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Public Library and School Library Service During COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The 'Safer at Home' order requires the closure of all public libraries “for all in-person services, but may continue to provide on-line services and programming.” Public libraries and many school libraries in Wisconsin are still striving to serve their communities in different ways, and the Department of Public Instruction has created two specific web pages to provide information.

Based on the volume of questions and concerns expressed from school library settings, DPI created the COVID-19 Information for Wisconsin School Libraries.

Similarly, the COVID-19 Information for Wisconsin Public Libraries web page is designated for COVID-19 information relevant to Wisconsin public library systems and public libraries.

Additional $250,000 In Library Services and Technology Act for Wisconsin Digital Library Investment Support

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division for Libraries and Technology is supporting libraries and library users by adapting to new service expectations. With federal support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding, a $250,000 investment is being made on behalf of Wisconsin library users. This funding will support the following:

  • Allocating up to $30,000 for ebook and audio titles that will be available with unlimited use for one year from the date of purchase.

  • Allocating up to $100,000 for ebook and audio titles using the cost-per-circulation or pay-per-use model.

  • Allocating up to $120,000 for new ebook and audio book titles in the collection.

Storytime Goes Digital

All over the state, storytime has moved to the digital world with many public and school libraries providing a continued storytime routine in a different format. Thousands of children are accessing and enjoying books read out loud even when libraries and schools are closed.

Abby Bussen, a children’s librarian from the Muskego Public Library, shares her experiences on the Wisconsin Library Youth Services blog. She reflects on preparing for digital storytime and sharing what it is like to keep this routine going for children of all ages.

Librarians are not the only ones sharing stories online. Oscar Telshcow, a high school senior from Stratford High School was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio to share how he continues to provide his well-established daily storytime with the pre-kindergarten students.

However, accessing storytime in a digital format is not always possible for every child. For those concerned about internet access for students, visit the DPI Offers for Services and Resources for Schools during COVID-19 web page.

Professional Development Opportunities for Librarians

System and State Continuing Education Coordinators are working to provide fresh content on a variety of subjects pertinent to the profession. Wisconsin Library System Continuing Education Consultants and Continuing Education consultants from other state libraries shared knowledge to put together a list of professional development opportunities on many different subjects.

For more information from DPI, visit the Information on COVID-19 web page.