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Safer at Home Extended, Curbside Pick-up Added to Exceptions

Thursday, April 16, 2020

At 12:51 p.m. on April 16, 2020, the State of Wisconsin issued a press release regarding the extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order until 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020 (or until a superseding order is issued) per Emergency Order #28. Order #28 implements some new safety measures and allows certain activities to begin ramping up service and operations. The following sections of Order #28 pertain to public libraries:

Order 4b: Closures: Libraries. Public libraries must remain closed for all in-person services. Library may provide the following services, beginning no sooner than 8:00 a.m. on April 24, 2020*:

  • Libraries may continue to provide online services and programming, as was permitted under the Safer at Home Order.

  • Libraries may begin to offer curbside pick-up of books and other library materials, only if all of the following conditions are met:

    • All operations are performed by one person in a room or confined space (see below for details);

    • Materials are requested online or by phone before pick up;

    • A signature from the patron is not collected;

    • All pick-ups are scheduled, to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in Section 16 of the Safer at Home Order.

  • Any Essential Governmental Function; and

  • Food distribution, which were both permitted under the Safer at Home Order.

Order 12: Essential Government Functions. Government bodies including the library board should continue to follow the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Office of Open Government guidance regarding holding government meetings, and library boards should continue to convene monthly to audit and approve the payment of all expenditures of the public library, pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 43.58(2)(a). The OOG advisory on open meetings is available at

Other functions exempted under this order could include food distribution and other activities deemed essential by the municipality.

Order 14: Minimum Basic Operations. This order allows the minimum necessary activities to preserve the library facility and equipment, address information technology (IT) issues, ensure physical and cybersecurity, process payroll and fulfill business services obligations, as well as activities that facilitate the ability of staff to work remotely from home.

Curbside service has been added to the list of minimum basic operations for public libraries. As a non-essential business, a public library may continue basic minimum operations by restricting the number of workers in the library to no more than is strictly necessary to perform curbside service, as well as the other minimum basic operations. These added employees can now be considered essential staff, for the purpose of operating the library with limited services.

Curbside service can only be offered by a library if all four conditions outlined in the Order #28 are met. “All operations performed by one person in a room or confined space” implies proper social distancing. It does not mean that one individual must perform all operations involved in running a curbside service; rather, it limits the number of people working in a room or confined space to one person.

Materials must be requested either online or by phone, and all pick-ups must be scheduled to ensure that social distancing requirements are met. Because lobby areas and vestibules provide an increased risk of contagion, they are not acceptable pick-up spaces for curbside service. All transactions should occur outside and away from the doorways, where people can properly socially distance themselves without coming into contact with others and hard surfaces.

Delivery and mailings. More information is needed to determine if this section applies to exchange of materials between libraries. Library staff should not provide home deliveries or offer deposit collections to residence facilities until a determination is made.

Order 16: Social Distancing Requirements. For purposes of this Order, Social Distancing Requirements includes:

  1. Maintaining social distancing of six (6) feet between people;

  2. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer;

  3. Covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands);

  4. Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;

  5. Not shaking hands; and

  6. Following all other public health recommendations issued by DHS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

DLT acknowledges that public libraries are a matter of local control. We encourage you to contact your municipal attorney, county corporate counsel, or independently contracted attorney for advice when interpreting legal issues.

See also: Office of the Governor Safer at Home FAQs

*Added after the original post, per clarification in the "Office of the Governor Safer at Home FAQs" sheet linked above.

Submitted by the Library Team, Division for Libraries and Technology


Materials Quarantine: No More than 24 Hours Needed, per CDC Epidemiologist

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Please note the date of this article. Information regarding COVID-19 is constantly evolving. We encourage you to review current information in the the Wisconsin Public Libraries Reopening Guide and the COVID-19 page for Wisconsin public libraries.

In a webinar hosted by IMLS entitled "Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections," Dr. David Berendes, phD, MSPH, epidemiologist in the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch of the CDC focusing on global sanitation and hygiene issues, stated that 24 hours is an acceptable duration for materials quarantine. Dr. Berendes added that the CDC is not concerned about books and other paper-based items (including mail and shipped packages) as a mode of transmission of the virus. As such, either disinfection of hard surfaces that tolerate wiping with the appropriate chemical disinfectants, or a 24 hour materials quarantine will suffice. Dr. Berendes advised using these CDC cleaning and disinfecting instructions, which includes a link to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "List N" disinfectants that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Hard, nonporous surfaces are the focus of epidemiological concern.

In addition, Dr. Berendes outlined the steps to be taken if you suspect that your work environment has been exposed to COVID-19:

  1. Close off the area that the individual used most for as long as possible, up to 24 hours. Note that stagnant areas such as vehicles would require a longer time, whereas environments with good airflow require less time. A well ventilated space may only need a few hours of quarantine.

  2. After quarantine, clean the space thoroughly:

    • Hard, nonporous surfaces should be cleaned with soap or detergent and then disinfected with a disinfecting agent found on the EPA’s List N. These include all hard, high-touch surfaces and items like doorknobs, tabletops. Etc.

    • Soft, porous surfaces such as carpeting, rugs, and drapes should be laundered or cleaned if possible. Fortunately, these surfaces are of less concern because the ability of the virus to release itself in an infectious state from soft surfaces once it has settled into them is unlikely. (This guidance applies to office and public facility space; plush toys and other soft items should be laundered.)

    • Electronics and such items should be wiped or sprayed with a solution containing at least 70% alcohol.

    • Personal protective equipment used by custodial staff should be put on, taken off, and disposed of correctly. Please see the CDC’s cleaning and disinfecting instructions for details.

  3. Encourage proper hand hygiene at all times, per CDC guidelines. This includes wearing disposable gloves, washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.

This information is not comprehensive. For complete instructions, refer to the CDC’s webpage on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility: Everyday Steps, Steps When Someone is Sick, and Considerations for Employers.


Submitted by Shannon Schultz, Division for Libraries and Technology


Investment in E-content for Wisconsin Library Users

Monday, March 30, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division for Libraries and Technology is supporting libraries and library users by adapting to new service expectations now that public libraries are closed to the public. The Division awarded a discretionary grant in the amount of $250,000 to the Winding Rivers Library System to provide support to Wisconsin’s Digital Library through the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC).

At the request of the Division for Libraries and Technology, WPLC project managers provided us with a request for funding to meet the needs of all Wisconsin library users during this pandemic. The plan allocates the additional investment in Wisconsin's Digital Library in the following ways:

1. Simultaneous Use Titles: Up to $30,000 for e-book and audio titles available for unlimited, simultaneous use for one year from the date of purchase.

2. Cost Per Circulation Titles: Up to $100,000 for pay-per-use e-book and digital audiobook titles, an amount that would immediately fill 18,182 patron holds.

3. New Titles: Up to $120,000 for new e-book and digital audiobook titles, adding an estimated 2,000 titles to the collection.

The Division for Libraries and Technology reviewed the request, and determined that this is a necessary step to support the Wisconsin library community and library users across the state during this pandemic. The Winding Rivers Library System and WPLC provided integral support to guarantee that this investment would immediately reach Wisconsin library users. Kurt Kiefer, Assistant State Superintendent for the Division for Libraries and Technology said in response to the efforts of the WPLC and the Winding Rivers Library System, "I am incredibly proud of the work our state library community has done on making this resource available to every citizen of Wisconsin. It is truly meaningful."

The investment in Wisconsin's Digital Library was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, LS-00-19-0050-19.


For questions about this information, contact Michael Dennison (608) 264-6717

Professional Development Opportunity: Recollection Wisconsin Digital Projects Toolkit

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Recollection Wisconsin Digital Projects Toolkit and other professional development opportunities for digitization projects

The Recollection Wisconsin Digital Projects Toolkit is a free online course covering the basics of digitization projects. There are 5 modules -- project planning, copyright, scanning, metadata, and storage -- that each take around 30 minutes to complete. The course was created by Recollection Wisconsin in 2016 with support from WPLC, and updated in 2019 to go along with the DPI-funded digitization kits for public library systems.

The Digital Stewardship Curriculum from the Sustainable Heritage Network (Washington State University) covers all aspects of the Digital Stewardship Lifecycle - bringing materials in, managing and organizing materials, preserving materials, and providing access to materials. The curriculum is intended for cultural heritage professionals working in or with Indigenous communities but many of the topics are also replicable for small, non-Indigenous institutions.

The DPLA Service Hubs in Minnesota and Pennsylvania have created great resources for understanding copyright issues and assigning standardized rights statements for digitized cultural heritage materials. The Minnesota Digital Library’s video training sessions offer helpful steps for choosing standardized rights statements. PA Digital’s recorded webinars include a general overview of copyright as well as specific rights issues for oral histories and newspapers.

The Connecting To Collections Care Community (Foundation for Advancement in Conservation) addresses digital preservation in a series of five recorded webinars called “Caring for Digital Materials: Preventing a Digital Dark Age.”

The Northeast Document Conservation Center has an archive of free recorded webinars on topics like grant writing for audiovisual digitization projects. They also regularly offer fee-based live and on-demand webinars on preservation and access for both digital and physical archives..

Questions, suggestions? Please contact guest blogger Emily Pfotenhauer at   Posted by Cindy Fesemyer.


Now Available: 2019 WISCAT Statistics

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

WISCAT staff have recently compiled 2019 WISCAT statistics for public libraries, and have shared them with library system staff. For most library systems, these statistics reports will provide numbers that can be included in the Annual Report in fields “Items Loaned to Other Libraries – WISCAT” and “Items Borrowed from Other Libraries – WISCAT” if reporting “Categorized ILL Transactions, ” or incorporated into your “Total ILL Transactions.” The reports also include Unique Requests Sent, Fill Rate, Patron Initiated, and Staff Initiated counts on the borrowing end, and Requests Received and Fill Rate on the lending end. These additional figures are for system and library staff reference and are not required on the annual report.

You may wonder why these statistics are being generated several weeks after the year's end. Interlibrary loan statistics are essentially a snapshot of a moment in time, and the later statistics are run, the closer they will be to being accurate. As an example, a library may have placed 10 requests on 12/31/2019. Until those requests are all marked as Shipped by lenders, they will be seen by the system as not yet filled. Activity & Request Reports in WISCAT are based on request origination date, so statistics pulled on 1/1/2020 for 12/31/2019 may have shown the fill rate for those 10 requests to be 0/10, while a later snapshot would show them closer to 10/10, depending on how many are ultimately filled.

Please see WISCAT Documentation for more details on statistics, and please Contact Us with your questions.

Written by Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


Perspectives on Resource Sharing Costs

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Note:  This was originally written by Josh Steans and posted in April, 2016.  Recently libraries have been asking for ideas on ways to show the value of their ILL programs. This article is a good place to start.

For all libraries, the push of user expectations counters the pull of rising costs, budget gaps, and an aggressively shifting information technology landscape. Strategic decisions emerge from this scrum with the objective of providing as many relevant resources to as many patrons as possible, and to do so as often, and as simply as possible.

Flying books

Resource Sharing is no exception. In fact, more than perhaps any library service, Resource Sharing is remarkably transparent, with each transaction offering a microcosm of the whole library enterprise: acquisitions and metadata for holdings and discovery; reference to help patrons find and request an item; ILL to quickly, cost-effectively, and compliantly source it; lending ILL to screen, pull, update, and ship the item (plus their own Circ staff to keep it in the right place); ILL to receive it, connect loose ends of the transaction and plug the business end of it all into the Circ department; and then Circ to hand the item to the patron. Quite some effort to get one item for one patron.

And what does all that effort cost? First, one caveat: Resource Sharing is the only library service that has periodically undergone thorough cost studies. The anecdotal estimates for some other library services—$95 to add a book to the collection (after purchase); $105 for a reference question; $10 to simply store an item for one year—outpace even the highest estimates for Resource Sharing.

As for those Resource Sharing costs, another caveat: there’s no clear answer. Great variability exists between loans and articles, in-consortium and out-of-consortium transactions, lending and borrowing, academic and public, true Resource Sharing and commercial services. There are at least 10 cost categories, each with a different benchmark. Estimates range from a low of about $3-$4 per transaction to a high of $9-$17. The highest end of this spectrum comes from out of date research: ARL studies from 1993 and 2003 that were conducted at large research universities. In addition to skewing heavily toward high-budget university libraries, these studies predate modern Resource Sharing tools, workflow efficiencies, and hiring/staffing practices. More recent research, published in 2012, benchmarks the average cost of transactions at about $4-$9. For the most meaningful cost picture, each library should run its own numbers. 

Regardless of exact numbers, there are universally accepted trends: consortium transactions and lending articles cost the least, borrowing articles are in the middle, and the undisputed heavyweight high cost champion (notwithstanding commercial document services) is out-of-network borrowing loans. But ranges trend higher and lower according staffing levels (ft/pt, librarian, assistant, clerk, page/student, etc.), policies, workflow efficiencies, and request volume at individual libraries.

Here’s one fact we can nail down: staffing is the biggest cost factor, and there’s no close second. But this is true of all library services and should come as no surprise. After staff, the other standard costs are: request systems, management tools, lender fees, shipping, equipment, and supplies. As mentioned above, the objective should be to get the most out of what you have. We know that when the number of transactions increases, the average cost declines. Implementing sustainable policies and workflows that encourage increased volume will lower the cost of each transaction and add value for users.

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


For questions about this information, contact Christine Barth (608) 224-6171

PLSR Update: Internal Work Continues, Planning for Implementation Summit

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Public Library System Redesign (PLSR) was a multi-year process resulting in a Recommendation Report that was delivered to DPI in 2019. As DPI works internally and with stakeholders to make recommended improvements, we want to be as transparent and open as possible. Watch for regular updates on the Wisconsin Libraries for Everyone Blog and be sure to reach out with any questions or comments to us at Thanks!

DPI staff continue to work internally to set the stage for future success in implementing PLSR recommendations. Read below for updates on PLSR-related activities.

We are currently recruiting for a Project Coordinator. This position will help keep PLSR projects on track and connect disparate threads of work that overlap recommendation areas. This role will also help implement business process improvements and provide project management guidance to our staff. This position is primarily focused on PLSR, but will also assist with other library projects and processes, such as LSTA administration. We anticipate filling this role in March.

We have also been busy planning an Implementation Summit to be held during the first week of June. This will be a “point-in-time” check-in, facilitated by an outside consultant, to ensure the implementation process is moving in the right direction. We are working with system staff to build a representative list of attendees from libraries across the state. More details to come!

In order to ensure progress is being made on specific recommendations from the Final Report, we are reviewing recommendations and workgroup reports internally and completing further analysis that will help with implementation. Here are some brief updates on particular efforts:

Analyze the Current Funding Formula

Before his retirement, John DeBacher completed a draft of an issue paper that describes Public Library System funding. This is being reviewed and finalized. Additionally, we are preparing calculations of the existing state aid formula as well as a calculation of the alternate state aid formula that is described in statute, but not applied. This is groundwork for a larger study of the funding formula.

Professional Development

Our staff is working on defining the functionality of a statewide professional development tool. What problems would it solve, what would it make easier, and how would it enable librarians in the state, our most important asset, to do their jobs more effectively? We are also learning about the functionality of Learning Management Systems, both those currently licensed by DPI as well as those in use in other states or fields. In addition, we are engaging in conversation with colleagues from other state libraries to find out what solutions are working or not working for professional development nationally.

Enhance Collaboration by Creating Incentives and Removing Barriers

Library System Directors created an inventory of existing collaborations that are already happening in the state. We are reviewing that inventory and looking at other collaborations throughout the state to identify successes on which to build as well as start a gap analysis process to see where collaborations might be needed. We are also paying attention to other recommendation areas to identify potential barriers that might need to be addressed.

Initiate Delivery Service Pilot Projects

We are working to hire an external consultant to review the Delivery Workgroup report and the Final Report and define parameters and make recommendations for locations to host a delivery pilot project or projects.

Discovery Layer

To ensure we are speaking the same language when we talk about the potential for a State-scale Discovery Layer, we are developing a document to chart the features of various library technology platforms, such as ILS, ILL Management Platforms, Discovery Layers, etc. This information will serve as the basis for an upcoming issue paper. We have submitted a program proposal to discuss our findings at WAPL.

For more information on PLSR, visit the COLAND PLSR website.

Written by Ben Miller, Division for Libraries and Technology


For questions about this information, contact Ben Miller (608) 224-6168

ILL/WISCAT Quarterly User Group Meetings Scheduled for 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

We have scheduled the quarterly ILL/WISCAT User Group meetings for 2020. Please save the dates. We have chosen different days of the week and meeting times in an effort to cover different library staff schedules. Agendas and log on information will be sent two weeks before the scheduled date.

  • Wednesday, February 12, 10-11am                                                              
  • Thursday, May 7, 11-12am
  • Tuesday, August 4, 1-2pm
  • Tuesday, November 10, 10-11am

If there are topics you would like included in these sessions please let us know. At this time, possible topics include:

  • ILL best practices
  • Searching
  • Request creation
  • Lending responsibilities
  • Request manager
  • Participant record

The sessions will be recorded if you are unable to attend. Watch for more information on the WISCAT ILL listserv. If you do not subscribe to the list, please send a blank email to

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


For questions about this information, contact Christine Barth (608) 224-6171

It's not too late to order your 2020 WISCAT license!

Monday, January 6, 2020

It's not too late to order a 2020 WISCAT license! A license remains $200 per calendar year per library code for access to all WISCAT functionality. To learn more about WISCAT, visit our WISCAT Licensing page. To place an order, please use the online order form.

Please make note of the following:

  • The WISCAT licensing form auto-populates some information for you. Begin typing your library code or library name and select the correct library that appears, and the form should auto-populate your library’s address if you’ve previously had a WISCAT license.
  • The form auto-generates an invoice for you and sends it to the email address you provide. Please print your invoice and remit it with payment to the DPI address on the invoice. Invoices will not be mailed to individual libraries.
  • If you are purchasing multiple licenses at once, you will need to submit the form for each individual license. However, you may use one single check to cover all licenses.
  • Entities representing a legally constituted county library AND acting as an ILL Clearinghouse qualify for alternative pricing, as in past years. If this applies to you, please contact us directly via email to place your order.
  • As in previous years, purchase orders cannot be accepted on DPI’s end, but if your business office requires one you may enter your purchase order number in the form for the convenience of your local business office.

Contact us if you have any questions regarding WISCAT licensing at or 888.542.5543.


Supporting Child Care Providers and Maximizing Maker Efforts

Thursday, January 9, 2020

I had the opportunity to participate in an advisory capacity on two separate projects supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2019. Both projects have recently published the results, and I feel the content is high-quality and valuable. Regardless of the size of your library or scope of service, I hope you will consider these tools. 

TToddler reading bookhe Growing Providers Tool Kit includes lots of ideas and program models for how libraries can support child care. It also includes a Child Care Provider Resource Guide. 

Reaching young children and their families where they are means connecting child care providers. By 2021, there will be an estimated 856,238 U.S. child care operators, but there are still many areas of the country with child care deserts. Supporting child care providers is one of the key ways libraries can support children, families, communities, and small businesses. This tool kit is part of Brooklyn Public Library's Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded Growing Providers initiative and includes resources and descriptions of model programs from two model BPL programs: Growing Providers and Nanny & Me.

Lego buildingOpportunities and Vignettes for Library Makerspaces

This white paper was informed by the participants of the National Forum on Research and Assessment in Library Makerspaces, held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on August 6–7, 2019, generously supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and co-led by Maker Ed and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The forum brought together 47 individuals, each of whom are leading efforts in and/or informing maker-centered learning, from various areas of library practice and research, including informal and formal educational institutions adjacent to the field. The paper is organized around four main themes: Defining Making and Libraries; Shared Considerations; Demonstrating Value and Making the Case; Recommendations for the Future. 

Concerning the focus on equity in Wisconsin, take a look at Consideration #1: Access and Equity in regard to who we serve (or not) and how.

Written By:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt
Public Library Development

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