Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boost Your Library's Budget with Private Gifts

With local and state budgets tighter than ever, every smart librarian works to develop private support for library services and programs. Whether you want to help your Friends move beyond the book sale, create a Foundation or develop funding partnerships for specific programs, the WLA Foundation pre-conference program will set you on the path to success.

Join the WLAF and well-known fundraising consultant Marcy Heim for "The Magic, Power and Joy of Philanthropy – Embracing and Enhancing the Role of Private Gifts in Managing Your Library Budget" on Tuesday, November 2, 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells. Cost is $60.00.

If you've already registered for the WLA conference but would now like to add this pre-conference, complete the pre-conference registration form. If you wish to participate in the philanthropy pre-conference and also register for the WLA Conference, please use the WLA Conference Advance Registration form through October 15.

WLA Conference - Call for Volunteers

Are you heading to the Dells for WLA 2010? We need your help with the following conference activities. Consider volunteering for a few hours, sometime during the conference week. It's an excellent way to meet and greet new colleagues!

For more information about volunteer opportunities and areas of need, please contact the following WLA 2010 committee members:

Registration Desk: Linda Hartig (

Local Arrangements: Ann Vogl (

Autograph Garden: Claudia Backus (

Internet Café: Adam Brisk (

WLA 2010 will be held at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, November 2-5. For more information, visit the conference Web site.
--Vicki Tobias, Publicity Chair, WLA 2010 Conference Committee

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

David Polodna, Winding Rivers Library System Director, Announces Retirement

David Polodna, director at Winding Rivers Library System, announced to his board on September 22 that he will be retiring on April 15, 2011. David provided his announcement well in advance to give the board adequate time to conduct its first-ever director search.

David says "I'm approaching this retirement as an adventure and it is not being driven by problems but by opportunities.  That being said, I don't have specific plans for what I will do with my time, though I'm sure I'll have no difficulty filling it meaningfully.  I'm often reminded of a statement Morrie made, at one of those Tuesday meetings, that seems especially appropriate now: don't leave too soon, but don't stay too long. This seems like the right moment."

Congratulations, David.

Don’t Miss "Bowling & Boards" - Foundation Fundraiser November 3

Be sure to sign up for the WLA Foundation (WLAF) fundraiser at this year’s Conference on Wednesday, November 3 from 8:00 – 11:00 pm!   This is stacking up to be a fun event not to be missed – and the bowling alley is part of the Kalahari Resort, so no need to drive anywhere!    For those of you who haven’t bowled in a while, this is not your “grandmother’s bowling alley” – but a hi-tech facility that promises to be a lot of fun for bowlers – and non-bowlers alike.

We’ve designed the evening so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.  For those of you who want to bowl – it will be a fast-paced evening of bowling one regular game of tenpins, plus a second “Baker’s Game” designed to go much faster. For those of you who enjoy rooting for (and ribbing) your bowling colleagues, there’s comfortable seating and large tables at the lanes to accommodate the snacks, beverages, and gourmet pizza you’ll be enjoying during the evening.  (Bowlers, take note!  You will need SOCKS to use the bowling shoes the alley supplies.  So … BYOS!  Socks are available from the Kalahari at a cost of $3.00/pr but are NOT part of your registration fee).

If you’d like to test your skills in a more “relaxed” setting, the alley houses an adjacent area of tables and comfortable booths where there’ll be a variety of board games available to challenge your mind and enjoy time with friends and colleagues – a fast-paced game of Trivial Pursuit, fun-filled game of Taboo, cribbage boards, and playing cards are just a few of the choices you’ll have.

And don’t forget the comfortable and inviting bar area (open all evening) where you can simply enjoy conversing and catching up with friends. 

Look for dozens of prize packages to be given out that evening … door prizes … …“mystery” numbers posted throughout the evening that could win you a prize ….  trophies awarded at the end of the evening!

Register your team of four (bowlers AND “boarders”) before the evening’s event and each member will get one ADDITIONAL beverage ticket (which you’ll receive when you arrive at the event). To register your team, send the list of names to Bernie Bellin. Don’t have a team and want to participate?  Not to worry, sign up and come anyway --- we’ll make sure to accommodate you. 

So … unpack that retro bowling shirt or your Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries red t-shirt … register for Bowling & Boards!! … and get ready to enjoy a fun-filled evening with friends and colleagues at the Kalahari!
--Bernie Bellin, WLAF Fundraiser Chair

Madison Elementary School Library Gets Facelift

Ralph Waldo Elementary Library in Madison received 2,000 new books, new, eco-friendly technology, lighting, flooring and furniture, according to a Channel3000 report. An organization called Heart of America partnered with Target Stores and the Madison Public School District to do the renovation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WLA Bylaws Amendments Proposed: Vote at Annual Business Meeting

The WLA Board has approved bylaws amendments for presentation to the membership at the annual business meeting, scheduled Thursday, November 4, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the WLA Conference in Wisconsin Dells.

The purpose of the amendments is to foster a leadership focus on benefit for members, and respond to members’ interests and needs more adeptly. The changes invite participation and engagement of the members. They also improve accountability of all programs to the association membership by creating shared financial and strategic goals.  The amendments also seek to adopt consistent practices throughout the organization to streamline operations.

Here is a summary of the proposed changes:

•    While the purpose of divisions would remain the same as currently stated in the bylaws, the purpose of sections and round tables would be modified to focus on sharing knowledge. The current purpose of sections and round tables is to promote the study and development of a particular function or aspect of librarianship. The new purpose: To explore, develop and share knowledge about particular functions or issues related to the library profession or workplace which have relevance for one or more types of libraries, library workers or supporters.

•    Units (divisions, sections and round tables) would have authority to adopt unique policies only where WLA policy is silent. The Committee on Organization would work to create uniform procedures, where necessary, to avoid duplication of effort, while seeking the involvement of unit leadership to refine and establish sound practices across the association. For instance, policies on conference speaker compensation and planning documents have varied from unit to unit, causing confusion and duplication of effort. 

•    Units can retain their current authority to elect officers, but only elected chairpersons will be required for unit viability.

•    All unit projects would be incorporated into the overall WLA operating budget, rather than retain segregated unit project funds. This allows greater accountability for all programs and also ensures that smaller units have access to project funds for strategic initiatives. Divisions would no longer be able to impose dues in addition to those imposed by WLA.

Read the amended bylaws proposal for more information.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Library Legislative Day is February 22, 2011

Invite a friend, don't be late, prepare for the most important advocacy event of 2011: Library Legislative Day, Tuesday, February 22, at the Concourse Hotel in Madison. Because the new governor of Wisconsin will be introducing a budget (and facing a nearly $3 billion deficit), because local budgets are stretched tighter than ever, your voice is more essential than ever at Library Legislative Day.

Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Association and the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association, Library Legislative Day is our chance to make the case for state support of libraries - whether it's public library systems, the UW System's Digital Research Commons, BadgerLink, the Common School Fund, or other library-related budget items.

Registration will open in December, but make plans to attend now.

Barrett Seeks to Increase Hours at 4 Libraries, Hold Line on Property Taxes

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports today that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is calling for a small cut in property taxes and a boost in hours for four libraries in the 2011 city budget he will unveil Thursday.

The $1.48 billion spending plan would shave $2,112, less than one-thousandth of 1%, off this year's $247.4 million property tax levy. Because the city's total assessed value has declined nearly 3%, the tax rate would rise 2.7%, from slightly less than $8.89 per $1,000 assessed value to slightly more than $9.12.

Bay View, East, Washington Park and Zablocki libraries would be open 45 hours a week, up from 35 hours now. This year, hours were sliced at 11 of 12 neighborhood libraries, running afoul of state rules that limit library budget cuts.

Banned Book Happy Hour

Banned Book Happy Hour
Friday, October 1  |  5:00 - 7:30 PM
Venue: Mickey's Tavern
Presented in partnership with the Intellectual Freedom Round Table of the Wisconsin Library Association, the ACLU, and others: When books are challenged in community libraries and in public schools, courageous people defend the right to read. As a kick-off for the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week, hear stories behind book challenges in Wisconsin and the people who fought censorship in their hometowns.

Postcript: See the fun that was had by all at this event:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update on DOA BadgerNet Fiber Grant

The BadgerNet Advisory Council provides the following update on the four main activities related to the BadgerNet fiber grant.  These  activities are:  (1) Federal interest in long-term use of the fiber; (2) BadgerNet contract extension; (3) Environmental Assessment;  (4) Finalizing the list of participating schools and libraries and the project’s budget.  All four of these activities must reach a final resolution before the project can move forward.

(1) Federal interest in long-term use of the fiber.  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA, the  grant agency) is understandably concerned that the $23 million in federal funding will have a long-term impact.  The primary way to ensure this is to make certain that the schools and libraries can access the fiber for many years into the future.  Attorneys from DOA, NTIA and the Wisconsin BadgerNet Access Alliance (WBAA) are working now to address this issue.  (The DOA’s request that this condition be waived was denied by NTIA.)

(2) BadgerNet contract extension.  The current State contract with the WBAA consortium expires in November 2011, but the contract also has a provision for five one-year extensions -- to November 2016.  AT&T staff (representing WBAA) and DOA administrators are meeting on a regular basis to resolve several outstanding issues on a contract extension. 

(3) Environmental Assessment.   One of the federal conditions placed on funding the grant is that DOA needs to have an approved Environmental Assessment done for all 467 locations scheduled to receive fiber.  Work on the EA is now underway with a target completion date of mid-October.  Once completed, the information will then be sent to NTIA for review and approval.  Assuming there are no major issues, approval is expected by mid-November.

(4) Finalizing participation and project budget. DOA staff continue to work on finalizing the budget and finalizing the list of participants. It is expected that this work will be done in October.

In light of the above information, an obvious question is:  What is the time frame for fiber installation and bandwidth increases?  The approximate target date to get the first three above activities completed is mid-November.  After the three tasks are done the WBAA will prepare a new set of work-plans based upon the season and taking into account work that requires trenching and work that does not.  We will share this work-plan with you as soon as it is published.

What does all this mean for a the 2011 E-rate application cycle?  The DPI recommends that schools/libraries now on BadgerNet wait until at least mid-November before making any E-rate decisions related to bandwidth increases, new router requests, etc.  This assumes the 2011 E-rate application time frame will be the same as in past years.

The Advisory Council will post out more updates as more information becomes available.

UW-Extension awarded $32.3 million in federal grants to expand broadband

WiscNet’s efforts in supporting Community Area Networks (CANs) in Wisconsin will be further advanced thanks to $32.3 million in federal grants announced today by University of Wisconsin-Extension Provost and Vice Chancellor Christine J. Quinn. UW-Extension led the grant application process.

The larger of the two grants will award $29.9 million to build more than 600 miles of fiber optic cable impacting 39 communities and 182 institutions. A separate $2.4 million grant will support education and outreach in the same four communities and in the Menominee Nation. Read more...

Footnote: On September 22, several Republican legislators issued a memo requesting review by the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance of the UW System's proposed plans for Community Area Networks (CANs).

WLA Bylaws Amendments; Vote at Annual Business Meeting

The WLA Board of Directors has approved bylaws amendments that will be presented for a vote of the membership at the WLA annual business meeting, Thursday, November 4, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells. No conference registration fee is required to attend the business meeting. Only personal members of the association may vote on the bylaws amendments.

Proposed changes include requiring unit projects to be part of the overall WLA operating budget and modifying requirements for unit viability and dissolution.

2010 Library Hall of Fame Selections Announced

The Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, has selected five individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2010:  Wayne Bassett (1915-1988), H. Vail Deale (1915-2004), Lea Gruber (1907-1996), Julia Wright Merrill (1881-1961), and Calvin Potter (1945- ). The inductions will take place on November 4, 2010 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells.  
Wayne Bassett served as Director of the Wausau Public Library, later merged into the Marathon County Public Library, and the Wisconsin Valley Library Service.  He served as the Legislative Advocate for WLA and as its President in 1976. 
H. Vail Deale was the former Director of Libraries at Beloit College.  He was a member of the 1954-55 Steering Committee that helped establish the Wisconsin Association of Academic Libraries (WAAL) in WLA and served as its first chair in 1955-56. Deale served as President of the WLA in 1960-61.  
Lea Gruber served as a trustee on the Prairie du Sac Library Board for 48 years. She also served on the boards of the Sauk County Library and the South Central Library System.  Leah served as President of the Wisconsin Library Trustee Association in 1973 and 1974.  She was honored as WLA’s trustee of the year in 1968 and was again selected for this honor in 1976.  
Julia Wright Merrill worked for the Wisconsin Free Library Commission on two occasions, from 1903 to 1906 and again from 1917 to 1922. She taught in the WFLC’s library school and served as a field agent promoting public library service throughout the state. She was a national leader in public library extension and served as the first Executive Secretary of the Public Library Association of the American Library Association.  
Calvin (Cal) Potter’s was a consistent and effective legislative supporter for Wisconsin libraries of all types during his 23 year career as a member of the State legislature and during his four and a half years service as Assistant State Superintendent, Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning.  For his advocacy for libraries, Potter received WLA’s Citation of Merit in 1981 and again in 1985.  
More extensive coverage of the accomplishments of these five individuals will be forthcoming in later posts to the WLHC website. (By Larry T. Nix, WLHC Steering Committee)

UW-Milwaukee SOIS Awarded IMLS Grant to Develop Library Leaders

The School of Information Studies (SOIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has recently been awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant to enhance library and information science education and to help develop library leaders. The SOIS grant program, entitled “Overcoming Barriers to Information Access (B2A): Educating the Next Generation of Library and Information Science Leaders,” addresses the need for new PhDs in SOIS’ three key areas of doctoral study: information organization, information policy and information retrieval. SOIS is currently seeking applications for six funded full-time doctoral positions under this grant program for fall 2011. 

Participants in the B2A program will receive three or four years of funding to cover tuition, a generous annual stipend/scholarship, research and teaching opportunities, resources to support their research and travel, and mentoring from SOIS faculty members during their studies.

For more information about the B2A program, please see the program website:

WLA Award Winners Featured on Wisconsin Public Radio

WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year, Marge Loch-Wouters, and Erik Plumb, interim director of Monona Public Library, Library of the Year, were featured on Kathleen Dunn's Wisconsin Public morning show Monday, September 13. In addition to showing their award-winning ways, Marge and Erik discussed current issues in public library service. If you didn't catch it live, you can listen to the archives.

UW-Platteville Karrmann Library Receives $3,600 Opportunity Grant

According to the Daily Pioneer, Provost Emerita Carol Sue Butts awarded the Karrmann Library $3,600 from the Opportunity Fund for new materials in the forensic investigation, micro-electro-mechanical systems and nanotechnology, and sustainable and renewable energy programs. The new books and DVDs were chosen by UW-Platteville library staff members Charlene Ingebritsen, Regina Pauly and Kay Young, and are available for the fall semester.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Susan Patron to Give Charlotte Zolotow Lecture

The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) and Friends of the CCBC announce that the 13th annual Charlotte Zolotow Lecture will be given by Susan Patron, author of the 2007 Newbery Award winner "The Higher Power of Lucky," on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, 7:30 p.m., at the Wisconsin State Historical Society Auditorium on the UW-Madison campus. The title of Ms. Patron's lecture is  "Merging the Universe."

The Charlotte Zolotow lecture is sponsored annually by the CCBC of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Friends of the CCBC, Inc.  Each year it brings a distinguished author of books for children and teens to Madison to deliver a free public lecture aimed at adults.
More info about Susan patron can be found on her website at
More information about the 2010 Charlotte Zolotow Lecture can be found at:

WAAL Conference Proposals Due October 15

The WAAL 2011 Conference Planning Committee invites proposals for 75-minute breakout sessions for Renew, Energize, Sustain: WAAL 2011 at the Ramada Inn in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, April 26-29, 2011.

Proposals and recommendations for presentations, panels and workshops are welcome. Target areas for sessions from the 2010 conference evaluations and possible topic ideas include (but are not limited to):
  • Sustainability
  • Information Literacy
  • Resource Sharing
  • Access Services
  • Technical Services
  • Distance Librarianship
  • Managing student employees
  • Weeding
  • Instruction and Teaching
  • Marketing
  • Small Libraries
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Digital Preservation

To submit a breakout session proposal please forward the following information:
1. Abstract of the program (300 words or less).
2. Presenter name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and contact information.
3. Format (presentation, panel discussion, workshop, etc.).
4. Equipment needs.

Proposals are due by October 15, 2010.

Please note that WAAL requires that all program presenters register for the day of the conference when they will present.  Non-member presenters will be allowed to register at the member rate.

Please send via email all proposals and questions to Andrew Prellwitz

Andrew Prellwitz
User Services Librarian
Lane Library
Ripon College
300 Seward Street
Ripon, Wisconsin  54971

Sunday, September 19, 2010

UW-Madison's College Library Hosts Successful House Party

On Thursday, September 9, College Library on the UW-Madison campus was the place to be for the 2nd annual Helen C House Party. Sponsored by a grant from the Center for the First Year Experience, the party celebrated the start of the school year and welcomed new students to the undergraduate library. Over 1900 students stopped by during the event and though the library remained open for normal business during the party, the majority of staff and patrons were on hand to partake of the free food and fun. Activities included: arts-and-crafts (tote bag decoration and origami), video games (including Green Day Rock Band), face-painting, balloon hats, palm reading, a Nerf Shooting Gallery, movies, Ninja Tag, and a LAN Party featuring Team Fortress 2.

Naturally, attendees loved the free food and also the main-stage entertainment provided by student groups as they waited in line. Featured performers included Madtown Ballroom, a Tae Kwon Do demonstration, UW Dance Elite, The Wisconsin Singers, a Capoeira demo, the UW Breakdance Club, and the a capella group, Tangled Up in Blue.

For images of the Helen C. House Party, see our flickr photostream.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Technology in Focus at WLA Conference November 2-5 in Wisconsin Dells

Skype, Tweet, "like," IM chat, geocoding, Web 2.0 and 3.0, social
network, digital this, electronic that, i-everything! New technology
continues to inform the way we think about library services and
resources and, ultimately, how we interact with our public. Each year,
new tools are available that inspire change within our work and work

The Wisconsin Library Association 2010 Conference presents a variety of
sessions that we hope will demystify some of this technology and provide
suggestions for incorporating it into your library mission! Below are
just a few events that we hope are of interest to you.

-Can You Hear Me Now? Shhhh!: Mobile Devices in the Library
-Digital (and Free!) Tools in Your Library
-McGyver Library vs Have You Heard About: Showdown of the
LibraryTechnology Titans
-Vocera - Instant Voice Communication

-The Future of Libraries and EBooks
-Learning the Latest Technology @ the Library
-Skype-Based Reference:  A Study and a Pilot Project
-Making the Connection: Online, Email and IM Reference Services in
Wisconsin Public and Academic Libraries

FRIDAY (11/5)
-The Changing Landscapes of Wisconsin: A Digital Archive of Historic
Aerial Photographs
-Social Tagging in the Library: User-Generated Content, Folksonomies,
and the Library Catalog
-Managing Your Online Identity

Check out the WLA 2010 Conference Web site for the full program schedule and registration form.

The 2010 Wisconsin Library Association conference will be held November
2-5 at the Kalahari Resort, in Wisconsin Dells. We hope to see you there!
--Vicki Tobias, Publicity Chair, WLA Conference Committee

DPI Submits Agency Budget Request, Initiatives for Libraries for 2011-13

On September 15, State Superintendent Tony Evers presented DPI's budget request for the next biennium, 2011-13, that includes the following library-related items:
-- Public library system funding at the 13% index level of $28,559,600 for 2011-12 and $29,130,800 for 2012-13. This compares to base funding of $16,681,200. Therefore, the requested change in funding is $11,878.400 for the first year of the biennium and 12,449,600 for the second year. If funded only at base level, the index level of state aid would decline to 7.7%.

-- BadgerLink funding of $2,946,000 for 2011-12 and $2,960,300 for 2012-13. This compares to base funding of $2,448,900. After subtracting the costs of Newsline for the Blind ($111,100 for each year of the biennium), the requested funding would represented an increase over base of $386,000 in the first year of the biennium and $400,300 in 2012-13. An increase allows for a pilot project with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association to provide access to Wisconsin newspapers, not consistently maintained by other vendors. The request also includes $205,500 SEG in both FY12 and FY13 to add the Learning-Express Library to BadgerLink.

-- Library service contract funding for the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, the Milwaukee Public Library, Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), and the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) totaling $1,170,500 for 2011-12 and $1,203,400 for 2012-13. This compares to base funding of $1,169,800, or a requested change of $700 in the first year of the biennium and $33,600 in the second year.

-- Newsline for the Blind supports newspapers accessible by telephone for blind and physically handicapped people. Funding described in the BadgerLink line item would total $111,100 each year of the biennium. This represents an increase of $7,800 in FY12 and $12,400 in FY13.

 --Distribute Common School Funds to school libraries of up to $39,600,000.

View the entire DPI budget request

Libraries are a Bargain in Wisconsin - from DPI

State Superintendent Tony Evers distributed an editorial for Library Card Sign-up Month, stating some interesting statistics. Wisconsin's public libraries rank 8th in the nation in circulation numbers, but only 21st in per capita expenditures. Talk about efficiency! Six out of 10 Wisconsinites have a library card - that's pretty impressive. Spread the word about your library.

Ken Hall Recognized as Friend of Education by State Superintendent Tony Evers

Ken Hall, director of Fond du Lac Public Library, is one of seven individuals and three organizations that will receive awards to recognize their significant contributions to students in local communities and across the state. State Superintendent Tony Evers will present his 2010 Friends of Education awards today in Madison as part of his second annual State of Education address.

In choosing his 2010 Friends of Education recipients, Evers said he is “humbled by the dedication of these citizens and organizations who each day work to improve the lives and education of the children of Wisconsin.”

Ken was recognized for his efforts to address the information needs of displaced workers in the greater Fond du Lac area. Through the services of two VISTA volunteers, who recruited community members to staff the Opportunity Center at the library, more than 650 job-seekers had help to improve their computer skills, write resumes and cover letters, search online for work, and research jobs and companies. Hall extended the services of the Opportunity Center to other smaller libraries in Fond du Lac County, making the library a center for economic development and recovery.

Congratulations, Ken!

Fond du Lac Reporter article on the award

See the complete news release for a list of all winners, including First Lady Jessica Doyle and Wisconsin PTA.

Two Things Government Does Right: Public Libraries and Parks

It's popular for some to bash government programs these days, and the sense of hopelessness because of the economny can leave you feeling, well - hopeless. But, according to a column appearing in the Appleton Post-Crescent today, government definitely does two things right: public libraries and parks. Here, here!

Appleton Public Library Director Discusses Library Trends Via Videostreaming Hosted by Appleton Post-Crescent

Terry Dawson, directory of Appleton Public Library, participated in an interview via videostreaming with an Appleton Post-Crescent reporter about the past, present and future of libraries as he prepares to retire. He discusses e-books and other trends related to digital media, as well as other matters related to libraries in general and the Appleton Public Library. Not to mention what it's like to transition to retirement and what his personal plans look like.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dr. Robert Smiley Receives 2010 WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award

Robert Smiley, PhD, has been named the recipient of the 2010 WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award. The award (formerly the WLA SIRS/Proquest Intellectual Freedom Award) recognizes the contribution of an individual or group who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin. It is administered by the Intellectual Freedom Roundtable of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA IFRT) and the Wisconsin Media and Technology Association Intellectual Freedom Special Interest Group (WEMTA IF-SIG). Sponsorship is provided by and the Center for Information Policy Research at the UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies

Dr. Smiley, who recently became Director of Technology for the Waunakee Community School District, has been a powerful and effective advocate for unfiltered access to the internet for school district students and staff. As Director of Technology for the Stoughton Area School District, he responded to federal legislation demanding that schools and libraries receiving e-rate funding filter internet access by weighing the fiscal impact of accepting the funding against the impact on student learning if filters were installed. The result: Stoughton Area School District does not filter.

The principles of intellectual freedom apply regardless of the format in which information is delivered, noted award committee chair Megan Schliesman. “Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have a choice,’ when it comes to filtering, Dr. Smiley’s actions said, ‘We do have a choice, and that choice is to make student learning our first priority.’ The work he has done serves as both model and inspiration for educators in the state and nationally.”

Dr. Smiley took the lead on developing a Telecommunications Use Policy for the Stoughton district that provides the foundation for supporting unfiltered access to the internet. He has educated administrators, community members, legislators and others about the importance supporting open access to information and its positive impact on student learning. In addition to speaking to district staff and community members about the capabilities and limitations of the internet, he has presented at conferences and has attended local, state and national advocacy days for libraries to lobby for intellectual freedom and access for all.

Dr. Smiley has also made it a priority to educate others on navigating safely in an unfiltered world. In her nomination letter, Erlene Bishop Killeen, a library media specialist for the Stoughton Area School District, wrote that Smiley has “upheld the need for educating and proactive supervision of our students so that they are savvy technology users yet safe consumers.”

Additionally, Dr. Smiley has been an advocate and educator on the issue of net neutrality, emphasizing the importance of the internet as a place for the open exchange of ideas and information without restrictions based on content or that would limit or control access. He chaired the WEMTA Legislative committee that developed the WEMTA position on this issue, which states in part, “WEMTA supports the continued access to the Internet as an open forum for the free exchange and dissemination of information and opposes any legislation that would limit or control access . . . . Common carriage is the fundamental principle that supports the Intenet as an open, unbiased medium, and it should not be abandoned.”

The award will be given at the WLA Annual Conference Awards Banquet on Thursday evening, November 4, in the Wisconsin Dells.

The 2010 WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award Committee was comprised of three individuals from the WLA IFRT board of directors and three individuals from the WEMTA IF-SIG. Members were Marcia Aas, School Library Media Specialist, Darlington School District; Nancy Biese, School Library Media Specialist, Menasha School District; Val Edwards, Library Media Specialist, Monona Grove High School; Judy Eulberg, retired library media specialist; Joyce Latham, Assistant Professor, UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies; and Megan Schliesman, Librarian, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, UW-Madison.

WISL Gives $150 Stipends for WLA Conference

The recipients of this year's WISL conference scholarship are Jeanne Williamson, director of Leon-Saxeville Library, Pine River, and Sharon Briggs, director of Monticello Public Library. Each will receive $150 to help defray the costs of the attending the WLA Conference, November 2-5 in Wisconsin Dells.

Applications are due in early August each year. Each recipient is asked to share the knowledge they gained at the conference.  Criteria are available online.

Friday, September 03, 2010

"Public Libraries Daring to Be Different" in PM Magazine

Libraries are strategic partners when it comes to solving community challenges, not discretionary services. That's the upshot of an article in the current issue of PM Magazine, a publication of the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA), entitled "Public Libraries Daring to Be Different." Arising from a partnership between ICMA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that challenges city and county managers to be "champions of public libraries," the article showcases nine success stories. A sidebar also describes essential skills and activities for a public library director, such as participation in community planning, sharing the mission of local government, the ability to build partnerships and communicate with the larger community. The case studies in the article include libraries responding to natural disasters, using sustainable energy sources, engaging at-risk teens and more.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Access Online Payments, Membership Directory and Your Profile from MyWLA

WLA has updated and refined some links on our home page, including making a link to "MyWLA" that provides access to the membership directory, your personal membership profile, and online registration, renewal and payments - via MemberClicks. You'll also notice photos of recent WLA activities and a conference logo linked to the 2010 WLA Conference pages. The link to the WLA Blog is now part of the left hand navigation links. We hope you'll find these small changes an improvement in the look of the home page. More to come!