Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Celebrates First Anniversary!

Larry Nix, chair of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC) Steering Committee, notes that March marks the one year anniversary of the WLHC. It is with thanks to Larry that the WLHC exists. His enthusiasm for library history is contagious, and his entertaining and informative blog postings remind us all of the rich library heritage in Wisconsin.

Most recently, Larry and friends installed the Wisconsin Library Memorabilia exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Library, on display throughout the month of April.

Now a program of the WLA Foundation, the WLHC would welcome your contribution to support its continuation.

Beloit Public Library to move April 4

The Beloit Public Library plans to move April 4 to its new home in the Eclipse Center, a 55,000-square-foot building featuring a drive-up 24-hour book drop, expanded programming spaces, a computer center with a classroom, and many other features. An open house is planned on April 25, according to the Beloit Daily News, and the library will open with full service April 27.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

American Recovery & Reinvestment Act in Wisconsin

WLA's ALA Councilor, Julie Schneider, suggests those wishing to know more about the status of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act in Wisconsin visit the state site: http://www.recovery.wisconsin.gov/. The ALA also offers this resource http://www.ala.org/knowyourstimulus/.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

$35.3 million to public school libraries from Common School Fund

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands announced March 27 that a record amount of library aid resulting from Common School Fund earnings will be forwarded to the Department of Public Instruction for its annual distribution to Wisconsin’s kindergarten through twelfth grade public school libraries. This year’s distribution will be more than $28 per student. Earnings from the Common School Fund total a record setting $35.3 million. These funds are derived from the interest earned on loans to school districts and municipalities for infrastructure and public purpose projects utilizing the State Trust Fund Loan Program. The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands administers both the Common School Fund and the State Trust Fund Loan Program. “Public school libraries benefit greatly from the Board’s prudent investment strategies,” said Secretary of State Doug La Follette, who serves as Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. “For some school districts, the library aid provided by the Common School Fund may be the only money available for their library.”

Friday, March 27, 2009

Odd Wisconsin: Bookmobiles were seen as a threat by some

The Wisconsin State Journal's Odd Wisconsin feature notes that 60 years ago, rural Wisconsinites objected to bookmobile service from Madison as "outside interference" by educated librarians plying "bad books" with "frank language." Library use increased by 160 percent in northeastern Wisconsin and children's reading scores improved significantly. But in 1952, four years after the program started, rural residents voted no when asked to support the program with local tax dollars. The article notes it took another 35 years for library service to be available throughout the state.

West Bend Library gets complaint about gay-themed books; board meeting postponed

The West Bend Community Memorial Library board, upon the advice of the city attorney, postponed its March 26th meeting where they were to hear a complaint from local residents Jim and Ginny Maziarka about gay-themed books in the library. According to library director Michael Tyree, the Maziarkas have complained in person and via a blog about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Geography Club, Deal With It, It's Perfectly Normal and other books in the young adult section of the library. However, Tyree says that the focus of their complaint keeps changing and enlarging. Therefore, the city attorney has asked the complainants to provide a clear statement of their complaint before the library board agrees to another meeting to consider it.

The first meeting to hear the complaint, held March 3, drew more than 300 people, including representatives from the ACLU of Wisconsin. Upon the advice of the assistant city attorney, the board adjourned the meeting without taking action because of the size of the crowd was larger than the City Council chambers could legally accommodate.

Ginny Maziarka, one of the complainants who blogs as "West Bend Citizen Advocate", writes, "If you live in West Bend, Germantown, Hartford, Slinger and Kewaskum, this meeting is for you. If you live in Dodge, Jefferson, Racine, Walworth and or Washington County - you are part of the shared library system. TAKE NOTICE."

Monday, March 23, 2009

UW-Madison Libraries host state's largest used book sale

The largest used book sale in Wisconsin, organized by the Friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, will be March 25-28 in 116 Memorial Library, 728 State St. It includes more than 15,000 books covering almost any subject, as well as maps, DVDs, CDs, videos and many LPs. Special collections for sale include English literature, drama, history of science, African American studies and children's literature.

Nearly 60 volunteers help manage the event. The sale helps fund special purchases for the library collections, an annual lecture series and a visiting scholar support program. For more information and pricing, go to The Capital Times.

Mequon Library first in Wisconsin to loan Kindle 2

Linda Bendix, Library Director at Frank L Weyenberg Public Library in Mequon, says an anonymous donor has made it possible for the library to loan out a Kindle 2. Capable of holding up to 1,500 electronic books and retailing at $360, the device already has 25 patron holds on it. The Journal-Sentinel story states that Weyenberg's Kindle comes loaded with 10 books. Magazines and other resources may be added at some point, depending on patron interest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

UW-Madison students clamor for another 24-hour library

The Associated Students of Madison Academic Affairs Committee is asking students to weigh in on the establishment of an additional 24-hour campus library. The Daily Cardinal reports that students experience overcrowding at College Library, currently the only 24-hour library on campus, and Ebling Health Sciences Library on the west side of campus. Preliminary survey results indicate that Steenbock Library may be students' choice, though ASM acknowledged that budget constraints will make it difficult to staff another library for extended hours.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WLA Awards nominations due June 1

The Awards and Honors Committee is thinking spring, and the coming of spring means that WLA members should be thinking about what libraries, programs, and colleagues they are going to nominate for awards this year. The new nomination deadline is June 1 and is fast approaching. The award categories include WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year, Library of the Year, Trustee of the Year, Muriel Fuller Award, Special Services Award, Citation of Merit, and WLA/Highsmith Award. Please remember that the honorees selected as the WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year and the WLA/Highsmith Award will each receive a check for $1,000.00 from their corporate sponsors.

Alice Sturzl, 2007 WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year has this to say about her receiving her award, “I was really honored to be selected as the Librarian of the Year, but humbled to learn that what I thought was taking-care-of-business was being viewed as over-and-above-the call-of-duty by my colleagues in the field of librarianship. I was so overcome with emotion after I had received the telephone call on my way back to Laona from Door County that I had to pull into a gas-station to compose myself."

If you have any questions about the nominations process, please contact Roxane Bartelt, committee chair. Nomination forms and criteria for each award are available online.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Menasha and Oshkosh public libraries participate in legal assistance grant

The State Bar of Wisconsin reports that the Winnebago County Legal Assistance Center received a grant of $5,000 to begin its project to provide information and legal assistance to low-income, unrepresented people at the main public libraries in Menasha and Oshkosh. The proposal was submitted by Commissioner David Keck, the Winnebago County Bar Association, and the Winnefox Library System. The clinic was developed with support from Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc., Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Oshkosh office, the Winnebago County Clerk of Courts, the Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., the Winnebago County Child Support Agency, and the Winnebago County Family Court Commissioner’s office.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Libraries help job seekers

As unemployment rises, libraries are finding more ways to help job seekers. Janesville's Hedberg Library launched its Job Center, with online resume writing workshops, free computer classes, online tutorials and several other resources. Their "Job Seekers Open Lab" sessions provide library staff to help patrons with job searches, online applications and resume and cover letter writing.

At Marathon County Public Library, library staff is creating a "career connection center" according to a report in the Wausau Daily Herald, which says the center will cost about $21,000. The new resources will include computers with specialized software reserved for job searching and resume development, along with other resources to help with a job search.

Fitchburg plans to build library

The city of Fitchburg in Dane County took a step closer to building their first library on February 25 when the City Council approved the project, according to a Channel 3000 report. The proposed library, with a targeted opening date of early 2011, would cost $14 million, with $4 million to be raised privately. The city has requested federal stimulus aid for the library, but interim director Debra Johnson said the availability of those funds will not drive the project.