The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced today the release of the 2023-2027 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Five-Year Plan. Visit the DPI’s website for the full plan document as well as a two-page infographic of the plan.
The plan is required as part of the LSTA Grants to States program administered at the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The DPI manages and distributes the federal funding as the State Library Administrative Agency for Wisconsin. The LSTA grant award to Wisconsin totals about $3 million and is used by Library Services Team staff to carry out state-wide projects as well as supporting regional projects in libraries and library systems.
In order for the DPI to receive this funding, IMLS requires the department to create and follow a Five-Year Plan and Evaluation process. The Five-Year Plan provides strategy and focus for the DPI as well as informing IMLS on intended spending for the next five years of Grants to States funding. Nearing the end of each Five-Year Plan, IMLS requires each state to engage an outside entity to complete an evaluation of the success of the plan. The DPI hired the non-profit membership organization, WiLS, to lead both the evaluation and plan development processes in order to best apply what was learned in the evaluation to the development of the upcoming plan.
The evaluation of the 2018-2022 plan provided the department with feedback and guidance about the LSTA program’s strengths and areas for improvement. The 2018-2022 plan included broad, flexible goals that stayed relevant throughout the pandemic and provided a clear path for pandemic relief. Additionally, during focus group discussions and interviews, stakeholders saw high value and statewide importance in many activities and projects carried out through the LSTA program. Some areas of improvement noted in the evaluation included a lack of awareness by certain stakeholder groups regarding the full scope of services funded by LSTA. Goals related to Community Engagement and Inclusive Services were seen as difficult to fully evaluate and were recommended to be viewed as ongoing lenses to inform work rather than stand-alone goals.
The new 2023-2027 Five-year LSTA Plan was developed with the Library Services Team’s Mission in mind - Empowering Wisconsin libraries to best serve their communities. The Wisconsin library community provided plan input through surveys and focus groups from the LSTA Plan evaluation and planning process as well as the Library Services Team’s ongoing work with those that provide library services in our communities throughout the state. Recent LSTA and Library Service Team supported projects and services, including Public Library System Redesign (PLSR) implementation activities and America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) efforts, also influenced the development of the plan.
With the process guidance from WiLS and the input from the Wisconsin library community, the Library Services Team identified the following goals and project priorities for the new 2023-2027 LSTA Five-year Plan:
Wisconsin residents have easy access to information, tools, resources, people, and spaces to make learning, exploration, and discovery possible for all individuals and communities statewide.
Wisconsin library staff are equipped with tools and support to serve the needs of their communities.
Wisconsin libraries cultivate connections and collaborations with other libraries, organizations, and stakeholder groups in order to engage community members, address equity challenges, maximize strengths, and implement impactful, scalable ideas.
As LSTA budgets and projects are developed, the Library Services Team will continue to engage stakeholders on an ongoing basis. LSTA plan feedback and ideas are always welcome and can be sent to LSTAcoordination@dpi.wi.gov. If you are going to the WLA Annual Conference 2022 in November, visit the DPI Library Services Team’s booth B402 to learn more or share your thoughts about the plan with one of our team members.