Friday, September 25, 2015

Steering Committee Appointed for the Revision of Public Library Systems

Earlier this month, State Superintendent Tony Evers announced the appointment of a Steering Committee to oversee a multi-year project to re-envision how Wisconsin Public Library Systems serve Wisconsin’s 384 public libraries.  Wisconsin’s library systems have provided services to public libraries in Wisconsin for over 40 years.  With the support of the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND), the Steering Group in conjunction with various work groups and the Division for Libraries and Technology will seek to further to maximize the public investment in library systems and public libraries.

The 1971 signing ceremony for SB47, creating Public Library systems. Pictured (left to right) unidentified, Paul Dietz, Richard Crane, Ella Veslak, Lyle Eberhart, Nolan Neds, Pat Rogge, Bernard Schwab, Gov. Patrick Lucy (seated), Eugene G. McLane (behind governor), Muriel Fuller, Gertrude Thoreau, and Vivian Maddox, and two more gentlemen unidentified.
The Steering Group will:

  • Provide Strategic Vision, oversight, and general leadership for the process.
  • Work with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to 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.
The Steering Group members were recommended and selected based upon the individual's role in Wisconsin public libraries, their library's or system size, as well as residency in order to obtain a geographic distribution. Nominees also submitted statements of experience and interest in the project and verified that they could devote time to the project and be available for meetings, programs, and focus groups when necessary. Members of the Steering Group are:

  • John Thompson, Director, Indianhead Federated Library System (representing Large Systems, Northern Wisconsin and the LEAN System Study Steering Team)
  • Stephen Ohs, Director, Lakeshores Library System, (Small Library System)
  • Paula Kiely, Director, Milwaukee Public Library (Largest Public & System Resource Library)
  • Bridget Christenson, Director, Hatch Public Library, Mauston  (Small Public Library)
  • Beth Carpenter, Director, Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library (Small-to Mid Public & Joint Library)
  • Kristie Hauer Director, Shawano City-County Library  (County Joint Public, Rural, and Northeast)
  • Kent Barnard, Director, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose (Very Small Public)
  • Jessamyn Lee-Jones, Director, Platteville Public Library (Small to Mid-Size Public & Small Resource Library)
  • Bryan McCormick, Director, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville (Larger Public & Resource; also COLAND)
  • JonMark Bolthouse , Director, Fond du Lac Public Library (Larger Public but not Resource Library
  • John DeBacher, Director, Public Library Development (non-voting; DPI Liaison)

The work of this group seeks to strengthen the cooperative spirit that has made Wisconsin’s public libraries leaders in the cost effective sharing of resources. At its first organizational meeting on September 3, 2015, the committee selected and approved John Thompson to serve as Chair and Paula Kiely to serve as Vice Chair. 

Additional information about the process for revising Wisconsin's Public Library Systems can be found at

Written by:
John Thompson, Director, Indianhead Federated Library System, with John DeBacher, Public Library Development Team