Monday, October 10, 2011

WLA and SRLAAW Support Public Library District Enabling Legislation

With much yet to be done, WLA and the System and Resource AdministratorsAssociation of Wisconsin (SRLAAW) have been working the introduction of on enabling legislation to authorize districts as an option for public library governance and funding in Wisconsin.
There are currently four options for public library organization and governance under state law; public library districts would be an alternative choice. In very basic terms, a public library district is defined as an independent taxing authority that is authorized by state law to establish and operate a public library.  According to statistics collected by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, nearly 15% of U.S. public libraries are organized as districts.
As are the four current methods of public library governance, the formation of a public library district is a matter of local choice.
The WLA Board and SRLAAW has endorsed these recommendations and encouraged the public library community to review them carefully in order to gain a clear understanding of what is being proposed. 
Paul Nelson, chair of WLA’s legislative committee, and Doug Baker, SRLAAW district committee chair, will present information about districts at the WLA Conference program “What’s New Under the Dome,” Thursday, November 3, 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. in Room 201A of the Frontier Airlines Center, Milwaukee. (Other legislative issues will be also be discussed, and Kurt Kiefer, Assistant State Superintendent, DPI, and Julie Schneider, Federal Legislative Advocate, will also present.)
Representatives of the district committee will attend the board meetings of the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries (WAPL) and the Wisconsin Small Libraries Section (WISL) at the WLA Conference to discuss the proposal.

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