Bridges Library System | 262-896-8080 | 
Thoughts from Connie
The image you see here is a photo from an art piece hanging on our office wall.  I love this piece!  It reminds the library system staff every day about the importance of teamwork.  We've needed to work together very closely over the last year as we've traveled down a path fraught with trip wires and deadlines at every turn.  Bringing another county into our system takes more work than one could ever imagine.  It's been a bit like a thousand piece puzzle. The technical piece is extraordinarily complex and involves the cooperation of many.  The delivery piece was considerable because the contract had to be re-bid and that process resulted in two vendors being awarded contracts requiring a plan to ensure cooperation and coordination.  The financial piece was complicated to say the least.  The governance piece required many board approvals and a statute change to round things out.

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we have sorted through the issues, one by one, all while trying to keep up with our daily work.  I'm very proud of how hard the library system staff has worked on behalf of all of our libraries for an extended period of time.  Mellanie and Shawn, Laurie and Angela, Sandy and also now Jill have all demonstrated amazing commitment to our mission.

I'd also like to thank our libraries for all the ways you've pitched in too.  Libraries helping libraries is an amazing thing to observe.  When the libraries of Waukesha County, who were busy in their own right due to being offline for a week, stepped up to the plate and offered to go to the Jefferson County libraries to assist on go-live day, it sent a powerful message to be sure.

A sincere thank you to every person who made the transition to the Bridges Library System possible.  We're officially Bridges Library System and excited about the many things we'll be able to accomplish by sticking together!
NOTEworthy News
And the Award Goes to... 

Awards season is upon us (the Golden Globes! the Oscars!) but this fall was truly an awards season for the Bridges Library System. The system received the Waukesha County Executive's 2015 Award for Government Agency of the Year. The award recognized the system for the "excellence they demonstrate as a successful organization in the community." An Awards Luncheon was held on October 15th.
Bridges Library System's director, Connie Meyer, was also recognized this fall, being named as the Wisconsin Library Association/Demco's Librarian of the Year for her years of dedication and service in the library field. She was nominated by the Waukesha County library directors, who praised her leadership, energy, and the strides she had taken in her first two years with the library system. She was presented with her award at the WLA conference in Madison on November 5th. Congratulations Connie!
Jail Book Donation Program

Bridges Library System (formerly the Waukesha County Federated Library System) has a long history of providing new books to the Waukesha County Jail and the Juvenile Center. This partnership was created to connect the special population of those in jail or the juvenile detention center with books and to ultimately create a positive connection with reading and the library. 

Angela Meyers of Bridges works with the  Senior Correctional Facility Manager and  jail instructors, as well as Susan Taylor, an instructor with Waukesha County Technical College, to determine which books are most needed in the jail library or classroom. This year Bridges expanded its offering by buying paperback children's books to be used in a  Parenting Program Susan is coordinating at the jail.  Through the Parenting Program, students work through exercises which help them identify their parenting style. Upon completion of the program, students are given the opportunity to read a book to their child as they are videotaped. The DVD recording and the book are then sent to the child.   This program has been found to be beneficial for the inmate and child, creating a bond and fostering literacy skills for both.  

Starting in 2016, we plan to expand these offerings to the Jefferson County Jail and Detention Center. For more information, contact Angela Meyers at
Saying Goodbye, Saying  Hello

This December, Bridges Library System
 said goodbye to our Administrative Specialist, Sandy Jaeger. She retired at the end of December after 27 years working for WCFLS/Bridges. Her absence will be evident around the Bridges office!

Terry Zignego also retired this December from her position as library director of Delafield Public Library. She had been at the library since 1991 and in the director's chair since 2007. This lovely quilt was made by her staff out of her collection of Summer Reading Program t-shirts! Her leadership, enthusiasm, and passion will be sorely missed at Delafield and Bridges.

Bridges also said hello in gaining a new member of the team. Jill Fuller  started in November as Marketing & Communications Librarian. She will be working on promoting system-wide programs and services, as well as helping with library websites . Feel free to get in touch with her with ideas or questions at
Creative Marketing...from Buttons to Jammies

Who says marketing has to be just flyers and posters? Whitewater and Delafield libraries threw that notion out the window to make patrons pay attention to what their library has to offer.

To celebrate and promote the new Bridges Library System name and logo, Irvin L. Young Memorial Library in Whitewater made buttons for staff to wear. Assistant Director Diane Jaroch created these using the library's MINC foil applicator machine and a button-making machine. Staff has been wearing them since the Cafe catalog went live on December 10th.

Delafield Public Library found a unique way to promote the Gale Courses database available to patrons. On January 6th, staff members wore their pajamas for the day, to the delight of curious patrons. Not only was it undoubtedly comfy, but the gesture highlighted that Gale Courses are available to patrons anytime, anywhere, even at home in their jammies. That day, we had 27 new signups for Gale Courses!

Creativity wins when it comes to marketing practices. For more ideas, check out this post about unusual promotion ideas on the library blog  The 5 Minute Librarian or take a look at the Promotion Ideas posted in our Gale Courses toolkit.
ILEAD: Media Mentorship & Using Apps
Media Mentorship and Using Apps in Storytime video
Media Mentorship and Using Apps in Storytime video

This year, four Bridges Library System librarians  participated in a nation-wide librarian leadership program called ILEAD and ultimately developed an instructional video and Pinterest resource board for librarians interested in incorporating apps in children's storytime. The 
team members-  Angela Meyers  from Bridges Library System;  Kerry Pinkner  from Waukesha Public Library;  Christi Sommerfeldt  from 
Muskego Public Library;  Christine Weichart  from New Berlin Public Library; and  Katharine Clark  from Madison Public Library - worked together from March to October on the project. 

Angela said that their goal in creating the video and Pinterest page was to help librarians curate a list of quality apps and then demonstrate to both the child and parent/caregiver how best to use them. Kerry said that another goal was for library staff to think of themselves as Media Mentors, encouraging and modeling a guided media experience. 

What did they find were some favorite apps with kids? Angela cited Moo Baa La La, an interactive book, and Kerry mentioned Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App! as some top contenders. 

For more information, stay tuned for a blog post about the project on the Bridges Library System website. And make sure to t ake a peek at the team's video and Pinterest page.

Spotlight On...
In the next few months, each newsletter issue will feature two member libraries, one from Waukesha County and one from Jefferson, as a way for us to get to know our fellow libraries and to highlight the things that make each of our member libraries a unique asset to their community. 
Dwight Foster Public Library
by director Kelly TerKeurst

Fort Atkinson's library story began in 1892 when the first librarian was hired for $100 a year (the total library budget for that year was $350)! To help promote the library, local minsters were asked to devote one Sunday to preaching on the value of a library and to also take a collection for the library. In 1912, the son-in-law of the city's first settler, Dwight Foster, offered to give the city money for a new library building as long as it was named after his father-in-law. The building was finished in 1916 and has gone through three expansions since then. 2016 marks our 100th anniversary in this location!

With over 33,000 square feet covering two levels, the award winning Dwight Foster Public Library has something to offer for everyone. You will find meeting and study rooms, a large computer lab, and a coffee shop where you will find our ongoing Friends of the Library book sale. 

Rotating art displays are featured on both levels. We archive works by the late local poet Lorine Niedecker and also host the Wisconsin Poetry Festival every year. We have been digitizing our local newspaper, the Daily Jefferson County Union, which is also available on film. Story time for children is offered throughout the year, as well as many other programs such as Lego Club, Yoga for Kids, and Read to Dogs. 

Adults can keep busy attending various workshops, book discussion groups and author visits. Wi-fi and laptops are available as well as one-on-one technology help! In the colder months, cozy up to one of our fireplaces with a good book (or tablet) in hand.  

Big Bend Village Library
by librarian Mary Jean Stein

The Big Bend Village Library, which first opened its doors in 1964, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

The 999-square-foot library is packed wall-to-wall with more than 13,000 books, DVDs, CDs and audio books. We began 2015 with new paint and carpeting, and we ended the year with a new flat screen TV, computer updates and a free charging station for electronic devices. The library's first location - in 1964 - was in a storefront on Maple Street. The shelves were nearly bare, holding only a handful of donated material.  At first, a few volunteers and a head librarian staffed the library.  By 1966, the library became situated in its current location at Highway L and Nevins Street, a building it shares with the village hall, police department, fire department and municipal court.

Our library offers a weekly story hour, two active book clubs, and programs throughout the year to serve our patrons.  Our outreach librarian visits local schools and daycares for book talks and story hours.  We have special programs, such as "The Mad Hatter Tea Party" for children and adults. Our new offerings include a bedtime story hour, "Movies in Motion" (a chance for children and adults to sing and dance along with a movie), adult reading program and a photography contest.

Patrons say it is the connections they have made at the library is the reason why they return week after week. One of the best things in a small library is the personal service that you get.  The Big Bend Library joined the Waukesha County Federated Library System in the early 1990s, and is now a member of the joint merger of Waukesha and Jefferson county libraries- Bridges Library System.  "We're the smallest library of all 16 libraries in Waukesha County," Library Director Karla Lang said. "But we're not the kind of library that says, 'Shhh.'" 

Visit the Big Bend Village Library website for more information.
What's New?
New Year, New Databases

Two new databases are now available to all patrons of our member libraries: Rosetta Stone and JobNow. Rosetta Stone is a personalized language and reading program that is designed to accelerate language learning; it replaces our subscription to Transparent Language Online.
JobNow is a career assistance database that provides patrons with live interview coaching, resume review, and an Adult Learning Center. Both went live on January 1st, and marketing materials for you to use are available on our website
Four Points Memory Project Kick-off Event

Four libraries from Waukesha and
Milwaukee counties- Muskego, New Berlin, Franklin, and Hales Corners- have come together to form the  Four Points Memory Project. Each library will take turns hosting monthly Memory Cafes, which are social gatherings for those living with memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, and other forms of dementia, as well as their family members or caregivers. 

To celebrate this new program, the Four Points Memory Project is hosting a Kick-off Event at  New Berlin Public Library on Tuesday, January 19 from  2:00-3:30 pmThe event is free and open to all, and will feature a presentation by John T. McFadden, an advocate of Memory Cafes who brought the program idea to the United States after seeing its positive effects in England.  There is no charge to attend but registration is required for all new attendees. To register, please have patrons contact Wendy Betley of the Alzheimer's Association at 414-479-8800.
Make sure to spread the word about this fantastic new initiative! 
Marketing to Seniors 

The Bridges Library System will now have a section in the monthly newsletter for the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) in Waukesha County. Library programs and events that are geared towards, or appropriate for, senior citizens will be highlighted each month in the newsletter, which is mailed to members and available on the ADRC website. You can contact Jill at by the middle of each preceding month if you have programs you want included. (So for the March issue, we'll be submitting a write-up by mid-February). Right now, this is only open to Waukesha County libraries but a similar relationship with the Jefferson County ADRC is in the works! 
Your Toolkit
Winter 2016 Continuing Education Opportunities

Wednesday & Thursday, January 20-21
The Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference  is a free state-wide virtual conference.  Eight, 60-minute web presentations focusing on public libraries will be given over two blustery days in January. 
Register for sessions here.

Monday, January 25
Bridges-MCFLS Adult Programming Meeting
1:00 - 4:00 pm
@ New Berlin Public Library
This annual meeting is for Bridges and Milwaukee County library staff members who develop and coordinate  adult  public programs. Be prepared to talk about programming activities at your library and any trends in programming needs you are noticing in your community. We'll also discuss ways everyone can stay connected throughout the year.
Register and get more information here.

Friday, January 29
2016 Summer Library Program Workshop
8:30 a.m. ~ Registration
9:00-12:00 ~ Workshop
@ New Berlin Public Library
Warm up at this free 2016 Summer Reading Program Workshop! We'll explore the Collaborative Summer Library Program's Early Literacy,
Children's, and Teen manuals, and we'll look at programs and resources beyond those found in the manuals. This hands-on workshop will feature STEAM projects, games, book club ideas, and a presentation by Amanda Struckmeyer of Middleton Public Library.
Please register  here.
From the Web
R.I.P. David Bowie