book. Students are finding a book from the catalog this week and next week they will take their work home and give a demonstration to their parents or guardians if they have Internet access.

This is a comment from a fourth grade teacher at Coggeshall:

  • “Hi Jean, I just wanted to get a quick note to you to thank you for all your efforts in getting Coggeshall hooked up with RILINK. It has been so helpful. I love that I can search for books in the Coggeshall Library right from home. It has saved me so much time. Thanks again,  Suzanne Platt, 4th grade."

And here are some comments from some of the fifth grade students at Coggeshall:

  • “The catalog is very easy to use, it makes looking for a good book very easy.” Rachel
  • “I love the catalog because it is fun! It makes looking up a book easy because instead of having all those cards you just type in the title and it is there!”
    ~ Morgan
  • “The catalog is easy to use, it’s very simple and anyone can use it. There is no hassle of the cards and the system is Great ."
    ~ Schuyler

Two students were at home, working on their homework, when the older sister heard her younger sister exclaim, “I have looked everywhere for this book and I can’t find it!” The older sister went to the computer, found the RICAT website, searched the Underwood library catalog, located the book, and looked to see if the book was currently checked out. She informed her sister that the book was available, gave her the call number, and told her to ask for the book during library class the next day. The next morning, the older sister told me proudly of her success and asked me to put the book on hold for her sister. I did so, and the younger sister’s eyes lit up when she asked for the book later that day. “You have it! My sister found it on the RICAT website for me!”

A fifth grade teacher asked me if I had any books about the Industrial Revolution. I used RICAT, located several books, scanned them into the computer and made a booklist. I pulled the books, printed out the booklist, and gave the books to the teacher. I showed him how to search for books on his own, and how to use RICAT to link to websites about the topic. I then created a category for the books so that all would be listed in one location; next time the teacher wants books about that topic, all he/she will have to do is go the RICAT website, click “Categories”, click “Industrial Revolution”, and the list will appear.