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Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
What is RILINK?
What is RICAT?
How does RILINK's Union Catalog work?
Is RILINK similar to Ocean State Libraries?
What are the membership advantages?
Who is the RILINK vendor?
What are the membership requirements?
Is there a fee to join RILINK?
What are the current Member Dues? 
Do other states have similar projects?
How does an interested school contact RILINK?
What's in it for Rhode Island Schools?
Why should my school join the statewide library network(LORI)?



How does RILINK work?
Each local school collection is added to RICAT, converting from an existing library automation system.  If the library is not already using automation, books and other items are entered individually or converted, using RICAT and other linked bibliographic resources, such as Follett's Alliance Plus service and the Library of Congress Catalog.  Students or teachers can search from their own local catalog on the web, find the item needed, and request that it be held for them at their own school or delivered to their school from another RILINK library member. Delivery is provided at no charge to schools through their membership in the  statewide LORI interlibrary loan system, operated by the Office of Library and Information Services.


Is RILINK similar to Ocean State Libraries?
Ocean State Libraries is the resource-sharing network established for RI's public libraries. The RILINK project has borrowed from both the experience and philosophy of that successful project. The primary differences between the two resource sharing networks are that RILINK patrons will not visit other school libraries in person for the purpose of borrowing; and, of course, the target patron group is different.  RILINK offers a complete, web-based library automation system for schools, called RICAT.


What are the advantages of RILINK membership for schools?
RILINK provides increased access to materials for our students. As we all are faced with increased demand for information but with limited funding, the concept of a virtual library becomes increasingly appealing. As of September 2019, RILINK has 205 members, over 1.5 million entries are at your fingertips.

Who is the RILINK vendor?
RILINK uses software developed by the Follett School Solutions, which has extensive experience working with school libraries and the expertise to develop or refine bibliographic data. They have developed an easy-to-use graphical, web-based software package that we are using for our shared library automation solution, which we call RICAT.  RICAT functions as the local library catalog, and our "union" catalog, for interlibrary loan.  If you are interested in finding the easiest way to automate your library, check out RICAT.


What are the requirements for RILINK membership?
Schools must

* Submit a RILINK application
* Meet Rhode Island standards for school libraries
* Become a member of LORI, the Rhode Island statewide library network
* Sign the RILINK Agreement for Services

Is there a fee to join RILINK?
Member dues pay the operating costs for RILINK, including maintenance of the RICAT servers, which are located at the East Bay Educational Collaborative. Dues also pay for the services of RILINK's Executive Director and other part-time staff and support, software maintenance, updates to the RILINK web site, and group subscriptions to CultureGrams, LibGuides CMS, LibWizard, and   Annual dues are $1.50 per student, with a minimum of $350 and a maximum of $1,800 per school.

RILINK continues to actively seek funds to assist new and current members and to continue to develop its services. (Over the past several years, the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services awarded a series of LSTA grants to RILINK.) To find out more about joining RILINK, see our About RILINK and "Info for Members" pages on this website, send an email enquiry to or call RILINK voicemail at (401) 245-4998, ext. 320.

Do other states have similar projects?
Several other states have school library resource-sharing projects including AccessPA in Pennsylvania and SUNLINK in Florida.

How does an interested school contact RILINK?
Dorothy Frechette is RILINK's current Executive Director. RILINK's voicemail telephone number is (401) 245-4998, ext. 320; the e-mail address is

The RILINK Project is under the auspices of the East Bay Educational Collaborative, (EBEC), which is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization. RILINK pays EBEC for services delineated in an annual agreement negotiated with EBEC. To contact Donna Ottaviano, Executive Director of East Bay Educational Collaborative, call 401-245-4998, extension 301.

What's in it for Rhode Island Schools?
In brief

  • Growing access to hundreds of additional print and non-print resources -- as the number of schools in RILINK grows, the number of resources grows
  • BookLynx, a shared eBook and audiobook shelf
  • Subscriptions to CultureGrams, Exploring Nature, and LibGuides CMS
  • Free book pick up and delivery (through the statewide library network)
  • Immediate access to over 30,000 Internet sites, which have been screened and evaluated as K-12 appropriate
  • Reduced costs for online databases
  • Discounts for Follett software maintenance and subscriptions
  • Enhanced cataloging

In full

Access to hundreds of additional print and nonprint resources! Take for example, the subject heading "Weather." One school catalog may have 4 items under the subject weather, but combined with over 205 more schools in the RILINK catalog, that number rises ! No longer does the student have to take "the only book on the shelf." The student can place a request (right online, through the catalog) for any one (or more) of the titles listed and receive the item(s) within a few days at his or her own school library media center.

No school can have all the resources it needs to meet its curriculum and to satisfy every student's curiosity. RILINK adds to the choices. No matter what a school's strengths or weaknesses, combining our resources offers every school and every student equal access to what is available. As the number of schools on RILINK grows, the number of resources grows!

Thousands of Internet resources are linked to the RILINK records! Going back to the example of "Weather," a student sees items (books, audiovisuals and mixed media) and chooses one item, say The Changing World of Weather by Clive Carpenter. When the student looks at the record (the "card" in the catalog), it shows related subjects (Climatology, Climatic changes, Climate) and it also shows the student LINKS to the Internet! With a click of the mouse the student links to a "Weather" page  that gives direct access to  Internet sites dealing with weather, including "Nova Online" and "The Weather Dude."

All these websites have been selected by professionals as suitable for K-12 students, and all are maintained at the vendor's server to guarantee 100% availability.  Another advantage to these links is that they provide that essential connection between print, non-print and the Internet. These "856 tags" in the catalog records help to provide order and logic to the Internet by directing the student to the most useful sites.  This service, called WebPath Express, is an optional additional charge to basic Destiny maintenance, which is $700 annually, and includes features such as TitlePeek and OneSearch at no additional charge.