Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Digital Public Library of America: from Concept to Hub to E-Books

There has been considerable discussion over the past few years about the development of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), as well as considerable work and contributions by partners and affiliated states. The project began to form in October of 2010, and in December of that year the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, convened leading experts in libraries, technology, law, and education to begin work on this ambitious project.

DPLA Digital Public Library of America  Visit dp.laThe DPLA describes itself as a free online library that provides access to millions of books, photographs, maps, audiovisual materials, and more from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. In one place, the public can find items from a wide range of institutions, from small and local, to large and national.

Developed from contributions by participating institutions, with major financial support from the Alfred B. Sloan Foundation, the Institute for Museums and Library Services, and others, the DPLA continues to expand its scope. It is structured as a common congregator for access to resource repositories, providing - as stated in its resource materials - a single point of access for students, teachers, and the public to a broad range of resources on a platform that enables "new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage."

Wisconsin is preparing to serve as a service hub, operated by Recollection Wisconsin, with the following Governing Partners: Milwaukee Public Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, WiLS, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and Recollection Wisconsin. In the 2016 LSTA plan the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has a grant category to help provide coordination support for the project.

Digital Public Library of America graphic showing structure of content and service hubs
Design structure for DPLA (infographic developed by community reps)
The DPLA already boasts access to tens of thousands of e-books, and plans to expand the collection with more resources. In April 2015, President Obama announced a major new program, Open Ebooks, that will provide children from across the country with greater access to thousands of e-books. The Open Ebooks initiative will include e-books from DPLA’s extensive collection of openly available content as well as contemporary titles from publishers, which are being generously donated as part of the effort and available for free to students from low-income families.

The DPLA is now recruiting  librarians and other information professionals to help validate and select books for inclusion in the program to help connect children with e-books. Librarians interested in participating in the "curator corps" can find more information here.

The DPLA is seeking those that would like to spread the word about what it is about to local communities. If you are enthusiastic about open access, digital collections, and the potential of a national digital library, get involved in outreach for DPLA by volunteering as a Community Rep.

Additional information and resources about the history of the Digital Public Library of America and its projects are compiled into a PDF document and reading list.

Written by
John DeBacher and Ryan Claringbole

DOT Releases New Website

DOT Logo
Courtesy of the DOT
On June 21st the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) launched a new Internet site. For the first couple of months most of the commonly used URLs will be automatically redirected to the new URLs on the revised site, however if you have any old URLs bookmarked it is recommended that you revise those as soon as possible.

If you experience difficulty finding an Internet page on the new site feel free to visit www.wisconsindmv.gov which will continue to be a DMV landing site within the new design.

For your convenience the DOT has also provided a tutorial video regarding the new DOT Internet site design.

Reposted by:
Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Monday, June 29, 2015

Prevent Summer Learning Loss

laptop outside in a park
Image from Pixabay
It’s officially SUMMER! That means sunburns, mosquitoes, lemonade, and … summer learning loss?

Summer learning loss, sometimes called summer slide, is a very real phenomenon and can affect all children. Studies show that students who do not engage in educational activities during the summer typically score lower on tests at the end of summer than they did at the beginning. It is estimated that two or three months of learning can be lost over summer vacation.

It is very important that students participate in summer educational activities. One study indicated that reading as few as 4-6 books over the summer helps readers maintain their skills and reading 10-20 helps readers improve their skills. Your library offers a variety of fun programming, but there are also resources available to you online from BadgerLink (http://www.badgerlink.net). Available to all Wisconsin residents, BadgerLink is Wisconsin’s Online Library and provides access to learning games, skill building activities, book recommendations, and more.

Here are a few BadgerLink resources that you can use this summer to prevent summer slide.

Britannica School includes encyclopedia articles on almost every topic imaginable as well as learning games.

LearningExpress Library provides test preparation and skill building for children, teens, and adults. Kids can practice their math skills, learn about grammar, prepare for the SAT or ACT, practice for AP tests, and more!

NoveList and NoveList K-8 provide book recommendations, book lists, and book discussion guides for fiction books. Find what book you want to read next!

TeachingBooks provides multimedia for K-12 fiction and non-fiction books. Explore the realm of books with author interviews, book trailers, discussion guides, book lists, and more!

Don’t let summer be a lost learning opportunity! Go to the BadgerLink Homepage at http://www.badgerlink.net and let the games and fun begin!

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

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Americans with Disabilities Act Celebrates 25 Years!

Wisconsin public libraries are encouraged to celebrate and spread awareness about the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) throughout the year, and especially on July 26, 2015.  The following information is brought to you by the Great Lakes ADA Center, the regional center serving Wisconsin.

ADA 25 year anniversary banner

Celebrate 25 Years of the

Americans with Disabilities Act

The 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is rapidly approaching. The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Throughout the year the Great Lakes Center will participate in celebrating this landmark event as a way of bringing attention to the important work that has been done to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities and to highlight the work that is yet to be done.

The Great Lakes ADA Center, along with its ADA Affiliate Network has accomplished significant results toward voluntary compliance with the ADA. The ADA Anniversary Information and Resources has been designed to capture our collective achievements and highlight useful ADA information and materials that can be used to enhance your ADA anniversary events. We encourage duplication of these materials for print and distribution purposes.

The information and resources include the following materials:
  1. Press Release: The Great Lakes ADA Celebrates 25 Years of Facilitating Voluntary Compliance of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  2. Disability-Related Statistics from the Great Lakes Region You Can Use: Disability and ADA-related statistics from a variety of sources.
  3. ADA Celebration Events: Many organizations in the region are holding celebrations - check to see if any are near you.
  4. Case Law Developments in the Great Lakes Region (IL,IN,MI,MN,OH,WI): Most recent circuit court decisions in the Great Lakes Region
  5. Major Cases Impacting the ADA in the Great Lakes Region Over the Past 25 Years-Significant cases over the past 25 years from the Great Lakes region (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, & WI)
  6. The ADA Legacy Project The ADA Legacy Project celebrates our present by partnering with those who work to honor the milestones and accomplishments of the disability rights movement
The ADA Anniversary Information was developed by the Great Lakes ADA Center and reflects the best professional judgment of its staff and regional affiliate network. However, these materials have not been reviewed for accuracy by the federal enforcement agencies. The information, materials, and/or technical assistance are intended solely as informal guidance, and are neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under the Act, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA.

Shared by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wisconsin Digital Archives Collection Connection : E-Cycling in Wisconsin

Electronics recycling or 'e-cycling' is a growing industry in the state of Wisconsin. Computers, TVs, cell phones, and other electronics make up some of the millions of devices discarded each year that may end up in landfills if not properly disposed of. These items contain valuable materials that can be recovered through responsible recycling as well as potentially hazardous materials, like lead and mercury, that can also pose a risk to human health and the environment.

E-Cycle Wisconsin logo
Logo for the E-Cycle Wisconsin Program
Picture of  a garbage can with television in it.
Courtesy of Pixabay
The E-Cycle Wisconsin Program, managed by the Dept. of Natural Resources, is supported by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law (2009 Wisconsin Act 50), which bans electronics such as TVs, computers, cell phone from Wisconsin landfills, and incinerators. The Wisconsin Digital Archives is a great place to learn more about e-cycling and the important work the E-Cycle Wisconsin Program is doing to education people about how to participate in the program.

Here are some of the resources you'll find in the Wisconsin Digital Archives about E-Cycling in Wisconsin:

E-Cycle Wisconsin Annual Reports

Reports on Electronics Recycling in Wisconsin K-12 Schools
Electronics Dumping on Public Lands in Wisconsin

For more information, about E-Cycling, visit the WI Dept. of Natural Resources webpage.

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Get Caught Reading

Child reading under the covers
Get Caught Reading
Image Courtesy of EBSCO
Just in time for summer reading, we have re-stocked the popular “Get Caught Reading” BadgerLink bookmark and posters!

Request bookmarks for your Wisconsin organization from the BadgerLink website. Bookmarks will be mailed or sent through library delivery at no charge to your organization!

Contact BadgerLink if you have any questions!

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Find Wisconsin Training

laptop outside
Image from Pixabay
With a variety of learning resources, BadgerLearn Pro is the one stop shop for your continuing education needs! This free collection is maintained by volunteers from the Department of Public Instruction, WiLS, and WPLC (Wisconsin Public Library Consortium).

BadgerLearn Pro works with many of the Wisconsin library systems and we have links to a lot of training materials that have been created in Wisconsin.

Find training materials created in Wisconsin:

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

Monday, June 22, 2015

What's in a Name? - Electronic Collections

Hoopla Digital Logo
Hoopla Digital logo
The Library Statistics Working Group (LSWG) is an advisory group to the Institute of Museum and Library Service that includes five State Data Coordinator (SDC) members. These SDCs are currently developing new definitions for "electronic collections" that would collect data about electronic items that don't fit current data definitions and cannot be included in libraries' annual reports.

The new definitions for electronic collections will be a significant component of documenting and illustrating changes in library service at levels from individual libraries to the entire country.

Zinio Logo
Zinio logo
The LSWG SDCs' first step is listing the kinds of electronic things that libraries have and/or want to include on the annual report so the new definitions better reflect the content that libraries offer; e.g. Zinio, Hoopla. Once these new data elements are approved, libraries will be asked to include the number and use of electronic collections on the annual report. This, then, is a great opportunity for librarians to share insight about what they think could be included in this data.

The following of downloadable content (e-content) do not qualify as electronic collections:

  • e-books
  • e-audiobooks
  • e-video
If you have any thoughts or suggestions about what you think should be considered in the electronic collection definitions, please email libraryreport@dpi.wi.gov

Written by: 
Jamie McCanless and Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team

Friday, June 19, 2015

Continuing Education to Provide for Youth & Special Services Populations

Librarians in Wisconsin are developing four youth and special services population projects with LSTA and library system support. These youth and special services public library system continuing education projects focus on at least one of the following topics:
  • School-age literacy and learning (ages 4-11)
  • Teen library services (ages 12-18)
  • Outreach efforts (all ages)
  • Serving special populations (all ages)  
Each of these collaborative system efforts includes more than one public library system in the state with universal topics that all librarians encounter in their communities. If you are reflecting about how to lend awareness to similar focus areas in your community, follow the progress of these projects. Participants in these projects are encouraged to share resources and advice to those seeking project ideas for future LSTA grant opportunities.

Magnet numbers for early learners
Learning numbers
Early literacy is the focus of Arrowhead, Southwest Wisconsin, and South Central Library Systems seeking new ways to address the lack of school readiness among children living in poverty. The project will focus on an asset-based approach to identify resources and community development through partnerships to fill the school readiness gap.

Two library systems (Nicolet and Wisconsin Valley) will provide continuing education through the Poverty Awareness for Community Engagement (PACE) presentations by UW Extension agents. Participants will be guided to develop a palette of library-based and outreach action plans for community implementation.

Mental health crisis and suicide prevention in addition to memory loss in seniors are the focus areas for the Indianhead and Northern Waters library systems to determine effective ways to serve these populations. Part of a workshop will provide QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training to learn ways to intervene and assist someone in a mental health crisis and prevent suicide. A second part of a workshop will focus on Memory Cafes as a service to seniors designed to decrease isolation and increase opportunities to practice communication skills and get connected to resources.

Library communities in southeastern Wisconsin including Eastern Shores, Kenosha County, Lakeshores, Mid-Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, and Waukesha County are seeking to focus awareness of special services currently being offered, learn ways libraries can meet youth and special populations' need for services, while making a positive impact in their communities. This project will focus attention on youth and teen services, serving special populations, and outreach efforts to persons of all ages to improve library services through leadership, collaboration, and support.

All four projects will provide an in-person continuing education event and offer library staff opportunities to reinforce their learning with funds for further continuing education, partnership connections, communication, and networking in their own library communities.  These projects are taking place during the 2015 LSTA grant cycle that ends in December 2015.  For further information, contact Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, tessa.schmidt@dpi.wi.gov.

Written by:
Terrie Howe, Public Library Development Team

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ILEAD USA-Wisconsin Updates

During 2015 the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries and Technology is partnering with state library agencies from Illinois, Delaware, Maine, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah to implement ILEAD USA, a nationwide leadership immersion program utilizing web technologies.

Our first in-person ILEAD USA-Wisconsin session took place in March and in just a few more days our state's ILEADers will once again gather at the Heidel House in Green Lake, Wisconsin for our second in-person session.  Over a four-day time period, the members of our six ILEAD teams will receive training on a variety of subjects, including copyright, virtual instruction, community engagement, marketing, school-public library collaboration, and community partnerships. There will also be three keynote presentations by library luminaries broadcast via streaming Internet from Illinois.

In addition to the training and keynotes during the June session, members of each ILEAD USA-Wisconsin team will be working on their team projects.  These projects address a community need that the teams identified when they applied to be part of the ILEAD USA-Wisconsin program.   During our March session, each team created a short video about their community need.  These videos are truly amazing and can be found on our ILEAD Team Videos YouTube page.

One of the components to the June ILEAD session is each team presenting a poster session based upon their community need and their proposed team project.  These poster sessions will take place on Wednesday, June 24th from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Daycholah Room on the lower level of the Heidel House's main building (643 Illinois Avenue, Green Lake, Wisconsin).  Members of our Wisconsin library community are encouraged to stop by to see the poster sessions and to chat with members of our ILEAD USA-Wisconsin teams.  A list of team members can be found on our ILEAD website.

Between each of the in-person ILEAD sessions, team members have been hard at work defining their projects, doing research, and acquiring necessary skills and training.  Our ILEADers will be gathering together for their last in-person session in late October.  Again, there will be a variety of session topics, keynote presentations, and time for team work.  At the October session the teams will present their final projects and officially "graduate" from ILEAD USA-Wisconsin.

This ILEAD USA-Wisconsin project is made possible through a grant received by the Illinois State Library from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and funds from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Written by:
Denise Anton Wright, Public Library Development

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Super Search Makeover

BadgerLink’s Super Search will be getting a  makeover later this month!

BadgerLink’s Super Search allows you to search most of our resources simultaneously. Updates will include:
  • More visually appealing interface
  • Additional search options
  • More searchable resources

Take a look at what the Super Search will look like!
Super Search Homepage
Super Search Homepage

Here's a look at the Super Search's new filtering options.
Super Search Filtering Options
Super Search Filtering Options

Contact BadgerLink if you have any questions!

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Waupaca Area Veteran Memorial Challenge

Guest post by Sue Abrahamson, Waupaca Area Public Library

Service member
Service  member (Pixabay)
Maybe it comes from being in a family where many have served, or maybe it comes from living in a community that hosts one of three Wisconsin Veterans Homes, but whatever it is, we couldn't possibly forget our service men and women as part of the "Every Hero Has a Story" summer library theme.  Working with Jesse Cuff, our County Veterans Services Agent (and every county has one!), we sat down and brainstormed how we could pay tribute and collaborate this summer to provide families an opportunity to discover local history. He reminded us about the work of the Old Glory Honor Flight organization, a nonprofit who works to take veterans on a whirlwind, one-day, trip to Washington, D.C. to see the national memorials constructed in their honor.  Asking children and families to remember these heroes by doing something educational just seemed a good fit.
Scavenger checklist (Pixabay)

Turns out, there are several veterans memorials in various locations in our community. How many times do we drive by and never notice?  We've made a scavenger hunt using these memorials for families to explore together.  Families who take the Veteran Memorial Challenge will get the attached sheet to complete.  By answering 9 questions from the memorials they visit, writing a thank you note to a Honor Flight veteran, and turning it into the library, the library staff (using it's Sunshine Fund-jeans money and proceeds from upcoming bake sales at the library) will donate $5 per family.  It takes about $500 to send a veteran on a Honor Flight, so our goal is that 100 families take our challenge!

Written by:
Sue Abrahamson, Children's Librarian
Waupaca Area Public Library

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Library of the Month: Waupaca Area Public Library

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

The Waupaca Area Public Library provides innovative programs and activities for every chapter of your life!

Computers and Internet Access
Waupaca Area Public Library
Image from Waupaca Area Public Library

Public computer stations are incredibly busy at the library. For many library users, having internet access at home is cost prohibitive. So having computers and internet available to the public provides the necessary access to live in the digital age. Also, if library users have a smartphone, like 75% of cellular users do (and forecasted to be 80% by the end of 2015), they can augment their data plan by using the library’s free wi-fi.

Library users can book a study room, use their cell phone, and use the internet. In this way, the library acts as a hub for small business and some patrons essentially run their businesses from the library. Patrons can use the library’s computers to write and print resumes, do job searches, file taxes, and conduct online investing. Job applications are largely online and so are government forms and instructions and the library’s computers are essential for the community.

A big project last summer was to increase bandwidth at the library to 10Mbps. Internet usage is high in the library and the library will probably need to double bandwidth again in order to have consistent headroom during peak usage this summer.

Summer Library Program

The library’s regular Summer Reading Program has been replaced with library programming that lasts all year long. The library has refocused how money is spent to support programming and in support of their mission to create life-long learners; the only prizes are books. Kids get excited about reading books and getting books as prizes and that’s the clear goal.

Youth Services

There is always something going on in the Teen Room, planned or otherwise. Because Minecraft is so huge right now, the library wanted to provide access to kids who want to play, but may not be able to afford a full-fledged Minecraft account. The Friends of the Library paid for MinecraftEdu for 12 computers that can be used by patrons while they are at the library. Minecraft is a game but also teaches cooperation, teamwork, and social skills while enhancing reading, writing, math, information technology skills. Teens just think that Minecraft is fun, without putting much thought into what skills they’re learning. The next project is to build and setup a Minecraft server, which will roll it out this summer.

Book to Art Club
Image from Waupaca Area Public Library

Adult Programming

In the early spring of 2015 a seed library opened. Gardeners are encouraged to borrow seeds, grow plants, and collect seed to return to the Library. The Seed Library was introduced with several programs that helped people know how and why to save seeds. At the kickoff of the program, the library hosted a Makerspace in the Lobby on a Saturday where we helped participants plant a few seeds.

The library supports 12 area book clubs for adults! Two new book clubs premiered this year: Book to Art & Cook Book Club. The Book to Art Club meets monthly on a Saturday for a Makerspace-like program with art projects based on the book of the month. In May, participants were encouraged to read, "The Book of Stories" and created altered book art. The Cook Book Club meets monthly on a Thursday evening. Each month there is a different theme. (example: Picnic & Potluck Foods). There is a display of cookbooks to choose from and participants bring a dish to pass and the book where they found the recipe.

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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Audience and Reading Level Filters Added in WISCAT

Two new filters are available to narrow your WISCAT search results.

Audience Level – Limits your search results to materials targeted to a specific audience

  • Target audience is derived from the 008 field in library catalog records
          a Preschool
          b Primary
          c Pre-adolescent
          d Adolescent
          e Adult
           f Specialized
          g General
           j Juvenile

  • This filter works with the Ztargets (library catalogs) and the Union Catalog
Reading Level (Union Catalog Only) – Limits your search to an Accelerated Reader or Lexile range/level

  • Info from the 521 field in library catalog records
  • This filter works with the WISCAT Union Catalog only
Image of Audience Level and Reading Level filters on WISCAT search results screen
Audience Level and Reading Level Filters on WISCAT search results screen

Using Filters

1.  Enter a search to obtain results from the selected library catalogs (Resources). 

2.  As results are returned by the catalogs, information from specific fields in the catalog records is gathered and sorted by the filters. 

3. When the search is complete, select a filter such as Audience Level to open its menu.

4. Click on one of the filtered results options, for example, Juvenile.

5. The filtered search results will then display.

6. Multiple filters may be used to narrow the search results; for example, if wanting DVDs for juveniles.
     a. open the Audience Level filter to click on Juvenile
     b. open the Format filter to select DVD.

7. After a filter has been used, it is easily removed by clicking on <Back to All Filters to return to the original search results to try other filters if desired.
Click on Back To All Filters to return to search results
Use < Back to All Filters to return to original search results

Filters rely on information being in specific fields in the library catalog records. If no info is in those fields, the records will not be included in the filtered results.

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

LSTA Grant Schedule Changes

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is implementing significant changes to its Grants to States reporting system. "Grants to States" is the official name for Wisconsin's Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)program. The reporting system is based on 50 states and U.S. territories obtaining considerable results from projects implemented on a twelve-month cycle. The LSTA is being considered for reauthorization this year, a process that occurs every five (5) years.

Time for Change with image of a clock
Time for Change
In a recent article, I indicated that the data coordinator for IMLS stated "...our sponsors want to know whether and how the support made a difference in people’s lives. Did it have a positive impact on the people who participated?” In order to provide grant recipients the best opportunity to obtain significant project results, the Division for Libraries and Technology (DLT) is changing the Federal grant award cycle from January-December, 2016 until April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. That will allow recipients to have a full year for their projects, since federal grant awards frequently are delayed until February or March.

The importance of program renewal and the need to provide recipients sufficient time to implement projects caused the DLT to review the WI grant cycle. The LSTA grant program has run on a January-December calendar year since 1998. Public libraries, public library systems, and municipalities manage their budgets on this cycle. Prior to that time the program functioned on assorted calendar cycles including July 1-June 30 (school calendar year) and October 1-September 30 (federal calendar year).

April Calendar
April Calendar
IMLS is subject to the passage of U.S. Congressional budgets to run the federal government.  In recent years, budget agreements have been reached more frequently in February rather than October. This occurrence necessitates the distribution of grant awards to localities in March with the ending month in December.  This is significant because the amount of time a library or library system has to implement a grant awarded project is greatly reduced.Rather than a twelve-month grant period, libraries and library systems then have nine (9) months to implement their projects. Abbreviating the time of implementation does not allow grant recipients sufficient time for significant project results to report in final evaluations. For this reason, the 2016 grant awards will be implemented beginning April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. 

Images courtesy of Pixabay

Written by
Terrie Howe, Public Library Development Team

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Free web-based job and career research tools

Roadtrip Nation from roadtripnation.com
Job seekers have access to tons of great information and self-exploration tools online. There's no lack of consultants and companies in this market. Smart job seekers tap them all.

Here are a few  your library may not have discovered yet. Take a look and decide which may be a good fit for job seekers in your community.  This quick glimpse of online tools does not represent an endorsement of any of them - you're the best judge of what may work for your website and the patrons you serve.

The Roadtrip Nation website is designed to speak to young job seekers.  The organization was founded by Nathan, Mike and Brian, who didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives after graduation.  They took a road trip in a truly ugly green camper, asking people who do what they love how they decided on their careers.  That trip 15 years ago grew into Roadtrip Nation. The website includes a searchable blog featuring posts by folks who have found careers they love, a "Get Guidance" section where users can map their skills and interests to identify career choices, a "Give Guidance" section where users can share what they've learned about career exploration, and an archive of every episode of the Roadtrip Nation TVshow, broadcast on PBS.

Wetfeet.com publishes a series of in-depth guides to professional careers in numerous industries, most of which require a bachelor's or advanced degree.  The website includes links to free tools that can be valuable to students at the high school and college level or adult job changers. The tools include the Universum career test, an archive of 620 free articles on interviewing, job success, making yourself more visible in the job market and more.   The Universum Global presents the Top 100 employers based on the selections of nearly 50,000 undergraduate and MBA respondents to the 2013 Wetfeet Career Benchmark. Each company profile includes articles written by current employees.  Users who register on the site using Facebook or LinkedIn can post questions about careers or companies.  The site, naturally, features a page where users can buy Wetfeet guides.

Vault.com is similar to Wetfeet, but focuses on a wider range of professions, and includes more information on internships and schools.  The industry section posts links to profiles of industries, a list of leading firms with full profiles on each company including press releases, internship programs, and a list of key industry competitors.  The site offers blogs, job postings, career advice and of course, a page where you can order Vault guides.

Many colleges and universities, including those offering MBA programs rely on Wetfeet and Vault.  Your library may decide against posting links to free content posted to websites of for-profit firms, but you may want to cherry pick some of the great free features.  Know of more great resources like these? Please let me know so we can spread the word.

Written by Martha Berninger, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Library Girl's Hiring Advice

Library Girl with cape, books and iPad
Image of  Library Girl
from Library Girl Blog

Jennifer LaGarde is the Library Girl behind the cape. Her open letter to principals, recently posted on her blog, includes some good advice and food for thought. The hiring process for classroom teachers can be unambiguous for administrators at all levels. Many principals have probably been a classroom teacher but it is less likely they have been a library media specialist. Combine that with the shortage of certified teacher librarians in the hiring pool and you can begin to understand the challenges that these administrators face.

Jennifer's open letter includes a list of six dispositions to look for in a potential library media specialist. Sometimes hiring the suitable person for the position involves a teacher currently occupied with the licensing process. As Wisconsin continues to face a shortage of certified professionals, we are looking at ways to support struggling districts seeking to locate the right person to be their "awesome librarian." This summer DPI and WEMTA are collaborating to develop resources for the start of the upcoming school year. These resources will help define what a teacher librarian does and demonstrate how one's presence improves student learning.

Library Girl also includes examples of interview questions. The good news is that the open letter doesn't stop with the hiring process. She shares information about the kind of support needed for that amazing librarian to develop an awesome library program. Check out the Adventures of Library Girl to find great information, and please share the open letter with school administrators and others involved in district hiring processes.

Written by:

Nancy Anderson, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Friday, June 5, 2015

Spring Fever and Summer Plans in Wisconsin

Spring and summer are great times to make vacation plans to enjoy the fun and adventure the great state of Wisconsin has to offer! With so much to do and so little time, we thought highlighting resources state agencies provide to help you make your vacations plans would be a great idea. Regardless of the weather, with both indoor and outdoor options, let's get those vacation plans made. 

Outdoor Fun!
Indoor Fun!
Trip Planners
  • The Travel Wisconsin Trip Planner, provided by the Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism, is the perfect tool to help you find places to stay, things to do, dining options and events. This interactive trip planner allows users to browse by location, organize trips by day, discover other places nearby, and share trip details with others. 
  • Road trips mean potential road delays due to construction or weather. Stay on top of the latest road conditions by visiting the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation's 511 Wisconsin Travel Info website.
Written by:
Mary Hutnik and Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Interlibrary Loan - yes, it matters!

Guest post written by:  Jennifer Friedman, Mendota Mental Health Institute

Mendota Mental Health Institute Library
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Friedman
The Mendota Mental Health Institute library serves approximately 350 male forensic patients (those having been judged not guilty of a crime for reason of insanity or mental defect), 20 teenage male patients, and a few older folks on a civil geriatric unit. We work closely with the Recreational, Occupational, Vocational, Music, and Art Therapy staff, who use library materials for therapeutic groups of all kinds. Two or three groups of patients per day visit the library, using computers, reading magazines, browsing our book/CD/DVD collections, or just enjoying a chance to get off the sometimes chaotic unit.

The therapeutic value of library services (especially interlibrary loan - ILL) is known to everyone here at Mendota.  ILL requests for materials are filled by libraries all over Wisconsin, not to mention out-of-state. Your libraries respond with the most generous sharing of their valuable library materials: everything from paperbacks to DVDs we can’t afford to collect, to the latest and greatest CDs. You allow me to stock our patients’ Book Group with multiple copies of the same book editions, so we can refer to the same page numbers in our discussions. You give us an incredible 95.36% fill rate on requested items, and in most cases, you are able to send items within a week to ten days. WISCAT and LinkCat (the SCLS system) provide us about 250 items per month through ILL.

Mendota Mental Health Institute Library
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Friedman

My patients tell me all the time how cool it is that I got them some little-known novel from years ago, or exactly the poem or song they were looking for, sometimes from across the U.S.—or sometimes even from their hometown public library!

Interlibrary loan gives our community more than just “that thing I want”. It gives them a sense that I as the librarian, and you as the lending community, are not just willing to, but tasked with, going the extra mile for a citizen of Wisconsin, even though he is institutionalized. It tells them that when they are out in the world in the future, they can rely on the local public library to help them get information and resources.

Written by:
Jennifer Friedman, Mendota Mental Health Institute Library

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Revising our Wisconsin Public Library Standards

“As with marathon runs and lengths of toilet paper, there had to be standards to measure up to.”
- Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Photo of running feet
Photo of running feet courtesy of notyouraveragejoggler.com
Over the next year our Wisconsin library community will be hearing a great deal about the revision of our state's Public Library Standards.   Our Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is charged by law to "recommend and distribute . . . standards for public libraries to public library governing bodies" - s. 43.05 (6).  Our Agency - and its predecessor, the Wisconsin Free Library Commission - has worked closely with public library stakeholders for well over 100 years to create public library guidelines / standards that reflect the changing needs of our communities.

Early versions of our state guidelines for public libraries focused more on recommended procedures and day-to-day library operations than measurable standards.  Nationwide standards for public libraries were first published by the American Library Association in 1933 with new editions published in 1943, 1956, and 1966.  Influenced by these national standards, our state guidelines gradually transformed to include prescriptive standards for library collections, budget, service, etc. While our Wisconsin standards are advisory, they play a critical role in not only measuring current library service but in planning for future excellence.

The impact of ALA's standards upon our state was especially strong when A Design for Public Library Development in Wisconsin: Standards for Measuring Progress was published by the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1963.  Inspired by ALA's 1956 standards which advocated a "library system" concept, Wisconsin's 1963 standards paved the way for our current network of regional public library systems.  With the formation of public library systems and statewide public library access came the 1974 Wisconsin Public Library System Standards from the recently-created Wisconsin Division for Library Services of the Department of Public Instruction.  This version emphasized the interrelations among the system, headquarters library, and a range of community library sizes.

The version of our state's standards that we're familiar with today stems from a 1987 Task Force chaired by the late Debra Johnson.  This edition of the Wisconsin Public Library Standards included imperatives for planning based upon ALA's publications on planning and role setting as well as the first inclusion of target standards for Wisconsin public libraries based upon percentile measures.  A 1994 revision - chaired by Anders Dahlgren of the DPI's Public Library Development team - reflected the technological changes that our library community had experienced since 1987 and also added the concept of "service population" for public libraries.

The next major revision of the standards took place in 2000 and was chaired by Mike Cross of the DPI's Public Library Development team.  For the first time they included quantitative standards for both municipal populations as well as "service populations."  Revised editions of the standards were published in 2005 and 2010.  We anticipate the next edition will be finished by the summer of 2016.

How can you be involved with this most recent revision of our Wisconsin's public library standards? We are assembling three Focus Teams that will be examining the broad categories of:

  • Library Governance, Administration & Staffing
  • Collection, Resources & Services (including Programs & Youth Services)
  • Access, Facilities & Technology

If you would like to volunteer to serve on one of these Focus Teams, please complete this short survey no later than June 15th.  We hope to finalize our Focus Teams in late June and schedule initial Focus Team meetings sometime during July.

Written by:
Denise Anton Wright, Public Library Development