Friday, August 05, 2005

Two library bills introduced August 1

Two library bills which resulted from the State Superintendent's Task Force on Public Library Legislation and Funding were introduced August 1 by Sen. Joe Leibham: SB-272 and SB-273, to adopt several of the Task Force's recommendations to reform the way that libraries and library systems are operated and funded.

The Task Force finished its work in 2002; the bills were introduced too late in the legislature's last session to progress. For more information on the bills, including the text of the bills and a summary of the key points, go to the WLA Legislative status report:
WLA Awards Kevin Henkes Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award

The WLA recently named Madison author Kevin Henkes winner of the 2005 Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award for Kitten’s First Full Moon, published by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins in 2004.

Shawn Brommer, chair of the Children’s Book Award Committee of the Youth Services Section of WLA, said the committee selected the book from dozens of contenders written by Wisconsin authors. Committee members were impressed by its simple story told elegantly in black and white charcoal drawings.

WLA will formally present the award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium, to Mr. Henkes at the WLA annual conference in October. Mr. Henkes will also do a book signing and speak at the conference, which attracts approximately 1,100 librarians, staff, and trustees from throughout the state.

Other top contenders for the award were named the Burr/Worzalla Outstanding Books of 2005: With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote, by Ann Bausum, (National Geographic, 2004); Godless, by Pete Hautman (Simon & Schuster, 2004); Blue Jasmine, by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2004). The 2005 Notable Author is S.D. Schindler, who received the recognition for his body of work.

The Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award is made possible by the Worzalla Publishing Company of Stevens Point, through a grant to the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Members of the 2005 Children’s Book Award Committee: Shawn Brommer (Chair), South Central Library System; Roxane Bartelt, Kenosha Public Library; Geri Ceci Cupery, Madison Public Library; Marge Loch-Wouters, Elisha D. Smith Public Library - Menasha; Maryann Owen, Racine Public Library; Pam Penn, Milwaukee Public Schools; and Sue Marie Rendall, Portage County Public Library – Stevens Point.
Maintenance of Effort Bill to Get a Hearing

Rep. Mark Gottlieb's bill, AB-483, will get a hearing before the Assembly Committee on Urban and Local Affairs next Tuesday, August 9, 1:00 p.m. in the North Hearing Room of the State Capitol in Madison. WLA opposes this bill and encourages members who are constituents of the committee members to urge them not to support it. Under Wisconsin Statutes 43.15 (4)(c), local libraries must meet several requirements of system membership, including that the local library be funded at a level that is not lower than the average funding for the previous three years. This requirement is commonly referred to as maintenance of effort (MOE). All local public libraries receive valuable services as a result of their voluntary membership in one of 17 regional public library systems. Elimination of the MOE would damage the valuable resource sharing network established through these systems.

While Rep. Gottlieb has suggested a compromise that would require library performance standards in lieu of MOE, an amendment has not been introduced. While WLA is generally in favor of library standards if they help achieve a higher quality of library service, many of our members are quite concerned about the difficulty of developing meaningful standards statewide. Right now, only four counties have adopted such standards.

Along with WLA, AFSCME and the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) have taken positions against the bill. The Wisconsin Counties Association and the League of Municipalities have stated support for the bill.