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Playing and Making in May

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Recently, I have had a number of opportunities to expand my knowledge base in using library spaces for exploration, innovation, and creation. These are not new concepts to school librarians, but they have been recently showcased differently under the term makerspace. Rather than focus on this term, which may be ephemeral, I shall take a moment to illustrate how these ideas are a foundation of library programming and hopefully provide some inspiration to take some time with students and teachers, in this month when testing is concluding but the school year is not, to try out ideas and start planning for next year.

We can find justification for why exploration, innovation, and creation should be part of library programming in the AASL National School Library Standards and the Future Ready Librarian Framework. Although infused throughout AASL, the Shared Foundation called Explore exemplifies these themes in its Learner and School Library Standards. For example, “Learners construct new knowledge by persisting through self-directed pursuits by tinkering and making,” and, “The school library facilitates construction of new knowledge by establishing and maintaining a learning environment conducive to independent and collaborative exploration and problem solving,” are, respectively, a competency and alignment found in the Create domain. The Future Ready Librarian principle of Use of Space and Time is defined by, “Provides flexible spaces that promote inquiry, creativity, collaboration, and community.” Both of these national level resources message that our libraries are no longer places to merely find information, but places where synthesis happens with new knowledge as a product.

In order to figure out what this synthesis looks like in your library space, find out what your school community needs and desires. Maybe that is a selection of robots and drones and coding tools. Possibly it is materials to build circuits or architectural wonders. There may be a need for yarn, fabric, and a sewing machine. Even coloring patterns, folding paper, and markers may make your list. The important thing is to find out what fits your space best, and that happens through exploring options. Set up a station or two each week for students, teachers, and other visitors to try. Take a seat at the table yourself and truly experience the design process, including the frustrations and the successes.

While you are exploring, be creative with finding resources. If you don’t have any robots or drones, see if you can borrow one from your public library or a neighboring district. This is a fabulous way to make connections for future collaborations. Try reaching out to parents and community members to see if they would be interested in showcasing a craft or skill. Maybe you can even find vendors willing to let you take a test-drive with a new item.

As your library vibrates with new experiences and learning, make sure to document the activities. Look at each station and ask why it is valuable, how much it costs, and what time and space requirements it needs. Survey user experiences and gather feedback through photos and videos, too. All these things will be valuable data points as you plan for future library purchases and programming. Have fun exploring!



Updates to the EBSCO Personalization Features

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

In an effort to protect the security and privacy of users, EBSCO is actively implementing a program to ensure full compliance with the enhanced European Union data protection legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Upgrades include:

  • Implementing tools to enforce the use of strong passwords
  • Transitioning all platforms to HTTPS for secure data transfer
  • Providing privacy controls for end users

This last bullet will begin on or after May 15, 2018.  Users of MyEBSCOhost folders will be asked to review and accept EBSCO's Privacy Policy in order to continue using the service.  Once the Privacy Policy has been accepted, users will have the ability to view the data associated with their account and the option to remove the account at any time.  

For additional information on these changes, see EBSCO's Upcoming Privacy and Security Enhancements and don't hesitate to Contact BadgerLink!

Written by: Elizabeth Neuman, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning



Keep WISCAT Working Smoothly by Updating Connections to your Catalogs

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Have you ever received a WISCAT request for an item in a collection you don't lend out via ILL -- genealogy, new materials, etc.? Have you ever seen a title from your library display in WISCAT as not lendable, but you know it's available and you'd be willing to lend it? It may be time to update the Z39.50 connection to your catalog!

Z39.50 is a protocol for connecting ILL software to catalogs and transmitting live shelf status of materials. WISCAT relies mainly on these live Z39.50 connections to function, while a much smaller portion of records are in the Union Catalog and don't display live shelf status. Not sure whether there is a live connection between your library or system catalog and WISCAT? Click on the stacked canister icon to the left of the search bar (see image below) and see a list of all live connections. 

WISCAT search screenshot with stacked canister highlighted to indicate reviewing/selecting search resources.

In order for these connections to function properly, the WISCAT team needs up-to-date location and status information from your catalog so that when a WISCAT search returns  one of your bibliographic records, WISCAT is able to identify which collection of materials that item comes from in your library, whether or not that collection is lendable, and whether or not a particular item is available on the shelf. If these locations or statuses are incorrect, out of date, or incomplete, you may be getting requests for items you don't lend, or you may not be getting requests for items that borrowers in Wisconsin are looking for. 

Spreadsheet showing a portion of a Z39.50 configuration update.
A Z39.50 configuration update sent to the WISCAT team by Molly Lawlor at OWLS

Codes and locations vary widely based on local cataloging methods and the ILS platform in use at your library or system. If you have questions about your catalog's current Z39.50 configuration, please contact us

Written by Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


To tape or not to tape

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Note: We are receiving complaints again about  tape being used on borrowed ILL items. This article was originally posted in December of 2016, but it appears that it’s time for a refresher!

Guest Post written by Charles Clemence

 I like to think that nothing much surprises me anymore including election results and the Packers' curious inability to win consistently with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. But I am constantly surprised at how much passion the issue of tape arouses in the ILL community. To use or not use, removable or non-removable, everyone seems to have an opinion. Myself included. Over 25 years ago I wrote a (supposedly) humorous article for the Winding Rivers Library System newsletter, suggesting (jokingly) that perhaps librarians were getting kickbacks from the Scotch tape people, judging by the amount of tape I saw used on ILL items. I thought that was funny, although I'm not sure anyone else did.

As to tape, a couple of comments:Office Scotch Tape

1. The prohibition on tape in the new ILL guidelines refers to items owned by other libraries. If you want to send your own items out covered in tape - go for it. But when returning items you borrowed, my experience is that it's best to follow the guidelines, however arbitrary they seem. ILL is based on having cooperative lenders. In fact, it couldn't exist without them. If some don't like tape, then the prudent course is to not use it for any.

2. The ILL guidelines are just that - guidelines. If you don't follow them the library police aren't going to show up at your door. At least I don't think they will. However, if you don't follow the guidelines a lender would be free to refuse your loan requests for that reason. For myself, I've always tried to avoid using tape. If necessary, I tape the label to a rubber band and put that combination around the item. Some don't like this solution, but if you use removable tape on the rubber band it isn't too obnoxious to dismantle.

As to labels, most of the problems described in the earlier comments sound like human error or a combination of software issues and human error. If anyone has come up with a way to keep people from making mistakes they're doing a good job of keeping it a secret. And the perfect software package continues to elude us as well.

Moreover, going back to exclusive use of pink routing labels would only make these problems worse. I remember when we had that system and there were a lot more errors than there are now. Also, unless you print the information on the pink labels - something that isn't always possible - the problem of reading the labels arises. No one wants to read my handwriting, I know that.

That's my 2 cents. Or maybe more like a nickel.

Written by:

Charles Clemence, Winding Rivers Library System


Learn More About Your Library's WISCAT Usage with Activity & Request Reports

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Have you ever wondered what percentage of your WISCAT requests end up being filled? Or how many requests are initiated by patrons vs. staff? Would you like to see the titles that your patrons are most frequently requesting? You can find all these statistics and more in the Activity & Request Reports section of the Statistics module when logged into your WISCAT staff account.

 Activity and Request Reports screen with options

There are 5 report types available in this section:

  • Borrowing Activity - Provides activity statistics for your library as a borrower.
  • Lending Activity - Provides activity statistics for your library as a lender.
  • Net Activity - Provides a summary comparison of borrowing versus lending activity.
  • Request Records (Excel only) - Provides a list of records for all requests submitted by your library as a borrower.
  • Lender Response Records (Excel only) - Provides a list of records for all responses to requests received by your library as a lender.

The reports generated are best viewed in Excel-- this way you can change how the data is arranged to suit your needs, or add formulas to give you more information about the data provided -- for example, fill rate is not a column provided automatically in the Borrowing Activity report, but you can figure this out easily by dividing the number present in the Filled field by the number present in the Unique Requests Sent field, then multiplying that number by 100. Note that requests appear as Filled once all activity on the request has ceased and it's marked as Complete, so fill rate calculations work best on data that's not from recent months.

Please contact us with any WISCAT statistics questions!


Written by Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


Top ten most ILL'd titles of 2017

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

At the end of March, OCLC released the top 10 most shared titles in 2017. This list mirrors what we have seen in WISCAT ILL requestsHillbilly elegy jacket art.

For the second year in a row, the most requested title was Hillbilly Elegy. It was published in June 2016 and has been on the New York Times bestseller list ever since. Here are the top 10 in order of popularity:

  1. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
  2. Deep Learning by Ian Goodfellow,Yoshua Bengio, and Aaron Courville
  3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  5. Iris & Lily: Book One by by Angela and Julie Scipioni
  6. Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor by Seth Klarman
  7. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  9. Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
  10. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Written by:  Christine Barth, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning


Submit a Session Proposal for the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference

Friday, March 23, 2018


Guest post from the WLA 2018 Annual Conference Committee

Started that new cake pan collection this year? Have a fabulous inclusive storytime? Tell us about it!

The 2018 WLA Conference Committee invites you to share your experience and creativity with the Wisconsin library community at our annual conference, to be held on October 23-26, 2018, at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse & La Crosse Center.

Professionals learn best from their peers. We’re looking for local expertise to provide a relevant, timely, and intentional learning experience at this year’s conference.

Feel free to suggest any program you'd like to present. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need a passion to share what you do. Examples include: your innovative program, a new service you unveiled, unique community collaborations, management hacks, self-care tips, your new safety initiative, and more.

Consider sessions related to topics such as: Advocacy, Diverse Collections, Collaborations, Innovations, Engaging People, Marketing, Social Media, Technology Trends, Support Staff and more.

Submit your proposal here.

First consideration for program proposals is April 6, 2018.

Guest post from the WLA 2018 Annual Conference Committee


New to ILL? Check out some of these helpful resources

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Guest post by Carol Nelson, Minitex

Angels carrying books

There are a lot of great sources for information about interlibrary loan (ILL) on the Internet. If you are looking for ways to connect to other ILL staff, or to read up on trends in interlibrary loan, check out these links:

ShareILL is a website designed and maintained by interlibrary loan staff. You will find ILL codes and guidelines, OCLC Custom Holdings lists created and shared by other ILL staff, and online directories.The "Keeping Current" section has links to conferences, e-mail lists, associations, and publications.

ILLers; a FB Group For Interlibrary Loan is a closed group, so send a request to the group if you would like to join. The posts range from helpful information to examples of the fun and interesting things that happen in our ILL offices. Many members post to the group regularly.

ILL-L is a discussion forum for ILL practitioners in all types of libraries around the world. You will see messages requesting help locating an item, asking for advice, or providing information to other ILL staff.

OCLC-Sharing-L is an email list for announcements, changes, and enhancements to OCLC resource sharing services. Subscribers cannot post items on this list, but it will keep you up-to-date on OCLC news.

@OCLC is one twitter account you should follow when you need information about OCLC outages. When OCLC had system issues this fall, their staff e-mail accounts were also affected. Twitter was the only place OCLC users could get information about the downtime, so OCLC recommends checking here if you suspect system issues.

Workflowtoolkit-l should be on your radar if your library uses ILLiad. This is the best list for sharing news, support, ideas, and best practices for ILLiad.

Library Science Daily is a curated list of links to library news gathered from the web. Reading up on the latest news about libraries will give you something to discuss with your colleagues in the breakroom.

Written by:  Carol Nelson, Minitex



Curate BadgerLink Resources with your Catalog or LMS at WEMTA

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Join a panel of your peers from both large and small districts on Tuesday, March 27 at 11:00am as they discuss the benefits and roadblocks of integrating BadgerLink (and non-BadgerLink) resources into their LMS or library catalog platforms.  Make the most of the tools your district is already using by placing quality content at the fingertips of educators, librarians, and students!     

Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning staff Ben Miller, Monica Treptow, and Elizabeth Neuman will facilitate the conversation.  For more information on panelists and to view the entire WEMTA schedule, visit

We hope to see you there!  

Written by: Elizabeth Neuman, Resource for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


Announcing the 2018 Inclusive Services Institute Cohort

Monday, February 26, 2018

The first-ever Inclusive Services Institute will take place March 12-14 and August 12-14, 2018. The Inclusive Services Institute is a professional development and workgroup opportunity for Wisconsin public library and regional system staff who are committed to making Wisconsin libraries more inclusive to all community members and potential library users. The Institute will offer reflective learning experiences on topics of equity and social justice. Participants will work on small teams to develop tools for a new statewide resource. The Inclusive Services Statement from the Division of Libraries and Technology will provide the foundation for the Institute content and workgroup efforts. The Institute is supported through an LSTA grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the Public Library Development Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

The recent application process was competitive for the Institute. Sixteen participants were selected from a large pool of applicants representing all 16 regional library systems. Cohort members are listed alphabetically by library system and last name.

The 2018 Inclusive Services Institute Cohort

  • Rene Bue, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville), Arrowhead Library System
  • Mark Jochem, New Berlin Public Library, Bridges Library System
  • Samantha Johnson, Augusta Memorial Public Library, Indianhead Federated Library System
  • Lisa Rivers, Southwest Library (Kenosha), Kenosha County Library System
  • Jessica MacPhail, Racine Public Library, Lakeshores Library System
  • Glenny Whitcomb, Chilton Public Library, Manitowoc Calumet Library System
  • Kristina Gomez, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee County Federated Library System
  • Holly K. Smith, Monarch Library System
  • Bobbie Kuehn, Brown County Library (Green Bay), Nicolet Federated Library System
  • Emilie Braunel, Plum Lake Public Library, Northern Waters Library Service
  • Elizabeth Timmins, Muehl Public Library (Seymour), Outagamie Waupaca Library System
  • Shauna Koszegi, Sun Prairie Public Library, South Central Library System
  • Martha Bauer, Brewer Public Library (Richland Center), Southwest Wisconsin Library System
  • Irma Keller, Tomah Public Library, Winding Rivers Library System
  • Susan Younger, Wautoma Public Library, Winnefox Library System
  • Laurie Ollhoff, T. B. Scott Free Library (Merrill), Wisconsin Valley Library Service