Tuesday, May 24, 2011

House Education and Workforce Committee to mark up bill seeking to repeal “ineffective or unnecessary education programs”


The House Education and Workforce Committee is scheduled to mark up H.R. 1891 tomorrow. This bill would repeal many U.S. Department of Education Programs including Improving Literacy Through School Libraries, which is the primary source of federal funding for school libraries. School libraries have struggled this year with the defunding of Improving Literacy Through School Libraries in FY 2011 budget. If H.R. 1891 were to pass, it would effectively eliminate this program as well as federal support exclusively for school libraries. We cannot let this happen!

If your representative is on the Education and Workforce Committee, please call him/her today at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to remove the repeal of Improving Literacy Through School Libraries from H.R. 1891. Please explain to them that Improving Literacy Through School Libraries serves to update many school libraries in disadvantaged school districts where access to up-to-date materials is very much needed. H.R. 1891’s bill summary it calls for the “repeal of ineffective or unnecessary education programs.” Improving Literacy Through School Libraries has twice been evaluated by the U.S. Department of Education (most recently in January 2009), which found the program to be successful in both evaluations.

Wisconsin Congressman Thomas Petri is on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Three New Members of State Assembly Sworn In

The Assembly gained three new members on Tuesday when winners of the May 3 special election were sworn in by Justice David Prosser. Democrat Steve Doyle of Onalaska and Republicans Duey Stroebel of Saukville and Dave Craig of Big Bend will serve the balance of the current term of Republican Mike Huebsch (94th District), Republican Mark Gottlieb (60th District) and Republican Scott Gunderson (83rd District), respectively. The three Republicans resigned to join Gov. Walker’s cabinet.

The partisan makeup of the Assembly is now 59 Republicans, 38 Democrats, 1 Independent and 1 vacancy (District 48, vacated by Democrat Joe Parisi, who was elected Dane County Executive).
--Tony Driessen, WLA Lobbyist, DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C.

DEMCO Announces Acquisition of Evanced Solutions

MADISON, Wis. (May 18, 2011) - DEMCO, Inc., a leading library supplier, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Evanced Solutions, a market leader in developing and distributing solutions allowing libraries to web-enable their services and streamline day-to-day management tasks.

“A decade ago, we developed our first library event management software. Now, we serve more than 2,000 libraries across the country,” said Todd Cutler, founder of Evanced Solutions. “We’re excited about the future with DEMCO and the opportunity to create even more solutions for our customers.”

Evanced Solutions is looking forward to the ability to produce new tools that increase efficiency, allow libraries to connect with customers, and better manage processes. Currently, the solutions offered are primarily library software tools that allow activities such as event calendaring and registration, facilitate summer reader programs, automate room reservations and more. The company’s summer reader software program provides an easy way to manage summer and year-round reading programs for customers of all ages.

DEMCO president Mike Grasee said, “The needs of librarians are changing rapidly and we are excited to give our customers expanded library products and services to meet these needs. Together, Evanced and DEMCO can help libraries do more by integrating supplies, furniture, educational products, security systems, software solutions and space design across all departments and services.”

“Evanced is a natural fit with DEMCO’s family of brands. Together, the companies will add new solutions to serve librarians and communities and support lifelong learning and enrichment for another century to come,” said Grasee.

For more information about DEMCO, visit http://www.demco.com; for information about Evanced Solutions, see http://www.evancedsolutions.com.

Monday, May 16, 2011

WLA Board Endorses CUWL Resolution on Resource Sharing

The WLA Board endorsed the Council of University of Wisconsin Libraries resolution to support library resource sharing, regardless of the governance structure adopted for the UW-Madison and the UW System. CUWL unanimously approved the resolution at their meeting on February 23.

WLA members have expressed concerns about what changing governance would do to the resource sharing that libraries throughout the UW System, including UW-Madison, have participated in and advocated for. WLA has supported the UW Libraries' concept of One System, One Library and includes support for $6 million in funding for a digital Research Commons as a priority on its legislative agenda. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Potential Change to Common School Fund Spending Raises Concerns

A bill touted as a K-12 "mandate relief" includes changes in the way Common School Funds can be spent. The bill (SB 95) eliminates the current 25 percent limit on the amount of money a school library receives from the Common School Fund to purchase school library computers and related software. In other words, the entire CSF allocation could be used to purchase devices rather than the information resources needed for student learning; e.g., the school librarian is required by administration to purchase new computers but then cannot afford to purchase access to research databases.

The Assembly Education and Senate Education Committees will hold a joint hearing on the draft bill next Monday, May 16, 10:00 a.m. in Room 411-S State Capitol. If your legislator is a member of one of these committees, please call him or her to to voice your concerns.

Edited May 17:
A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article published May 16 summarized the hearing, or listen to the entire hearing on Wisconsin Eye.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Action Alert: Please Contact Republican Lawmakers About State Budget

Thanks to previous efforts of library supporters like you, Joint Finance Committee recently restored funding for BadgerLink, but pending cuts to public library system aids, statewide resource contracts and maintenance of effort funding for public libraries will be destructive to library service in Wisconsin.

Please click here to take action to urge Republican legislators to restore library funding in the 2011-13 state biennial budget! Note that we are targeting ONLY Republican members of the state legislature. If your legislator is not a member of the majority party, they will not need a contact at this time. Therefore, once you type in your zip code and click to send your message, it will select only targeted legislators.

You'll also be able to search for phone numbers of your legislators. Click on "Elected Officials" to get more detailed information about each. We encourage you to follow up your email with a personal phone call. Tips on effective calls are available here: http://www.wla.lib.wi.us/legis/advocacy/legisphone.htm

Thank you for taking a moment to help! You can make the difference.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Free Conference May 26: "Facing the Challenge: Local Politics and Library Budgeting Now"

There will be a free conference for library directors and trustees titled "Facing the Challenge:  Local Politics and Library Budgeting Now" on Thursday, May 26th at McMillan Library in Wisconsin Rapids.  The conference is sponsored by McMillan Library and the Wisconsin Library Association and will feature presenters Ron McCabe and Andy Barnett.

Ron McCabe is Director of McMillan Library, President-elect of the Wisconsin Library Association, and author of  Civic Librarianship: Renewing the Social Mission of the Public Library, Scarecrow, 2001.
Andy Barnett is Assistant Director of McMillan Library and author of Libraries, Community and  Technology, McFarland, 2002.

For conference schedule and registration information, see the conference flyer at  http://www.mcmillanlibrary.org/library/facing_challenge.pdf

The State Budget and Wisconsin Libraries - Presentations by Ron McCabe Available

To promote understanding and advocacy, Ron McCabe is now available for public presentations on "The State Budget and Wisconsin Libraries."   Presentations are free to libraries and other sponsoring groups in Wisconsin.  No honorarium or travel reimbursement is requested.

Ron's nonpartisan presentation will describe the role that libraries play in expanding educational opportunities and the impact of the proposed 2011-2013 Wisconsin State Budget on this important work.

Ron McCabe is Director of McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, President-elect of the Wisconsin Library Association, and author of /Civic Librarianship: Renewing the Social Mission of the Public Library/.  He has lectured on public library development throughout the nation and has served as a consultant to American Library Association presidents Sarah Long and Nancy Kranich.

To schedule a public presentation, see the presentation flyer at http://www.mcmillanlibrary.org/library/budget_libraries.pdf

ALA Issues State Fact Sheets

The American Library Association has issued State Fact Sheets on LSTA funding, Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (LSL) and public library data. Formatted for printing and sharing, these handy fact sheets can be used for library users, elected officials and other stakeholders who may need help understanding the variety and importance of these library programs. Thanks, ALA!

Expansion Hopes for ALA's "Libraries Build Communities"

A subset of the American Library Association's Emerging Leaders, including WLA's very own Easter DiGangi,  is determining how to transform and expand ALA's annual volunteer service day, "Libraries Build Communities." Originally designed to assist libraries and local groups in host cities where the ALA holds its Annual Conference, the Emerging Leaders "Project F" seeks to turn the program into an ongoing national volunteer program for librarians who wish to serve their local communities.

Read more about Project F, and contact the group at project-faboo@googlegroups.com if you have suggestions or an interest in assisting recruitment efforts.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Details on Joint Finance Actions on May 3

On Tuesday, May 3, the Joint Finance Committee held an executive session on, among other issues, library-related budget matters. Here's more detail on the motions and votes affecting libraries; options voted on refer to Paper #562 from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. They are presented in the order in which they were acted upon by the committee.

Motions on Maintenance of Effort:
-        Option A. 3 to delete the provision in the budget bill that would eliminate MOE; failed on a split vote of 8-8.
-        In favor: Sen. Olsen, Sen. Harsdorf, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Jauch, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Nygren, Rep. Grigsby and Rep. Shilling
-        Opposed: Sen. Darling, Sen. Leibham, Sen. Grothman, Sen. Hopper, Rep. Vos, Rep. LeMahieu, Rep. Strachota and Rep. Kleefisch

-        Motion #91 (MOE compromise) failed on a split vote of 8-8.

-        In favor: Sen. Olsen, Sen. Harsdorf, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Jauch, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Nygren, Rep. Grigsby and Rep. Shilling
-        Opposed: Sen. Darling, Sen. Leibham, Sen. Grothman, Sen. Hopper, Rep. Vos, Rep. LeMahieu, Rep. Strachota and Rep. Kleefisch

Motions to Restore Funding:
-        Motion #80 (to restore 2a, 2b and 2c and "require that the governor request federal funding for broadband technology, if available") failed on a vote of 5-11.
-        In favor: Sen. Olsen, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Jauch, Rep. Grigsby and Rep. Shilling
-        Opposed: Sen. Darling, Sen. Harsdorf, Sen. Leibham, Sen. Grothman, Sen. Hopper, Rep. Vos, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Nygren, Rep. LeMahieu, Rep. Strachota and Rep. Kleefisch-    

Option B 2a, 2b and 2c failed on a vote of 6-10.
-        In favor: Sen. Olsen, Sen. Harsdorf, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Jauch, Rep. Grigsby and Rep. Shilling
-        Opposed: Sen. Darling, Sen. Leibham, Sen. Grothman, Sen. Hopper, Rep. Vos, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Nygren, Rep. LeMahieu, Rep. Strachota and Rep. Kleefisch

-        Motion Harsdorf/Olsen to restore 2c (funding for BadgerLink) passed unanimously.

What's the end result?
  • BadgerLink funding of $512,000 is restored.
  • Systems aids are cut 10% unless the legislature acts to restore these funds.
  • MOE is eliminated unless the legislature acts to restore this provision of the statutes.
  • Resource contracts are cut 10% unless the legislature acts to restore these funds.
WLA will be working on these issues. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Joint Finance Committee Restores BadgerLink Funding

Members of the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance today voted 16-0 to restore $512,000 in funding to BadgerLink that had been cut in Governor Walker's budget proposal. Motions to retain public library maintenance of effort (MOE) funding requirements or to allow MOE reductions of up to 10 percent (for this biennium only) failed on an 8-8 vote. Motions to restore all library-related funding failed on votes of 5-10 and 6-11.

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Sen. Robert Jauch (D-Poplar), Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Dan Meyer (R-Eagle River) and Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) where among those who spoke in favor of libraries. If you live in the district of a finance committee member, please take a moment to send your thanks for the restoration of BadgerLink funding.

And, a big thank you to all the library supporters who sent emails to Governor Walker or legislators about library funding needs in the 2011-13 state budget. Though your contacts in recent days could not rebuff the lobbying efforts of municipalities to end MOE, or restore all library-related funding, those communications did make a difference. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

WLA Foundation Scholarship Applications Due June 1

Hoping to attend a workshop, conference, or other library continuing education program within or outside Wisconsin? Going back to school for a master's degree? The Wisconsin Library Association Foundation supports several annual scholarships for library education (approximately $1000 - $1400) and  continuing education (approximately $800 - $1100) for WLA members and prospective or continuing students.  Applications are due by June 1, 2011, and the eligibility requirements, forms and instructions are available at http://www.wla.lib.wi.us/wlaf/Scholarshipsindex.asp . Awards will be announced in late July.
--Jane Pearlmutter, President, WLA Foundation