Friday, October 22, 2010

Action needed to secure broadband fiber expansion to public & school libraries

To help ensure that public and school libraries get the broadband fiber expansion they need, please contact U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, along with your U.S. Representative!  (Contact information is available via WLA's CapWiz account.) Background information on this issue:

 --  In August 2009 the State of Wisconsin submitted a ARRA broadband grant (ID 174) to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  The grant proposed to bring fiber broadband connectivity to 467 schools and libraries on the state’s BadgerNet network.  Many of these sites are in small, rural communities but there is at least one site getting fiber in every county in the state.

--  In February NTIA awarded the grant for $22.9 million.  (See Governor Doyle’s press release announcing the award.)

--  The grant will allow our schools and libraries to get more than a  five-fold increase in their Internet bandwidth at NO additional cost. 

--  The grant was submitted and approved based on the State extending its contract with AT&T and other telecommunication providers who provide the BadgerNet circuits.  But now NTIA is requiring additional conditions be placed on the telecommunication providers, including issues related to long-term use of the fiber.

--  From a long-term perspective, the NTIA should focus on getting the State to ensure that it will continue to offer broadband service to our schools and libraries, as is now required under state law.  And the best way to do this is for NTIA to get a reaffirmation from the State based on the network business model (i.e., BadgerNet contract extension) that was in the grant. 

--  It has now been over eight months since the grant was awarded and no schools or libraries have received any fiber.  The delay in getting this grant approved further delays the bandwidth our schools and libraries desperately need and it further delays getting stimulus funding spent to help the overall economic recovery.  

Thank you for taking this action to secure expanded broadband for 467 Wisconsin schools and libraries!

Get Ready for WLA - Tweet #WLA2010

Registration? Check. Hotel reservation? Check. Conference-at-a-Glance? Check. I'm almost ready for WLA 2010, are you? The conference program looks fan-tas-tic! So many intriguing programs, so little time.

We are delighted to host Marilyn Johnson for what is sure to be an enlightening and humorous keynote address on Wednesday (11/3)!

Get more information about the WLA Conference; it's not too late to decide to attend. You can still register on-site!

Are you tweeting about WLA 2010? Use our hashtag #WLA2010!

See you at the Kalahari!

Best regards,

Vicki Tobias
Publicity Chair
WLA 2010 Conference Planning Committee

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Voices of Rural Wisconsin Project Features Librarian Recommendations

The Voices of Rural Wisconsin project is a partnership between Portal Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters to share the stories, thoughts and histories of the state's rural population. WLA recruited several members to provide book lists related to the subject. Helene Androski, retired Senior Academic Librarian, UW-Madison Memorial Library, provided a book list for adults; Betsy Bromley, children's and teen librarian at Oconomowoc Public Library, provided the list for teens; Svetha Hetzler, head of Children's Services at Middleton Public Library, created a children's reading list.

Dozens of other WLA members answered the call for assistance and may be used as a resource for future Portal Wisconsin projects.

YSS Book Discussion November 4 at WLA

Are you going to the WLA conference this year? Mark your calendars and start reading for a great program, you won't want to miss. The YSS Book Discussion will be held Thursday (November 4) at 4 p.m. This is your chance to participate in a book discussion led by librarians from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC). Everyone attending should have read either Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Atheneum, 2010) or Bruiser by Neal Shusterman (HarperTeen, 2010) in preparation for this session. Participants will follow CCBC book discussion guidelines.

Please go online to Survey Monkey to indicate your book choice.

WLA Foundation Fun at Conference!

WLA Foundation Fundraiser — Bowling & Boards!! (Kalahari Resort Bowling Center, Wednesday, November 3, 8:00 – 11:00 pm) If you haven’t already signed up for this event in advance on your conference registration form, sign up onsite at the Conference (no later than 5 PM Wednesday). Admission to this event ($35 per person) includes a donation to the WLAF, one drink ticket (good for beer, wine or soda), snacks, pizza and a fun evening with friends and colleagues.

Contact Bernie Bellin to register your team of four bowlers OR boarders (prior to October 31st) and each member will get one ADDITIONAL beverage ticket (which you’ll receive when you arrive at the event). If you name your team, let me know that, too. The team with the most creative name … the “Four Pins”… the “Gutter Guys” … the “Boarder Belles” … whatever you come up … will go home with one of the coveted trophies being awarded that night! Don’t have a team – come anyway, you’ll have a good time! Bowlers, don’t forget, this is a BYOS (bring your own socks!) event.

Great items are being donated to the onsite Conference Silent Auction – but, we’re never satisfied – we’d still welcome more! Please bring your donation(s) to the Conference. If that’s not possible, forward them to the WLA office and we’ll find a place to temporarily store them. However your generous donation makes its way to the Kalahari, please let us know by October 31 what you’ll be contributing by returning a copy of the Auction Contribution Form for each item you are donating.

Conference attendees and non-attendees alike – remember to register to bid on the WLA Foundation’s online auction items available for the first time this year at
--Bernie Bellin, Chair, Conference Fundraiser

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nominations Open for WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award

Do you know of someone actively promoting intellectual freedom?  Someone who exemplifies the spirit of intellectual freedom?  If you do, you know someone that should be nominated for the WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award.

Anyone who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin is eligible.  Activities within the past five years are eligible for consideration.
*A personal member of either WLA or WEMTA must submit the award nomination.
Individuals and groups may nominate themselves for the award.

This award is sponsored by: and the Center for Information Policy Research and the School of Information Studies at UWM.

Additional information on the award criteria and nomination process can be found at  Nomination Deadline: January 15, 2011

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WiFi Access in U.S. Public Libraries (Map)

From the American Library Association (ALA). Wisconsin looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Congrats to Four Wisconsin Libraries Named LJ's Star Libraries

A belated congratulations to four Wisconsin Libraries named by Library Journal as a "Star Library:" Madison Public, 3 stars, in the $10 million to $29.999 million category; Middleton Public Library, 3 stars, in the $1 million to $4.999 million category; Kilbourn Public Library, Wisconsin Dells, 3 stars, $400,000 to $.999 million category; and the Lettie W. Jensen Public Library, Amherst, 4 stars, $10,000 to $49,999 category. Each of these libraries are members of the South Central Library System.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ruth Ann Montgomery Receives Frances de Usabel Outreach Services Award

Ruth Ann Montgomery, director of the Arrowhead Library System, is the recipient of the 2010 Frances de Usabel Outreach Services Award, presented annually by the WLA's Outreach Services Round Table (OSRT). Jamie Matczak, OSRT Chair, said Ruth Ann was instrumental in helping the workers displaced by the closing of the GM plant in Janesville. Presently, over 1,600 residents in Rock County have participated in the computer classes Ruth Ann developed as part of an LSTA grant.

"It is a great honor to receive the Frances de Usabel award,” said Ruth Ann. “It has been my good fortune to work in a profession that values making buildings accessible to all.  Public library special needs and outreach projects have always been dear to my heart.”

The award is named in honor of the former Special Needs Consultant for the Wisconsin Division for Libraries, Technology and Community Learning, Frances de Usabel. Frances worked diligently and successfully to advance outreach services in Wisconsin public libraries for many years.  Funding for this award is made possible by the siblings of Frances de Usabel. Ruth Ann will be honored at the WLA Conference Awards Banquet on Thursday, November 4.

Ruth Ann feels fortunate to have a position where a difference can be made. “Every day I get to work with creative people who value library services. It is magical the way librarians share, enhance and promote program ideas,” she said.

Janesville Gazette reports on Ruth Ann's award-winning ways.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Portage Public Library Plans Expansion

The Portage Public Library is discussing an expansion of the library with Plunkett Raysich Architects, with a decision about moving forward possible by November, according to a report in the Portage Daily Register. The plans include expanding the meeting space and children's area, along with several modifications to existing space to create a teen space, correct water drainage problems and improve lighting, heating and cooling. The reported timeline for the project estimates completion by December 2011, but it appears that a final funding package has not yet been approved.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese: A Day in Pictures - November 17

Confident that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” the Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries, a multi-media publicity campaign sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation (WLAF), has created Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! to spotlight what’s happening in today’s libraries. 
Through online sharing of photographs in Flickr, this “day in pictures” provides a way to increase understanding, through photos, of the multitude and variety of resources, services, programs, and activities all types of libraries offer — with the intent to strengthen the base of support libraries have among the public officials who fund them and the people who use them. 
Visit to learn more about how your library can participate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

WLA Election Results Now Available

WLA election results for 2011 leadership positions are now available. Ron McCabe, director at McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, was elected WLA President-elect. Tasha Saecker, director at Menasha Public Library, was re-elected WLA Secretary, and Valerie Malzacher, director at Chalmer Davee Library at UW-River Falls, was elected to the WLA Foundation board of directors.

In 2011, the WLA board will include the following individuals:
Past President: Alberto Herrera, Jr., Marquette University
President: Rhonda Puntney, Lakeshores Library System
President-elect: Ron McCabe, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids
Secretary: Tasha Saecker, Menasha Public Library
Treasurer: Jan Berg, DeForest Public Library
ALA Councilor: Julie Schneider, UW-Madison Ebling Health Sciences Library AWSL Representative: Anne Moser, UW-Madison Wisconsin's Water Library
WAAL Representative: Heather Weltin, UW-Madison Memorial Library
WAPL Representative: Pam Westby, Middleton Public Library
WEMTA Representative: Allison Kaplan, UW-Madison SLIS
WLTF Representative: Doug Lay, Wisconsin Valley Library Service (trustee)
SSS Representative: To be appointed
YSS Representative: Marcia Sarnowski, Winding Rivers Library System

Complete results, including unit positions, are now available.

Support Staff Conference Schedule May 25, 2011

The WLA Support Staff Section has scheduled its annual One-day Conference for library support staff from around the state, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee. More information, including a registration form, will be available in early 2011.

Post-Election Strategy Session to Be Held at WLA Conference

A budget year, a new governor, a “reconstituted” legislature, continuing revenue shortfalls: 2011 is shaping up to be a very challenging year for promoting a library agenda at both the state and federal level. Come join the WLA’s Library Development & Legislation Committee (LD&L) for a brief overview of election results and how they will impact the legislature's leadership and overall agenda. In this new political landscape, where are the points of commonality with the library community? Get ready for a lively discussion of possible scenarios facing libraries and effective potential responses. Results of this program will inform future WLA legislative strategic planning.

Join Paul Nelson, Adjunct Assistant Professor, SLIS, University of Wisconsin-Madison (WLA Legislative Chair) and Julie Schneider, Director, Ebling Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison (WLA Federal Legislative Advocate), and other legislative committee members for this important session.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rummage Sale at WLA Conference

Do you have odds and ends of “library stuff” taking up space in your offices and work rooms?  Stuff that you know you should get rid of, but keep hanging on to because it might be useful to someone out there in libraryland?  Here’s your chance to clean out your closets AND help out your library colleagues! 

WLA is sponsoring a “FREE rummage sale” at the fall conference at the Kalahari.  Bring along the items you wish to part with to the conference.  A table will be set up in the registration area. You must label everything with your name, library, and phone number.  Items can be left at the rummage table for the duration of the conference.  Everything is free for the taking on a first come, first served basis.  You’ll need to check the rummage table by 10 AM Friday morning for your remaining items, and take home whatever you brought that is still there. 

Please, no old electronics:  hard drives, monitors, printers, etc. 

If you have any questions, contact me at  or 262-514-4500 x67 or contact Mary Stapleton at or 262-534-3533. 

Governor's Archives Awards Recognize La Crosse Public Library; Susan Braden

Winners of the 2010 Governor's Archives Awards include the La Crosse Public Library Archives Department for Archival Achievement and Susan Braden, Hedberg Public Library, for Archival Innovation.

According to the announcement by the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board and the Wisconsin Historical Society, the La Crosse Public Library Archives Department was selected for its work promoting archives and preserving local history for the local community the past 30 years. Aside from collecting, processing, and making available archival material, the department has supported students participating in National History Day, provided historical images and information for a book and program about the La Crosse area, received a grant to digitize La Crosse area maps, and created the Footsteps of La Crosse website.

Susan Braden, a reference librarian at the Hedberg Public Library, received recognition for her work to transcribe and digitize General Motors sit-down strike oral histories in order to make them available on the Internet. These oral histories detail the work, union, family, and social life of 12 men who had either participated in the 1937 GM sit-down strike in Janesville, or who worked in other Janesville industries. Originally on audiocassettes, these interviews were converted into podcasts with accompanying transcripts and are now available on the Hedberg Public Library's website.

Susan is also the recipient of this year's WLA Muriel Fuller Award for her oral history work.

The 2010 winners each receive a $500.00 gift certificate from DEMCO, Inc.

La Crosse Tribune article

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

WLA Membership Survey and Strategic Plan Revision

Winners of the drawing for two $25 gift certificates for completing the WLA membership survey: Jo Don Anderson, Southwest Wisconsin Library System, and Peggy Shaffer, recently retired from Lakeshores Library System. The survey asked members to rate their satisfaction with WLA as well as preferences about communications, other membership organizations and top challenges currently facing them. In general members would like WLA to do more to promote the value of libraries, produce more tailored outreach to specific membership groups and improve the website.Thanks to the more than 600 members (37 percent response rate) who completed the survey!

The information from the membership survey was used as background for a strategic planning retreat on August 20. A smaller group of leaders will meet again October 15 to start revising the strategic plan.

Milwaukee Public Library Breaks Ground on New Neighborhood Library

Groundbreaking for the new Milwaukee Public Library at Villard Square took place on September 17 at the corner of N. 35th St. and Villard Avenue.  The Villard Square project is a mixed-use development that will include the new MPL branch on the first floor of the building, with 47 apartment homes on three stories above for families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.  The grand opening of the new library is scheduled for Fall 2011.

The new library will replace an aging, energy-inefficient building located 1-1/2 blocks away at 3310 W. Villard Ave.  The new Villard Square Library will cover 12,871 square feet, and will include 50 desktop and laptop computers for library customers, community meeting and study rooms, children’s and teen areas, and self-checkout stations.  An on-site parking lot for 32 cars is part of the plan.  Local architectural firm Engberg Anderson is the interior architect.

MPL’s partners in this project include the City of Milwaukee, WHEDA, the Northwest Side Community Development Corp, and Gorman & Company, a development and construction company.

Photo shows Villard Square groundbreaking participants left to right:  Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees President Ald. Ashanti Hamilton, Library Director Paula Kiely, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, WHEDA Executive Director Antonio Riley, Northwest Side CDC Executive Director Howard Snyder, Board of Trustee member Ald. Nik Kovac, and Ald. Michael Murphy, chair of the Milwaukee Common Council’s Finance & Personnel Committee.

New Items Added to the Foundation’s Online Auction Site!

Take a moment to check out what’s just been added to the WLA Foundation's FIRST EVER online auction site!   While you’re there, be sure and register so you can start bidding on the variety of items available when the site goes “live” on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 8:00 a.m. CST.

And … some great items (that are going to encourage hot and heavy bidding!) have already been received for this year’s WLAF onsite Silent Auction at the Annual Conference at the Kalahari Resorts in November.   But … we’ll always welcome more!  Collectibles, themed gift baskets, services, hand-crafted treasures, jewelry, framed photos and prints, and those ever-popular food and beverage donations (all valued at $50 or greater, please) are just a few suggestions to foster bidding excitement for Conference attendees. 

Please complete the Auction Contribution Form and mail, fax, or email it to the WLA office prior to October 30, 2010. (It helps our record keeping if we know what’s coming to the Silent Auction).  With our smaller office space, we no longer have the area to store donated items as we once did, so we ask (and appreciate!) that if you or someone you know is coming to the Conference, please bring your donated item directly to the Kalahari.

Whether you donate to the auctions or bid on any of the great items available online at Bidding For or onsite at the Kalahari, we hope you have FUN supporting the activities and programs of the WLA Foundation as it works to promote Wisconsin libraries and librarians.
--Bernie Bellin, 2010 Silent Auction Chair

WLA 2010 Conference - Canned Food Drive

This year, the WLA will sponsor a food drive to benefit the Wisconsin Dells-Lake Delton Community Food Pantry. Bring your canned or non-perishable goods to the registration desk throughout the conference week, Tues-Fri, November 2-5 at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.

Your contributions will support the Wisconsin Dells-Lake Delton Community Food Pantry which serves, on average, 235 households and 1,100 individuals each month.  They provide nutritionally balanced food packages and rely heavily on the generosity of the surrounding community and local organizations to meet this need. Suggested items include:

    * Peanut Butter and Jelly
    * Tuna
    * Hamburger or Tuna Helper
    * Mac-n-Cheese
    * Cereal
    * Canned Fruits and Vegetables
    * Juice
    * Spaghetti Sauce and Pasta Noodles
    * Crackers
    * Coffee or Tea

You can take advantage of advance registration discounts for the conference through Friday, October 15. On-site registration will also be available, but meals must be purchased in advance.

Sheboygan Mayor Proposes Cuts That Would Put Library Under MOE

Mayor Bob Ryan's proposed 2011 budget would eliminate 24 employee positions, including 3 staff at the Mead Public Library, and would put the library funding below "maintenance of effort" required for membership in the Eastern Shores Library System. Funding for the library would drop $207,419, or more than 20 percent from the total provided in 2010, according to a report in the Sheboygan Press today.

Monday, October 04, 2010

ALA recognizes Milwaukee Public Library's Computer Training Website

The American Library Association’s Learning Round Table contributor Sarah Houghton-Jan recently recognized the Milwaukee Public Library’s computer training web page and printable handouts as a top 5 source for information professionals to use as reference sources for library customers.  To read more about what makes MPL’s content a winner go to

First Annual Sheboygan Children's Book Festival October 15-17

An outstanding slate of award-winning children's book authors and illustrators - including Avi, Kathi Appelt, Calef Brown, Lois Ehlert, David McLimans, Matt McElligott, James Dashner, Keiko Kasza, and Barbara Joosse - is scheduled to appear.  The Sheboygan Children's Book Festival is a free, public event for kids, teens, families and book lovers of all ages.

The children’s book festival includes author talks, illustrator workshops, keynote address by Newbery Honor winner Kathi Appelt, a dramatic performance reading by acclaimed author Avi, and a panel discussion on early literacy with Madison pediatrician Dr. Dipesh Navsaria and Karin Menzer, youths services librarian at Mead Public Library, Sheboygan.

For the complete schedule and listing of participating authors/illustrators, please visit

Wisconsin's 1st book festival for children, the Sheboygan Children's Book Festival is part of the Sheboygan Shindig, an arts extravaganza featuring the visual, literary, performing, and horticultural arts. 
Learn more about the Sheboygan Shindig by visiting

Sunday, October 03, 2010

New Location for Madison Public Library's South Madison Branch

The new Goodman South Madison Branch Library is scheduled to reopen on October 11 in its new location at 2222 S. Park Street on the first floor of the new Urban League of Greater Madison’s Center for Economic Development & Workforce Training.  The current location will close to the public on October 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm and is scheduled to reopen at the new location on Monday, October 11.

For more information or photos of the new library, see