|Map of WI counties|
From a library perspective, the really exciting news is that all 72 Wisconsin counties are members of a regional public library system. As a result, every resident of our great state has tax-supported access to a public library. Unless you've lived in a state without universal public library access, you may not know what a big deal this is. The very first section of Chapter 43 of our Wisconsin State Statutes (the chapter concerned with public libraries and regional public library systems) underscores this priority: "the legislature recognizes the importance of free access to knowledge, information and diversity of ideas to all residents of this state."
Counties play a vital role in the growth of strong public libraries and strong public library systems. Initial membership in a regional public library system was by county rather than individual public library. In order to join a library system, each county was required to develop a county library plan. Counties are statutorily required to not only adopt but to maintain a county library plan in order to remain system members.
Our updated County Library Planning, Funding, and Related Issues page will be a useful spot for library directors, public library trustees, county officials, and municipal officers. On this page you'll find information on library legislation, county funding requirements, county library planning, and the procedure for municipalities to exempt themselves from the county's library tax.
Denise Anton Wright, Public Library Development