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Wisconsin Valley Library Service, Northern Waters Library Service, and the Southwest Wisconsin Library System are excited to announce a Spring Webinar Series focusing on Public Services.  The webinars occur on three consecutive Thursdays (April 15, 22 and 29). They will be recorded and are worth 1 contact hour for library certification.

RA for All: Flip the Script and Think Like a Reader (Covid Edition)
Thursday, April 29; 1 p.m.
Becky Spratford, Reader’s Advisor

The year 2020 may not have gone the way anyone planned, but the one thing  last year definitely has taught us is that no matter how much libraries had tried to promote themselves as “more than books,” when things were turned upside down, patrons still looked to public libraries, first and foremost, to help them identify a good read.

Library workers around the country took the challenges thrown at them and figured out a way to keep readers advisory service going through a pandemic, without their physical spaces, and in some cases, made huge improvements along the way. Join international readers advisory  expert Becky Spratford as she walks you through her 10 Rules of Basic RA Service, completely updated with lessons learned from our COVID-19 experience, explaining how every member of your staff can get involved providing this vital service to readers.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn why a staff that can harness the power of sharing a great read, whether in person or online, will become a stronger team.
  • Discover new strategies for readers advisory from COVID-19 experiences.

Becky Spratford (MLIS) is a Readers’ Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed readers advisory training blog RA for All. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist and a horror review column for Library Journal.

Becky is a 20-year, locally elected library trustee [still serving] and a Board member for the Reaching Across Illinois Library System. Known for her work with horror readers, Becky is the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition [ALA Editions, 2012] and recently completed the 3rd Edition which is available for pre-order in March 2021. She is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and currently serves as the Association’s Secretary and organizer of their annual Librarians’ Day. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll.




From Plexiglass to Physical Distancing: Library Spaces in 2021
Thursday, April 15; 1 p.m.
Curt Beyler, Facilities Manager
Brown County Library; Green Bay, WI

Now that COVID-19 cases are in decline and community members are getting vaccinated, library leaders are considering ways to safely expand in-building services. In preparation, the Brown County Library created “Chapters” in 2020, a guide that recommends safety measures for the library to employ as it gets closer to a post-pandemic time. What do libraries do with stuffed animals, toys, large tables and library objects that have been placed in storage? Known for his humor, creativity and resourcefulness, Curt will talk about steps that Brown County’s nine locations (large and small) have taken since March 2020, what practices they plan to keep in place, what “Chapter” they are in currently –  and where they hope to be in the fall, and what to do with all that plexiglass. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discover low and high-cost changes to library spaces during a pandemic. 
  • Learn best practices for staff and public safety.
  • Learn steps to opening a library incrementally and safely following a pandemic

Curt Beyler has been the Facilities Manager for the Brown County Library for the last 13 years, where he manages the maintenance for nine urban and rural libraries. Before working in the library, he was a home builder and did facilities management for a commercial developer. When he’s not working, he enjoys bike riding, playing frisbee, snowboarding, listening to music and spending time with his wife and three children. 


Diversifying Your Collection as a Small Library
Thursday, April 22; 1 p.m.
Elizabeth Timmins, Director
Muehl Public Library; Seymour, WI

Small libraries face many challenges when it comes to best serving its community.  How does a small library (with a small library materials budget) manage to balance community needs while also diversifying its collection?  This webinar, presented by a director of a small library, will talk about collection development challenges, recommend helpful tools and resources to use, and suggest how even the smallest library can begin to maximize the diversity of content in its collection. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the mindset of vast choice and how to divide the tasks of selecting to expand/boost diversity of content.
  • Learn sources for reviewing and selecting diverse materials for adults and youth.
  • Develop ways to market all the library’s collections. (And what we have learned from COVID-19).
  • Brainstorm methods to stretch your library’s collection development dollars.

Elizabeth Timmins has been the Director and programmer for the Muehl Public Library in Seymour (service population 7,000) for the last 19 years.  She was born and raised by Irish immigrants in Chicago (proper). Elizabeth serves as the Inclusive Liaison for OWLS (Outagamie Waupaca Library System) and has been a trainer of Wakanheza since 2011. Prior to librarianship, Elizabeth was an educator.  Most of her teaching career was at the Turtle School on the Oneida Indian Reservation. She is passionate about diversity.