Saturday, March 24, 2012


Union members vote no confidence in Rockford library director. (Rockford Register-Star, 3/23/2012)

Excerpt:    Union members of the Rockford Public Library delivered a 31-1 vote Friday of no confidence in Director Frank Novak. 

The members gathered behind union President Karla Janssen as she read from a prepared statement inside the downtown South First Street Carpenters Local Union hall: 

“Frank Novak’s lack of concern for the community that employs him and his blatant disrespect of services the library staff provides has created an unnecessary threat to the quality library services our city deserves. For these reasons, we have taken a vote of no confidence in Mr. Novak.” 

Janssen spoke critically of proposed plans to close library locations, eliminate Sunday hours and devote a significant portion of the library’s budget toward digital collections, which, she said. currently make up 3 percent of the total circulation.  

Related articles:
Catching up on the news.  (2/8/2012)
Save Our Rockford Library members pack board meeting. (1/28/2012)
Save Our Rockford Library (SOL) calls for more public input in library's strategic planning. (1/14/2012) 
Rockford Public Library will boost spending on digital and audio books in 2012. (10/13/2011)
Supportive editorial for Rockford Public Library needs a fact checker. (9/1/2011)
Rockford Public Library circulates 0.05 ebooks per capita in 1st half of 2011. (7/13/2011)

Crystal Lake Looks to Add 40,000 Square Feet to Existing Library

Crystal Lake library unveils preliminary expansion plans. (Chicago Tribune, 3/23/2012)  

Excerpt: Administrators from the Crystal Lake Public Library recently unveiled conceptual designs that would more than double the size of the existing facility on Paddock Street. 

The library hired an architect late last month to explore large-scale building improvements after several short-term fixes have failed to keep pace with ever-changing demands. 

The preliminary plan calls for the addition of more than 40,000 square feet to the existing library building at 126 Paddock St., according to city documents. That includes the demolition of the oldest part of the building, as well as a house at 17 McHenry Ave., to make room for a two-story parking garage with 200 spaces. 

Other portions of the project could include a drive-up book return and delivery zone, stormwater management improvements, additional landscaping and signage, and a bicycle and pedestrian plaza and drop-off zone.

Building Digital Communities: The Cliff Notes Version

Page 1.    What does digital inclusion mean for people in a community? 

All people, businesses, and institutions will have access to digital content and technologies that enable them to create and support healthy, prosperous, and cohesive 21 st century communities.

Specifically, digital inclusion means that:  All members.....
  • understand the benefits of advanced information and communication technologies. 
  • have equitable and affordable access to high-speed Internet-connected devices and online content. 
  • can take advantage of the educational, economic, and social opportunities available through these technologies.

Page 2-3.  A framework for community-wide planning.

Pages 4-6.  Getting started on digital inclusion:  Steps in the process.

Convene stakeholders.
  • Local, city, and tribal governments
  • Public agencies, especially public libraries
  • Nonprofit community-based organizations
  • The business community
  • Residents
Develop a shared community understanding of digital inclusion.
  • What does the term digital literacy mean for the community? 
  • What digital technologies are currently available, and to whom? 
  • Where are the gaps? Who is left out and at risk of being left behind? 
  • What are the most important community goals of digital inclusion: economic development, education, job training, health care, emergency management, social connection?
Create a community action plan.
Implement the plan.
Evaluate and revise the plan.

Page 7-19  Principles of digital inclusion (with goals and sample strategies)

Access principles
  • Availability  (reliable communications infrastructure)
  • Affordability  (for all communities members to access broadband and digital technologies)
  • Design for inclusion   (people with disabilities, physical or cognitive differences, and differences in age-related capabilities, language, literacy or culture)
  • Public access  (for community members who have little or no communication technology available in the home, need assistance to effectively use technology)
Adoption principles
  • Relevance  (using technology to achieve educational, economic, and social goals)
  • Digital literacy  (ability to find, evaluate, and use information to achieve goals)
  • Consumer safety  (accurate, unbiased information on how to safely navigate the digital world)

Pages 20-31  Strategic areas for digital inclusion (with goals and sample strategies)

Economic and workforce development  (develop the knowledge and skills of future workers and entrepreneurs, as well as help the current workforce update its competencies to meet the needs of employers)

Education  (ensure that students have the digital skills to reach their full potential by connecting them to a diverse range of electronic resources)

Health care  (efficiencies and cost-savings in health care delivery, improvement to patient care, and support for independent living and management of health concern)

Public safety and emergency services  (integrated communications systems for emergency and disaster preparation, response, and recover)

Civic engagement  (electronic interaction between community institutions, government agencies, and individuals)

Social connections  (access to technologies that promote social engagement and the pursuit of independent learning and creative interests)

Wisconsin Tax Revenue Drops in February 2012, Up 2.4% for FY2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wurzelbacher, apparently, has put on a few pounds lately

Google Reader screenshot

What's worse for "The Raw Story", though, is that there's no "e" in Marcy Kaptur's last name.

At least they spelled 'Kucinich' correctly.

Publication of the Statistical Abstract of the United States Will Continue

Always in the top 10 in my Top 40 Reference Countdown.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pelham Library officials accept jailed director's resignation. (North Andover Eagle-Tribune, 3/16/2012)

Jailed director Robert Rice Jr. has checked out of Pelham Public Library.

Trustees yesterday confirmed they have accepted Rice's resignation, submitted in November, after consultations with legal counsel.

"The board confirms the acceptance of Mr. Rice's resignation after seeking advice of counsel and determining that Mr. Rice could not be reinstated as a probationary employee," the trustees said in a written statement.

There was no immediate word on a search for a successor.

Trustees likely will discuss what's next when they meet Monday night.

Carol Roberts, former Wilton Public Library director, has been the interim director in Pelham.

She said she is willing to continue as interim director while trustees recruit a new director, but she isn't a candidate for the permanent post.\

Getting to Know Chapter 43 of the Wisconsin State Statutes: Part 21, Consolidated County Libraries and County Library Services

Source:  Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries Survey Fiscal Year 2009

43.57  Consolidated county libraries and county library services.

(1)  Consolidated county libraries.

(a)  Establishment.  A county board may establish and maintain a consolidated public library for the county, and may for such purpose adopt, take over and acquire any libraries already established, by consent of the authorities controlling those libraries.

(b)  Gifts, bequests, endowments.  If it is consistent with the terms thereof, a gift, bequest or endowment to a public library becoming a part of a consolidated county library may [note the use of the 'permissive' verb, i.e., not shall] be taken over by the county library board. The county library board shall maintain the gift, bequest or endowment for the benefit of the library to which it was given.  

(c)  Public library system membership.  A consolidated county library may become part of a federated multicounty system organized under s. 43.19.

(d)  Contracting for services.  A consolidated county library may contract with library organizations within this state or in adjacent states to provide or receive library services. 

Green highlights denote library locations.

OK, not quite consolidated county library.  Town of McMillan, the purple square in the southwestern corner of the map, became part of the South Central Library System in 2004 due to its proximity to Marshfield..

From the Town of McMillan website.

(2)Joint libraries. A county board may authorize the formation of a joint library under s. 43.53 and may participate in a joint library board under s. 43.54. 

(3)County library services. A county board may establish and maintain a county library service to 
  • serve the residents of the county who do not live in municipalities that have established libraries under s. 43.52 or 43.53 or to 
  • improve the library services of municipal libraries established under s. 43.52 or 43.53. 
The county library service may 
  • operate a library or library service program or 
  • may contract with library organizations within this state or in adjacent states for services. 

The Pierce County Library Service Brings Its Operations to a Close.

(4) Board appointment. 

(a) In a county with a consolidated county library under sub. (1), the county board chairperson shall, with the approval of the county board, appoint a 7-member or 9-member county library board. 

(b)  In a county operating a county library service under sub. (3), the county board chairperson shall, with the approval of the county board, appoint a 7-member library board.

(c)  Boards appointed under pars. (a) and (b) shall include at least one school district administrator of a school district located in whole or in part in the county, or that school district administrator's designee, and one or 2 county board supervisors. Boards appointed under par. (b) shall include, in addition, representatives of existing library boards under s. 43.54 and persons residing in municipalities not served by libraries.

(d)  Boards appointed under pars. (a) and (b) have the powers and duties of a library board under s. 43.58.

(5)Terms of office, compensation, officers, duties.

(a) Upon the initial establishment of a board under sub. (4) (a) or (b), the members shall be divided as nearly as practicable in 3 equal groups to serve for 2-, 3- and 4-year terms, respectively, following their appointment. Thereafter, terms shall be for 3 years. Vacancies shall be filled for unexpired terms in the same manner as regular appointments are made.

(b) No compensation shall be paid to the members of a board under sub. (4) (a) or (b) for their services, except as follows: 43.57(5)
  • 1. Members may be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing their duties if so authorized by the board.
  • 2.  Members may receive per diem, mileage and other necessary expenses incurred in performing their duties if so authorized by the board and the county board.

(c)  A majority of the membership of a board under sub. (4) (a) or (b) constitutes a quorum, but any such board may, by resolution, provide that 3 or more members constitute a quorum. 

(d)  As soon as practicable after the first appointments, at a date and place fixed by the appointing officer, and annually thereafter within 30 days after the beginning of terms, the members of the board shall organize by the election, from among their number, of a president and such other officers as they deem necessary. 

(e)  Section 43.52 (2) applies to consolidated county libraries and county library services. 

(f)  A library organized under this section may participate in a public library system subject to s. 43.15. 

(6)Gifts and grants. Any county may receive, by bequest or gift, property for the purpose of establishing a public library for the county and may enter into an agreement to maintain a public library in consideration thereof, and shall be bound to faithfully perform such agreement. In such case the library board appointed under s. 43.57 (4) or, in the absence of a library board, the county board may properly administer the same. 43.57 

1985 Wisconsin Act 177
  • 43.57 (title) is amended 
  • 43.57 (1) (title) is created 
  • 43.57 (1) (a) is amended 
  • 43.57 (1) (b) is repealed and recreated 
  • 43.57 (1) (c) is created 
  • 43.57 (2) is repealed and recreated 
  • 43.57 (3) to (5) and (6) (title)are created. 
1989 Wisconsin Act 286.  43.57 (3) is amended.
1993 Wisconsin Act 241. 43.57 (4) (a) is amended.
1995 Wisconsin Act 354. 43.57 (4) (c) is amended.

Related posts:
Part 1:  Legislative findings and declaration of policy.
Part 2:  Definitions.
Part 3:  General duties of the State Superintendent.
Part 4:  General duties of the Division.
Part 5:  Council on Library and Network Development.
Part 6:  Certificates and standards..
Part 7: County library planning committees.
Part 8:  County payment for library service.
Part 9:  Division review
Part 10.  Standards for public library systems.
Part 11.  Resource libraries.
Part 12:  Public library systems; general provisions.
Part 13.  Withdrawal, abolition, and expulsion.
Part 14.  Federated public library systems.
Part 15.  Consolidated public library systems.
Part 16.  State aid.
Part 17.  Public library records.
Part 18.  Municipal libraries.
Part 19.  Joint libraries.
Part 20.  Municipal library board composition.

Cash Cow? 57% of Flat Rock Public Library's Budget Paid to City for Rent and Fees

Flat Rock library hurting. (Detroit News, 3/22/2012)

Excerpt:   The library's annual budget is approximately $404,000 — $374,000 from a 1-mill tax levy and the rest from grants, Friend said. 

The library operates separate from the city. Library officials hope to get a reduction in the $162,000 annual rent it pays to the city for the 2012-13 fiscal year. 

There's an additional $70,000 in fees the city charges, and with its utility bills, there isn't much room left in the library's budget, Friend said.  [Emphasis added.]

Mayor Jonathan Dropiewski considers the request from the library a "bailout" as he's uncertain the library has been properly managing its funds. 

He said cuts are long overdue. 

 "They have not wanted to make the tough choices every business, family and government has had to make," he said. "Now they've left themselves in this position."

Here's the U.S. average for general categories of expenditures:  Salaries & benefits. materials, and all other.

Meet Jayne Rowsam, Waunakee Public Library Staff Member

Jayne Rowsam: This bibliophile joined local library staff. (Waunakee Tribune, 3/21/2012)

Excerpt: Rowsam started working at the Waunakee library as temporary help with the summer reading program, but it wasn't long before she was an invaluable member of the staff. The transition from book retail to library work was smooth. Rowsam says there are many similarities, especially in the approach to helping customers/library patrons. She's been impressed by the turnout for library programs in Waunakee and the collections offered there. She "was floored" by the story boxes offered for checkout, and enjoys watching the children trying to choose one. Rowsam says she's excited every day to go to work; every day is different and she loves her coworkers, who remind her of her Borders coworkers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hugo and Nebula Award Winner Called 'Pornographic'

Schofield teacher on leave after parent complains of 'pornographic' book. (Aiken Standard, 3/21/2012) 

Excerpt:    A Schofield Middle School teacher has been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate whether the teacher breached school policy or the law when he read to his class from a science fiction book described by one parent as pornographic. 

Sources said the teacher read from three books, among them"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, as part of the district's literacy initiative program. Card's 1985 novel won several science fiction awards and is listed on numerous children's literary review websites as appropriate for children 12 and up. 

The teacher reportedly selected the books, but may have not followed school policy that would require the books first be reviewed. 

Joy Shealy, school district academic officer for middle schools, said there is a policy that defines steps teachers ought to take when presenting supplemental material.

Oregon Public Library Challenged on Meeting Room Use Policy

Lawsuit filed against Seaside Library. (The Daily Astorian, 3/2/2012)

Excerpt:   Liberty Counsel is seeking a federal judge’s order declaring the policy unconstitutional and requiring the library to allow public meetings in its community room “without regard to the religious viewpoint or content of Liberty Counsel’s message, on the same terms and conditions as any other group that is permitted to use the room.” 

It is also seeking damages and attorney’s expenses. 

City Manager Mark Winstanley referred questions to City Attorney Dan Van Thiel, but Van Thiel could not be reached. 

Library Director Reita Fackerell also referred questions to Van Thiel. However, she said the current policy was adopted by the library board and that the Seaside City Council did not review it. 

The library’s policy says, in part, that meeting rooms cannot be used “for religious services or proselytizing.” It also prohibits the “solicitation or development of business, for profit or for fundraising … for individual political campaigns or partisan political recruitment, or for gambling or games of chance.” 

The policy also states that the primary purpose of offering a meeting room free to community groups and individuals is to “provide space for educational and cultural enrichment and lifelong learning.” It goes on to say that the policy is to “support the library’s role as a gathering place for all ages, creating a sense of community and neighborhood belonging and a welcome environment for all.” 

The proposed program 

Boyd said the proposed program would include speakers to “provide the children various perspectives on history and traditions contained in the Bible and seek to demonstrate how those traditions fit within their modern world. 

“The overall purpose of this program is to educate the children from a Christian perspective and a biblical basis so they can better understand how to be good students, friends and ultimately good people within society.” 

A library employee contacted Boyd and left a voice message denying the application, according to the brief filed with the federal court on Monday. The only reason given, the brief said, was that the library policy prohibited religious services or proselytizing.

Comment.  It's clear in Wisconsin that this denial of a one-time use of a library's meeting room for a Liberty Counsel-sponsored program is contrary to by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman's 2000 opinion.

From Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Public Library Administration and Governance

Fairfax County Public Library's Virginia Room

A longer video tour.

Link to Virginia Room.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mercer Public Library Featured in the Lakeland Times

Lakeland Libraries ... a series: Mercer Public Library: Its story from beginning to today. (Lakeland Times, 3/16/2012)

Excerpt:   One of the goals listed in the Mercer Public Library mission statement is "to be a resource center for the community by supplying a wide variety of informative materials." 

That goal began when the Mercer Public Library was started by the ambitious individuals who made up the Mercer Civic Women's Club. 

In the fall of 1938, the library opened in the community center. Requests for books were sent out, and donations came from Ashland and Hurley, and as far away as Chicago. 

About 600 donated books filled the Mercer Library by the end of the following year. 

The library continued to develop and flourish.  By September 1941 the library had its doors open for 21 days out of a month, totaling 132 hours. 

The library became officially sponsored by Mercer when, on May 28, 1956, the first town library board was appointed.

 Hat tip to Kris Adams Wendt.

May I Have Your Password, Please?

From the audio.  He [Orwell] imagined a world in the grip of fear,

a world of absolute conformity,

of continuous surveillance,

of organized hatred, 

and ceaseless wars.

More job applicants asked for Facebook passwords. (Chicago Tribune, 3/20/2012)

Excerpt:   When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

 Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

"It's akin to requiring someone's house keys," said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it "an egregious privacy violation." 

Should employers be allowed to ask for your Facebook login?  (The Atlantic, 2/19/2011)
Expert says policy requiring employee to give employer Facebook password is bad idea. (Wolters Kluwer)

Dan Linssen Pines for a Library of His Own Making

                                            Not what Dan has in mind.           

Full disclosure: I was at "yesterday's central library" on Wednesday, March 7. 2012. (Presented a workshop for the Nicolet Federated Library System.) From 12:30 to 12:45 and again from 4:30 to 4:45, I walked around the two floors of public service space where perhaps as many as 100 people were engaged in variety of activities: browsing the shelves, checking out materials, asking staff for assistance, using computers, accessing the library's wi-fi, reading newspapers (yes, print newspapers, of all things), working in small groups, and reading alone.

Apparently, there are still people in Brown County who like to visit a comfortable place.

And then there's the programming aspect of what libraries do, not all of it requiring "technology-enhanced meeting space".

Dan Linssen column: Embrace tomorrow's technology over yesterday's central library. (Green Bay Press-Gazette, 3/18/2012)

Excerpt: For $3 million, we could build and equip a very nice 20,000-square-foot technology center that could be accessed online by users with computers or electronic readers, and could offer some comfortable and inviting on-site computer/reader stations for walk-in use. The facility even could offer limited [?] technology-enhanced meeting space for public use. We could then spend another $2 million to purchase 10,000 electronic readers for loan to users who don't have access to computers or readers. That would leave $10 million to spend on digitizing and archiving the library's current print collections, establishing a site-maintenance and technology upgrade fund and providing transition assistance to county residents as we migrate to a digital library world.

There's something missing here, right? 

In his design for what he wants in a library technology center, Dan omits a critical public library service element.

Children's services.  (And maybe Dan should take a look at this.)
Library Journal, February 15, 1985

Here's the link to the New York Times article.

Dan Linsser, meet Frank Novak.   The two of you seem to be in a rush to get to the same destination.

In a position paper prepared at the request of Save our Rockford Library, Jane Pearlmutter, Associate Director Emeritus and Instructor at  the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies, observes that “RPL seems like a passenger who knows it’s time to go somewhere, but is standing on the wrong platform, waiting for the wrong train.”

Here are a couple of other thoughts to ponder.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Well, at least they're reading

Teens, Smartphones & Texting, Texting Volume Is Up while the Frequency of Voice Calling Is Down. (Pew Research, 3/19/2012)


Today's Tidbits from Pew Research's "The State of the News Media 2012"

News viewership on television grew in unexpected venues.

For network TV, it's the first increase in 10 years.

For local TV, it's the first increase in 5 years.

Cable news prime-time
  • CNN +16%
  • MSNBC +3%
  • Fox, -3%, second straight year of declines.

Programming Tales from the Field

Prepared as a supplement to session 9 of LIS 712 The Public Library.  Accompanied by a big thank you to this week's "guest lecturers"!

Chapter 1.  Shared by Tom Carson, Head of Reference Services.


Kenosha Public Library has a very robust adult programming schedule. All programs are generously supported by the Friends of the Public Library. We do not use any library money to pay for programming except for staff costs related to planning, marketing and implementation of the programs. We plan 6 months ahead of schedule and concentrate on fall/winter/spring programs. We try to schedule programs that do not require sign up, but sometimes we have to because of limits set by the presenter.

We have a wide range of programs that cover several different topics from organic gardening to scrapbooking. Where do we get our ideas? We do research and borrow ideas from other libraries. We pay attention to the program schedules of local museums. Browse local newspapers. We also talk to program attendees and ask them to fill out a comment card. We like to know how they find out about the program.

We still use our local paper as our main source of publicity but we also partner with the Kenosha Public Museum. They promote us, we promote them. We also use social media. Unfortunately, the City decided to develop a social media policy [item #4 here], and we had to deactivate our Facebook page until the policy was put in place. We lost many friends. We are trying to get them back.

Our most popular programs tend be those that cover current topics. The current series on couponing [through 2/24; can't guarantee link still works] has been widely successful. The limit was 50 but we had to turn away several people. We started a music jamming session and has been very successful. People bring their instruments and jam. One our more popular program to date is a simple one, we have local railroad model enthusiasts set up their models in the activities room and people just flow in all day. We see a lot of fathers and sons at this program. We now host it every February.

Our greatest success so far have been participating in the Big Read program. All programs were well received. We are now getting ready to kick off our second Big Read in March.

Technology classes are very popular as well. We can never offer enough MS Word or MS Excel classes. The goal for adult programming is to continue to develop the public library as community gathering place by offering a diverse and robust schedule of classes and programs.

Chapter 2:  Shared by Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Manager

The 1000 Books Club is based on an idea that we had seen other libraries do (including at my former job). The program encourage parents of 1-5 year olds to read a wide range of books to their child to help them get a jumpstart on learning and school . We chose a 1 year old start because we wanted the little ones old enough to appreciate the fun of receiving stickers and little incentives. And we designed it to encourage frequent trips to the library to encourage families to use us often.

Rubber Ducky Club.

We have long invited our one and two year olds to be part of our summer reading club but the fit was always...uncomfortable. Food coupons and geegaws didn't really fit the tiny tots' interests or needs. And most little prizes were definitely not recommended for under three year olds. But we wanted to encourage parents reading to their children and using the six pre-literacy skills. What to do, what to do?

And then, like all good things in children's librarianship, we discovered that someone had an answer that would work for us! We stumbled on the great idea of the Rubber Ducky Club when Karen Burke at the Naperville (IL) Library in Illinois shared their information on this club on ALSCConnect newsletter (another reason to be an ALA/ALSC member...great ideas are shared!). We were intrigued. A quick email exchange ensued and Karen generously shared their club materials. And here is what we developed:

Developing stealth (or passive) library programs for children.

Second Grade Library Stars.   In terms out outreach, we do everything possible to reach out to schools and be there for them and encourage them to be there for us. Our current partnering success is setting up field trip adventures for all 2nd graders. You can’t sit in the library and expect folks to come. With only 50% of kids NOT having cards, we know that this effort will make a difference and encourage return visits and familiarity with the library

Chapter 3:  Shared by Rachel Muchin Young, Public Services Coordinator

Manitowoc Public Library has been fortunate to have collaborated with a number of community organizations on several successful events. One of my favorites is the Great Decisions Discussion Series. This series, a project of the Foreign Policy Association  is designed to get Americans talking about international topics. The idea was brought to us seven years ago by the League of Women Voters of Manitowoc County.   We have since partnered with the League of Women Voters, Lakeshore Peacemakers, UW-Manitowoc and Silver Lake College for successful annual series.

We average about 100 people per discussion, and that number has held steady for 6 years. The program is free and open to the public. The Friends of Manitowoc Public Library pop for the refreshments. The Manitowoc Public Library Foundation pays the speakers’ honoraria and mileage, and the League of Women Voters finds the speakers and pays for their dinner and accommodations, if necessary.

What makes this so successful is the nature of the program, the quality of the speakers, and the fabulous scholars we bring in to introduce the topics.

Chapter 4:  Shared by Julie Metcalf, Director

Our biggest effort goes into the Summer Reading Program. I put in a plug for it all the time throughout the year. For example, last October 1st we sold scarecrows at a ‘Make your Own’ spot outside the library with pre-painted scarecrow heads attached to broom sticks and then let the families stuff them themselves with the shirts and jeans and straw all available right there. (I picked up the clothes at Dig n Save in Madison). The price for each kit was $10 each. We plugged it as a fun family activity amongst others that the Chamber of Commerce was promoting that Saturday.

During that event we told the people participating that the money we raised was for prizes for our SRP. We give away pretty cool come-along prizes each week and have quality projects for them to take home and do. Teachers don’t have time to do the hands on fun things in their class rooms anymore, so we try to hook the kids into nonfiction book activities as much as we can.  We don’t have a craft room or time to do them during the year, but we do try hard to supplement with that in the summer.

We are gearing up again to have lavish displays in each teacher’s room for their third quarter grading and parent/teacher event. I will have sign-up sheets all over the school as well as a display of what the come-along prizes will be.

Our newly developing web page will have information, as well. I also plug it in our local paper with articles each week about what’s happening in the library. Our posters were made by a professional artist for free as well as the faces on the scarecrows. I bought rolls and rolls of canvas last summer and she used some of that. They were the nicest scarecrows I’ve seen in a long long time. I think putting effort into anything the public touches is important.

The idea came about in a brainstorming session the Friends of the Library had. The Friend who is the artist is also a fanatic about planning things in detail so her lists were extremely helpful. Thinking the project through, making lists, checking up on people, starting early enough …advertising at least 2-3 weeks in advance, putting your work around town in businesses, deliberately talking about it all year round and training all your advocates to talk…this is standard operating procedure here. Read business marketing books, talk to both successful and failing (or failed) business people and recruit lots of people to help and keep them motivated with your wish list and/or programs for the library.

Our checkouts this year increased 30.8% with this strategy among others.

And then there was an appearance by World Guy.

Chapter 5:  Shared by Diana B. Anderson, Director

We have had an annual month-long judged display of art by members of Wisconsin Regional Artists in all genres held during the month of May for many years--before I became Director. Four years ago, I asked the WRA leaders whether there would be interest in having an Artist of the Month program, because I believe art and libraries are good companions. We've had no problems finding artists--the first year were members of the WRA, but after that people came to us. We advertised in the local paper, and put up posters telling about the program. Libraries in our NWLS Consortium asked if they could borrow our idea. That was cool!! We're still going strong.

Chapter 6:  Shared by Jessica MacPhail, Director

The idea for this came from a meeting that was arranged by (Jim Walczak) the director of the Civic Centre (which includes Memorial Hall and Festival Hall).  He wanted to get some performers that would help motivate children to read, and was looking at a show based on RosemaryWells' "Max and Ruby" characters.  He and I talked about how we could approach a possible major funder who makes floor wax, and we ended up inviting everyone we could think of who was involved with children's literature: the Literacy Council, Racine Unified School District, Cops N Kids literacy program, Girls Inc., Early Start, etc. to meet with SC Johnson.

At that first meeting, the idea came up of challenging students to read a million books. It seemed to SCJ a pretty far-out goal, but I was certain the children would hit it. We were asked to "dream big" about the challenge, and the budget is more than $250,000. SCJ has underwritten the kickoff (book giveaway), mascot ("Booker the Owl"), bookmobile wrap (featuring the mascot and a measurement of books read up to a million), "One Book/One School/One Community" (each student in K-5 received a book), authors (Barbara Joosse, Richard Allington, Rosemary Wells), website revamp (, as well as incentives.

March 2nd, Read Across America; we've invited guest readers to read to students.

March and April, the library's Battle of the Books program has expanded by 50% and is being held at a larger location. I wrote to the new Children's Literature Ambassador, Walter Dean Myers, to see if he would come - and he'll be here in May to help with the wrapup celebration. This has inspired the entire community to help children reach that goal.  Mayor John Dickert has read to more than 50 classrooms. It's been amazing to see how excited the students are! Each school is doing things a little differently; some have their own incentives, some have focused the whole school on silent reading (have you ever seen kindergarten students reading silently for up to 35 minutes at a time??!!!???), some have been reading books over the PA system and at lunch - very creative.

I'm blown away.
Chapter 7:  Shared (primarily via phone conversation) by Don Litzer, Assistant Director & Head of Adult Services at the T.B. Scott Library, Merrill

While Head of Adult Services at the Macmillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, Don Litzer served as coordinator of the Macmillan Coffeehouse, a literary and fine arts series initiated in 1997.  According to Don, Library Director Ron McCabe felt it was important that the library be a center for artistic, literary, and musical expression in the community, particularly if performers did not have any other local outlets to share their talents.

In 2001, the Macmillan Memorial Library received the Wisconsin Library Association/Highsmith Award for this endeavor.

At the T.B. Scott Free Library, Don has continued with the Coffeehouse philosophy he developed at Macmillan with Words Worth Hearing, the "brand name" given to the library's adult program series.

Don notes that print media (the Foto News) works as well as anything in getting the word out.

Hat tip to my LIS 712 "guest lecturers".
Thanks for sharing!