Digital Lites


This blog is the digital continuation of the WVLS newsletter, "The Lamplighter," and exists to share WVLS updates, news from libraries in our area, training opportunities, helpful tips and resources, national library news and more. To contribute to this blog, email Inese Christman.

Free Basic Computer Skills Course!


Interface Logo

In response to needs in the employment and education sectors, the Wisconsin Technical College System has created a free basic computer skills course available as an open education resource that might be just the ticket for public library patrons!   Basic Computer Skills MOOC    

Project Interface:  Backed by a $23.1 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, INTERFACE is a statewide project with participation from all 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System to develop, improve, and expand adult educational training pathways to careers in information technology-related occupations in Business, Information Technology, Healthcare, Logistics, Automation, and Manufacturing.  Learn more about this project.

(From Tessa Schmidt - WI Public Library Services & Programs, March 22, 2017)

Inese Christman /

Wisconsin School Libraries Split $32 Million


Child with library book

Wisconsin’s K-12 public school libraries will receive $32.1 million, thanks to earnings from the state's Common School Fund.  That was the word today from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.  Commissioner Doug La Follette, Secretary of State, presented Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kurt Kiefer with a ceremonial check at a conference in Wisconsin Dells Monday.

“School librarians use the funds to provide myriad learning opportunities for students," said Kim Bannigan, president of the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association.  "It might be books, but it might also be technology.  For many WEMTA members and public school libraries, the Common School Fund is the sole source of funding, so a chance to connect with those who make it possible is an essential part of our conference."  

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands was established in 1848 by Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution to manage assets of the Common School Fund.  This permanent endowment was created in the Constitution to benefit public education.  The BCPL generates earnings for the Common School Fund by investing in state and municipal bonds and State Trust Funds that finance community projects across the state. 

Board Chair Brad Schimel said, "BCPL investments provide support for community projects throughout Wisconsin including economic development, public infrastructure, school building and improvements, and the purchase of capital equipment and vehicles.  Many of these expenditures provide law enforcement personnel and first responders with the equipment needed to keep their communities safe.  Earnings from these investments continue to benefit public schools for many generations after the founding fathers of Wisconsin created this program.”

For a list of awards to all state schools.

(From TV - Eau Claire, March 20, 2017)


Inese Christman /

Free DMV Practice Test Program for Libraries


Head to to register your library for free, ad-free, and registration-free Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) practice tests for car, motorcycle, and commercial vehicle licenses. Good for the learner's permit test, driver's license test and refresher test for seniors.

What is included in the program:

Your online Drivers Ed program will contain the following information specific to your state:

  • 11 car practice tests
  • 9 motorcycle practice tests
  • 10 commercial vehicle practice tests
  • 3 online driving manuals: car, motorcycle, and commercial driver license (CDL)
  • FAQ section with detailed answers to over 100 DMV-related questions

How can this possibly be free?

Our main public website is ad-supported, and the users who go there from search engines do see ads. The revenue we receive from advertisers on our main site allows us to sponsor the ad-free library program for public, school and academic libraries in the US.

Your library users won't see ads when they come through the link from your website. 

As simple as placing a link on your website:

  1. We send you a link to your library-branded, state-specific program website.
  2. You place that link on your library website. Promotional materials available here.
  3. Your patrons click the link and take free, ad-free and registration-free driving practice tests.

Submitted by Marla Sepnafski.

Anne Hamland /

Passive Programming and Early Literacy


 Imagination Station Decker Branch Denver Pub Lib ALSC

Passive programming and early literacy: Designing creative spaces for young learners.

(ALSC Blog March 11, 2017) 

Libraries offer story times, early literacy activities, and a nice range of activities, but sometimes a community wants or needs more... Passive Programming to the rescue!

Passive programming requires a bit less formal oversight. An example of passive programming could be a drop-in activity in a designated space that staff loosely monitors while juggling their regular duties. An activity station accompanied by clear, simple directions for passerby.

As the ALSC article suggests, take time to talk with parents after storytime or as they visit the passive program. Use these casual discussions to find out when or if the library should schedule programs, what type of programs they would attend, how the library should promote programs and more! Read more about the passive programming station, the Imagination Station, at the Decker Branch of the Denver Public Library.

Examples of Passive Programming:

  • Simple literary crafts: HELLO PINTEREST
  • Library scavenger hunts, QR scavenger hunts
  • Reading challenges: "Reading Without Walls" challenge, Blind Date Books, 
  • Peer-to-peer book recommendation displays
  • Library Book Ninja 
  • Black Out Poetry for National Poetry Month
  • Social media contests: shelfies, book faces, ...
  • Voting contests: Caldecott, Printz, Yalsas' Teens' Top Ten and more!

Submitted by Marla Sepnafski.

Anne Hamland /

How to Match Readers and Books Using Appeal (NoveList)


Appeal Book cover 2017
Appeal Scavenger Hunt logo

NoveList Appeal factors help readers decide whether or not a book fits their style or mood. What is “heartwarming” to one reader may be saccharine to another; what is “mildly sensuous” to you may be quite shocking to others. These resources will help you get started finding the right books to appeal to every reader.

The Secret Language of Books: A Guide to Appeal -  *Newly updated 2017 edition*  This useful little pocket guide defines the words that describe the mood of books. It's a must-have tool for anyone who works with readers.

Tutorial: Finding Books Using Appeal - This tutorial shows you how to use several appeal-based features in NoveList, including the make-your-own appeal mixer.Appealing to Genre Readers

Webcast: Appealing to Genre Readers - Listen to a panel of reader’s advisory experts as they discuss strategies for going beyond genre read-alikes and using appeals to *ahem* appeal to avowed genre readers.


Here's a fun way to learn more about appeal terms in NoveList. Try using the following search tags and NoveList’s Guide to Appeal to find the books described in the scenarios  - Appeal Scavenger Hunt  

Get to your results faster using these field codes:

Searches all categories of appeal (e.g. type “AP Approachable” in the search box).

Uses a keyword search for genre so searching “GN mystery stories” will return titles tagged with that genre.

Returns all books, authors, and series with the subject (e.g. try a search for “SU Dogs” or “SU 1950s”).

Performs an exact numeric search for a Lexile. Search a range using < and >. For example, “LX > 500 AND LX < 700".

(From Novelist News, March 2017)


Inese Christman /

Building STEAM with Dia: Graphics Available


Dia Logo via ALA

Have you heard about Día or El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day)?

According to the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), "Día is a nationally recognized initiaitve that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. It is a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures." The celebration culminates yearly on April 30.

Learn more about Día and find free resources! Start a book club, read about the Día program registry and explore the "Action" tab for more advocacy and professional development tools. Scroll down the "Free Program Downloads" page for booklists, resource guides, posters, coloring and activity sheets!

Nothing says We're Celebrating Día like a new poster! Customize this poster with your event information to promote your upcoming Día programs. Get this poster along with new web badges and Building STEAM with Día booklists. Use the web badges to proudly display your excitement and support for Día on your social media pages, websites and promotional materials.

Let's make 2017 the year people understand the importance of sharing excellent books filled with diverse characters and stories with our children.

Goals of Día programming:

  • Celebrate children and connect them to the world of learning through books, stories, and libraries.
  • Nurture cognitive and literacy development in ways that honor and embrace a child's home language and culture.
  • Introduce families to community resources that provide opportunities for learning through multiple literacies.
  • Recognize and respect culture, heritage and language as powerful tools for strengthening families and communities.


Anne Hamland /

UPDATE: Badgernet Internet is Back Up!


9:55am Update via Libraries Win Status Update Page

It appears the Badgernet issues have been resolved. We have not heard official word from Badgernet, but all sites are now up. Please log in to Sierra one computer at a time if possible to reduce the load on the server.


The Badgernet team is continuing to work through solutions to bring Badgernet internet services back up this morning. Please see the Libraries Win Status Update message below. Updates will be posted to the Updates Page as WVLS receives more information.

Libraries Win Status Update Page 3/13/17

At 12:30pm on Sunday, libraries that use Badgernet to connect to the Internet and other services we provide (including Sierra), lost their network connections. Working with Badgernet support, we learned that this was due to a failed network card in AT&T-owned equipment. We were given an initial estimate that the issue would be fixed by 9:30pm on Sunday, but when AT&T replaced their network card, the new card was bad right out of the box. We haven't yet received another estimate on when this will be fixed.

Anne Hamland /

Children's Book Fest Celebrates 30th Anniversary


The year was 1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman won the Newbery Award and Richard Egielski took home the Caldecott Medal for Hey, Al. Ronald Reagan was president, The Simpsons debuted on TV, and the WVLS Youth Services Workshop launched a Northwoods tradition.

The WVLS Youth Services Workshop held in Rhinelander on March 10, 1987 featured Cooperative Children's Book Center Director Ginny Moore Kruse. The program was so well attended - not only by WVLS school and public librarians, but also by neighboring systems - that it created a groundswell of support for an annual event.

The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) is a non-circulating collection of children's literature for adults, a book examination center and research library. Each year the CCBC reviews almost all trade books published for children and young adults. The CCBC helps librarians, teachers, reading specialists and parents in Wisconsin spend their book dollars wisely by giving them an opportunity to see recommended titles before purchase.

2017 attendees examine children's books.

The 1987 WVLS workshop filled the Claridge Motor Inn dining room. Participants had the opportunity to learn about current trends and examine the best new children and young adult books without traveling to Madison. With WVLS taking the lead, a coalition of support for an annual Children's Book Fest was formed with Northern Waters Library Service (NWLS) and Indianhead Federated Library System (IFLS).

Rhinelander was centrally located to draw attendees from 26 north central Wisconsin counties. Volunteers organized registration, publicity and arrangements for back-to-back evening and day programs which became the prototype for similar gatherings in other parts of the state. 

Children's Book Fest "Founding Mothers" were Gyneth Slygh (Library Media Director, School District of Rhinelander), Joan Belongia (Headwaters Reading Council), and Kris Adams Wendt (Children's Librarian, Rhinelander District Library). In addition to marking three decades of celebrating children's literature in the Northwoods, this year's event included a special tribute to Joan's longstanding devotion to connecting young readers with excellent books before her untimely passing on October 22, 2016.

Complimentary copies of 2017 CCBC Choices will be distributed to all WVLS public libraries via courier.

Submitted by Kris Adams Wendt.

Anne Hamland /

Money Smart, Measure Smarter: Boost Your Financial Literacy Programs & Measure Their Impact


Project Outcome Logo

PLA partners with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for free webinar on financial literacy and outcomes.  Please join the Public Library Association (PLA) to prepare for the financial literacy programs and events at your library!

PLA is partnering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) for a special webinar presentation, Money Smart, Measure Smarter: Boost Your Financial Literacy Programs & Measure Their Impact to be held on March 16 at 1:00 p.m. Central. Registration is free but space is limited.

Money Smart week (April 22-29) is quickly approaching! This free webinar will highlight how the SEC can help you plan for your financial literacy programs, including the free digital and print resources and tools available to librarians and patrons, so you can feel confident teaching your patrons about financial topics such as sound principles of saving and investing, how to spot and avoid investment fraud, and more! You'll also learn how to invite the SEC to come present at your library.

Project Outcome will show how you can use Project Outcome Surveys to measure the impact of your financial literacy programs. Webinar participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences. At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will:

  *   Understand the role of the SEC and how it can help them with their own financial planning, as well as financial programming in their library;

  *   Be able to identify and access key investment resources for themselves and their patrons; and

  *   Know how Project Outcome can help easily and effectively measure the impact their financial literacy programs are having on patrons.

This webinar is open to everyone and will be helpful for anyone interested in financial and investment planning and resources. Project Outcome is a free service provided by the Public Library Association. If you would like to enroll in Project Outcome in advance of the webinar, please do so at Project Outcome. For more financial literacy resources, visit and and See also and follow MoneySmartWeek.   The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals.  Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.

Thursday, 3/16/2017    1:00 PM-2:00 PM (Central)


Tom Manganello is a senior counsel in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA).  In that role, Tom researches and drafts investor alerts and bulletins, helps manage investor education content on the SEC’s website,, and conducts presentations on investor education to millennials, military, seniors, students, and other audiences, and he regularly contributes to OIEA’s social media outreach on Twitter and Facebook.

Prior to joining OIEA, Tom spent ten years in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, where he investigated violations of the federal securities laws, including insider trading, Ponzi and pyramid schemes, accounting and broker fraud, and unregistered offerings.  He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and earned a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

Emily Plagman is the Project Manager for PLA’s field-driven initiative, Project Outcome, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, overseeing its development and implementation. Prior to joining PLA, Emily worked as a project manager, at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on an energy efficiency grant. Emily received her Master’s in International Public Affairs from the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin and her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Marquette University.

THIS WEBINAR IS FREE, BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED AND SPACE IS LIMITED. You can register for this webinar until it begins, or until space is no longer available, whichever comes first. Please do not register unless you are sincere about attending the live webinar. Space is limited, and signing up and not attending may deprive someone else of the opportunity. Thank you for your cooperation.

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your participation in this webinar, please contact us at or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) at least two weeks prior to the registration deadline above. Without prior notification of need, we cannot attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Archived Recording    If you're unable to register for this webinar, an archived recording will be freely available typically within 1–3 business of the live event. Visit PLA On-Demand Webinars for more information.

Tech Requirements  This webinar will be presented using the WebEx Event Center platform. You may listen to the audio portion of the webinar via your computer's speakers, headphones plugged into your computer's audio jack or USB port; or by dialing in with your telephone (your carrier's charges may apply) or Skype (by following the process outlined by Skype to place calls to land lines). We suggest that groups, especially larger groups, plan ahead to use an LCD/LED projector in the room to project the webinar. Groups will also want to have speakers or a sound system capable of amplifying the webinar audio for the entire room. No microphone is required.

Please review WebEx Event Center technical requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: PLA provides its webinar audio through voice over IP (VoIP), which means the sound comes through speakers or headphones plugged into your computer. PLA works with its webinar platform provider to assure the highest quality audio is being delivered to attendees. However, variables over which PLA has no control—such as the speed of your Internet connection or traffic on your local network—can affect the end quality of the webinar audio delivered by your computer. Each webinar’s audio is also available by teleconference via a toll number, so we recommend you have access to a long-distance enabled phone as a backup in case you experience audio issues with VoIP. If you do encounter any problems during the webinar, you will receive a link to its archived recording within a week of the live event and can review anything you missed.

Credits or CEUs  PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, but will provide a boilerplate certificate of completion for this webinar, which registrants—individuals and groups—can personalize as needed.

Contact  Questions about this webinar? Please contact us at or 800-545-2433 ext. 5857.

Inese Christman /

Careers with Code


Careers with Code

The Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries has partnered with the American Library Association's "Libraries Ready to Code" campaign.

The Careers with Code website and publication are intended to familiarize you with the many ways that coding intersects with lifelong learning and workforce development. You will need to create a free account to download the publication.

Order copies of Careers with Code for your library!

Please watch for more Wisconsin-specific coding tools in the coming months, including a session at the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries (WAPL) conference April 26-28, 2017.

PDF icon Careers with Code September 2016

Anne Hamland /


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