Friday, March 30, 2012

Governor Walker Signs AB 224; New Options for Library and School Fund Management

Assembly Bill 224 was signed into law by Governor Walker on March 29. The bipartisan bill, authored by State Representatives Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) and Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) gives schools and libraries greater flexibility in the management of gifts and grants to their institutions.

Formerly, the state law had been amended to give public libraries the authority to transfer gifts and grants to a related foundation. This new law, Act 163, would expand the authority to schools and allow both types of institutions to transfer funds to community foundations. There are many benefits of working with a local community foundation, not least of which is their expertise in managing investment funds.

Read the complete news release from the Wisconsin Legislature.

For more on this topic, don't miss the WAPL Conference program, "Making the Most of Donor Dollars" on Thursday, May 10, which will discuss the benefits of using foundations to manage gifts and grants. Speakers are Victor Schultz, M&I Wealth Management of BMO Financial Group, formerly in private practice advising clients on creating trusts and foundations; Paula Kiely, Director, Milwaukee Public Library; Sharon Cook, Trustee, Milwaukee Public Library, and member of the Not-for-Profit Team at M&I Institutional Trust Services.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

UW/Tech College Accessibility Bill Passes

AB 322, a bill to require accessibility of instructional materials for students with disabilities enrolled in the UW System or technical college system was signed into law by Governor Walker as Act 124. The new law allows institutions of higher education to request that publishers provide instructional materials in accessible formats. The law also requires that publishers provide such materials, within defined parameters. WLA registered in support of the bill, which had a broad support from a variety of organizations and legislators.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rural Wisconsin Awards Recognize Three Wisconsin Libraries

The DPI announced on March 8 that State Superintendent Tony Evers has recognized nine projects as “Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin” award winners. The projects were chosen for fostering partnerships and developing the habits of literacy, farm safety, environment stewardship and community service. Libraries were involved in two of the award-winning projects:

Baby Time, Toddler Time, and Rhyme Time are outreach programs of the Weyauwega-Fremont School District’s 4-year-old kindergarten program. The Weyauwega Public Library and Neuschafer Community Library of Fremont host programs to provide academic, developmental, and social enrichment for children 4 years of age and under, while also introducing services to older children and adults to boost literacy.

In Three Lakes, the Story Hour Reading Program has been going strong, based on a partnership of the Edward U. Demmer Memorial Library the school district, since 1963! Weekly story hour times for children are augmented by adult programming offered concurrently. Funding comes from the school district, library and the towns of Three Lakes and Sugar Camp.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bill to Delay WiscNet Changes Dies

Despite contacts from library supporters and others around the state, AB 473/ SB 375 (to delay changes to WiscNet) died without being scheduled for a floor vote in either chamber of the state legislature. Therefore, the provisions of the original legislation that passed as part of the 2011-13 biennial budget bill will take effect on July 1, 2013. The exact ramifications of a separation of WiscNet from the UW are not yet clear. An audit of the program by the Legislative Audit Bureau is underway and is required to be completed by January 1, 2013.

Original Post 2/21/12:
AB 473, a bill to delay until July 1, 2014 the restrictions on participation by the UW System in selling or providing telecommunications services (commonly known as the WiscNet bill), was the subject of a public hearing on February 16 in the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. Chaired by Rep. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), who is a cosponsor of the bill, the committee heard from several groups in favor of the bill: UW officials, technical colleges, as well as WEMTA and WLA. Opponents of the bill are telecommunications companies, represented at the hearing by Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) and AccessWisconsin.

The committee will hold its executive session (to vote on the bill) on March 1, a schedule that leaves very little time for getting the bill scheduled and passed by both houses of the legislature. At this writing, the companion bill, SB 375, has not been scheduled for a Senate vote. (It was recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Higher Education on January 23.)

For background information and talking points on the bill, please see our CapWiz legislative alert and contact your legislators to urge passage.

Wisconsin Candidates for ALA Office Announced

The following Wisconsin librarians will be candidates for American Library Association leadership positions in elections that start today:

  • Rhonda K. Puntney Gould is a candidate for ALA Councilor-At-Large, a position she currently holds. Rhonda is the youth services and special needs consultant at the Lakeshores Library System, Watertown, and a member of the WLA Board of Directors as the immediate past president.
  • Francine D. Eppelsheimer seeks to be the ISS Representative to the AASL Board. She is Middle School Librarian/Library Department Chair PK-12, at the University School of Milwaukee.
  • Megan Schliesman is a candidate for an ALSC Board Vacancy. Megan is a librarian at the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) and currently serves as the WLA IFRT newsletter and web editor. 
  • Allison G. Kaplan seeks a seat on the ALSC 2014 Sibert Committee. Allison is Faculty Associate at UW-Madison SLIS and currently serves on the WLA Board of Directors.
  • K.T. Horning seeks a seat on the ALSC 2015 Wilder Committee. K.T. is director of the CCBC.
  • Linda S. Vincent will run for ASCLA Designated Director, Special Populations Constituency. Linda is the director of the Talking Book and Braille Library in Milwaukee. She is the WAPL Chair-elect and a member of the WeLead Task Force.
  • Kyung-Sun “Sunny” Kim is running for LRRT Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect. She is Associate Professor at UW-Madison SLIS.
Good luck to you all!

Culver's Celebrates National Library Week with Libraries

In celebration of National Library Week,  April 8-14, Culver's and WLA will again join local public libraries and Culver's restaurants in the "You Belong @ your library" drawing campaign for children 11 and under.

This is the 16th year local Culver's restaurants in Wisconsin have sponsored this event, which encourages children to read and celebrate their favorite book characters.

Children can enter the drawing event by picking up drawing sheets from their local library beginning April 1.  Children are encouraged to draw book characters that they would like to meet at the library.  Every child who completes a drawing will receive a "Be Our Guest" coupon for a free single scoop of frozen custard from Culver's and be entered into a random drawing to win an additional prize of a free Team Scoopie Kids meal coupon. Drawings will be displayed at the local library or Culver's Restaurant through the month of April.

All materials were delivered to local libraries the week of March 12 and are also available on the Youth Services Section website.

About National Library Week
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and state library associations and libraries across the country each April.  The Wisconsin Library Association and WLA Foundation, along with the WLA Youth Service Section, strive to support libraries and the people who work in them to improve and promote library service in Wisconsin.

About Culver’s
Culver’s serves fresh food with genuine family values to each and every guest. Culver’s is an expanding franchise system with more than 450 independently owned and operated restaurants in 19 states. The restaurants’ award-winning customer service is based on small-town, Midwestern values, genuine friendliness and an unwavering commitment to quality and cleanliness.  Signature items include the ButterBurger®, made from fresh, never frozen U.S. Beef, and fresh frozen custard, including the famous Flavor of the Day program. Supporting local communities is a cornerstone of Culver’s giving efforts. For more information on Culver’s, visit, and

All trademarks belong to Culver Franchising System, Inc.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

AB 543 / SB 531 Dies in Senate

Update on 3/19/12:  AB 543/SB 531 died in the Senate during in this legislative session.

AB 531 was recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Safety and Urban Affairs (on a party vote of 3-2), but the bill was not scheduled for a vote on the floor of the Senate. The   companion, AB 543, was approved on a 61-33 vote in the Assembly but was not scheduled in the Senate.

Thanks to all who contacted legislators with their concerns about the bill.

Update on 3/14/12: The Assembly passed AB 543 on a vote of 61-33 on March 13. The bill was messaged to the Senate, where it awaits scheduling. If your library will be adversely affected by this measure, contact your State Senator today.

Original Post
WLA remains concerned about the latest attempt to provide municipalities with an alternative method of exemption from the county library tax.  AB 543 is the latest attempt to change the exemption method.

The Legislative Reference Bureau analysis states:
Under current law, a county board may levy a tax for the purpose of providing public library services to county residents. A city, town, village, or school district located in the county is exempt from the county tax if the city, town, village, or school district levies a tax for public library services at a rate that is equal to or greater than the county library tax rate.
This bill provides an exemption from the county library tax if the city, town, village, or school district levies a tax for public library services and spends for a library fund an amount that is not less than the average of the three previous years, the county board approves the exemption, and (for the first year of exemption under this new method) the city, town, village, or school district qualified for the exemption using the current law method described above in each of the three previous years.
WLA has expressed its concerns about the bill in a memo to the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, which held a public hearing on the bill on February 9. An executive session (where a committee vote takes place to determine if the bill is recommended for passage and sent to the whole Assembly) is scheduled February 23.

First, as written, the bill would allow a municipality to establish a new library at a substandard level of funding and request exemption from the county library tax. In other words, a new library would have no funding history to determine an average of the prior three year’s of support, and a municipality could exempt from the county library tax at an extremely low level of funding.

Second, to allow an exemption from the county library tax as long as it is not less than the average of the previous three years provides little protection. As a consequence of approving the last biennial budget bill, the legislature eliminated the “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirement that libraries be funded at no less than the average of the past three years.  Because the MOE requirement could be met through flat funding, and its elimination means library funding can be reduced even more, over time a municipality could fund its library at an amount much lower than the county library levy rate and still qualify for exemption from the county library tax.

WLA agrees that any such exemption should require county board approval for this new type of exemption under the three-year-average method. Still, we feel that additional safeguards are important to address potential problems from occurring with new libraries. For instance, prohibiting new libraries from exempting in the manner allowed by the bill for the first three years of operation would be one solution. This prohibition would obviously not affect existing libraries which feel they would be helped by the provisions of AB 543.

If your library would be affected by this bill, please contact the WLA office at (608) 245-3640.

Edible Book Festival is April 10 at UW-Madison Memorial Library

The 2012 Edible Book Festival takes place 4:30-6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 10 and promises to combine literary and culinary talents in the Madison community. A Cheerios Brideshead Revisited?  A Kindle made out of chocolate?  Vegetarian depictions of The Jungle?  These could possibly be just a few of the entries at the annual University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library event.  An edible book is an entry made of edible materials, with the subject pertaining to books in shape or content.  In the past, participating food artists, families, and groups have worked with cake, goldfish crackers, alphabet soup noodles, Jell-O, licorice, and even Peeps!

The event is free and open to the public in the Memorial Library Commons (728 State Street, Room 460).  Members of the community are encouraged to attend, ogle the edible art, and vote for their favorite entries. A “real” cake will be served so that attendees aren’t tempted to taste the entries. Certificates will be awarded in multiple categories by the official judges:

Orange Schroeder, owner of Orange Tree Imports and Cooking School
Co-authors of the blog "Eating in Madison A to Z," the husband and wife team of JonMichael Rasmus and Nichole Fromm (who is also a librarian)

The deadline for entering the competition is April 2, 2012.  For more detailed information, online application, and photos from past festivals, see the website:

The Edible Book Festival is scheduled in celebration of National Library Week (April 8-14), and is co-sponsored by Memorial Library and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Librarian’s Assembly.  The first festival in Madison was held in conjunction with the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) Centennial Year celebrations. The roots of our event come from The International Edible Book Festival, the creation of Judith A. Hoffberg and BĂ©atrice Coron.  This first festival was held in 2000, and the “Books 2 Eat” website ( was created concurrently, so people around the world could enjoy the wide variety of food artists' creations.

We on the UW-Madison Edible Book Festival Committee hope you will consider covering this unique event.

--Nancy McClements, Book Festival Committee

Thank U.S. Senator Kohl for Signing LSTA Support Letter

ALA asks Wisconsin library supporters to please call U.S. Senator Herb Kohl at (202) 224-5653, and thank him for signing a letter indicating his support for funding of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in FY13.

LSTA is the primary source of funding for libraries in the federal budget. LSTA funding helps libraries meet community needs as library services continue to expand. LSTA money also helps provide job search and skill building services, digital literacy programs, technological support for growing internet demand, and much more.

Thank Sen. Kohl for demonstrating a strong commitment to libraries and remind him how important his leadership is in ensuring that funding for libraries is maintained, especially as demand increases.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference "Libraries for the Common Good"

Mark your calendars now for the 2012 Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference, which will be held October 23-26 at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse and La Crosse Center.

This year’s theme is “Libraries For the Common Good,” which reflects the role Wisconsin’s libraries play in our communities and our daily lives.

The Keynote speaker will be Lewis Feldstein, co-author of Better Together and a leading proponent of community foundations and social capital. Peter Yarrow from the vocal trio of Peter, Paul, and Mary will be the President’s Luncheon speaker and performer. Joyce Sidman, author of Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, a 2011 Newbery Honor Book, is this year’s YSS Luncheon speaker.

The WLA Foundation fundraiser will be a storytelling performance at the Pump House, a regional arts center housed in the historic La Crosse water pumping station.

Hotel lodging will be available at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse, located at 200 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, 54601.

Radisson Book a Hotel (this is the link for Radisson’s Book a Hotel/Redeem Gold Points)

Under Book a Hotel/Redeem Gold Points, enter your date for Check-in and Check-out plus # of Rooms, Adults, Children
Below is a box labeled Promotional Code: enter WILIBR
Far right of Check-in and Check-Out, click on Find Rate (this provides the standard hotel rate of $129, plus upgrades

Radisson Hotel La Crosse (608) 784-6680
National Toll Free Reservations (800) 333-3333

The deadline date for program proposals is Thursday March 22, 2012. If you have a program idea, you can complete the proposal form online. No login is required.

Rhonda K. Puntney Gould
2012 WLA Conference Publicity Chair

WAPL Conference Registration Is Open!

Spring is in the air, it must be time to register for the 2012 WAPL conference! Get ready for exciting programs, educational speakers, professional development and lots of fun with fellow colleagues! Mark your calendars for the 2012 WAPL conference at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center in Stevens Point:

Date: May 9 – May 11

Location: Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, Stevens Point

Registration and program information for the 2012 WAPL Conference can be found at

Information about the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, Stevens Point can be found at

--Tim Powers, WAPL Conference Publicity Chair