National Library Legislative Day
This year, supporting
National Library Legislative Day is especially prescient, as Wisconsin librarians wait to hear the results regarding the
Return of Library Materials bill (SB 466). The bill was passed by the Senate Committee on Elections and Local Government with a unanimous bipartisan vote.
It may be scheduled for a vote before the Senate on Tuesday, February 9, which happens to be Library Legislative Day.
The bill will revise WI Statutes Ch. 43.40 to make it clear that public libraries may share limited information with appropriate third parties for the express purpose of retrieving
unreturned library materials or collecting replacement costs for the unreturned items.
"This legislation helps clarify the law about the tools that libraries can use to get unreturned materials back," according to Bridges Library System Director
Connie Meyer. "
It strikes the proper balance between the privacy rights of individuals with the libraries' responsibility to be good stewards of public property."
Even if you're not heading to Madison on the 9th, you can still help support the bill by calling your elected officials and asking them to support it. See the
for the bill to get talking points and visit
Who's My Elected Official?
to find your Senator or Assembly person.
Kicking Off a New Memory Project
Starting in January 2016, 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. The Four Points project was developed in response to the fantastic success of the
Lake Country Libraries Memory Project
, a group of four other Waukesha County libraries.
To celebrate this new program, the Four Points Memory Project hosted a Kick-off Event at
New Berlin Public Library
. Over 55 people were in attendance to hear a presentation by author and Memory Cafe advocate
John T. McFadden
, who brought the program idea to the United States after seeing its positive effects in England.
McFadden discussed the growing numbers of aging individuals in the United States and globally, as well as the increasing amount of diagnoses of dementia each year. He outlined the need for community support in the form of awareness, programs, and medical services to assist those living with dementia and their caregivers. Finally, he gave examples of the work done by the Fox Valley Memory Project in Appleton, WI which McFadden spearheaded.
The Kick-off Event also included introductions and speeches by New Berlin director
and Bridges' Special Needs Coordinator
WI Digital Library
, powered by Overdrive, is an audio and ebook collection of over 50,000 unique titles available for checkout to any patron with a WI public library card. The collection is funded by Wisconsin public libraries within 17 public library systems, including Bridges Library System, and is governed by members of the
Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC). This month, it was announced that the WPLC has the highest
users of digital books and audio books on Overdrive in the entire Midwest. According to Kaushalya Iyengar, Children's Services Librarian at Waukesha Public Library and Bridges' children's selector for WPLC, our consortium had 5.7 million users, approximately 3.6 million checkouts, and 1.6 million items on hold in 2015.
When asked why she thinks WPLC had such high usage stats, Kaushalya said there were several reasons. Good promotion of Overdrive has made a difference; she also believes they have an excellent collection of materials for all ages in WPLC. Within her library, she says "s
ince most of the students in Waukesha School District have iPads from school and other personal electronic devices, Overdrive has become popular."
According to Kaushalya, WPLC had a 21% growth in circulation over 2014. In addition, Overdrive also announced that they had record breaking stats in 2015 overall from all the public libraries in the nation.
What exciting news for all of our libraries!
Bridges Library System welcomed a new staff member in January.
has joined the Bridges Library System staff as our new part-time Administrative Specialist and we're excited to introduce her to you here.
Meg comes to us as she returns to the workforce after dedicating the last several years to being a stay-at-home mom. Her professional experience includes strong organizational and project management skills from many years in the banking industry. When Meg is not at work, she enjoys the outdoors, boating, photography, scrapbooking, reading, and spending time with her family. She is also an active volunteer at St. Charles Catholic Parish in Hartland. Meg, her husband Mark, and 8-year-old son Sean, live in Merton.
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.
Elm Grove Public Library
by librarian Noah Weckwerth
The Elm Grove Library first opened its doors in 1962 after years of planning. Fast forward 50+ years, and the library is now one of the cornerstones of the community.
Ask anyone who frequents the Elm Grove Library what they like about it, and the most common responses are typically a blend of "cozy," "comfortable," and "friendly." It may not be a large library, but what it lacks in space, it makes up for with a warm, friendly staff offering a personal level of service not seen in larger libraries.
Scenically situated in Elm Grove's Village Park, the library offers a relaxing place to visit for reasons beyond just books. With an array of children's programs, from pet therapy reading to Baby and Me story times, and monthly programming for adults that ranges from local history legend John Gurda to living a clutter-free life, Elm Grove's library is a destination for all ages. The library also provides a study room, one-on-one tablet training, a large display case for community organizations, and more.
Perhaps the most impressive thing to know about the Elm Grove Library though, are the extraordinary contributions made by the Friends of the Elm Grove Library through its fundraising and volunteer efforts. This past year's Lights of Love holiday campaign raised close to $20,000, and the massive annual book sale (taking place March 4-6), brings book lovers from near and far, raising visibility for the library, not to mention funds for improvements.
Johnson Creek Public Library
by director Luci Bledsoe
The Johnson Creek Public Library shares a building with the Johnson Creek Village Hall. Built in 1991, the library has since grown to where it needs more room! In 2015, library board and staff worked with WiLS Community Liaison Bruce Smith to develop a strategic plan. Goals were developed which address funding, increasing staff capacity, expanding the library space, technology, and programming. At present, the J.C. Public Library is open 47 hours a week and has a staff of 2.85 full-time employees.
We offer two Early Literacy classes (formerly called preschool story hour) every Friday for children ages 3-6. Four times a year, we offer five to six week sessions of Toddler Time, for children ages one and two. We offer "1000 Books before Kindergarten" to area babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Over the years we have developed a strong relationship with the local school and help provide their teachers and students with supplementary materials and teachers new to the district meet with me at the library every August before school starts.
nce 2007, we have offered programs specifically for home schooling students and families. These programs include an annual fire safety program coordinated with the local fire & EMS department, a poetry reading for both students and parents, a Valentine craft activity, and our annual "Gallery of Presidents" where children dress up as their favorite U.S. president and give a short report about them. We have an active summer reading program which includes crafts, LEGOs, free movies, as well as Toddler Time and Early Literacy classes.
Our big event of the year is in August when we organize and coordinate a community wide "Child Safety Fair", which includes presenters from police and fire to an area hospital to such organizations as Birth to Three and Headstart. For the first time, Flight for Life made an appearance at the 2015 Child Safety Fair, much to the delight and excitement of the 250 (plus!) children and adults who were in attendance.
Making a Difference: Abby Bussen
This fall, Abby Bussen
, the Children's Librarian at
Muskego Public Library
w a call for applicants to the
Wisconsin Library Association Children's Book Award (CBA) committee
. As Youth Services Librarian at Cudahy Family Library, she had served on the Milwaukee County Teen Book Award committee and had such an enjoyable experience that she decided to apply for the CBA committee. Abby is passionate about children's literature, writing reviews for School Library Journal and contributing to the SLJ Series Made Simple Insert; these projects have given her a lot of experience reading and critically expressing her thoughts about children's materials. She seemed to be a perfect fit for the CBA committee, and they thought so as well, as she was chosen to be one of their seven-member committee.
As part of the CBA committee, Abby and her fellow committee members provide additions to the list of Notable Wisconsin Authors/Illustrators; select the recipient of the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award; construct an annual list of publications for children and young adults created by Wisconsin authors and illustrators which were published during the previous year; and annually select a maximum of ten books to receive Outstanding Achievement recognition. The committee members do this by reading a wide variety of books with contributions by notable Wisconsin authors and/or illustrators and discussing the books at three meetings over the course of the year. Committee members serve two-year terms.
Abby graduated from UW-Milwaukee's SOIS program in December 2012 and worked first in Mukwonago and then the Cudahy Family Library before joining the team in Muskego this November. Some projects she looks forward to includes picking up more storytimes and continuing the elementary STEAM programs for which Muskego received a generous grant. Congratulations, Abby!
And the Winner Is...
On a cold Friday morning in January, 33 librarians from the Bridges Library System gathered at the Waukesha Public Library to discuss children's literature, network with colleagues, and enjoy good food. It was time once again for the Bridges Library System's annual
The Mock Awards were instituted over 20 years ago as a collection development exercise for children's and
youth services librarians.
As a group, participants choose which books they think should win the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz book awards.
A selection committee narrows down
the top books for each award prior to the Mock Awards; each participant is assigned to a table and a stack of books to read, with a few books from each category.
The morning began with snacks and mingling, but everyone soon got down to business. The day was structured around small group and large group discussions. Each table engaged in discussions about
merits of the books they had read and picked their top contenders.
the discussions opened up to the entire room, led by the table captains, who talked about their table's picks.
After discussions about the Printz, Caldecott, and Newbery books, each participant voted for their top three choices for each award. The votes were tallied and at the end of the day, winners and runners-up were announced. This year, the mock winners were:
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Just like in years past, the
Mock Awards was a great experience for all involved. We'll see you next year!
8 Perks of Being a Fair Volunteer
1. Meet your patrons and make connections with patrons and staff from other libraries.
2. Get a
free pass to the fair!
3. You're surrounded by amazing food options. You know you've been dreaming about elephant ears...
4. You don't have to pay for parking either. Win-win.
5. Share your
love of libraries in a fun way!
6. The booth is inside. (Waukesha County will be air-conditioned....still
|Terry Zignego, former Delafield library director, at the 2015 Waukesha County Fair
waiting to hear about Jefferson County.)
7. Get away from your desk for a while.
8. Represent your library and library system with some
If you haven't done so already, please follow these links to sign up for either the
fair or the
fair (or both, if you want!). This isn't an official sign-up, just a way for us to see how many volunteers we might be able to expect.
Fair dates: Jefferson County's fair is from
July 6-10. The Waukesha County fair is from
July 20-24. Shifts will be about 2 or 2.5 hours, depending.
Friends and board members are also welcome to sign up! The more, the merrier.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!
It might be cold and windy outside, but our librarians are gearing up for Summer Library Program already. On Friday, January 29, 47 librarians gathered at New Berlin Public Library to attend a hands-on SLP workshop intended to inspire them for the upcoming season. Participants made crafts, set up a giant Pac-Man course, and listened to a presentation by Amanda Struckmeyer, Youth Services Librarian at the Middleton Public Library and editor of the Collaborative Summer Library Program Children's and Early Literacy manuals.
Some feedback we received from attendees included:
This was an excellent opportunity to start planning SRP and there were great resources shared by our presenter...Thanks!"
"Amanda was a wonderful presenter. I loved that everything she presented was something I could handle at my smaller library. Lots of fun and uncomplicated!"
Summer reading is on its way and our member library staff are ready!
Library Lovers Month is Here!
Need some fun ideas to celebrate
Library Lovers Month
and engage your patrons? Try these passive programming ideas out and take a look at our
board for examples.
- Set out
coloring pages that feature hearts, "I Love Reading," "I Love My Library", etc.
- Create an engagement
bulletin board asking people to post the reasons why they love their libraries.
- Make "I Love My Library"
stickers to give out to patrons.
- Create a pop-up photobooth (all you need is a backdrop and props) with an "I Love My Library" prop sign. Ask patrons to tag your library in their photos.
- Make a
on a wall or your doors. There are so many great quotes about loving libraries! Here's a great
- Pass out
candy at the desk with tags affixed to them that say "I Love My Library."
- Put up some
on your website or social media.
contains ready-made ones.
- Pass out
for some free ones you can download and print.
If you end up doing anything fun in your library for Library Lovers Month, please let us know or send pictures to Jill Fuller at
and we'll feature it in next month's newsletter.
Upcoming Continuing Education Opportunities
Board Roles and Relationships with the Director, Staff, Volunteers and Community
Presenter: Pat Wagner, Pattern Research
Location: Franklin Public Library
Please register here.
Tuesday, March 22
Exceptional Customer Service: From Ordinary to Extraordinary
Presenter: Randa Noble
Location: New Berlin Public Library
Thursday, April 28
Data Visualization: Turning Data into Visual Statements
Session 1: 9:00 am-12:00 pm or
Session 2 (repeat of Session 1): 1:00-4:00 pm
Presenter: Stef Morrill, WiLS
Location: Computer Room, New Berlin Public Library
Register for Session 1
Register for Session 2 here.
Do you have something to share with your fellow librarians? Want to toot your library's horn about the successful new event you had or the accolades a coworker recently received? Maybe you just have some feedback on the newsletter. We want to hear about it! Contact
with all of your news and suggestions.