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DPI's Division of Libraries & Technology Sessions at WEMTA Conference

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association (WEMTA) Conference on March 22-24, 2020 brings together current, future and past educators to share knowledge of library and technology topics. This conference provides opportunities for collaboration between school and public libraries. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Division of Libraries and Technology will be presenting multiple sessions on these collaborations, highlighted below.

Unable to attend one of these sessions? Come visit us at a booth in the Expo Hall on Monday, March 23 from 10:30am-4:30pm.


The Future Belongs to the Connected on Sunday, March 22 from 2:45 – 3:45

As a state agency, the Wisconsin Department of Instruction’s goal is to ensure every child graduates ready for further education and the workplace. Yet national statistics tell us that as 17% to 20% of Wisconsin students do not have Internet services at home. This session will explore some strategies and free tool kits districts can employ to identify and assist the over 140,000 Wisconsin students that quietly struggle with the digital divide. Solving this problem for our state will take many hands, come join in and see what you can do.

Libraries and Technology Update from the DLT Team on Sunday, March 22, from 4:00 – 5:00

Join us for a quick overview of several projects and tools that support the work you are doing in your schools. This will include an introduction to the Broadband Strategy, Future Ready Librarians, Student Data Privacy Consortium, Cyber Security resources and more.

Accessing BadgerLink at School and Beyond on Monday, March 23, from 1:15-2:00pm

BadgerLink is Wisconsin’s online library which provides access to licensed content such as magazines, newspapers, scholarly articles, videos, and images. BadgerLink is licensed for all Wisconsin residents, so your students can use these resources at school and home for all their research needs! Find out how BadgerLink can help your students research whether they are in school or out! At school, you can integrate BadgerLink resources into your school’s Single Sign-On tool, learning management system, or library services platform like Follett’s Destiny, continuing to make it easier for your students to use BadgerLink. At home, the easiest way to access BadgerLink resources is automatic access with registered Wisconsin networks, however many students don’t have this type of access to BadgerLink from home. Do your students have a school login to access BadgerLink resources easily? Get started on setting up a school login for your students!

Library Planning: Answering Questions, Sharing Ideas, and Being Future Ready on Monday, March 23, from 2:00 – 3:00pm

Have you been to a library planning workshop? Have you taken the ISTE U class this year? Are you trying to navigate library planning and looking for answers? Are you working through the plan you built last year and wondering what’s next? Answering “yes” to any of these questions should put this session on your list! Practical library planning and its effective implementation allows your program to demonstrate success. And, that success becomes a wonderful advocacy tool. Please join us as we answer questions, showcase helpful tools, and provide opportunities for you to share stories and ideas with other Future Ready Librarians about this important foundation of your library program.

Engaging Researchers Through Digital Image Inquiry on Tuesday, March 24, from 8:15-9:15am

After traveling to the Library of Congress in Washington DC for a professional learning institute dedicated to school librarians collaborating with classroom teachers to use primary sources to engage students, build critical thinking skills and construct knowledge, I am excited to share knowledge and strategies with other educators. Explore how to help others locate, analyze, and even participate in crowdsourcing with these quality, reliable resources available to all learners. Using digital primary sources in the classroom supports the Knowledge Constructor and Digital Citizenship strands of the Wisconsin Information Technology Literacy Standards and supports collaborations in all content areas. I will be joined by Emily Pfotenhauer from Recollection Wisconsin who will share information about our local primary source collection.

Working Together: Cyber and Data Security are Everyone’s Responsibility on Tuesday, March 24, from 10:45-11:45am

Whether you are an administrator, a teacher, a learner or education support, we all play a crucial role in protecting valuable district resources in an online world. Join Wisconsin DPI in this collaborative discussion as we examine the spectrum of preventive measures we can all practice.

Student Data Privacy: How the Wisconsin Alliance Can Help on Tuesday, March 24, from 1:00 – 2:00

The Wisconsin Alliance is a group of Districts that have joined the Student Data Privacy Consortium through the DPI. This consortium offers two tools at no cost to districts: 1) Sample contract language to use with vendors to provide a legal and consistent expectation for student data privacy and 2) A list of apps that meet the standards established and defined in the sample contract. You will leave this session knowing the criteria for selecting apps as well as who you can work with around the state when purchasing, selecting and negotiating software purchases. If you don’t already have access to the consortium, we will also help you gain access to the resources.

Written by Jen Champoux and Monica Treptow


It's Almost NaNoWriMo!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Time to Offer Your Community Authors Virtual Creativity Tools!

Pressbooks allows writers to easily create professional-quality ebooks that can then be "published" to Wisconsin Digital Library's BiblioBoard,

In your community, around the state, throughout the country, and around the world, budding authors are priming their pens to create their own fabulous works of fiction during National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

NaNoWriMo logo

For nearly 20 years, the annual event has given writers a communal nudge with the challenge to write at least 50,000 words of a novel during the 30 days of November. The non-profit program has encouraged libraries to host write-ins and events to foster local communities of creative writers, and they offer programming ideas, graphics, and resources on their Come Write In page. Today, October 11, NaNoWriMo offers an online workshop for aspiring authors to help them achieve success creating a novel in one month.NaNoWriMo "Come Write In" logo

But did you know that Wisconsin public libraries now have a place for local works to be made available to all Wisconsin residents? Biblioboard is part of the Wisconsin Digital Library, made possible through the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium, a cooperative project of Wisconsin's sixteen public library systems, with funding provided by the DPI from an LSTA grant provided through the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Logo of the Institute for Museums and Library Services

The Biblioboard project also includes licensing for any resident in Wisconsin to use Pressbooks, a user-friendly tool to create and format ebooks and PDFs for publication. See the article from  July 6, 2018 describing the utility. Once the work is created and saved in ePub or PDF format, the work can be submitted through Library Journal's SELF-e program to be showcased in the Indie Wisconsin Statewide Collection on Biblioboard, and to also be considered for national exposure.

Wisconsin Author Project logo        Biblioboard logo

With Biblioboard and Pressbooks, you can easily host a "maker space" for local authors and aspiring writers. And NaNoWriMo provides an excellent opportunity to gather your writers and cultivate an ongoing relationship with some of the creative voices in your own community. Write On!

By John DeBacher, Public Library Development


Final PLSR Report: COLAND Invites Input in Public Listening Sessions

Friday, March 15, 2019

Guest Post from COLAND Chair, Bryan McCormick

The Public Library System Redesign (PLSR) Steering Committee recently turned in the Final Recommendation Report to the State Superintendent, Ms. Carolyn Stanford Taylor, completing the work that so many individuals throughout the state participated in and helped make possible. This was a huge undertaking and everyone involved in the process should be very proud of this achievement. To my knowledge no one else nationally has been successful with a statewide effort such as this; front line staff providing the information to help make decisions that will benefit our library patrons. It was not the legislature or government officials deciding on best courses of action, it was those of us in the library community.

Upon receiving the report, COLAND (the Council on Library and Network Development) has been informed that the Superintendent would like for there to be one final round of comments and has asked that several listening sessions be held across the state. COLAND is setting up four in-person listening sessions, to be held regionally throughout the state. The four sites and dates, as well as a link to the final report, can be found on the COLAND page here. One call in session for those unable to make it to one of the regional sessions will be scheduled and announced later in the process. I would encourage anyone with comments about the report to attend one of those meetings and provide feedback. COLAND will then compile and share feedback with the Superintendent.
Thank you again to all who have participated in this project, and to the future implementation of ideas that will further support and strengthen the programs, services and resources that Wisconsin’s public libraries provide to their patrons.

Bryan J. McCormick


Virtual COLAND listening session on the PLSR Steering Committee Final Report

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Register to Connect on Tuesday, April 30 from 2 to 3:30 pm, via Skype


The Public Library System Redesign (PLSR) Steering Committee recently submitted the final Recommendation Report to the State Superintendent, Carolyn Stanford Taylor. In response to the report, Ms. Stanford Taylor requested a final opportunity for community input. To fulfill this request the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) scheduled four listening sessions throughout the state, which were completed last week. COLAND will also conduct a "virtual" listening session, hosted through DPI's Skype. The session will be conducted next Tuesday, April 30, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Registration is required for this session in order to maintain an orderly progression of responses. To register for the session, complete this form with your email address, full name, and your library and system affiliation. You will then receive an email response with the link to the Skype session, along with a reminder message next Tuesday morning. During the session, an online form will be provided for those who do not have a microphone or prefer to submit their comments in writing, as was the case at the in-person sessions.

Please feel free to share this information and the registration link with anyone who was unable to attend one of the in-person listening sessions, including trustees, other librarians, or interested public. The feedback, both from the in-person sessions and the virtual sessions, will be compiled and made available to COLAND members for their next regular meeting on May 10 at the Tomahawk School District. 

Written by John DeBacher, Public Library Development


ALA releases new Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Today, the American Library Association released the Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census, a new resource to prepare libraries for the decennial count of every person living in the United States.

The Guide contains practical information to assist library staff in addressing potential patron and community requests regarding the upcoming 2020 Census. The Guide includes:

  • basic information about the Census process;US Census 2020 logo
  • highlights of new components in the 2020 Census, such as the online response option;
  • frequently asked questions;
  • a timeline of key Census dates;
  • contact information and links to additional resources.

ALA teamed with the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality to develop the Guide, with support from ALA’s 2020 Census Library Outreach and Education Task Force.

ALA plans to provide additional resources for library practitioners in the months leading up to Census Day on April 1, 2020. The Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census is available for free download at

Helping residents and others who use your library's Wi-Fi or public computers to complete their census survey online can benefit your community, schools, and county in the future, since every individual counted helps to maximize federal and state funding for municipal services. Assignment of House of Representatives seats, federal funding apportionment, and our own LSTA "Grants to States" award are all based on the decennial census. More information on the importance to your community can be found in this blog post from last July, and more information specific to Wisconsin can be found in this post from January to help you learn how to determine is a "Complete County" committee has been established in your community or county.

Adapted from an ALA press release by John DeBacher, Public Library Development 


WiLSWorld 2019 Coming Up This Month

Monday, July 1, 2019

WiLSWorld 2019 is coming up on July 23rd and 24th at the Pyle Center in Madison! WiLS, with the WiLSWorld Planning Team, have been busy putting together presentations and people and panels on the topics you have shared you're interested in learning more about. Here are just a few of the highlights:

• Keynote speaker Rebecca Stavick, co-founder of Open Nebraska, Library Journal Mover & Shaker, and member of the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board.

• Plenary speaker, Madison Public Library - Pinney Branch's own Sarah Lawton, LJ Mover & Shaker, featured speaker at Library Journal’s Design Institute, and member of the PLA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice.

Programs on library data, web accessibility, ebook innovations, library as publisher, expanding broadband access, and so much more!

• Tuesday social hour at Camp Trippalindee

• Wednesday morning workshops on how to get things done with process design, talking the language of user experience, and making the case for open educational resources.

• A reduced-cost Wednesday afternoon workshop on the role of libraries in advancing racial equity with plenary speaker Sarah Lawton and Gordon F. Goodwin from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a program of Race Forward.

Register online here to reserve your spot on this timely conference!

Guest posting by Andrea Coffin, WiLS Community Liaison,


PLSR Implementation Plans Presented to COLAND

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

On Friday, July 12, DPI staff John DeBacher and Ben Miller presented a draft implementation plan for carrying out recommendations included in the Public Library System Redesign Steering Committee Final Report to the Council on Libraries and Network Development (COLAND). The plan includes a column with dates to indicate when work on individual recommendations will begin, and when subsequent activities to carry out the recommendations are anticipated. 

A number of the individual recommendations - including many of the related activities -include "Implementation Teams" in the process. Those teams will be comprised of individuals in the library community who are identified to be stakeholders or to have relevant expertise and experience in the activity area. As those specific activities draw near, DPI staff will put out calls for nominations for each Implementation Team - please do not contact us prior to that formal call to express interest. The calls for nominations will be shared here as well as through related DPI communications channels as aspects of follow up activities unfold. Selections will be made based on considerations to foster a balance between users of the System Services (public libraries), system employees, as well as geography and size.

To repeat, please take a look at the Implementation Plan, note the timeframe for the Recommendations and their Activities, and watch this space for the Implementation Teams's calls for nominations as well as for announcements and reports of PLSR project developments.

Written by John DeBacher, Public Library Development


State Funding for Libraries - the Universal Service Fund

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Public Service Commission's Universal Service Fund

The State of Wisconsin Legislature has funded external public library services in recent years through appropriations drawing on the state's Universal Service Fund (USF), administered by the Public Service Commission (PSC). The fund, established in the Wisconsin 1993 Act 496 to help ensure that all Wisconsin "...residents receive essential telecommunication services and have access to advanced telecommunication capabilities." Throughout the first decade of this century, the fund was also tapped to support Wisconsin's regional Public Library Systems, gradually shifting System support from the state's General Fund until, over the past five biennia, System Services have been funded exclusively through the USF. The fund is based largely on fees assessed on commercial telephone and broadband services at rates set by the PSC.

Each two-year budget cycle, the PSC must report on its programs, including the USF. The most recent report can be found here. In addition, the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) conducts an audit and issues a report each biennium. In past reports, the LAB had broken out Aid to Public Library Systems separately, including other library-related programs such as BadgerLink and the library contracts under "All Other Programs," as in the chart in the 2011-2012 report. However, in the 2017-18 report the LAB includes all appropriations administered by the DPI, including the Digital Learning Collaborative, as shown in this graphic display of program expenditures. The six programs administered by the DPI, DOA, and UW System accounted for over 87 percent of total expenditures for FY 2017-18, and nearly 86 percent of total expenditures for FY 2016-17. The amounts are shown in a table on page 26 of the full report, and an interactive chart of USF funds by agency highlights that the funding used or distributed by the DPI comprises more than half of the pie chart (54.7%). Fiscal Year 2018, the $15,513,100 in Public Library System Aid comprised nearly 42 percent of the total USF program expenditures.

Legislative Audit Bureau logo and text

Besides the programs administered by the DPI, the USF also supports state broadband and telecommunications discounts to schools and libraries under the TEACH program, administered by the Department of Administration. Most public libraries, library systems, and hundreds of school districts receive broadband services at a substantial discount through the program. The LAB reported two significant deficiencies in internal control over the USF that both related to the TEACH program. The report recommends that the agency:

  • review its automated process and correct any invoice errors, including for the differences we identified;
  • ensure that adequate documentation is maintained to support its review of the automated process and the amounts it invoiced educational institutions;
  • comply with statutes by requiring educational institutions to pay for each month of services received; and
  • report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by February 21, 2020, on its progress in implementing these recommendations and include information on the results of its review of its automated process.

The DOA has responded to the audit report, explaining that the invoicing lapse was due to delays in converting their school and library customers to the new network, and that corrective action is being taken. There were no audit findings related to the USF funded programs overseen by the DPI, including the aid to Public Library Systems.

Written by John DeBacher, Public Library Development


Library Business Grant Opportunity: Application Period Open Now

Thursday, December 5, 2019


The American Library Association (ALA) recently received $2 million from to provide grants to 10-14 public libraries that have a strong history of providing services for small business and/or entrepreneurs for low-income and/or underrepresented groups in their communities. Here is the press release about that award. The application period for these grants is now open and closes December 13. ALA anticipates awarding grants from $50,000 to $150,000.

Libraries will be selected following a two phase review process. First libraries will indicate their interest and eligibility via a short application form. After an initial screening, a pool of libraries will be invited to complete a full application. A selection committee consisting of representatives from the Public Library Association, ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy advisory committee and ALA’s Office for Diversity Literacy and Outreach Services will review those invited applications to select the cohort libraries.

For more information, interested libraries may email or visit the project website Libraries may also view a recording of an informational webinar and view the webinar slides.


Submitted by Shannon Schultz, Public Library Development



Digitization Kits Available to Wisconsin Libraries

Thursday, September 26, 2019

In collaboration with the South Central Library System (SCLS) and Recollection Wisconsin, 20 Digitization Kits have been distributed to library systems across Wisconsin. This project was made possible through WISE funding. The intended goal of this project is to increase the capacity of public libraries throughout Wisconsin to digitize local history resources. In turn, these history resources could be used to help preserve local history, aid in genealogical research, and support student inquiry around Wisconsin history. Digitized materials will be made available online through Recollection Wisconsin and DPLA.


Computer and scanner included with Digitization Kits
Photo by Shawn Vesely, courtesy of Recollection WI.

The Digitization Kits include a basic flatbed scanner and other equipment for scanning two-dimensional photos and documents. These kits were based on digitization kits created for New York METRO’s Culture In Transit project. SCLS procured equipment and assembled the kits in early 2019 and have made them available to library systems that expressed interest in pursuing digitization projects in a September 2018 Google Poll. These kits are comprised of identical hardware to help foster collaboration between systems, libraries, and other organizations in supporting and planning for digitization projects.

In July, 22 staff from 12 regional public library systems around the state participated in training workshops presented by South Central Library System and Recollection Wisconsin. The workshops were held in Madison at SCLS headquarters and in Keshena at the College of Menominee Nation Library. The goals of the workshops were to introduce the scanning kits, provide an overview of steps for systems to work with their member libraries to develop digital projects and contribute content to Recollection Wisconsin and DPLA, and build networks across regional library systems to share information and expertise. Tamara Ramski, Digitization Specialist for SCLS, walked through the workflow she uses when partnering with libraries. Craig Ellefson of SCLS gave an overview of the equipment and support resources. Emily Pfotenhauer of Recollection Wisconsin discussed metadata requirements and copyright considerations for digital collections.

Moving forward, libraries are encouraged to contact their systems to inquire about the availability of Digitization Kits for local projects. Recollection Wisconsin staff are available as a resource to help libraries and systems plan and carry out digitization projects ( SCLS is happy to answer system questions to clarify project workflows ( For more information on this ongoing project, including documentation, templates, and resources, visit or check out the slides from the workshops.

Written by Emily Pfotenhauer and Ben Miller