Friday, May 29, 2009

SCLS Delivery System

The South Central Library System Delivery System (affectionately known as the “Red Box folks”) recently updated their web page. The delivery system in Wisconsin is the envy of most other states in terms of providing rapid, efficient, and cost effective delivery between libraries.

Delivery goes between UW system libraries, public libraries, private colleges, technical colleges, and Wisconsin governmental agencies. There is even a daily handoff to Minitex (Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota) libraries. Over one and a half million items were moved by the SCLS Delivery system last year.

There is a wealth of information on the web site – including statistics, delivery schedule including timetables, and guidelines for shipping. I encourage you to spend a few minutes browsing their web site.

GovInfoDay: Cynthia Etkin from U.S. GPO

Library Roles in Facilitating Open Access to Government Information
  • Federal Depository Library Program
  • NIH Public Access Policy
  • Transparency and Open Government Initiative - Pres. Obama's memorandum 1/21/09 - - -
  • Letter from Public Printer to Pres. Obama 3/9/09 - support for initiative, offering assistance to carry out through FDLP and Public Law 103-40
  • Goals: FDsys as official federal govpub repository, Web2.0 functionality, public input into pending legislation, etc.

Marketing Government Information in Libraries

  • Librarians are not generally good at marketing - we think statistics are marketing
  • What is marketing?
  • " organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for manageing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders." - American Marketing Association,
  • ... NOT just promoting
  • ... a strategy that ensures user needs continue to be met, and provides value to library users
  • ... Product (what we provide or COULD provide) + position (what we want users to believe about libraries and staff) + promotion (increase awareness)
  • Think about saying... "Members" and "Guests" instead of "users" or "patrons" or "customers" or "visitors"
  • Environment: we're competing for funding, space & resources
  • OCLC report 2008: "From Awareness to Funding":
  • ... perceptions of vs. support of libraries
  • ... "transformational" libraries more likely to get tax increase support than "informational" l ibraries
  • ... should target marketing messages to different segments of voting public
  • GPO Data Gathering for Marketing: 2007 Biennial Survey:
  • ... 67% of FDLP libraries hadn't surveyed users about quality of depository services
  • ... Though library staff are informed of new fedgov resources in many ways, the public is mainly informed through handouts and displays, some via events and articles.
  • FDLP provides:
  • ... materials to promote services and collections (posters, bookmarks, pamphlets, letterhead, graphics, PSAs)
  • ... pocket cards in Spanish
  • ... Vision/Values statement
  • ... Feedback form "button" you can put on your website
  • ... Marketing plan
  • ... Radio spots to share with campus stations
  • ... Videos - up on YouTube: "Easy as FDL: Free information, dedicated service, and limitless possibilities," "GPO takes to the streets" (asked people if they knew what a federal depository library was, what their favorite government publication was, and what they think of when they hear "library")
  • Image: pyramid of collections, services, & communications = collaboration/flexibility to provide access to depository materials
  • We want:
  • ... your success stories
  • ... tips about what works and doesn't work
  • ... quantitative data (website usage, materials dispersed, collection usage changes)
  • ... you to use AskGPO
  • Developing a Library Partner Relations Program, will collect data for benchmarking success - working with OutSell consulting firm

Comment: It would be nice if the videos were customizable to our local libraries.

Comment: We can't fix all the ignorance that U.S. citizens have about their government :)

Question: Are the radio spots only suitable for campus stations, or also community radio? A: I haven't listened to them yet, but community stations would be fine.

Question: How does GPO foresee changing, in this changing library environment? A: Many of our policies are actually written as laws, so slow to change. Picking low-hanging fruit. Streamlining needs & offers (disposition).

Comment: I see a danger of libraries dropping out of the program, if GPO doesn't make radical changes. A: We've all been thinking about it - our hands are tied, and unfortunately it may take a mass dropout to change things. I can't tell you to lobby.

Comment: There would need to be a library consensus on needed changes. Last time (1998), the photocopier lobby nixed it. There are always some people in Congress who say we don't need the Congressional Record at all. A: At Tampa meeting, we asked "If you could change 1 or 2 things about Title 44, what would you change?"

Comment: If it's all online, what is left? Provide internet access to the public, and staff who understand the landscape/organization of government information. Unfortunately, libraries will probably stop hiring people to provide that expertise. In Wisconsin, the universities have a long tradition of serving the entire state. But northern Wisconsin does not have high-speed internet.

Cynthia: We're told "our collection isn't getting used." So we ask them, "are you promoting it?" But not always enough staff to do so.

Cynthia: We're waiting for a report on the minimum number of documents recommended per state, under various conditions.

Comment: I'm happy that I'm not needed to answer the simple questions anymore, but to still be there to help with the in-depth research questions.

Comment: There's still a role for trustworthy, .gov information. Though patrons don't always know where the information is from - they think it's from Google.

Cynthia: The courts are starting to accept documents beyond just the media and government.

Cynthia: Version control is going to be built into the online repository system. The URL will go to the agency website, unless it changes, when it will revert to the archived copy.

GovInfoDay: 2008 WI Distinguished Document awards


"Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide: A Producer's Guide to Marketing Locally Grown Food"
  • Published by the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection

  • Four of the creators were able to attend to receive the award

  • Have already printed 3,000 copies, and there's been a lot of interest from producers and farmers' markets coordinators

Honorable Mention

ALA/GODORT Notable Government Documents 2007 from Wisconsin

GovInfoDay: WI Freedom of Information Council

"Open Government in Wisconsin"
Christa Westerberg, FOIC Vice President
McGillivray Westerberg & Bender

Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council

  • Non-profit organization, affiliate of national FOI Coalition - Promoting informed democracy
  • Our focus is Wisconsin government info in particular
  • Many members from media
  • My interest is as an attorney - filing open records requests for local zoning issues, deficient notification of open meetings
  • WFOIC website - post laws (including case laws that are often not available without paid subscription), Attorney General opinions, WI DOJ compliance guides, suggested template for open records request, links to related organizations
  • Publish monthly "Your Right to Know" column, often in newspapers
  • Offer "Pocket Compliance Guides"
  • Annual "Opee Awards" - cheers & jeers
  • Special projects - ex: journalism school conducted audit

How do you make a records request?

  • To the "records custodian" - suggested to do it in writing, be as specific as possible (see WFOIC template)
  • Legal case coming up right now about access to non-work-related email on public servers
  • Some info exempt (ex: health records)
  • Supposed to respond "as soon as practicable and without delay" - 10 business days recommended
  • Can charge requester certain location fees, mailing costs & copying fees (WI DOJ suggests 15 cents/page)
  • Materials (circulated or held?) by public libraries aren't subject to the law

Open Meetings

  • Open meetings aren't required to keep minutes - just roll & motions.
  • Closed sessions are suggested to record audio or audio/video, because prone to legislation
  • Q: Apply to all our meetings, since we work for state educational institutions? A: Some rulings on this, should apply to most important academic meetings.
  • Q: Walking quorum? A: Not allowed - it's when a chair talks to each person who makes up a quorum in person and comes to a consensus, without even holding a meeting.

U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

  • New ruling 2009 - presumption of openness, burden not on requester to prove it should be open
  • U.S. DOJ website has list of FOIA contacts for each agency
  • Responses supposed to be provided in 20 days, with possible 10 day extension - in actuality, can take years...
  • Fee waiver available for public interest
  • Many more exemptions than Wisconsin law, including inter-agency memoranda

Q: Any recommendations for government document librarians? A: Welcome to attend trainings, spread information through your communication channels, distro pocket compliance guides, Sunshine Week is good time, contact us with questions.

Q: Anything we can collect to support people doing FOIA requests? Common information sought? A: Local government issues - meeting minutes (can direct to their websites), municipal ordinances, statutes that specify reporting requirements, media often know what they're looking for.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Update on Federal Broadband Funding

From May 21, 2009 issue of Channel Weekly:

The Department of Public Instruction has provided a website ( with information on the $7.2 billion in federal broadband funding. The following are some recent updates.

1) The state Department of Administration (DOA) and the UW System will likely submit large grant proposals that have a statewide or regional impact. The DOA proposal is centered on bringing fiber cable to all school districts and public libraries that are on the BadgerNet network and currently do not have fiber. This will total about 420 sites. The UW System proposal centers on developing Community Area Networks (CANs), which can include schools and libraries. More information on these two proposals is at

2) The DPI's Broadband Funding FAQ has been updated and is at

3) State superintendent Burmaster has sent a letter to the Governor's Office for Recovery and Reinvestment supporting a State priority to use the federal broadband funds to bring fiber to our schools and libraries.

If you have any questions on the broadband funding, contact Bob Bocher at 608-266-2127 or Updates will also be posted at (

Thursday, May 21, 2009

ShareILL--A tool you can use!

ShareILL is a gateway to electronic and print resources pertaining to all aspects of interlibrary loan (ILL), document delivery, and resource sharing. Designed to be comprehensive and international in scope, ShareILL features links to resources that will help practitioners locate materials for their clientele, manage the ILL process, and keep up with developments in the profession.

If your work in any way can be described as resource sharing, I'm sure you'll find something helpful here.

Take a look!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Open letter to West Bend

The WLA recently sent an open letter to West Bend's Mayor, Common Council, library board, library staff, and citizens regarding the complaints about the library's collection:

The Wisconsin Library Association strongly supports the staff and trustees of the West Bend Community Memorial Library as they carefully consider challenges to the library's collection policy, while continuing to provide a library collection that represents the diverse views of the users of the library.

Free access to ideas and freedom of expression are bedrock principles of this country enshrined in the United States Constitution. Public libraries are institutions dedicated to the freedom of expression and inquiry necessary for a democracy to survive. The public library is the provider of access for all citizens to the full range of ideas, including controversial or unpopular ideas.

It is contrary to the democratic principles of this country for any group to impose its views on others through efforts to limit access to views they oppose. It is also contrary to democratic principles for attempts to be made to place control of a library in the hands of those with a narrow political agenda.

The Wisconsin Library Association commends the courageous West Bend librarians, public officials, and citizens who are standing up for free access to ideas and freedom of expression.

Two Wisconsin government docs make LJ "best of" list

Publications of the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance made Library Journal's list of best government documents of 2008! Both publications were honorable mentions on WLA's Government Information Round Table's (GIRT) list of 2008 Wisconsin Distinguished Documents list:

* Turning Points in Wisconsin History. Wisconsin Historical Society. 2008. OCLC # 57119299.
* Governor's Task Force on Campus Safety: Final Report. Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance. 2007. 86p. illus. OCLC # 182540782.

Thanks to Beth Harper, Government Documents Reference Librarian at Memorial Library, UW-Madison, and chair-elect of GIRT, for sharing this news item.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cottage Grove Village Board votes to disband library board

At their May 18 meeting, the Cottage Grove Village Board voted 6-1 to repeal the 2004 ordinance that created the village library board. Diane Wiedenbeck, library board president and a member of the village board, cast the lone dissenting vote. On May 13, the library board took action to transfer their donations and land to the Friends of the Cottage Grove Community Library, a nonprofit corporation. According to a report in the Home Town News, the move was in part a reaction to the April election of a majority of village trustees who had campaigned against library spending. Wiedenbeck, contacted May 19 by WLA staff, stated that the board was disappointed, but not surprised by the village trustees' action. She said that her disappointment wasn't just about the loss of all the work she and others had completed on the library project, but "It's about what the community is missing out on" by not having a library.

Sheboygan library funding cut for current year to head off city deficit

The Sheboygan Press reports that the Sheboygan Common Council has requested nearly immediate departmental budget reductions, including for the Mead Public Library, in order to address a projected $2.2 million deficit in 2010. Departments are expected to present plans to cut 1 to 6 percent from their budgets for council review at a July 6 meeting, with approved cuts likely to take effect the following day. The library budget will be decreased but funded at the three-year maintenance of effort required to remain part of the Eastern Shores Library System.

West Bend Council rejects reconsideration of library board appointments

At their May 18 meeting, the West Bend Common Council voted 5-2 to deny reconsideration of their prior refusal to approve Mayor Kristine Deiss' recommendation to reappoint four sitting library board members. One council member abstained. Alderman and library board member Nick Dobberstein made the request to rescind the council's April 21 decision not to approve reappointment of Dobberstein and three others. The council members voting against reappointment are upset about the board's handling of a citizen's request to restrict access to books in the young adult section of the library. Read the full article in the Daily News.

Racine schools eliminate a librarian position

Only one elementary school in the Racine Unified School District will have a full-time librarian in 2010, based on a school board decision protested by at least 50 citizens at a meeting May 18. Speakers opposing the decision included Racine Public Library Director Jessica MacPhail, parents, a school librarian, children and others. A report in the the Racine Journal Times stated that three of 21 elementary schools in the district currently have librarians present daily, while the other 18 schools have rotating librarians who switch between two schools every other week. The Racine Education Association organized the protest rally.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Madison Central Library committee recommends stand-alone building

A Madison Public Central Library committee recommended a six-story, stand-alone library over a proposal for a mixed-used development, in part because the former proposal would offer more seamless public service while the new library is under construction. In addition, the committee felt public sentiment was more inclined toward a "significant, stand-alone civic structure," even though branches have been succcessfully developed as mixed use projects. The Capital Times also reports that while the mayor is supportive, the council will need to discuss the project as it takes up its capital budget - and that's been the stumbling block for prior proposals.

Milwaukee Public Library grapples with budget shortfalls

Facing a potential shortfall of $90 million or more in the 2010 Milwaukee city budget, Common Council President Willies Hines, Jr. warned that even the library is unlikely to be spared from cuts. In a May 16 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report, library representatives were described as considering all options, though no branch closings are proposed for 2010. The article reported that seven neighborhood libraries each need up to $750,000 in mechanical system overhauls, which prompted discussion about whether fewer and newer, energy-efficient buildings would be more cost-effective.

South Milwaukee school libraries cut staff

The South Milwaukee Public School Board said May 7 that its 2009-10 budget would retain current school library hours, despite cutting one of two librarian positions, by increasing support staff hours at three elementary schools and the middle school. According to a news report, librarian Deborah Semrad would prepare lesson plans for the library classes taught by paraprofessionals, while librarian Eric VanErt would move into a teaching position. The article in South Milwaukee NOW reports that VanErt contends the plan does not meet state guidelines for library media services in public schools, though school officials disagree with that interpretation.

Horning wins Scholastic Library Publishing Award

K.T. Horning, director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center, is the winner of the Scholastic Library Publishing Award for her "extraordinary contribution to encouraging a lifelong love of reading and promoting access to books." School Library Journal reported that Horning will receive the award, along with a $1,000 check, at the ALA Conference in Chicago in July.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Read-In at West Bend Public Library

The West Bend Public Library has been facing difficult times after local residents complained about gay-themed books in the young adult collection of the library, and the issue has grown.

Most recently, Mayor Kristine Deiss' reappointment of four library board members was rejected, though they will continue to serve until the mayor can find others who will agree to serve on the library board.

The complaint was originally lodged by Ginny Maziarka about gay-themed books in the library. The complaint was later broadened to include all "pornographic" materials.

A group of supportive individuals are staging a Read-in on Friday, May 29, in support of the library, the displaced library board members, and "banned books" in general. They will walk from a local middle school to the library, where they will read banned books until 6:00 p.m. when the library closes.

See previous posts on the West Bend situation:

West Bend Library Gets Complaint about Gay Themed Books (March 27, 2009)
West Bend City Council Rejects Library Board (April 22, 2009)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wisconsin: A Story of Restoration and Renewal

Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, WAPL's Thursday luncheon speakers, were delightful, and shared a lot of great information.

They have launched their own business, Inn Serendipity, a bed and breakfast outside of Monroe, WI. It is completely powered by wind and sun, and breakfasts feature foods mostly from the farm's gardens, or other local "fair trade, sustainable and/or organic items."

They also write books, such as
  • ECOpreneuring: Putting Purpose and the Planet Before Profits
  • Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life
  • Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity
  • Renewing the Countryside: Wisconsin
  • To Be a Kid, To Be an Artist, and 4 other children's "photobooks"
And that's not all they do in their passion and quest "to leave this planet a better place."

They spoke to us about many things, but much focused on the ECOpreneurism movement, one of supporting the start of new (read "small") businesses that not only make money, but do good, for others, and for the planet.

Tips for Being an Ecopreneur:
  • Go Green
  • Be Fossil-fuel Free
  • Tap into "Multiple Economies of Ecopreneurship"
  • Mind Your Own Business
  • Keep it Local
  • Rethink Retirement
  • Practice Healthcare and Homecare
  • Fail Fast and Intelligently
  • Travel and Garner Experiences
  • Define "The Good Life" on Your Terms
And guess what? They love libraries! They offered many suggestions for library programs catering to entrepreneurs and ecopreneurs, providing meeting space for them, working with them to help you convince municipalities of the need for increased funding because the library supports small businesses and helps them thrive, and more!

For more info, visit Lisa and John at:

Friday, May 08, 2009

300 attend WAPL conference in Wisconsin Dells

With dozens of programs and chances to reconnect with colleagues from around the state, the WAPL Conference hosted 300 registrants at Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. From answering patrons' legal questions to connecting kids with library resources, programs addressed new and perennial library service issues. Current events were the focus of Emily Sheketoff's Thursday luncheon program urging attendees to contact their Congressional representatives as library-related issues arise. In particular, she urged Wisconsin library supporters to share their opinions with Rep. David Obey who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Watch for post-conference resources at