Friday, June 23, 2017

Gail Murray Joins the WISCAT Team!

The Department of Public Instruction's Division for Libraries and Technology is very pleased to announce
that Gail Murray has accepted the position of WISCAT Technical Coordinator at Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning. She will officially begin transitioning to her new role on Monday, June 26th.

The WISCAT Technical Coordinator is responsible for administering, configuring, supporting and maintaining the statewide Interlibrary Loan platform, comprised of union and virtual library catalogs and an interlibrary loan management system, for use by public library system staff and library staff in public, school, special, and other types of libraries. Gail will also be responsible for compiling and reporting statistics, creating WISCAT documentation, and investigating and implementing enhancements to improve resource sharing in Wisconsin.

Gail has worked for the Department of Public Instruction since June 2015 as the Content Management and Outreach Librarian for the BadgerLink program. In that role, she provided technical support, training, and contributed to the overall vision of the program. Because BadgerLink uses the same underlying software as WISCAT for user authentication and federated searching, Gail is already very familiar with the software and configuration of WISCAT.

Before working at DPI, Gail earned her Master's of Science in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, she was a supervisor at the Ikenberry Library as well as working on marketing, outreach, and assessment in the Residence Hall Libraries. She also worked as an outreach intern for electronic resource vendor Credo Reference, where she worked with libraries across the country to increase visibility of their online resources on their websites and discovery layers.

Gail grew up in a small town in central New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at SUNY Binghamton and worked for several years in hospitality and customer support roles while volunteering at local libraries prior to beginning her graduate studies.

Gail will be an outstanding addition to the WISCAT team and will help continue to improve resource sharing in libraries throughout Wisconsin. Please join me in welcoming her to this new role!

Gail can be reached at (608)224-5394,

Written by: Ben Miller, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wisconsin Digital Archives Collection Connection : Wisconsin Heat Vulnerability Indices

Thermometer indicating rising temperatures outside
Courtesy of Pixabay
The Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services collects data related to population density, health factors, natural and built environments, and demographic and socioeconomic factors to track negative impacts extreme heat can have on vulnerable populations such as elderly populations, socially isolated people and those with pre-existing chronic conditions. This data is used to create heat vulnerability indices (HVI) to identify areas of greatest risk for negative health impacts due to extreme heat for the entire state of Wisconsin, by county and for the greater Milwaukee urban area.

The heat vulnerability indices are available in the Wisconsin Digital Archives along with other resources related to managing extreme heat:

Learn more about how data is collected for the heat vulnerability indices and other heat-related health and safety tips.

Post written by:
Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Library of the Month: Hurley School District

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team
Main entrance of the Hurley School District
Courtesy of Hurley School District

The Hurley School District has 571 students and since January 2017, there have been more than 5,000 visits to BadgerLink from Hurley School District website! So we reached out to find out what they were doing.

Hurley School District is located in the township of Kimball and serves residents in the cities of Hurley and Montreal, and the Towns of Anderson, Carey, Gurney, Kimball, Knight, Oma and Saxon. Serving such a large region can pose difficulties, but also allows for a variety of educational field trips within their 468 square mile service area. Recently students have learned new things with visits to the Iron County Historical Society and Museum, North Lakeland Discovery Center, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, and Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department.

Varsity football player reads to 2 fourth graders
Team Read, Courtesy of Hurley School District
The Hurley School District finds ways to make learning fun and connect with the community. This year Hurley held a read-a-thon in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Together the elementary school read for 91,591 minutes! Also in support of literacy, Hurley hosted “Team Read” sessions and varsity football players read with 4th graders. The Senior to Senior Tech Class reached out to senior citizens in the community and gave them an opportunity to learn the basics about computers from the school's resident experts, the senior class.

Students teach senior citizens how to use computers
Senior to Senior Tech Class,
Courtesy of Hurley School District
The library is a hub of technology learning. Each library has a computer lab for students to use in addition to the district's 9 laptop carts and 2 iPad carts. Additionally, the High School students each have their own laptop. All students, pre-kindergarten through high school, spend time in the library learning about technology and developing digital literacy skills.

This spring, high school students put their digital literacy skills to the test when they were assigned in-depth research projects. Evaluating the credibility of resources and their information is vital to any research project. Freshman searched for information on influential people in U.S. history, while the sophomores researched controversial court cases throughout U.S. history, and the seniors researched potential careers. Students relied heavily on BadgerLink’s reliable resources to research their topics.

The last day of school for students was June 2nd. We hope staff and students have a great summer break! We send a huge thank you to Hurley School District for using BadgerLink!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Día de los Niños at Waukesha Public Library

The Youth and Inclusive Services System Continuing Education Projects are a great example of collaboration on state, regional, and local levels. Using LSTA funds, the Public Library Development team assisted multiple regional library systems in offering face-to-face continuing education events including mini-grants for attendees. The South Eastern Wisconsin (SEWI) system consortium and Winnefox Library System partnered on a project that focused on inclusive library services for children and families. The Waukesha Public Library, a member of the Bridges Library System, participated in an in-person workshop and applied for a mini-grant to increase outreach to the Hispanic community in Waukesha. What follows is a summary of the event, by Michele Gagner, Children's Services Library Associate.
Kids and families doing cultural crafts at the library
Families enjoyed the Día de los Niños event,
supported with LSTA funds, at the Waukesha Public Library.

Waukesha Public Library's Día de los Niños program, generously funded by the LSTA Mini-Grant, was held April 29, 2017. The program was a great success!  Along with the Spanish language and bilingual books and cultural craft project supplies funded by the grant, we also involved community partners - three local businesses contributed food and gift cards to purchase refreshments and supplies, two musical ensembles featuring school-aged kids performed, and local agencies and community partners assisted us with marketing and provided Spanish-speaking volunteers.  About 250 children and adults attended, well exceeding our goal of 100-150.

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt
Public Library Development Team

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What is Your BadgerLink Story?

My BadgerLink Story ribbon
BadgerLink Stories

"BadgerLink is not just for students. I am so impressed with what's available in BadgerLink that I cannot express it in words. I have always found the access to newspapers valuable as a librarian in the business world." -- Rhonda, Business Librarian & Records Manager, Wausau, WI

"BadgerLink is a tremendous resource for learning. I work with a 51 year old man who worked his entire life in the auto tire business changing tires, but he was laid off over a year ago. He had never finished high school and couldn't find another job. A librarian at the Milltown Public Library showed me the LearningExpress Library High School Equivalency Center, and my student was able to take the test to better understand the level of competency necessary. [He] obtained a job in a different industry and we will continue to study weekly." -- Dave, Tutor, Milltown, WI

"BadgerLink supports the academic curriculum on our campus. We introduce and promote BadgerLink resources, so no matter what their skill levels, students acquire life-long learning skills. [They] complement our offerings and support us in preparing students as they transition through the various phases of their careers." --  Mernathan, Instructor & Campus Facilitator and Shelley, Librarian, Milwaukee Area Technical College

These are just a few testimonials demonstrating the difference the BadgerLink resources make in the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners in Wisconsin. We save schools and libraries millions of dollars, support education, and enhance economic development. Read all BadgerLink Stories

What is your BadgerLink story? Get inspired and share your story today!  

BadgerLink is a service provided by the Department of Public Instruction and our resources are paid for with state funding and federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Written by:
Elizabeth Neuman, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Announcing the 2017 Youth Services Institute Cohort

The Wisconsin Youth Services Development Institute provides professional development and networking for Wisconsin public library staff who serve babies, children, and teens in smaller public libraries. The Institute targets library staff who have no graduate degree in librarianship and/or work in rural/isolated library communities. For these individuals, there is a need to improve skill and knowledge base, foster a supportive network, and develop stronger peer-to-peer and professional community connections within the Wisconsin public libraries infrastructure. The Institute is supported through an LSTA grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the Public Library Development Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

The application process was competitive for this year's Institute. Twenty-five participants were selected from a large pool of applicants representing 14 of the 16 regional library systems. Cohort members are listed alphabetically by library system and last name.

The 2017 Youth Services Institute Cohort

  1. Jayme Anderson, Milton Public Library, Arrowhead Library System
  2. Karin Timmermann, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville), Arrowhead Library System
  3. Brianna Adams, L.D. Fargo Public Library (Lake Mills), Bridges Library System
  4. Jessi Peterson, Chippewa Falls Public Library, Indianhead Federated Library System
  5. Martha Kaempffer, St. Croix Falls Public Library, Indianhead Federated Library System
  6. Florence LaBeau, Ellsworth Public Library, Indianhead Federated Library System
  7. Jodie Porep, Fontana Public Library, Lakeshores Library System
  8. Amanda Rentas, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee County Federated Library System
  9. Kate Kirschner, Horicon Public Library, Monarch Library System
  10. Sarah Lange, Juneau Public Library, Monarch Library System
  11. Mary Winter, Shawano City-County Library, Nicolet Federated Library System
  12. Angie Bodzislaw, Spooner Memorial Library, Northern Waters Library Service
  13. Keri Rose, Hortonville Public Library, Outagamie Waupaca Library System
  14. Rebecca Hoffman, Marion Public Library, Outagamie Waupaca Library System
  15. Wendy Borden, Oregon Public Library, South Central Library System
  16. Chris Baker, Portage Public Library, South Central Library System
  17. Pamela Thompson, La Valle Public Library, South Central Library System
  18. Tara Teasdale, McCoy Public Library (Shullsburg), Southwest Wisconsin Library System
  19. Sarah Kyrie, Argyle Public Library, Southwest Wisconsin Library System
  20. Emily Zorea, Brewer Public Library (Richland Center), Southwest Wisconsin Library System
  21. Lisa Thomas, Hatch Public Library (Mauston), Winding Rivers Library System
  22. Nicole Overbeck, Wautoma Public Library, Winnefox Library System
  23. Hannah Schraufnagel, Neenah Public Library, Winnefox Library System
  24. Katie Kubisiak, Rhinelander District Library, Wisconsin Valley Library Service
  25. Krista Blomberg, Rib Lake Public Library, Wisconsin Valley Library Service
Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Public Libraries and Workforce Development

Guest post by Shawn Brommer Youth Services & Outreach Coordinator, with assistance from Mark Jochem, SCLS Consultant Services Intern

The South Central Library System recently held three planning meetings to connect public library staff and staff from community agencies that provide direct services to job seekers. Hosted by the Sun Prairie, Monroe, and McMillan Memorial Public Libraries, these planning sessions provided opportunities for public library and workforce development staff to meet each other, learn about organizational services to job seekers, and identify ways to deepen partnerships and work together to reach shared goals.

Project background:

In the Spring of 2016 The U.S. Employment and Training Administration sent a memorandum to state and local workforce development boards, workforce agencies, and American Job Centers asking them to collaborate with public libraries to complement and extend the career and employment services available to job seekers and unemployed workers. While direct federal funding is not available for public libraries, the Department of Workforce Development and its Workforce Development Boards are encouraged to collaborate with public libraries in the regions they serve. Collaboration examples include:
  • Including public libraries as stops on routes of mobile American Job Centers.
  • Using space available at public libraries to provide career assistance and employment services to library patrons, host job fairs, familiarize patrons with career resources that are available electronically or in-person at American Job Centers.
  • Informing and training public library and Department of Workforce Development staff members about the resources, services, and programs of each organization.

We saw this as an opportunity to help libraries in the South Central Library System connect with regional Workforce Development Boards and last fall we created a survey in which library staff identified: 1) their questions about serving job seekers, and, 2) questions about services provided by workforce development agencies. The survey input provided discussion outlines for the planning sessions, which were held in March and April 2017.

What we’re learning:

Public library staff, workforce development staff, and community agency partners gathered together in March and April and our discussions were lively, engaging, and productive. Staff from all agencies determined shared goals and began to identify ways to work together to meet the needs of job seekers in their communities. Examples include:

  • Sharing resource recommendations for technology training, job announcements, resume and cover letter templates, and regional workforce assistance programs.
  • Sharing information about organizational services and programs.
  • Sharing information about regional job fairs.
  • Sharing information about transportation services.
  • Sharing information about resources that help job seekers strengthen their interpersonal skills and learn ways to engage with employers and stay employed.

We recognized that job seekers often require additional help and that social service agencies that support children, families, transportation needs, and healthy lifestyles are crucial partners in serving community members who are un- and underemployed. Based on our discussions, we determined that job seekers deserve dignified point-of-need service and connections to local and trusted agencies and programs.

Next steps:

The face-to-face time is invaluable and we will continue to host planning sessions for public libraries and community agency partners. At the system-level, we are creating regional resource guides that connect job seekers and library staff with trusted resources (see the Green County guide). At SCLS we are reaching out to agency staff who will give brief presentations about their organizations and the services they provide and we are looking at ways to publicize existing library resources, such as Learning Express (provided by BadgerLink), print collections, and library technology classes to community agency staff. In order to move forward, public libraries and systems need to continually connect with social service agencies and meaningfully engage with communities to discern a holistic view of community life and to learn about the daily barriers faced by many community members.

The planning sessions were supported in part by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the DPI by Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Written by:
Shawn Brommer Youth Services & Outreach Coordinator
Mark Jochem, SCLS Consultant Services Intern