Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016: a Year of Change

State & National developments in 2016 that will affect library services

Phote Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, courtesy American Library Association
Dr. Carla Hayden,
Librarian of Congress
As 2016 draws to a close, we can look back at some profound and groundbreaking changes that occurred in the world of library services. Among these are:
  • Dr. Carla D. Hayden was appointed as the 14th Librarian of Congress, the first woman and first African American to hold that post. She may face some tough challenges, replacing the registrar for Copyright to make that process less skewed toward corporate content owners.
  • Wisconsin's service hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) went live in August. The effort is a joint project of Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction,The University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University. Due to the previous coordinated efforts to offer digitized collections online, such as Recollection Wisconsin, the WHS, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Public Library, the Wisconsin hub opened as the fifth-largest hub among the many states already participating in the DPLA. 

    Monarch butterfly image on wave line between Monarch Library System and "Transforming Library Service" Dodge Ozaukee
  •  The first merger of two public library systems in Wisconsin occurred with the merger of the Eastern Shores Library System (Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties) with the two county Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System (Jefferson County had withdrawn from MWFLS in 2015 to join with Waukesha County to form Bridges) to form the Monarch Library System in 2017. 
    image of Wisconsin shape overlaid with image of tree w colored leaves
  • The Public Library System Redesign (PLSR) project, led by a 10 member steering committee appointed by State Superintendent Dr. Tony Evers, forged ahead with eight of the nine work groups collecting information, collaborating, and proposing alternate service models for various areas of public library service, such as technology support, continuing education, consulting, delivery, and ILL. Those were presented at the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) annual conference in October to collect further input, ideas and reactions. Project Managers Stef Morrill and Bruce Smith of WiLS will continue through 2017 to work with the steering committee, workgroup members, and the Wisconsin public library community to refine those concepts and develop concrete and workable options to deliver more effective, efficient and affordable services and support to Wisconsin libraries and citizens.
  • Another development to watch in 2017 is the recent retirement of Tom Wheeler, the chair of the Federal Communications Commission, the body that oversees the telephone, broadband, and network communications. Wheeler had been a proponent of Net Neutrality, despite the objections of other FCC members and much of the cable and internet industry (with the exception of such large providers as Google and Netflix).

And in 2016, public libraries lost a true Friend with the passing of Sandra Friedman Dolnick, who died earlier this month at age 80. Ms. Dolnick began her support for libraries in the 1970s when she joined the Milwaukee Bookfellows (later the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library) and became very active volunteering for the library and leading the organization. Throughout the next decade she worked with the American Library Association (ALA) to found Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA), an independent organization to provide support and organizational guidance for Friends groups throughout the country. She retired from leading that organization in 2002, and in 2009 FOLUSA was incorporated into United for Libraries: Association of Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, under the aegis of the ALA.

Written by John DeBacher, Public Library Development