Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gov. Doyle proposes Universal Service Funds for library programs in state budget

Governor Doyle used Universal Service Funds (USF) to cover costs to continue for several library programs in his 2009-11 state budget proposal, announced last night. Public library system aids received an additional $1.5 million over the biennium, maintaining state funding at 8.2 percent of local library aids. Notably, Gov. Doyle proposed that the entire base funding for systems aids also come from USF, rather than from general purpose revenues. Likewise, he proposed that the costs to continue Newsline for the Blind, BadgerLink, and statewide service contracts come entirely from the USF.

A DPI proposal to provide an additional $448,000 over the biennium for statewide delivery service was not included in the governor's budget recommendations. Also left out of the governor's proposal was the $6 million requested by UW Regents to fund the Digital Commons, a digital library initiative that would support research and advanced study across the UW System.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fond du Lac Public Library gets $52,500 grant

Fond du Lac Public Library is one of 12 recipients of a Smart Investing@Your Library Grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association. The Fond du Lac Reporter says the grant will be used to purchase materials and create a series of workshops, seminars, and podcasts on financial literacy and investing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

WLA supports Tony Evers for State Superintendent

The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) announced its recommendation of Tony Evers for State Superintendent of Public Instruction on Monday, February 16.

“WLA is pleased to support Tony Evers for State Superintendent,” said WLA President Walter Burkhalter. “We feel that Tony Evers will provide strong leadership on library issues because he understands that quality libraries are important for lifelong learning.”

Tony Evers believes that public schools and libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy and the engine of our economy. His 34 years of experience as an educator, including eight years as Deputy State Superintendent, gives him the understanding of the role that libraries play in developing information literacy and increased and equitable access to the information Wisconsin citizens need for successful lives.

Tony Evers earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973, a master's degree in 1976 and a doctorate in 1986. He has served his entire career in Wisconsin as a teacher, principal, superintendent, regional administrator, and Deputy State Superintendent. He is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and was elected as the national president of the Deputy State Superintendent Leadership Commission.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Library Legislative Day Experience

It had been a few years since the last time I participated in Library Legislative Day, so I had forgotten how this day makes me feel like a newbie and a veteran at the same time. I felt like the excited yet nervous graduate students who were participating for the first time, but at the same time I felt like I was experienced enough that I should know what to say. The day didn't disappoint, by the day's end I had learned new things from others and had shared my knowledge with others. Funny who Legislative Day can do this to you every time.

The morning informational session and keynotes were just great. Kris, Paul and all of the others did a great job informing everyone about the issues. Rep. Kim Hixon gave a great keynote, as did Sen. Dale Schultz. Elizabeth Burmaster was awarded the Public Policy Award and in her speech she said gave the library profession a wonderful compliment by stating that "There are no people who will speak out more passionately than the library community."

This year all of the Legislators that I was scheduled to see were in the district, but that was ok, we were able to speak to a number of wonderful aides that really took the time to listen to our issues, ask questions, and who showed a genuine interest in our agenda, which can't be an easy thing considering all of the people that must come ask them to support their issues.

Once again I left Library Legislative Day with a renewed sense of how important it is for us all to participate in state and local governance, whether it is going to the capital once a year on a cold day in February or by writing a letter to you legislator thanking him/her for their support, we just all need to do our part and in the end our profession, our libraries, and our communities will be better for having done so.

Public libraries asked to help publicize digital TV conversion

Wisconsin Public Television, with WLA's help, is getting the message out about the digital television (DTV) conversion by shipping bookmarks and table tents via the statewide delivery service to public libraries throughout the state.

The move in television broadcasting from an old standard—known as “analog”—to a new standard called DTV arrives soon. Yet, there is still confusion about the steps that over-the-air TV viewers need to take to continue to be able to receive their favorite programs.

Wisconsin Public Television is committed to help everyone make the switch to DTV. WPT has a dedicated 800# available to field questions from viewers, and even has trained engineers available to handle technical calls.

We need your help to get this information to everyone who needs it. Soon, every library will receive a shipment of bookmarks and table tents, which contain information about where people can go for help in making the switch. Please share this information with your patrons.

Please note that WPT also has limited quantities of bookmarks translated in Spanish. Please contact if you are interested.

If you have any questions about these materials, would like additional quantities, or if you would like to inquire about having a WPT staff person give a DTV readiness presentation in your community, again, please contact or 608-265-9092

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Legislators recognize the contributions of libraries at Library Legislative Day

State Representative Kim Hixson (D-Whitewater) and State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) addressed about 150 librarians and library supporters gathered in Madison for Library Legislative Day, both emphasizing the importance of libraries as part of the state's educational infrastructure. The annual event, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Association and the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association, began with a legislative briefing and keynote address before attendees headed to the Capitol for meetings with their legislators.

Rep. Hixson said, "I really do believe in the power of learning, and I believe libraries play a critical role in helping people better themselves." He vowed to use his position as chair of the Committee on Colleges and Universities to focus on protecting and enhancing the quality of higher education in Wisconsin, and noted that libraries play a critical role in the success of those institutions. Rep. Hixson also said that the issue of Internet access in rural communities is critical to the economic recovery, mentioning that he has communicated with U.S. Senators Feingold and Kohl to include expansion of broadband access in the economic stimulus package.

Sen. Dale Schultz described his Universal Broadband for Rural Regions (UBRR) initiative, which calls for mapping to determine where service gaps exist. He described the competitive disadvantages experienced by residents of his rural district, where dial-up access is often the only option. Sen. Schultz said, "All workers and their families should be able to choose where to live without having to sacrifice access." He acknowledged the key role that libraries play in providing access, also noting that "for Wisconsin to remain globally competitive, learning is the key."

WLA honors Elizabeth Burmaster at Library Legislative Day

State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster was honored today in Madison at Library Legislative Day, co-sponsored by the WLA and the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association. Paul Nelson, chair of WLA's legislative committee, presented Burmaster with the WLA's Public Policy Award, saying, "For the past 8 years, Libby Burmaster has been the most visible and hardest-working advocate for the education community, for the library community, and, as her title suggests, for all of us in the State of Wisconsin. She has effectively combined a number of attributes in carrying out her duties: dedication, enthusiasm, collaboration, leadership, and most importantly, vision."

Burmaster expressed her appreciation for the award, praising DPI staff and the entire library community. Burmaster gave remarks as part of the keynote address, noting this was her eighth Library Legislative Day. In April, Wisconsin voters will elect a new State Superintendent, as Burmaster has decided not to seek a third term.