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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 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 Offers for Services and Resources for Schools during COVID-19.

Cybersecurity 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 at Offers for Services and Resources for Schools during COVID-19.


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. Here are a few examples:

This School Library Journal list of permissions from publishers will continue to be updated. Knowledge Quest has also posted Distance Read-Alouds on this topic.

Common School Fund Expenditures

You are encouraged to allocate Common School Funds to allowable online resources, such as eBooks, audiobooks, and research databases. Payments are scheduled to be 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.


The BadgerLink team has posted a targeted list of resources to share with students and teachers in a recent Badger Bulletin. Here are links to those resources that use the updated URLs. Please share and post on your library website and highlight some of their accessibility, such as read-aloud and translation features.


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

Resources for Books and Reading

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

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

Research Databases

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.

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

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

Resources from trusted partners:

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

Collaboration with Public Libraries

The vast majority of Wisconsin public libraries are closed. 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 may be available outside of public libraries (such as in the parking lot), 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 on Friday mornings. 
  • Work on district level library planning. Many of you have participated in CESA workshops or the ISTE U course. Use this time to get your library plan ready to go for 2020-21! Us 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
  • Create summer reading lists (a bit early!)

Due to library closures and suspension of SCLS Delivery, requests for physical materials should not be placed or filled until at least April 7th. Requests for non-returnable articles can be placed as usual during this time. 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