Thursday, April 30, 2015

13th Annual Braille Games

The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), in partnership with Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE) and Vision Forward Association, held the 13th Annual Braille Games in Milwaukee on Thursday, April 16, 2015. For more than a decade, blind and visually impaired children and adults have taken part in a unique intergenerational activity to improve their braille skills and celebrate how braille brings a world of information to their fingertips.

"Braille Games is such an important opportunity for blind children to use braille in a fun and interactive way while being mentored by blind adults who are self-sufficient and independent. These mentors share their skills in reading and writing braille while talking about their studies in college and their professions. It's crucial for blind children to know the vast array of opportunities available to them in adulthood,” said Cheryl Orgas, Executive Director for ABLE. 

Braille Games Participants Meet the Italian Sausage
Braille Games Participants Meet the Italian Sausage
“I really enjoy seeing the children and adults enjoying a shared knowledge of braille,” added Linda Vincent, Management Librarian for WTBBL. “There are always many smiles, a lot of laughter and some hugs. What a great way for the community to come together.” 

This year’s event theme was baseball. Children played Baseball Trivia, Jeopardy, and Slate and Sausages. The coach and team members from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) baseball team, The Raiders, joined the children to demonstrate how the game is played. The day ended with a fantastic finale with a visit from the Famous Racing Sausages, courtesy of the Brewers Community Foundation, Inc. The Sausages passed out Brewers baseball bags containing a braille book and tactile images illustrating the game (from ABLE), a stuffed bear (from WTBBL), and a squishy baseball (from Vision Forward). The children got the opportunity to touch the Racing Sausages; a treat for children who are visually impaired.

“Vision Forward is proud to be involved in the Braille Games,” said Terri Davis, Executive Director for Vision Forward. “This is an amazing collaborative effort and we strongly believe in its long term impact on the students. We’re especially proud of the community’s growing support with volunteers from MSOE and Manpower supporting the day’s activities.”

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team
With content provided by the Braille Games news release

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Revisioning Wisconsin Public Library Systems

...the beat goes on

Wisconsin’s library systems have provided services to public libraries in Wisconsin for over 40 years, and over the past 14 years various studies have made recommendations about library systems and their services. A few changes resulted in 2005 Act 420 and Act 226. At the urging of the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND), the Division for Libraries and Technology will take this information further to maximize the public investment in library systems and public libraries.  

To oversee the multi-year project, the Division for Libraries and Technology, in conjunction with COLAND and the Lean Study Steering Group, will select and work with a project Steering Group.
Bee comic and text: I can BEE COOPERATIVE by showing I am willing to do what is asked or required of me

The Steering Group will include:

  • One member of the LEAN Study Group (John Thompson, Director, Indianhead Federated Library System)
  • One member of the COLAND Work Group
  • One resource library director (based on SRLAAW recommendations)
  • One system director (based on SRLAAW recommendations)
  • Milwaukee Public Library Director or designee
  • 4 at-large public library representatives (based on WAPL and WISL recommendations, and one selected from self-nominations) to represent public libraries as follows:
    • One representing libraries in communities of over 25,000 (not a resource library)
    • One representing libraries in communities of 6,000 to 25,000
    • One representing libraries in communities between 3,000-5,999
    • One representing libraries in communities under 3,000
The Steering Group will be formed based upon library size as well as geographic distribution. In addition, members of the LEAN study committee and the COLAND work group on strategic visioning for library systems will provide guidance and support for the Steering Committee.

The Steering Group will:
  • Provide Strategic Vision, oversight and general leadership for the process.
  • Working with DPI, select a project manager to lead the service model development and implementation process.
  • Establish process to select and appoint implementation for work group members.
  • Provide feedback and guidance to the project manager in the development of the work groups and timelines.
  • Provide oversight to ensure transparency and appropriate communication to the library community, decision makers and stakeholders.
  • Work with DPI to assess, based on information gathered and progress of service work groups, budget and legislative requests for the 2017-2019 biennial budget.
Characteristics of the ideal candidate for the Steering Committee:
  • Able to attend in-person in different locations as well as virtual meetings
  • Communicate effectively with members of the library community
  • Willingness to think globally about library services
  • Ability to make a 2-3 year commitment to the process with the support of your library board/director
    • Board/Director approval of time commitment
    • Ability to absorb some travel and meeting expenses (Many meetings will be virtual but some will be in-person; limited funds will be available for travel expenses)
Future opportunities for participation for individuals not selected for the Steering Group (and others in the library community) could involve participation on a work group or reviewing work group recommendations. In addition, work group representation will include subject experts along with individuals selected based on size and region.  
Future work groups will include:
Continuing Education; ConsultingResource Library Services;Technology; Electronic Resources; and areas related to Resource Sharing (These will be separate groups but their discussions will impact the other groups): Interlibrary Loan; ILS/Discovery; and Delivery
In addition, work groups will consider recommendations for changes to Chapter 43 in order to accomplish necessary improvements, as well as changes to System Governance and Administration.
Each constituent group above is being asked for 2 or 3 nominees for the Steering Committee, and the final selection will be made in order to balance size, geography and interests from all Wisconsin public libraries. Additional information about the Committee selection will be provided here, discussed at the WAPL Conference, posted to the COLAND website and various list-serves.  The recommendations can be submitted to John Thompson at Your help, interest, and future participation are appreciated. 
Written by:
John DeBacher, Public Library Development Team, with assistance from COLAND chair Nita Burke and IFLS director John Thompson

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Narrow your WISCAT search results to a specific language

Language filter now available in WISCAT to narrow your search results to materials in a specific language.  
Selecting Spanish in Language filter to refine search results

An author search for Kevin Henkes' works produces more than 4,000 catalog records in WISCAT. That's a benefit of searching 100 library catalogs representing 550+ libraries' holdings, however, too many results to view and sift through. Refine your search using the filters located in the left pane of the search results

Format filter used to narrow search results to Book
Results narrowed by book Format
To use the Language filter, open it to see how many results are in the languages listed. For example, selecting Spanish narrows the Kevin Henkes author search results to 124 records.   

Other filters such as Format may also be used to further narrow those results.


Written by:
Vickie Long, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning

Monday, April 27, 2015

Like what you see?

Computer user taking notes
Image from Pixabay
BadgerLearn Pro is a continuing education portal for Wisconsin librarians and library staff. This free collection is maintained by volunteers from the Department of Public Instruction, WiLS, and WPLC.

We want BadgerLearn Pro to support your professional development. Explore our collection of webinars, presentations sides, webinars, videos, and more. Is there something we're missing? Do you like what you see? Are you confused? Do you need more information? Tell us what you think!

Here are some recent additions to our ever-growing collection!
Extreme Customer Service, Every Time In this course learn how great customer service goes beyond "service with a smile." 
Internet Safety Phishing, trojans, spyware, trolls, and flame wars--oh my! These Internet Safety tutorials will provide you with the skills to protect your computer and privacy when you are online. 
Failing in the Right Direction We can't always avoid failing. Learn how to fail more constructively. 

Written by:
Kara Ripley, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Friday, April 24, 2015

What do Chapters 43 and PI 6 Say About Annual Reports?

While we wait for the last board-approved annual reports to arrive at DPI, it seems worth taking the time to review the requirements for the reports. All of the state's public libraries and library systems are established using laws from Chapter 43 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which specifies duties and re­spon­si­bil­ities of the libraries, systems, and the Division for Libraries and Technology. The specific references to annual reports in Chapter 43 and Wis. Admin. Code PI 6 are provided below.

43.05 General duties of the division. The division shall:
(4) Collect library statistics and conduct studies and surveys of library needs throughout the state and report and publish the findings. The research shall be coordinated with statewide library planning.

2016 Due Date
  • Public library annual report
  • Statement Concerning Public Library System Effectiveness
  • Library system annual report

Signed annual reports for FY2015 and statements of sys­tem effectiveness are due to DPI by Monday, February 29, 2016.

Public Library Annual Reports

43.58 (6) (a) Within 60 days after the con­clu­sion of the fiscal year of the mu­nic­i­pality or county in which the public library is located, the library board shall make a report to the division and to its governing body. [more]

(b) The report to the division shall include data concerning library materials, fa­cil­i­ties, personnel, operations and such other information as the division requests.

43.58 (7) (d) The treasurer or financial secretary shall make an annual report to the library board showing in detail the amount, investment, income and dis­bursements from the trust funds in his or her charge. Such report shall also be appended to the annual report of the library board under s. 43.58 (6).

Statement Concerning Public Library System Effectiveness

43.58 (6) (c) The report to the division shall contain a statement by the library board indicating whether the public library system in which the library par­tic­i­pated during the year of the report did or did not provide effective leader­ship and adequately meet the needs of the library and an explanation of why the library board believes so. The division shall design the form of the state­ment so that it may be removed from the report and forwarded to the division before it is sent to the public library system.

43.05 General duties of the division. The division shall:
(14) (b) Conduct a review of a public library system if at least 30% of the li­brar­ies in participating municipalities that include at least 30% of the pop­u­lation of all participating municipalities state in the report under s. 43.58 (6) (c) that the public library system did not adequately meet the needs of the library. [more]

Public Library System Annual Reports

43.17 (5) ANNUAL REPORT. Annually, at the time required by the division, each public library system shall report to the division on its operations, ex­pend­i­tures and territory served during the preceding year, shall submit a plan describing the program for library service to be carried out in the sub­se­quent year and shall furnish such other information as the division requires.

PI 6.06 Requirements for public library systems.
(4)(c) File an annual report on a form prescribed by the division, describing its operations and reporting on its income, expenditures, and programs.

State Aid to Public Library Systems

43.24 (3) Annually, the division shall review the reports and proposed service plans submitted by the public library systems under s. 43.17 (5) for conformity with this chapter and such rules and standards as are applicable. Upon approval, the division shall certify to the department of administration an estimated amount to which each system is entitled under this section. [more]

Written by Jamie McCanless, Public Library Development Team

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Serving Library Patrons With Alzheimer's and Related Dementias

Does your library serve patrons with Alzheimer's and related dementia?  The Alzheimer's & Related Dementias Interest Group (IGARD) of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), wants your input.

Not yet serving patrons with these diagnoses or unsure how?  The information gained from the survey will improve resources related to serving this special population.

Image Source: Pixabay
The Alzheimer's & Related Dementias Interest Group (IGARD) is in the process of creating standards for library service directly to persons diagnosed with dementia. As part of the due diligence process, IGARD is seeking input from libraries across the country in order to document already existing best practices.

If your library is currently offering, or has offered in the past, services and/or programming directly to members of your community diagnosed with dementia, please self-identify by completing this brief survey:

Please feel free to contact the IGARD Chair if you have any questions: Mary Beth Riedner

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hurry! ALA Techsource Online Journals Available for Free for a Limited Time

Looking for resources on:
Clock ticking down
Time is running out! Picture courtesy of Pixabay.
For a very limited time you can download for free issues of ALA Techsource online journal. These journals are edited by librarians and researched by librarians, looking at the most current information and examples that are out there on various topics concerning technology in libraries. This is a great opportunity to look at these journals to see if they are useful for you, and may decide to look at future journal articles.

This opportunity will end shortly, so look through these great resources by amazing librarians, and share their knowledge (with proper credit) and expand the amazing things you are already doing at your library! 

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team

Explora now available!

hot air balloons
Image from Pixabay
Explora, EBSCO’s new interface, is now available through BadgerLink!

By June 30, Explora will replace Searchasaurus, Kids Search, and Student Research Center. The three new interfaces (Explora for Elementary Schools, Explora for Middle & High Schools, and Explora for Everyone) use the same great EBSCO databases you’ve come to enjoy, just displayed in a new and improved interface.

Read more about Explora:

Test Drive Explora

See what Explora has to offer! Until we have direct links, access Explora through the EBSCO All Resources List.

To start using Explora
  1. Go to the EBSCO All Resources List. This list is also available on our All Resources page - under E. 
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and select the Explora interface you want to view. 

What’s in Explora?

Explora for Elementary Schools
Explora for Elementary Schools is the replacement for Searchasaurus and Kids Search and features colorful pictures and school subject categories for easy browsing. Explora for Elementary Schools includes:
  • American Heritage® Children's Dictionary 
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: Elementary School Edition 
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition 
  • Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia 
  • Health Source: Consumer Edition 
  • History Reference Center 
  • Middle Search Plus 
  • Newspaper Source Plus 
  • Primary Search 
  • Science Reference Center 
Explora for Middle & High Schools
Explora for Middle and High Schools is the replacement for Kids Search and Student Research Center and features an easy to use interface and updated functionality like the cite button. Explora for Middle & High Schools includes:
  • Academic Search Premier 
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition 
  • Book Collection Nonfiction: High School Edition 
  • Consumer Health Complete 
  • Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia 
  • GreenFILE 
  • Health Source - Consumer Edition 
  • History Reference Center 
  • Literary Reference Center 
  • MAS Ultra: School Edition 
  • MasterFILE Premier 
  • Middle Search Plus 
  • Military & Government Collection 
  • Newspaper Source Plus 
  • Science Reference Center 
Explora for Everyone
Explora for Everyone is a new interface for the general public that simultaneously searches 20 EBSCO databases for an easy one stop search. Explora for Everyone includes:
  • Academic Search Premier 
  • Book Collection: Nonfiction: Elementary School Edition 
  • Book Collection: Nonfiction: High School Edition 
  • Book Collection: Nonfiction: Middle School Edition 
  • Business Source Premier 
  • Columbia Encyclopedia 
  • Consumer Health Complete 
  • Education Research Complete 
  • ERIC 
  • GreenFILE 
  • Health Source: Consumer Edition 
  • History Reference Center 
  • Literary Reference Center 
  • MAS Ultra: School Edition 
  • MasterFILE Premier 
  • Middle Search Plus 
  • Military & Government Collection 
  • Newspaper Source Plus 
  • Professional Development Collection 
  • Science Reference Center 
Contact BadgerLink if you have any questions.

Written by:
Kara Ripley, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Saving and Sharing: Public Library Seed Exchanges

Over the past few years there's been an explosion of seed exchanges springing up across the country and throughout Wisconsin. In a nutshell, a seed exchange distributes seeds with the expectation that seeds will be harvested from the crop and given back to the exchange. Purposes of a seed exchange include promoting local gardening, connecting people with their food systems, and preserving / promoting heirloom and locally-sourced seeds.

In many ways seed exchanges are a natural fit for a public library setting. The Richmond [CA] Public Library was an early advocate and their website contains a great deal of useful information for libraries interested in starting a seed exchange. In 2013 LaCrosse became the first public library in our state to create a seed exchange and they continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to other libraries.
Image of two hands sharing a seed
Image of two hands sharing a seed
(courtesy of artist John Wright)

There's a wealth of great online resources and support for libraries who may be interested in starting a seed exchange library.  The Seed Library Social Network site includes several helpful videos detailing the process of how to save seeds. Seed Libraries Daily  is a great source for the latest news on seed exchanges. The Seed Librarians Association site allows you to sign up to receive their "Cool Beans" newsletter. And the Seed Savers Alliance site models a great seed exchange partnership among public libraries in Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, and Sawyer counties, the UW-Extension, and the Alliance for Sustainability.

With the growth of seed exchanges in public libraries, there's been several instances where state departments of agriculture have "cracked down" on seed exchanges - forcing public libraries to abide by the same testing and labeling requirements that commercial seed companies follow. Fortunately that's not been the case in Wisconsin. In order to promote seed safety, Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP) requires public libraries with seed exchanges to apply for a seed labeler license and to pay an annual $25 fee but they also understand the positive role that seed exchanges play within a community. Details and a link to the application form can be found at the DATCP website.

Recently the DATCP received permission from Governor Scott Walker to begin the process of modifying current seed labeling rules "in order to address the non-commercial public and private exchange of small quantities of agricultural seed." These modified seed labeling rules should be available sometime this summer. For more information on the proposed rule modification, see the Wisconsin State Legislature's site.

During this most recent cycle of the Wisconsin Public Library Annual Report, our Public Library Development Team was asked if libraries could include seed exchange circulation in Total Circulation on the Annual Report. The guidelines / definitions that we adopt (in cooperation with the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services) do not include seed exchange activity relating to the Annual Report. However,we certainly encourage public libraries with seed exchanges to keep accurate use statistics. These statistics will be helpful at the local level when demonstrating the value of this service within the community.

Written by:
Denise Anton Wright, Public Library Development

Monday, April 20, 2015

Libraries and Code

"Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer...because it teaches you how to think." - Steve Jobs

More and more librarians are taking an interest in learning how to code, programming new things, and to help their community understand the importance of code. This is not much different than the Maker movement, and in fact falls in the category of making and creating something. Libraries are becoming places for the community not only to consume content, but to create content.

HTML color text on computer screen
HTML on computer screen. Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Code can be intimidating for those that have never played with it. Yes, play. Often the biggest obstacle is trying something unknown for the first time, and the best way to conquer this is to play with it. But like anything, once you begin playing and working with it, it becomes more familiar, and the applications it has starts to present itself.
"It's really not unlike playing an instrument or playing a sport. It starts out being very intimidating, but you start to get the hang of it." - Drew Houston, creator of Dropbox
It's not just the ability to create or tweak an online tool for the library, or the ability to teach others how to do something, but it can also change how someone approaches a problem and communicates with others. One of the ILEAD USA-Wisconsin teams, WisCode Literati chose coding as their community need to help find answers to many different types of problems.

The Division for Libraries and Technology at the Department of Public Instruction is looking to focus on learning code and programming in public libraries. Patrons of all ages can benefit from attending classes and learning more about code. The first phase will look to increase awareness of the whys and hows of coding in the public library community and demonstrate the role of public libraries in learning and technology. Learning code is not a necessity for all library staff, but taking an interest and learning about it, and then sharing it with your community may benefit them. This initiative will be for all people of all ages: a new form of literacy, a new skill to learn in an area that has constant jobs for those that know it. And then back to its most fundamental use: to build, create, and show something that originated in your mind. As Andromeda Yeltin, a librarian who teaches code to others stated, "'Empowerment' is a cliche but that is quite literally what learning code gives you: the power to see and change more of your world."

For those interested in reading more on libraries and programming, ALA Tech Source has made available their most recent online issue titled Coding for Librarians.

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wisconsin Digital Archives Collection Connection : Bats in Wisconsin

April 17 is Bat Appreciation Day, making it a great day to learn more about bats that live in Wisconsin! Here are just a few fun facts about bats in Wisconsin:
  • Eight species of bats live in Wisconsin
  • Bats in Wisconsin either live in caves or trees
  • Bat with White-Nose Syndrome
    Bat with White-Nose Syndrome, Courtesy of Pixabay
    All Wisconsin bats feed mainly on insects
  • Bats use echolocation to navigate and capture prey
  • Bats help control the bug population and can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one hour 
  • Bats save Wisconsin farmers up to $658 million every year in the form of pest control services
  • White-nose syndrome is a disease that could severely impact Wisconsin's bat population
The Wisconsin Digital Archives is a great place to find more information about how bats play a vital part of the ecosystems in Wisconsin and to learn more about the role we can all play in supporting Wisconsin's bat population. Here are just a few resources you'll find in the Wisconsin Digital Archives:
  • Bats of Wisconsin - Wisconsin's eight species of bats are all evening bats and eat insects to survive. Find out more fascinating facts about these bats, some of which are either considered endangered or threatened.
  • 2014 Roost Monitoring Report -  The Wisconsin Bat Program's summer roost monitoring project services to gather information about bat colony numbers and bat roost locations.
  • Building a Bat House - Building a bat house is a great way to keep bats around without having them live with you! A bat house will provide a safe place for bats to thrive.
  • The Echolocator Newsletter - Stay on top of news related to the Wisconsin bats with this newsletter. Provided by the Wisconsin Bat Program, topics include information about white-nose syndrome, bat populations and tracking, and other educational programs relating to bats.
For more information and resources about bats, visit these websites:

Written by:
Mary Hutnik, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning
Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What you need to know about Explora

Introducing Explora 
Explora logo
Explora logo courtesy of EBSCO
Explora is a new EBSCO resource! Each Explora interface features an attractive, user-friendly design that is easily viewed on mobile devices. A single search box on the homepage helps to simplify the search process and increase student success. Easy-to-browse categories are organized by popular topics, and topic overviews provide users with a starting point for research.

Explora will be available in BadgerLink by June 30, 2015. At that time the following EBSCO interfaces will be phased out: Kids Search, Searchasaurus, and Student Research Center.

Here's a what Explora will look like:
Screenshot of Explora interface
Screenshot of Explora interface

BadgerLink is working with EBSCO to manage the transition to Explora. As a user, you don't need to do anything.

If you manage a website with links to BadgerLink resources, you may need to change your links to Kids Search, Searchasaurus, and Student Research Center. We will be posting more information through the Badger Bulletin, BadgerLink email list, Facebook, and Twitter. Contact Us for more information.

EBSCO is phasing out Kids Search, Searchasaurus, and Student Research Center.If you manage a website with links to BadgerLink resources, you may need to change your links to Kids Search, Searchasaurus, and Student Research Center. We will be posting more information through the Badger BulletinBadgerLink email listFacebook, and TwitterContact Us for more information.

On April 2, BadgerLink held a webinar lead by EBSCO Training Specialist, Lisa Dennis, about the Explora interface. View the recording.
Created by EBSCO, this short video describes how you will be able to easily use Explora:

Ask a Librarian if you would like to set up personalized training at no cost to your Wisconsin organization!

Written by:
Kara Ripley, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Celebrate Teen Literature Day!

Teen reading a book
Image source: Pixabay
Today, April 16, 2015, is Celebrate Teen Literature Day as part of National Library Week.  This event is aimed at raising awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today's teens.

Whether you are an adult who enjoys reading teen books or an adult who promoted young adult books to teens, here are two resources to help you make this most of today's celebration.

YALSA logo
YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, developed a wiki  listing Things You Can Do To Celebrate Teen Literature. Ideas include:

  • Create a display of teen authors (authors who were published when they are in their teens)
  • Highlight the different genres of teen lit (don't forget the graphic novels!)
  • Give a free book to every teen that says a special phrase (For instance, "I love teen literature.")
For more homegrown ideas, visit the "52 Weeks of YA Programming" developed by the Youth Services Section of the Wisconsin Library Association. 
52 Weeks of YA Programming logo
52 Weeks of YA Programming 
  • Book Faces Submitted by YSS Member Penny Johnson
  • Blind Date with a Book Submitted by YSS Members Brittany Gitzlaff & Carolyn Vidmar
Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

LSTA Advisory Committee Sets 2016 LSTA Program Direction

The Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) Advisory Committee advises the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on matters pertaining to the administration of the LSTA program.  The duties includes the development of the long-range plan for LSTA; establishment of the annual grant criteria, priorities, and categories; grant applications and grant awards; and evaluation of the LSTA grant program.

The three-year terms expired in December 2014 for Mary Driscoll, Dane County Library Service; Gerri Moeller, Outagamie Waupaca Library System; Krista Ross, Southwest Library System; Cherilyn Stewart, Manitowoc Public Library, and Linda Stobbe, Northern Waters Library Service. Committee members continuing until the end of 2015 are: Jennifer Einwalter, Hartland Public Library; Gus Falkenberg, Indianhead Federated Library System; Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, and Marla Sepnafski, Wisconsin Valley Library Service. Members whose terms end in 2016 are: Stacy Fisher, Waunakee High School; Erin Foley, Adams County Public Library; Nyama Marsh, Whitefish Bay Public Library; and Kristin Stoeger, Brown County Library. New members joining the committee with terms ending in 2017 are: Rachel Arndt, Milwaukee Public Library; Amanda Hegge, Whitehall Public Library; Omar Poler, UW Madison School of Library and Information Studies; and Cherie Sanderson, Boulder Junction Public Library.

Each year the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) Division for Libraries and Technology (DLT) establishes a preliminary budget for the following year based on numerous factors, one of which is anticipated allocation to the state from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). During the recent LSTA Advisory Committee meeting, preliminary grant proposals and projected amounts were made in four categories and will be described in detail in the 2016 LSTA Information and Guidelines to be released in June 2015, prior to the 2016 LSTA Grant application announcement.

The four major groupings include: DPI positions and support, Federal grant sub-awards to localities, Statewide products or service, and DPI-managed projects. The four major categories were developed for greater clarity as well as for anticipated changes in the state reporting system. IMLS is seeking to present a clearer comparable description of state programs to legislators about services that libraries provide and the impact that these services have made in their communities.

Included in the recommended categories by the LSTA Advisory Committee for competitive grant Sub-Awards requiring grant applications by public libraries and public library systems are: Serving Special Populations: Accessibility and Literacy projects; Digital Creation Technology, and Digitization of Library Historical Materials. Non-competitive grant sub-award categories include: Delivery, Library System Technology, Merging integrated library systems (ILS), and Public library system mergers.

Statewide product or service recommendations were approved for the Learning Express database license, further study of the School Library e-book partnership, and
Image of the National Archives in Washington D.C.
Image of the National Archives in Washington D.C. 
courtesy of Pixabay.
support for a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) service hub in Wisconsin. The committee also approved the following DPI-managed projects: New library director orientation (conducted biannually), Youth and Special Services continuing education projects, Coding, and Public Library System revision project.

Written by:
Terrie Howe, Public Library Development Team

Monday, April 13, 2015

Library of the Month: Eau Claire Area School District North High School

ECASD North High School Library
Image courtesy of ECASD North High School Library
The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team. 

In 2014, the Eau Claire Area School District had the second highest clicks to the BadgerLink website! In this month’s issue of the Library of the Month, we will be spotlighting ECASD’s North High School.

To increase reading interest at North High School’s media, the library is set up like a book store. There are areas for local interest, post-secondary readiness, classics, an exceptional collection of Sci Fi and Fantasy, as well as a newly expanded graphic novels collection. The library even has a “Bloodsuckers” for vampire enthusiasts. To grab readers’ attention, rather than shelving books spine out, many books are displayed face out try to let the books speak for themselves. For even more reading appeal North HS uses shelf-talkers to share kid reviews and summaries.

Recently North HS received grants for some fun technology projects including a 3D printer, a 3D digitizer, 2 Makey Makey boards, 2 Power Up flight sets, and a Hummingbird Duo Controller robotics kit. These STEM projects engage students in problem solving, critical thinking, and useful applications for science. The plan is to create a dedicated area in the library for ongoing maker projects.

North HS also spends time working on research projects. As part of their digital citizenship curriculum, North HS uses Badgerlink and other databases to instruct the kids in finding and using credible information. Throughout the second semester, library staff conduct trainings on using databases to find information in hopes of breaking the “Wikipedia/Google crutch” that kids develop. The sheer volume of material of dubious validity is too much to wade through when very little sorting can be done. Steve Olinger, librarian at North HS, says “With databases/Badgerlink we can use limiters to sort the articles by source type, Lexile score, and get help to pursue other topics that pop up as part of the search returns on the databases.” By using note taking tools, permalinks, and citation tools, we make the databases so much easier to use than the Google searches. After a while, the kids start to go to the databases FIRST!

Steve Olinger likes showing his students how to use the Super Search, which searches multiple BadgerLink resources simultaneously, and then showing kids how to narrow their results. “I like the Super Search because it gets info from all of the Badgerlink databases at once. There’s just too many of them to introduce the kids to each one, so they get to see what sources are out there.” The search looks through most of the BadgerLink resources and returns results that you can narrow to find relevant information.

As innovative as this school library already is, they have plans for the future, like creating a “bookmobile” so library staff can do book talks and check out books anywhere in the school. Another project will be to have STEM and Makerspace summer programs. Active and innovative school libraries create active and innovative students!

Written by:
Kara Ripley, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Friday, April 10, 2015

Job sites for your community - Wisconsin and Agriculture edition

Reduce the stress of the search - courtesy Pixabay
Reduce the stress of the search
Patrons who haven’t been in the job market in recent years will feel more comfortable and confident about the online job search process if you share some tips and trick.The stress of learning to search and apply for jobs online can be intense. Help your job-seeking patrons start off cool, calm, collected and confident by sharing the best online job sites. 

Of course, you’ll be helping them find positions posted by your local newspaper. But job opportunities in other communities or in specific occupations may be appealing to your patrons. Consider introducing them to some or all of these job posting websites.

This post will focus on job posting websites specific to Wisconsin and agriculture. Next month I’ll share websites that list jobs in other states, nationwide, and in other niche industries.   

Websites listing jobs in Wisconsin and bordering communities

Job Center of Wisconsin This job site is provided by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Job Center system. It lists jobs in Wisconsin and in communities that border Wisconsin. The site is available at at no-cost to both employers and job seekers. This is the official employment site of Wisconsin State Government. It lists jobs in every state agency. Job seekers can narrow their search by agency, job title, location and more. Jobs in all fields, primarily located in the Milwaukee area, as posted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website. Job postings in all fields, primarily located in the Madison area, as published by the Wisconsin State Journal website. The Wisconsin Local JobNetwork™ is comprised of multiple employment Web sites focusing exclusively on local communities in the State of Wisconsin. The Web site was launched in 1994 and was one of the very first online employment Web sites in Wisconsin.

Jobs in agriculture and the food industry in Wisconsin and beyond

Jobs in Agriculture - Courtesy Pixabay
Jobs in Agriculture - Courtesy Pixabay AgCareers is the leading supplier of human resource services to the agriculture and food industry. The site includes positions in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. It lists more than 5,000 jobs each month. Users can find positions in specific types of agricultural operations. The site offers tools for agriculture-industry HR professionals including the Compensation Benchmark Review, the Agribusiness HR Review Report, training and consulting,  Job seekers post their resumes and employers can search and contact potential applicants. This website lists farm jobs. Candidates need to complete an online employment questionnaire. A consultant reviews submitted questionnaires. If the candidate’s experience matches an available job opening, will contact candidates with more details. New jobs are added frequently. Agri-Management was established in 1977 and has developed ongoing relationships with many farms and agri-businesses. The company regularly receives job opportunities from employers and have the website include numerous resources for employment positions.

Written by
Martha Berninger, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Where Learning Never Ends

Your school library where learning never ends
AASL School Library Month 2015
On the 30th anniversary of School Library Month the original theme returns because it's still true. School libraries continue to be where learning never ends. Please celebrate and share what's happening in your school library program. AASL (American Association of School Librarians) wants you to share the awesome things you do too.  Don't be shy. Some of your fellow teacher librarians let us capture their stories on video at the WEMTA (Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association) conference in spite of their reservations about going on camera. They were great! Showing and telling your stories is the best way to let people know why school libraries are needed now more than ever.

AASL is holding weekly webinars as part of School Library month too. The first one is all about the AASL best websites for teaching and learning. If you haven't asked people to sign the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries this month is a great time to do that. Are you doing something to celebrate in your libraries? If you are please share it on the School libraries PLC (Professional Learning Communities) and the WEMTA PLC.

And don't forget there is also a Digital Storytelling Festival! Just this short list of ways to celebrate school libraries shows that they aren't the same places they were in the past. It's a learning space not just a place. Please celebrate and share the learning opportunities you create for learners of all ages!

Written by:
Nancy Anderson, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Edge Assessment is Available for Public Libraries Until April 30th

Edge Initiative logo
Edge Initiative logo
The Edge Initiative free access has been extended to April 30, 2015. This allows public libraries more time to register and take the Edge assessment for free.

The Edge Initiative, a self assessment on a public library's public access technology, is led by the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). The assessment has libraries take 2-4 hours to fill it out, focusing on the 11 benchmarks within the 3 key areas:

  1. Community Value
    • Digital literacy
    • Digital tools and resources
    • Meeting key community needs
  2. Engaging the Community
    • Strategy and evaluation
    • Strategic partnerships
    • Sharing best practices
  3. Organizational Management
    • Planning and policies
    • Staff expertise
    • Devices and bandwidth
    • Technology management
    • Technology inclusiveness 
The assessment is designed to show libraries where they are concerning public access technology. The assessment asks libraries for information  on website content to community relationships to web analytics. There isn't a pass/fail component to the assessment, rather it is to highlight the areas that the library is excelling at and the areas that are not represented as much. 

The Peer Comparison Reports component allows the library to compare its results at the benchmark and indicator levels alongside the average results of peer libraries serving similar size communities. Libraries can use the peer comparison data to help make strategic decisions about where to concentrate their efforts and to determine priority areas for their action plans.

The library can take this information and share it with the library board, municipal government, or public to show why there needs to be an increase in funding, and/or highlight where the library is excelling at serving its community. It helps the library tell its story. 

Many Wisconsin public libraries have registered and taken the Edge assessment. They have stated that though the assessment feels like it was originally designed for larger libraries, it is extremely useful in providing a look at what the library is doing well for public access technology. Many of the libraries that have done the Edge assessment used the results to help with strategic planning, as well as taking it to the library board during reports on library operations.

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

State Government Goes Mobile with the Development of Apps

Picture of a smartphone
Courtesy of Pixabay
In January 2014, the Pew Research Center provided a Mobile Technology Fact Sheet that indicated that 58% of American adults owned a smartphone. The Pew Research Center also reports that 42% of adult internet users use the internet to get government services or information. State agencies across the United States are leveraging this data by developing mobile apps as a way to provide government services and information to people on the go.

Are you curious about what mobile apps have already been developed? The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) maintains a State Mobile Apps Catalog for smartphone and tablet apps developed by state governments in all 50 states. To qualify for entry in the catalog, the apps must be developed by the state or in conjunction with a state agency and cannot be developed by a third party provider. Apps must also be state specific apps and cannot be nationwide, federal, or city specific apps. Apps for higher education such as universities, high schools, or other educational institutions are also not included in this catalog.

Below I've highlighted the apps Wisconsin state agencies have developed so far. Mobile apps are just one more way for state agencies to engage with people living in Wisconsin in a format that meets their needs.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • Zero in Wisconsin - Drive Sober “This mobile application has been developed to assist individuals who may have had too much to drink find a safe ride home other than driving. It also serves to provide interactive information on the dangers of impaired driving.” (DOT)
  • WI DMV Driver Practice Test “Use this mobile app as a practice guide to help you prepare for the knowledge test that all new drivers must pass to obtain a learner’s permit. Also, test yourself to stay sharp and up-to-date on basic driver safety.” (DOT)
  • WI DMV Commercial Driver Practice Test “The Wisconsin CDL practice knowledge test is a great resource for people looking for a career in commercial driving. Individuals may test themselves to stay sharp and up-to-date on basic commercial driver safety.” (DOT)
Wisconsin Department of Revenue
  • WI Revenue “The Wisconsin Revenue mobile app allows you to use a number of popular tax-related online services found on the website, such as: refund look-up, estimated tax look-up, free tax help, and training videos.” (DOR)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • The Official Guide for Wisconsin State Parks and Forests ”This app gives outdoor enthusiasts an environmentally-friendly way to enjoy the parks. It contains everything you need to plan a trip to the state parks, navigate them once you get there, and share your experiences afterward.” (DNR)
  • The Official Guide for Wisconsin’s Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife ”This innovative outdoor guide brings the wilderness to your fingertips and helps you plan the perfect adventure in the great outdoors. With essential hunting information already published and fishing and wildlife information on the way, the app is the ultimate source for essential outdoor information.” (DNR)
Wisconsin Department of Tourism
  • Travel Wisconsin ”Find nearby attractions, events, dining and accommodations right as you travel the state with the Travel Wisconsin™ app. Browse Wisconsin events by distance, date and location and find things to do by searching categories such as "Arts" or "Natural Attractions." Search accommodations by hotel, B&B, campground, or resort and zero in on the amenities you want to find for the perfect place to stay.” (Tourism)
Written by:
Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning
Mary Hutnik, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning