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COVID-19 Information for Wisconsin School Libraries

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The DPI agency-wide web page covers basic information about the novel coronavirus, critical government updates, and information on instructional areas and resources for schools. This includes Education Forward, a guidance document for Wisconsin district and school leaders to use as they plan for a safe, efficient, and equitable return to school for the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic
This webpage is designated for COVID-19 information relevant to Wisconsin School Libraries.

Resources for School Libraries


Students may have forgotten passwords to your resources and directions for how to use them. Consider re-sharing this information with students and staff, as well as making instructional videos or screen casts to put online.

Share ideas about how to lessen the demands on bandwidth at home:

  • Remind students that ebooks and audiobooks can be downloaded to their device. Note: Joining WSDLC is an affordable way to offer eBooks, and you can use Common School Funds to join and to add additional items to your school or district collection through an Advantage Account with Overdrive.

  • Use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline and then connect to your network to update, turn in work, and share with others.

Information about this topic can be found at DPI Digital Equity Gap.

Cyber Security and Data Privacy

As offers for free resources flood your inbox, and the inbox of your teachers, stay focused on the quality resources you already have available. Also, although many vendors and service providers are working with the benefit of students in mind, beware of scams and unnecessary data collection. An abundance of free tools and special offers due to school closures mean we need to practice cybersafety and exercise critical thinking when curating and sharing resources with others. Be especially vigilant about those that request personal identification information. This document from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) outlines some reminders.

Information about this topic can be found on the DPI Cyber Security web pages.


Fair Use is meant to accommodate a number of educational circumstances. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this Public Statement of Library Copyright Specialists: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research has been created. Although intended for academic institutions, much of it is applicable to K-12 education. This School Library Journal article helps unpack this resource: “A Crisis—as in School Closures Due to Coronavirus—Justifies Fair Use, Say Librarians”. And, a more academic piece, Reading Aloud: Fair Use Enables Translating Classroom Practices to Online Learning from the blog hosted by American University, provides further details. Remember that although these are challenging times, the work and intellectual property of others must be respected.

Read Aloud Resources

It is recommended to obtain permission for online read-aloud activities. There are a number of publishers and authors who are helping educators with temporary permissions. This School Library Journal COVID-19 Publisher Information Directory continues to be updated. The American Association of School Librarians' Knowledge Quest  blog has also posted Distance Read-Alouds  about this topic.

Copyright for Distance Learning: Tips and Resources for Teachers and Administrators from , a Internet Education Foundation website, has useful information and links.

Common School Fund Expenditures
  • A special fund allocation of $5.25 million has been added to the 2019-20 Common School Fund distribution. Chaired by State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands approved the special distribution to support families with the continuation of learning because of the ongoing public health emergency. Find updated amounts for each district on the DPI Common School Fund Distribution web page.
  • Library Media Specialists are encouraged to allocate Common School Funds to allowable online resources, such as eBooks, audiobooks, and research databases. Payments were issued to districts on April 27, 2020.
  • As you consider new resources, be conscious of cost beyond the subscription. For example, training for staff and students, relevance to curriculum, and the ability to maintain subscriptions in the future are important variables. Collecting usage data will allow you to determine the value of your investments.
  • If districts were unable to spend their 2019-20 Common School Fund allocation in full, the unspent portion should be coded as restricted fund balance (10 B 936130) and spent in 2020-21. These changes should be noted in the district's long-range library plan.
Circulation for School Libraries

Current research is showing that books are not a high risk for transmitting COVID-19 when treated with appropriate precautions. Public and school libraries in Wisconsin are using scientific information from the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project and advice from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to provide quarantine guidelines. Although recommended quarantine time had been as high as four days, review of additional information reduced this time to 24 hours in October 2020. Details about this change can be found in this WILibraries for Everyone blog post. Additional information about care of materials and staff is provided by the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

School library books are important to our students for many reasons, including providing a break from digital screens and providing a possible solution to equity issues related to Internet access. As with all decisions during this challenging time, library media specialists are encouraged to work with other district leaders when deciding how to best provide services for students.

Things to consider if your district is considering distributing school library books :

  • Pick-up and drop-off and/or delivery of materials needs to have a system emphasizing safety and wellness.
  • Utilize already established delivery systems, such as those being used for food and instructional packets.
  • Students will require a way to communicate what books they would like to check out, such as a Google Form.
  • A location should be designated to keep returned books for the set quarantine period.
  • Learn more about public library circulation in the Wisconsin Public Libraries Reopening Guide.

While access to BadgerLink is always available through the website, you can also seamlessly integrate these resources into existing virtual access points:

  • district websites (BadgerLink Resource URLs)
  • library management platform
  • learning management system
  • single sign-on tools

Take a look at our Educator & Librarian Guide: Accessing BadgerLink at School and Home to learn more, and contact the BadgerLink Team to get started.

Here are links to targeted resources, many with accessibility features, such as read-aloud and translation. To stay updated on BadgerLink news and highlights, please subscribe to the Badger Bulletin.


Britannica School: Encyclopedia articles with images, maps, games, and other learning materials.

Resources for Books and Reading

Literary Reference Center Plus: (Upgrade from Literary Reference Center) Collection of literary criticism and reference works

NoveList K-8: Children's fiction recommendation resource with read-alikes, discussion guides, reading lists, and more.

Poetry and Short Story Reference Center: Full-text classic and contemporary poems, short stories, biographies, essays, lesson plans and learning guides

TeachingBooks: An engaging collection of resources that brings books to life.

Research Databases

Computers & Applied Science Complete: Full-text database covering computing, technology and engineering disciplines

Explora for Elementary Schools, Explora for Middle & High Schools, Explora Educator's Edition:  Searches multiple EBSCO resources at a time, broken out by grade level.

MAS Complete (Upgrade from MAS Ultra- School Edition): Designed specifically for high schools, a collection of popular magazines, books, and multimedia covering a wide-range of subject areas

Middle Search Plus: Magazine and primary sources suitable for middle school students.

Primary Search: Full-text magazines for elementary school, Encyclopedia of Animals, Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, and American Heritage Children's Dictionary.​

U.S. Newsstream: U.S. current and archived news back to 1980s.

Skill Building and Test Preparation

Advanced Placement Source: Full-text journals and magazines for high school students enrolled in various Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses

LearningExpress Library School Center: Skill-building resources for classroom and homework success.

Resources from trusted partners:

PBS Wisconsin Education: Educational videos, images, and animations spanning all curricular areas

Collaboration with Public Libraries

Wisconsin public libraries have begun to reopen. Updates regarding this and other public library information can be found at COVID-19 Information for Wisconsin Public Libraries.

Many libraries are promoting remote services, so reach out to your local youth services library staff to see how you can collaborate and support each other. You may also want to follow the Youth Services Blog from the Youth Services Section of the Wisconsin Library Association for ideas and information.

Remember that WiFi access is available at Wisconsin public libraries, as well as on your school grounds. This can be helpful for students having trouble connecting.

Encourage students to use online resources available from their public library website with their library card.

Professional Time

Moving forward, your administrators may ask you to account for your professional time in different ways than classroom teachers. Here are some suggestions:

  • Help colleagues by curating resources for them and assisting with their technology needs. Focus on supporting curriculum rather than providing enrichment.
  • Offer “office hours” to provide support for students and parents trying to navigate their new online environment.
  • Join networking meetings hosted by DPI School Libraries.
  • Work on district level library planning. Many of you have participated in CESA workshops or the ISTE U course. Use and share resources in the WISELearn School Library Planning Group
  • Update library web pages, including your new BadgerLink URLs.
  • Clean up records in your library catalog
  • Curate book lists for students to help them choose books when they cannot visit the shelves.

WISCAT resumed interlibrary loan services on August 3, 2020. For more information, join the WISCAT/ILL listserv by sending a blank email to Contact the WISCAT team with questions at


For questions about this information, contact Monica Treptow (608) 575-6065