The Block Island Times

Island Free Library
PO Box 1830
Block Island , RI 02807
Phone: 401-466-3233
Hours: Sundays 11am-2pm Mondays Closed Tuesdays 11am-7pm Wednesdays 10am-5pm Thursdays 10am-5pm Fridays 10am-5pm Saturdays 10am-3pm

The Island Free Library has a collection of over 20,000 items.

Lending items include books, ebooks, ereaders, magazines, large print books, CDs, DVDs, audio books, games, puzzles, walkman, mini campcorder, slide projector, digital cameras, CD-MP3 players, DVD players, tape recorder, overhead projector and digital projectors.

Library services include children story hours, interlibrary loan, reference, newspapers, color & b/w photocopying, scanner, computers, interenet access, WiFi, notary and meeting rooms.

We have a staff of four full-time employees and a full-time director. The Island Free Library is one department within the Town of New Shoreham and is governed by the Island Free Library Board of Trustees.

The Island Free Library is a member of the Rhode Island library coalition, Ocean State Libraries.


The Island Free library was established on March 6, 1875 under the name "The Island Library Association." The members were "interested in obtaining better advantages for intellectual improvement than were then enjoyed on Block Island" (Livermore, 1873). Members paid an annual fee: $1 for men, and 50 cents for woman. By the spring of the next year, 1876, the library had been established with Arthur W. Brown as librarian. By now the library had 250 volumes that fit in one bookcase at the town hall, which was located at the bottom of Center Road.

In early 1877, after a year's operation, the number of books had reached 500, most of them donated. On Halloween night in 1923 the library was completely destroyed when the town hall burned. After starting over again, the library was located for many years in the back of Star Department store. In 1958, the library moved to Chapel Street with Bea Dodge as Librarian, into the smallest of the three shops facing the street (now part of the Hagopian marketplace).

The library has twice needed to expand: with a small rear extension in 1992, and with the massive finished renovation that has doubled the interior space completed in 2002.

Island Free Library Indoor Market

Fill your Spring Basket with Handmade Candy, Local Cheese, Fresh Baked Goods, Boutique Foods, Original Art, Indie Designs, Local Pottery & Island Jewelry, Handmade Crafts and so much more.... Saturday, April 19th, 10am-2pm Come to shop, come to eat, come to have fun! Support your local community-...
Reading Across Rhode Island Comes to Block Island

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan FREE copies are available at the library Book talk on Friday, April 4th at 6pm at the Island Free Library followed by a screening of the controversial documentary “Google and World Brain” at 7:30pm. The movie will show again Saturday, April ...
Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World

On Thursday, April 3, at 7:00 PM at the Island Free Library, Natural History writer Todd McLeish will discuss his book, Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World, about the northernmost whale on the planet and the one most threatened by global warming. Its seven-foot long spiral tusk—which ...
Mah Jongg Last Sunday to Play

All players are welcome, to learn or to play Mah Jongg at the Island Free Library, March 30, at 12:30 pm, this is the last Sunday to participate. Come joint the fun! Players are having a great time and can't wait for the 2014 National American Mah Jongg cards to be published. See you on Sunday.
Movie Matinee  Sunday at 1 pm

Come see what's playing at the Island Free Library on Sunday, March 30, 2014. We will be showing our Movie Matinee at 1 pm. We also have a Wednesday Movie Matinee at 1 pm which provides up to date movies and free popcorn is available.