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.

WVLS 2017 ARSL Conference Scholarship Announced!


 2016 ARSL Team Kay Heiting Audrey Kohlbeck Tammie Blomberg Denise Korenuk

WVLS wants to send WVLS Directors and Branch Managers to the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference in St. George, Utah from September 7-9, 2017!

Application Deadline: May 12, 2017

WVLS is pleased to announce the WVLS 2017 Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference Scholarship! This is a full scholarship and covers travel, hotel, and meals. This scholarship is open to public library directors or branch managers with at least one year experience working at a WVLS library. 

The ARSL conference is specifically designed for small and rural library staff. Previous conference topics have included: building community advocacy, effective trustee recruitment, employee and patron safety, inexpensive programming ideas, innovative web services with few resources and more.

Listen to the 2016 WVLS ARSL team rave about their awesome experiences: 

To Apply

Please complete and submit the 2017 WVLS ARSL Conference Scholarship Application.

Questions about the scholarship may be directed to Anne Hamland at 715.261.7258 or

Submitted by Anne Hamland.

Anne Hamland /

Choose Privacy Week: May 1-7


Choose Privacy Week ALA

How does privacy intersect with intellectual freedom? And how can you get kids to care?

Data mining and targeted advertising are daily online realities, and the process is streamlined to the point of being largely unnoticeable on the user's end. But now that concepts like fake news and confirmation bias are becoming part of everyday conversation, it is increasinly important to make the connection between online privacy and equitable access to information.

Participate in the upcoming Choose Privacy Week, an ALA initiative held May 1-7! Choose Privacy Week is meant to spur conversation about privacy rights. Find "quick, easy, free" programming resources, videos, and graphics for your library to use!

In March of this year, Congress voted to repeal new FCC regulations set to go into effect this year which would have strengthened broadband and wireless consumer privacy protections. This means that internet service providers will have an increasingly free hand to analyze and sell personal information without explicit consent and without highlighting an easy way for users to opt out. The narrowly customized service that results can potentially limit available information and stifle opportunity for discovery, which is especially worrying for young people that have inherent familiarity with the technology but aren’t necessarily trained in information literacy. The more a child’s online experience is tailored by what advertisers know about them, the more credulous they can become, and the less likely they are to seek out or even notice information that isn’t meant to entice or convenience them. This makes it much easier to violate their intellectual freedom rights, inadvertently or otherwise.

Source: Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) April 15, 2017 blog post.

Submitted by Marla Sepnafski.

Anne Hamland /

Innovation and Collaboration Grant: Congratulations Colby PL and Rhinelander DL!


Crandon Inno and Collab Grant Art Speaker 2016

Please join WVLS in congratulating the Colby Public Library and Rhinelander District Library as the spring 2017 recipients of the WVLS Innovation and Collaboration Grant!

WVLS offers a competitive grant to a member library to develop and implement a service for their community that is both innovative and collaborative. The new service, program or project should be sustainable, innovative, collaborative, and add value to the community.

Applications are accepted for two grant cycles: January-March and June-August

What's innovative? Something libraries have not done before that may be unique to the community or adaptable to all libraries. The sky is the limit, that is the difficult part. For example, a library could apply to create a WIFI garden for patron use when the library is closed? 

Find complete details, ideas, and past grant winning proposals on the WVLS Innovation and Collaboration Grant page. The first WVLS Innovation and Collaboration Grant winner was the Crandon Public Library in 2016. 

Colby Public Library Proposal

WVLS will fully-fund the Colby Public Library proposal to build a STEAM activity and program station in the new library location at the full amount of $4,500. 

The application includes three collaborators: Colby Public Library, Colby School District, and St. Mary’s School. 

This proposal is original in that the Colby Public Library will collaborate with community school teachers and local professionals to provide excellent programming straight from STEAM professionals. 

The Friends of the Colby Public Library will sustain the STEAM station after the WVLS Innovation and Collaboration Grant. 

Rhinelander District Library Proposal

WVLS will fully fund the Rhinelander District Library proposal to rebuild a weekend writer’s retreat in collaboration with ArtStart at the full amount of $3,675. 

The application includes a curriculum committee with over six collaborators: Rhinelander District Library, ArtStart, The Wisconsin Arts Board, Nicolet College, University of Wisconsin, The Robert Gard Foundation, local partners and past SOA instructors and participants. 

This proposal is original, libraries have author visits but no WVLS libraries have a weekend long writing workshop with activities. 

Most importantly, the Rhinelander District Library is requesting funding to jump start restarting a popular program and plans to work with community stakeholders to supplement participant tuition in the future. 

The funding will also enable the library to train an intern throughout the planning and program process to establish an event procedure for years to come. 

Submitted by Anne Hamland.

Anne Hamland /

A total eclipse of the suuuun!: The All American Total Eclipse


Total Eclipse poster Tyler Nordgren

Children in Libraries published the article "The Astronomical Event of the Decade: Library opportunities with the coming total eclipse of the sun" in the Spring 2017 issue by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz.

On August 21, 2017 we will witness the first total eclipse visible in the continental United States in forty years. It is being called the "All American Total Eclipse." 1918 was the last time the path of a total eclipse where the sun is completely covered was crossed the continental United States.

Warning! Observers must be careful when viewing a partial eclipse as the sun will still shine into their eyes if they look directly at it. Libraries can help with that! "Most people will need clear reliable guidance for when and how to safely observe it [the eclpise]."

How can your library create programming around this event?

  • Work with local schools and organizations to find expert speakers for programs. Any local astronomy groups or enthusiasts?
  • Displays 
  • Build simple proper viewing binoculars with patrons.
  • Host an observing party!

Online Resources

Submitted by Marla Sepnafski.

Anne Hamland /

OverDrive Update: Wisconsin’s Digital Library to Grow Even Faster in 2017



What’s new about the WPLC Wisconsin Digital Library and the shared buying pool?

In the early part of 2016, WPLC’s Digital Library Steering Committee discussed increasing the buying pool amount above $1 million for 2017 to address high hold volumes on the most popular titles, the one persistant fault exacerbated by the Digital Library's popularity and success.

Inese Christman is our Library System’s WPLC Digital Steering Committee representative.  In April (4/27/16) she shared a survey asking if WVLS members might support such an increase.  There were ten responses to that survey with 50/50 split on support.  One of the “no” respondents included a comment that the library would support an increase if it could be used just by WVLS member libraries to help our Central Wisconsin patrons.  The WPLC Digital Library Steering Committee eventually presented a recommendation to increase the buying pool amount in 2017 by 15% which was subsequently adopted by WPLC.

A 15% increase: How is WVLS helping your libraries ease those already-tight budgets? 

Members will only share in the base $1 million of the Digital Library Buying pool during 2017 as WVLS is subsidizing the difference in member libraries’ shares – approximately $7100 – and we will work with member libraries to simplify future budgeting utilizing a trailing recovery model.  WVLS will be freezing the cost sharing among members for 2018 shares at the 2017 levels, and applying changes that would have been realized during 2018 instead in 2019. Whether WPLC maintains the buying pool at $1.15 million or reverts to the original $1 million over time, from now on WVLS members will have over 1 year to plan for share adjustments.

Where is the 15% buying pool increase going?

In 2017 the additional funds are part of the primary buying pool but in 2018 and forward, the additional amount will likely go into Overdrive Advantage accounts.  The WPLC Formula Work Group has presented a recommendation to the WPLC Board to dedicate the additional $150,000 to target holds reductions through OverDrive Advantage programs in each Library System.  The formula for sharing the $150,000 would be different than the primary formula, focused instead on the number of holds placed in the previous year relative to other Library Systems.  Using the proposed formula results in a share increase that is about $1,100 less for our Library System.  

A vote to adopt this separate formal for the additional 15% will take place at the upcoming WPLC Board Meeting on April 26th.  In preparation, WVLS has established an OverDrive Advantage account and the WVLS Board of Trustees has approved the creation of a $20,000 fund to help member libraries dramatically enhance overall patron experience with the Digital Library.  We’ll be asking for help from the membership to develop, implement, and maintain this new OverDrive Advantage Project (find out more in an upcoming Digital Lites post).

Submitted by Joshua Klingbeil

Anne Hamland /

How Libraries Can Respond to the Repeal of the FCC Privacy Rules


Save Privacy Logo

A few weeks ago Congress, voting along party lines, passed a resolution that repealed the groundbreaking privacy rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission last October under the Obama administration. The new rules would have required ISPs to adopt fair information privacy practices in regards to their customers’ data, including a requirement that the ISP obtain affirmative “opt-in” consent from their customers before using, sharing or selling sensitive information, including geo-location information, financial information, health information, children’s information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history and the content of communications. In addition, the rules would have imposed data breach notification requirements and required ISPs to adopt reasonable data security measures.

If the privacy rules had been left alone, they would have gone into effect at the end of this year. But because of the way the new resolution was written, the FCC will likely be barred from writing any similar rules in the future. And the Federal Trade Commission, which otherwise has broad authority to regulate unfair and deceptive business practices like inadequate privacy protections or deceptive privacy policies, is likely barred from regulating ISPs, which are classified as telecommunication common carriers only subject to FCC regulation. Thus, those Congressional representatives voting to roll back the FCC privacy rules have likely skewed the privacy playing field in favor of the ISPs for a long time to come.

This means service providers like Verizon are free to install apps like AppFlash, a new Android app launcher and search tool designed to collect information like a user’s mobile number, device identifier, device type and operating system, location information, installed apps, and contacts and share that information with advertisers without the customer’s consent.

How can libraries respond to the rollback of the FCC privacy rules? Start with the Library Privacy Guidelines and the accompanying Library Privacy Checklists, which outline the steps libraries should take to protect users’ data and provide a secure online experience in the library.

More specific steps libraries can take to protect themselves and help users protect themselves from data collection by ISPs include:

Participating in the movement to encrypt all web traffic by moving library websites and services to HTTPS, a protocol which prevents intermediaries like ISPs from eavesdropping. ALA is a sponsor of the Let’s Encrypt initiative which provides free and easy to install certificates for HTTPS websites.

Negotiating contracts with ISPs that forbid the collection of browser history and other activity data of Internet users in the library.

Providing anonymous Internet access in library using the Tor browser or similar technologies.

Teaching users to protect themselves from online surveillance by using technologies such as public proxies, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) services, and anonymity networks such as Tor, as well as educating and encouraging patrons to exercise their ability to opt-out of behavioral tracking, adopt do-not-track tools, and employ encryption technologies. San Jose Public Library’s Virtual Privacy Lab provides one model for providing patrons with the information they need to protect their privacy.

For those who are interested in learning more about these tools and tactics, the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the IFC Privacy Subcommittee are sponsoring a webinar on Practical Privacy Practices for Choose Privacy Week on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 1:00 PM Central. The webinar will provide information on how to configure and manage your integrated library system to preserve patron privacy, how to install free HTTPS certificates on your websites using the Let’s Encrypt services, and how to provide anonymous web browsing using TOR and other tools.

Finally, advocacy on behalf of data privacy, transparency, and customer choice is always an option. Minnesota and Illinois have already introduced legislation that would require ISPs providing services in those states to abide by a set of rules comparable to the FCC privacy rules repealed by Congress. While the FCC may be barred from adopting new privacy rules, Congress itself can propose and adopt a privacy regime that will protect individuals’ data. Librarians and patrons alike can let their elected officials know that they support laws that protect individuals’ online privacy.   Share !

(From ALA District Dispatch  March 31, 2017,  written by Emily Wagner who is the Information Manager for ALA's Washington Office. She earned her B.A. in Literature from Mount Holyoke College and her M.S.L.I.S. from The Catholic University of America. She can be reached via e-mail at

Inese Christman /

Celebrate National Library Week April 9-16, 2017!


National Library Week 2017

“Libraries Transform” is the theme for National Library Week 2017.  First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.  More information is available here.

On April 7, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Division for Libraries and Technology posted a video and blog article featuring State Superintendent Tony Evers and footage from the Lancaster and Beloit Public Libraries. Superintendent Evers talks about the critical role libraries play in their communities and talks about the devastating proposed cuts to the IMLS budget.

Observances during National Library Week include:

Monday, April 10: State of America's Libraries Report released, including Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2016.

Tuesday, April 11: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.

Wednesday, April 12: National Bookmobile Day, a day to recognize the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities.

Thursday, April 13, has been designated Take Action for Libraries Day.  Read the press release.

National Library Week is a good time to think about the question, “How do the different kinds of libraries serve our local communities, regions and state?”

Each type of library does a different job. College and school libraries purchase materials to support the curriculum of their particular institutions. They are on the spot whenever teachers and students need them, providing equal access to all information resources.  This is especially important in a rural public school district where so many girls and boys must depend upon adults for transportation to the public library. 

Students attending UW-Marathon County, as well as the Nicolet Area Technical College and Northcentral Technical College districts have a similar need for on-site libraries supporting their coursework.

Corporate and hospital libraries contain collections of information on particular subject areas. The employees, clients or patients who use these libraries need ready access to technical periodicals, reference materials and other sources that are often too specialized or expensive to be included in libraries serving the general public.

The “free” in free public libraries isn’t about cost, but about free and equal access to information regardless of income or location. While the means by which each public library realizes its annual operating budget is complex, shared community investment in what Andrew Carnegie called “the people’s university” allows everyone to take equal advantage of the service.

A public library’s overall mission is more generic. It serves the recreational reading and information needs of all persons in the community, regardless of their age, educational background or interest focus.  These days, that includes providing reliable broadband access, assistance to job-seekers and citizens seeking knowledge and new skills to re-enter the workforce. Lifelong learning is an important part of a public library’s mission, whether it be focused on early childhood development, inclusive services, literacy and other programs for all ages, or memory cafes for seniors.  With the coordinated support of Wisconsin Valley Library Service and 15 other public library systems around the state, citizens who use small rural libraries have as much access to all that much larger libraries are able to offer as those in cities.

All types of libraries work together to serve a community. For example, school and public libraries both teach children that learning is a lifetime process and reading is fun. Both formal and informal adult education is accomplished through use of college and public libraries. Special libraries are added to the mix through referral and inter-library loan.

Submitted by Kris Adams Wendt

Anne Hamland /

WVLS to send librarians to ALA conference in Chicago!


ALA Logo Chicago 2017

WVLS is offering a scholarship to librarians from all WVLS member library types (public, K-12, etc.) to attend the 2017 American Library Association National Conference. This year's conference, themed "Transforming our Libraries, Ourselves," will be held June 22-27 in Chicago, Illinois.

Deadline April 6, 2017!

Full conference details are available on the 2017 ALA Annual Conference website.

The Scholarship

The WVLS 2017 ALA Conference Scholarship is a full scholarship to attend the 2017 ALA conference and covers the following:

  • conference registration
  • transportation to/from the conference (WVLS bus to and from MCPL-Wausau)
  • conference lodging (various hotels via the ALA accomodation website). 
  • conference and miscellaneous meals

Scholarship Eligibility and Requirements

  • Applicant must work at a WVLS member library.
  • Applicant must have at least one year experience working at a member library prior to application deadline.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have not attended a conference previously.
  • Applicant must share knowledge gained via a written report submitted to WVLS within 60 days of the conference.
  • Applicant myst also provide an oral report during an ALA Conference Review webinar scheduled within 90 days of the conference.
  • Applicant must submit a completed and signed application form by April 6, 2017.

To Apply

Complete the 2017 WVLS ALA Conference Scholarship Application.

Applicants must submit the scholarship form on or before April 6, 2017. Late applications will not be considered. The scholarship winner will be announced the following week. Conference arrangements will be made within one week of the announcement. 

Questions about the scholarship may be directed to Anne Hamland at

Completed applications may be emailed or mailed to Anne Hamland, Wisconsin Valley Library Service, 200 N First Street, Wausau, WI 54403.

Anne Hamland /

WPLC User / Non-User Research Program Announced


First things first, if you've not yet subscribed to the WPLC Announcement List, we highly recommend doing so.
One of the recent announcements introduces the new WPLC User / Non-User Research Program. Part of that program involves 4 training webinars which build upon each other that are scheduled for Tuesdays during the month of April.  Due to the training nature of the webinars and some need to support dynamic question/answer live during the training, space is limited.  To help, WVLS has registered for each session (after approval from the trainer) and will host webinar participation by small groups in our meeting room.  If you're interested in joining us in-person for one or more sessions, please let us know.  We'll employ a more formal "registration" process if the expression of interest demands it.
Original WPLC Announcement:

Have you wondered why customers use your library, or more importantly, why they don't? Surveys and other data gathering methods can help you find out, but creating and interpreting them can be difficult. Every four years, the WPLC has surveyed Wisconsin residents to understand more about library users and non-users. This year, the WPLC and WPLC User / Non-User Survey Workgroup is taking a different approach - rather than conduct a statewide survey, we're offering a series of webinars with Morrill Solutions Research to help library staff learn how to gather and interpret data that is meaningful to them.  Each webinar will cover a different topic, including the development of research and survey questions, gathering different kinds of information, and understanding data. These will be held each Tuesday from April 4th and April 25th.
Those who have attended or watched the recordings of all four webinars will be invited to submit a proposal by May 26th to conduct their own library user and non-user research over the summer. Up to five projects will be selected to receive free private consultations with Morrill Solutions Research to refine and implement their projects and analyze the data gathered. A final webinar, available to all library community members, will focus on learning to analyze data. 
All materials developed and data gathered from these projects will be freely shared with the WPLC community, and libraries will be able to use that material to develop their own surveys or research projects.
Read more about the program and register to attend the webinars at

Joshua Klingbeil /

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 /


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