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Last updated: 7/22/13

Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons

The Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons functions as the main library in the University Libraries system. It is located on the main campus of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston and sits in the center of campus a short distance from the northwest corner of the Quadrangle. The Library was founded in 1892 and occupied all or part of seven buildings on the campus before moving to its present location in 1964. In 1976, a two-floor addition was constructed, and in 1993 the present structure was completed, with shelf space for 1.4 million volumes and seating for 1300 readers. In 2000, a Mezzanine storage facility was created on Level 3 to house archival materials and lesser-used serial volumes, alleviating crowded conditions in the Lower Level stacks. In May 2009 the building was named in honor of Robert L. Carothers, URI President from 1991 to 2009. In 2011 and 2012 a section of the building was renovated to create a state of the art learning commons facility for fostering undergraduate peer learning and collaboration.

The Carothers Library houses a number of specialized collections. The Special Collections Unit in the University Libraries contains the University Archives; the Rhode Island Collection of materials on Rhode Island history; a Rare Book Collection containing general interest books as well as those organized around a particular theme, subject, or author; a Manuscript Collection of personal papers and records of businesses and organizations of Rhode Island interest; and a collection of local history interviews on various aspects of Rhode Island life in the twentieth century. The Library also houses the state’s largest depository collection for federal and Rhode Island state government publications. The Curriculum Materials Library consisting of educational materials and resources for teacher training and support is housed on the first floor. An extensive collection of DVDs and related media is housed in the Media Resource Center on the second floor.

The Library provides a wide range of services. It is open extensive hours during the semester and a 24 hour reading room is available after hours. Research help is available from professional librarians in person and by phone, IM, text messaging, and e-mail. There are several learning labs used for teaching of the University Libraries’ information literacy program in which librarians instruct students in the use of information resources. Computers are available in public areas of the Library for research and general use, and wifi is available throughout the building. Individual and group study rooms are available for use on a 3 hour basis.

The Library also houses the University’s Information and Instructional Technology Services department which maintains the Library Student Computing Facility, of approximately 100 workstations for student, staff, and faculty use. There are copying/ printing/scanning machines located throughout the building.

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