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Register now for Trustee Training Week 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Guest post by Jean Anderson, South Central Library System Continuing Education Consultant

Registration is now open for Wisconsin Trustee Training Week 2021, which will be held Aug. 23-27. There will be one webinar each day from noon to 1 p.m. on a topic that’s relevant to public library boards, friends, and trustees. Webinars are available free of charge, and are open to anyone.

The schedule of presentation is as follows:

Monday, Aug. 23—Wisconsin Library Ecosystem—What is a library ecosystem and why is it important? In general terms, an ecosystem is a complex network or interconnected system. In this webinar, we’ll learn about the different partners involved in this ecosystem, beginning with a statewide perspective on how Wisconsin’s public libraries work with Shannon Schultz, Public Library Administration Consultant, We will move our way through the public library system and the importance of system membership with John Thompson, Director of IFLS Library System, then finish with libraries at the local level with Jennifer Thiele, Director of the Marinette County Library System. Along the way, we’ll explore the statutory language that comes into play at each level, and we’ll provide links to resources that can be helpful.

Tuesday, Aug. 24—Departures & Arrivals: Transitions and Succession Planning—Trustees will learn how to successfully prepare for the departure of a director due to retirement or moving to a new library. We will cover what the current director and board must put in place prior to the placement of a new director and discuss the role of trustees in successfully onboarding a new director and the transition of them into their new role. We will provide a checklist of items to prepare for new library directors that will be supplied after the presentation. Presented by Kate Hall, Executive Director of the Northbrook Public Library, and Kathy Parker, Library Consultant.

Wednesday, Aug. 25—Self-awareness for Social Justice Ally-ship—In this session, participants will be invited to explore privilege, prejudice, and inclusion through story-telling and critical self-reflection. This session is interactive and will explore both individual and collective aspects of practicing social justice. Presented by Ruth de Jesus, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at Northland College.

Thursday, Aug. 26—Library Ethics 101: What Would You Do?—Public libraries face ethical issues all the time. This session aims to create an open discussion about library core values and ethics. Inspired by a session at the 2020 Public Library Association Conference, our program provides real library ethical scenarios, followed by a discussion with a panel of experienced trainers. We will discuss sticky situations when personal ethics and professional ethics differ. This is a highly interactive session; audience participation is encouraged. Attendees will leave with a list of helpful resources and books. Presented by Patty Collins, Gail Santy, and Maribeth Shafer, Library Consultants for the Central Kansas Library System.

Friday, Aug. 27—Trustee Leadership: Bringing it All Together—It’s the end of Trustee Training Week! It’s time to take what you’ve learned and apply it at your library. Join Melissa McLimans, consultant at Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), and Stef Morrill, executive director of River Valley Commons and a current Friends of the Library Board Member at Spring Green Public Library, as they discuss how to support and develop the library’s vast, interconnected ecosystem by applying servant leadership.

You must register for each webinar individually at More information is also available at that link, and you can also access recordings from the 2015-20 webinars.

Trustee Training Week is coordinated by the South Central Library System. This year, Trustee Training Week is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Public LIbrary Development Team, with funding support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Jean Anderson, Continuing Education/Multitype Consultant, South Central Library System,, 608-246-5613

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer


Grant Opportunity ALA LTC: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

3rd Round of Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries

The American Library Association (ALA) invites libraries in small and rural communities to apply for grant funding to help them address issues of concern in their communities.

Up to 650 U.S. libraries in small and rural communities will receive $3,000 each to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment through three rounds of grants in 2020 and 2021. NOTE: Libraries that previously were awarded LTC: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grants are eligible to apply for additional funding to expand their previously awarded projects.

The third grant round is open from June 21 - September 16, 2021. Learn more and apply below.

Applications are due Thursday, September 16.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries. The initiative is offered in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL). 




Winners of the 2021 Read Africa Grant Program

Monday, June 7, 2021

Guest post by Aleia McCord

The African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is pleased to announce the winners of the Read Africa grant competition. Grants will be given to public libraries throughout Wisconsin in order to enrich their collections with new titles that will enable readers to deepen their understanding of Africa. Over $20,000 in funding will be distributed to 34 libraries, representing 14 of Wisconsin’s 16 library systems.

The winning proposals came from the following libraries. Their proposals will be fully funded:

Appleton Public Library, Burlington Public Library, Eager Free Public Library, Jane Morgan Memorial Library, Kenosha Public Library, Kewaunee Public Library, Manitowoc Public Library, Mead Public Library, Menomonee Falls Public Library, Milton Public Library, Pepin Public Library, Poy Sippi Library, Prescott Public Library, Soldiers Grove Public Library, Sparta Free Library, and Washburn Public Library.

The following proposals will receive partial funding for their proposals:

Amery Area Public Library, Beloit Public Library, Brown County Library, Cedarburg Public Library, Clinton Public Library, Colfax Public Library, Edgerton Public Library, E.D. Locke Public Library, Hammond Community Library, Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library, La Crosse Public Library, Madison Public Library, McIntosh Memorial Library, Platteville Public Library, Shawano County Library, Stoughton Public Library, Sun Prairie Public Library, and W.J. Niederkorn Library.

Associate Director of UW-Madison’s African Studies Program, Aleia McCord, stated, “We were pleased to receive so many high quality and creative proposals for the READ AFRICA program. We’re thrilled to support librarians in their efforts to offer Wisconsin residents access to titles and programming that brings knowledge about the diversity of the African continent to communities across the state.“

Librarians were encouraged to select books from two different lists. The first, the African Books List, was curated by Ainehi Edoro-Glines(Assistant Professor of English and African Cultural Studies) and Vincent Ogoti (Ph.D. candidate, African Cultural Studies). The second comprises winners of the Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA). Since 1991, Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association, in partnership with the Center for African Studies at Howard University, have presented this annual award to authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books about Africa in an effort to promote accurate, balanced perspectives about the continent.

“We’re thrilled to see so many libraries adding diverse information and entertainment into their library catalogs,” says Cindy Fesemyer with the WI Department of Public Instruction’s Library Services Teams, a Read Africa partner organization.

Looking for more ways to bring Africa into your community? The University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to one of the nation’s first and finest African Studies Programs in the nation. The African Studies Program is inspired and guided by the Wisconsin Idea to share the expertise, talents, and scholarship of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to promote the study of Africa in schools and communities across Wisconsin. We offer a range of complimentary outreach programs and personalized support to help communities expand their understanding of the lives, lands, and languages of Africa. We invite you to take advantage of this local, global resource.

Aleia McCord, Associate Director of UW-Madison’s African Studies Program,

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer


June Professional Development Opportunities

Friday, June 4, 2021

Guest post by Joy Schwarz

Please check the NEWI list of free webinars to find online continuing education opportunities you may attend from where you are. Most sessions are 60 minutes long, and are provided – at no charge to you – by associations, agencies, companies, and library systems.

There’s a lot to choose from, so here’s a sample of topics that may be of interest to you.

Managing stress & building resilience, click title to register:

Equity, diversity and inclusion, click title to register:

A sample of webinars on other topics; click title to register:

Missed a webinar? It might have been archived, so check NEWI’s list of webinar recordings you can watch for free, anytime.

NEWI is a continuing education (CE) partnership of library systems located in North Eastern Wisconsin. The NEWI website aims to be a central source of CE info for staff working at libraries in four library systems: Manitowoc‐Calumet Library System (MCLS), Nicolet Federated Library System (NFLS), Outagamie Waupaca Library System (OWLS), and Winnefox Library System (WLS).

Joy Schwarz, Continuing Education/Training Librarian, Winnefox Library System & NEWI: Northeastern Wisconsin CE Partnership

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer


Changes to Claiming WI Unemployment Insurance, Part 2

Thursday, June 3, 2021

As Mark mentioned in yesterday’s Wisconsin Libraries for Everyone blog post, beginning May 23, 2021, the COVID-era Unemployment Insurance (UI) work search waiver disappeared. Wisconsinites filing for unemployment insurance benefits (with certain exceptions) must now complete and document four work search activities per week.

Assisting residents with filing Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims and with job seeking are among the top priorities as libraries are able to resume service delivery within their communities. The Libraries Activating Workforce Development Skills (LAWDS) project is well-situated to enhance the ability of public library staff to meet those needs. The Department of Public Instruction is working closely with partners from the Wisconsin Library Association, Wisconsin’s public libraries and systems, the Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Workforce Development Boards to re-envision the activities of the grant to align them with current needs.

A number of partner resources and previously recorded webinars might be the refresher you need to help you help UI claimants:

Department of Workforce Development (DWD) - Unemployment Insurance Resources. Find all of the forms and information necessary to file for Unemployment Insurance here.

Job & Career Search Using Labor Market Information (February 2021). These slides and webinar recording include a review of the DWD website tools to assist in career development and job search. The webinar will focus on using the MyLMI Widgets, the Skills Explorer Tool, and WisConomy, the labor market data tool.

Logging into the Job Center of Wisconsin (March 2020). These detailed PowerPoint slides will help librarians to better assist patrons registering on All Unemployment claimants must register themselves and develop a resume on this site. Changes have occurred to the website, but the basics described in the slides are still the same.

Unemployment Insurance Basics: Assisting Library Patrons (May 18, 2020). This recording is the webinar that goes with the slides above. Again, changes have occurred to the website, but the basics described in the slides are still the same.

Speaking of changes, you may see changes fairly frequently when you visit the very useful (JCW). A few smaller changes will occur in the coming month, including the addition of a map of all Wisconsin Public Libraries. Later this summer, you can expect to see a full overhaul of the JCW site. Once those changes go live, DWD will record a new webinar that walks Wisconsin library staff through the revamped site.

To prepare for a possible influx of patrons looking for UI assistance, we encourage libraries to create job seeker pages on their websites listing the job center website, along with their own computer/Internet services, printing and/or fax services, and any job seeker programs and resources you make available for your patrons.

LAWDS is funded by the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


BadgerLink Training Survey-- We want to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Do you want to learn more about BadgerLink resources, but don’t know where to start?

Do you help students/patrons/friends/family with online resources?

Have you ever attended a training session or watched a recorded webinar?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, we want to hear from you! Please take our BadgerLink training survey today. It is 19 quick questions, and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

We are gathering feedback on the use and satisfaction of current training options to better adjust to suit your current needs and future interests in BadgerLink. Thank you for providing this valuable feedback!

Questions or comments about the survey itself? Contact Us.


BadgerLink 2020 Year in Review

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

As we near the half-way mark of 2021, BadgerLink staff reflected back on 2020, both in the challenges we faced as well as the many opportunities for growth, as we continue to support all learners around the state.


This past year, we were reminded first and foremost the importance of being nimble and adapting to the changing needs of our users. We’ve learned technology can improve our lives but doesn’t always come easy, so patience and understanding is paramount to success. And while we know research databases may not have been every library’s top priority during the pandemic, we look forward to continuing to highlight their value in the new normal.

""With the swift transition to virtual learning, students and staff were no longer able to rely on seamless access to BadgerLink resources in their libraries and schools. To rectify this, we increased collaboration with school libraries, resulting in almost 150 districts adding customized logins to guarantee equitable access from any location. In addition, as more schools adopted learning management systems, library management platforms, or single sign-on tools, we focused on the guidance needed to integrate resources into these systems, placing access where students already are.

We were able to provide temporary statewide access to additional historic newspapers and enhanced versions of education databases, use our authentication to help some public libraries provide remote access to their Ancestry Library subscriptions, and reach more users with virtual training sessions. We also added permanent resources from EBSCO including Advanced Placement Source, Computers & Applied Sciences Complete, Literary Reference Center Plus, MAS Complete, Poetry & Short Story Reference Center, and Small Engine Repair Reference Center, as well as Book Connections from TeachingBooks.

Resource Usage""

Resource usage fluctuated in 2020, with many K12 databases including those from Britannica, EBSCO, and LearningExpress Library, seeing a consistent decrease beginning in April and continuing through the end of the year. This drop coincided with anecdotes from both the BadgerLink Advisory Group members as well as the library community at large. As priorities shifted in schools, traditional research and library instruction decreased.

However, resources supporting readers saw large increases in usage as both library staff and the general public ramped up their use of reader’s advisory tools and other literacy materials. TeachingBooks averaged a 55% increase compared to 2019, and NoveList K-8 saw an enormous increase in searches. We heard from many library staff fielding book requests that these resources became indispensable in sharing recommendations with patrons and students.


In a year where the news cycle was so prevalent in everyone’s lives, we saw an average increase in both of our newspaper databases that offer access to current, local and national newspapers, even while many news outlets offered unrestricted access to COVID-19 content. In contrast, at a time when so many people were beginning new hobbies like baking and gardening, we saw an average decrease in traditional genealogy databases including HeritageQuest Online and historic newspapers in Library Edition World Collection.""

Changes in education and public libraries, lifestyle, and opportunities for access to resources beyond what was typically offered, played a role in the overall use of BadgerLink in 2020, but these events do not necessarily imply causation. The pandemic’s impact on electronic resource usage won’t truly be understood for years to come.

Throughout all of this, the BadgerLink Advisory Group and library community at large has been a great source for feedback and support. Thank you!


Changes to Claiming WI Unemployment Insurance, Part 1

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Guest post by Mark Jochem

The Wisconsin unemployment insurance (UI) work search waiver, started May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, removed the need for UI claimants to actively search for work. The waiver meant that people could avert financial disaster while staying safe.

Beginning May 23rd, that work search waiver disappeared. Wisconsinites filing for unemployment insurance benefits (with certain exceptions) must now complete and document four work search activities per week. More information about the types of work search activities that are allowable, and specifically how libraries can help their patrons with the UI claims, will be provided in tomorrow’s Wisconsin Libraries for Everyone blog.

In the meantime, there are many resources available to patrons and library staff alike throughout the state. Here are several from the Wisconsin’s regional library systems:

Arrowhead Library System: Visitors can find tips and helpful examples of resumes, cover letters, references, and thank you notes. Patrons and community members of Arrowhead Library System, can also connect with their job seeker support at their local libraries and access databases and websites for learning.

Bridges Library System: Job seekers in Waukesha and Jefferson can access the many career and training oriented databases subscribed by the system. Additional statewide resources are included for easy access.

IFLS Library System: IFLS’ Free Job Seeker Resources connects visitors to computer and technology training, job search engines, state and local job programs, career readiness resources, and more. Visitors within the IFLS service area and outside can find assistance when they need it.

South Central Library System: A comprehensive set of resources which can assist visitors throughout their job process. The Resources for Job Seekers webpage is available to help with a variety of needs including: the job search and application process; filing for unemployment; finding local SCLS county resources; addressing barriers to employment; accessing education and training; and finding services and support. All information and resources are available on the open-web.

Winding Rivers Library System: Find resources to help community members and small businesses cope financially with the impact of the pandemic. Job seekers and other visitors to the webpage can find resources to help get started on the computer, start to apply for jobs, apply for unemployment insurance, access state workforce development resources, and more.

Winnefox Library System: Residents and patrons of Winnefox Library System member libraries can access a wealth of resources in the five county system and available statewide. The webpage covers a variety of topics of interest for job seekers including: applying for work, interviewing, local hiring events, and video resources.

Wisconsin Valley Library Service: Wisconsin Valley Library Services’ Workforce Development Resources webpage provides access to helpful resources for computer skills, job search tools (including a career exploration resource), application resources, and links to local job centers. Patrons of Wisconsin Valley Library Service member libraries can also access a variety of education and training courses through Gale Courses.

If you don't see your system represented above, no worries. DPI’s Job Seeker Collection has everything you need, including specifics for your county.

Library staff looking to learn more about how they can help job seekers AND partner with the workforce development system in Wisconsin should check out the Libraries Activating Workforce Development Skills (LAWDS) Project. The LAWDS Project is a 3-year initiative to help library staff become more knowledgeable about workforce development and foster connections with state and local workforce development professionals. This project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

-Mark Jochem, Workforce Development & Lifelong Learning Specialist, South Central Library System,

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer


Scholarship Opportunities through Wisconsin Library Association

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Guest post from Clairellyn Sommersmith

Did you know there are scholarships available through the Wisconsin Library Association? They are for continuing education! Conferences! Librarians seeking their Master’s Degrees!

And did you know scholarships are due on June 15?!

Read more about scholarships available to those pursuing a career in Library Sciences:

Read more about scholarships available for continuing education including conferences:

If you are thinking about applying for the George Bauer or the Gloria Hoegh Scholarships, considering using those funds to attend the Wisconsin Library Association Conference, which will be held in person November 16-19 in Green Bay.

Clairellyn Sommersmith, Assistant Director, Winnefox Library System, 569-2179

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer


Apply  Now: NASA@ My Library

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


Public and tribal libraries are invited to apply for NASA@ My Library, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education initiative that will increase and enhance STEAM learning opportunities for library patrons throughout the nation, including geographic areas and populations currently underrepresented in STEAM education.

60 public and tribal libraries in the U.S. will be selected through a competitive application process to become NASA@ My Library Partners.  

Applications will be accepted from May 17 to July 21. View the project guidelines and apply online. ALA members and nonmembers are encouraged to apply. 

NASA@ My Library Partners will receive training and resources to implement NASA events and programming, access to a university subject matter expert (SME) to support patron engagement, and a $1,600 programming stipend to purchase materials for NASA STEAM activities and/or support presentations by local NASA-funded SMEs.

This opportunity is open to public and tribal libraries in the U.S. Priority consideration will be given to libraries in communities with above average populations of demographics underrepresented in STEM education and professions. For more details on priority consideration and eligibility, visit the project guidelines.

The project is offered by the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and Education Development Center (EDC). Support comes from NASA's Science Mission Directorate as part of its Science Activation program.