Library Legislative Day

 

Library Legislative Day Library Legislative Day is your chance to promote the value of libraries and build relationships with your state legislators. 2015 is an important year because the biennial budget will be under discussion. Join WLA and WEMTA on Tuesday, February 17 at the Best Western Inn on the Park in Madison.


Legislative Day Agenda:

7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Program and Briefing
  • Remarks by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers
  • Remarks by Senate Minority Caucus Vice-Chair Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma)
  • Report from the WLA Library Development and Legislative Committee (Kathy Pletcher and Kris Adams Wendt)
  • Remarks by Assembly Majority Leader Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna)
  • Legislative briefing and tips for successful advocacy (Tony Driessen and Michael Blumenfeld)
10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Visits to Legislators

For more information visit Wisconsin Library Association.

The 2015 Tax Season

 

The IRS announcement of the 2015 filing season highlighted a growing array of online services, including features that help taxpayers understand e-file, using tax software, the availability of the Free File program, and the Affordable Care Act section new to Form 1040 this filing season. Visit IRS.gov as a first stop for support resources ranging from the status of refunds to basic tax information. Taxpayers are cautioned that recent budget reductions will mean long wait times on the phone, routinely topping 30 minutes.

Federal tax forms and instructions are posted at IRS.gov. Tax payers are recommended to file online; it's secure, free, easy and the best way to receive tax returns quickly. The supply of paper tax forms will be very limited this year. Libraries in the IRS Tax Forms Outlet Program were notified that IRS appropriations were significantly cut in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill passed by Congress. This will reduce the tax forms provided to libraries to only the following paper forms: 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ. The IRS will not provide libraries with paper copies of instructions.

Visit IRS.gov to order paper copies to be mailed to you or call 1-800-829-3676. According to the IRS, you may order up to 10 different forms and publications to complete your tax return; instructions are automatically included with your order. Publication 17 is no longer available in print. This publication covers the general rules for filing a federal income tax return. It supplements the information contained in your tax form instruction booklet. It explains the tax law to make sure you pay only the tax you owe and no more.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue announcement of the 2015 Wisconsin state tax filing season included information on documents filers will need, filing deadlines, e-filing links, ID verification, and changes impacting the 2015 season. The State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue maintains a website where you can download and print tax forms and view instructions on how to complete the forms. Paper forms are available at many libraries and Department of Revenue offices, or at revenue.wi.gov by clicking on “Forms” and selecting Tax Year 2014 Individual forms. To file state income taxes online, go to revenue.wi.gov and click on the WI e-file button

Affordable Health Care Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act is making a difference for families in rural Wisconsin. Prior to ACA rural families paid an average of nearly half of their costs out of their own pockets. Thanks to ACA, families can now have the security and peace of mind from a choice of affordable plans, coverage for pre-existing conditions and preventitive care, and financial assistance to help pay for coverage. The ACA also invests significantly in expanding services at community health centers, where 7.5 million rural Americans get access to primary and preventive care. This funding supplements the investments that USDA has made since 2009 to strengthen the health infrastructure in rural areas, build rural hospitals and health clinics, and expand access to health care in rural areas through telemedicine.

The deadline for coverage starting on February 1 is January 15. For those who enroll between January 16 and February 15, coverage will begin on March 1. The last day to sign up during this open enrollment period is February 15. Anyone re-enrolled can change plans before the Feb. 15 deadline. It pays to review your plan and check for others that can save money, offer more services, or include more doctors. In fact, 8 in 10 current Marketplace enrollees can get coverage for $100 or less in 2015 after tax credits.

Individuals considering foregoing health insurance this year should be aware of increased penalties for not having coverage. The penalty for 2015 is the higher of 2 percent of yearly household income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child under 18. Individuals not covered in 2014 will have to pay the higher of 1 percent of yearly household income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child when they file their federal income tax returns for the year.

The online marketplace is meant for people who aren’t covered by employer-offered insurance plans or government programs, such as Medicare and BadgerCare, the state’s Medicaid program. The marketplace offers subsidized private insurance for single people earning about $47,000 or less per year and families with incomes of up to $128,000. The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has a number of tips on its website and answers to frequently asked questions: http://oci.wi.gov/healthcare_ref/healthcarereform_renewalfaq.pdf.

Rural Library Funding Resources Webinar

 

WebJunction and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries will host Rural Resources and Funding December 10 at 1:00, a webinar showcasing information and funding resources for rural public libraries provided by The Rural Information Center (RIC). The RIC was established by the USDA to promote the vitality of America's rural communities with resources for funding and information, including assistance in economic revitalization, local government planning projects, funding sources, technical assistance programs, research studies and other related issues.

Library Volunteer Programs

 

Volunteerism is on the rise. A growing number of young people (the "net-generation") highly skilled with technology and the Internet are seeking work experience and opportunities to make a difference in their community. Retiring "baby boomers" are seeking opportunities to use their skills in ways that will be intellectually challenging. Public libraries are positioned to engage these talents to benefit the community.

 

Like any resource, good management is key to a successful volunteer program, and includes knowing how to attract volunteers, finding the right person, and being realistic about expectations. Having volunteers team up on short term projects and programs makes it easier to adapt to their lifestyles. Outreach teams for special interest programs such as crafts, technology, literacy, and travel are attractive to baby boomers who enjoy the social benefits of volunteering with others and being involved in public events.  You can also appeal to volunteers by emphasizing the opportunity to make a difference in the community: "Technology Tutors Change Lives!" “Teach an Adult to Read – Change a Life!”

Library Volunteer Program Resources: • Resources for managing a volunteer program (WebJunction) • Policies for library volunteers (Wisconsin) • Screening guide (Canada) Screening Handbook

eReading Rooms

An appealing, user-friendly eReading Room has been added to the OverDrive-powered website that displays content only for kids or teens. Once inside the eReading Room, all searches will show only kid or teen content. No adult content will appear in the search results. All titles in the eReading Room are also cataloged by reading level and other reading metrics to help parents and teachers select titles to aid in literacy campaigns. As with all eBooks in your full collection, all titles can be sampled in OverDrive Read prior to borrowing or placing a hold. Parents can feel comfortable knowing their children are browsing and borrowing books that are age, grade, and reading-level appropriate. The Kids and Teens eReading Rooms can be found at:
http://dbooks.wplc.info/kidshttp://dbooks.wplc.info/teens

Library Systems Survey

 

COLAND To Develop Strategic Vision For Library Systems
With the encouragement of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) has appointed a work group to develop a strategic vision for public library systems in the 21st century and to recommend actions that will move Wisconsin forward to achieve this desired future state. COLAND members serving on the work group are Kathy Pletcher (chair), Trustee, Brown County Library; Jim Trojanowski, Director, Northern Waters Library Service; Bryan McCormick, Director, Hedberg Public Library in Janesville; Laurie Freund, Coordinator of Library Development, Waukesha County Federated Library System; Josh Cowles, IT Specialist, Fond du Lac Public Library; Doug Lay, Trustee, Wisconsin Valley Library Service, and Joan Robb, Coordinator of Collection Management, UW-Green Bay.

Please Take the Survey
As part of the visioning process, the work group is asking the library community for its input by way of an online survey at http://bit.ly/1tXBxLl In order to have the most impact, members of the library community are asked to complete the online form by October 5.
 
Strategic Vision Forum at the WLA Conference
An additional opportunity for feedback will be offered on Thursday, November 6, at 7:30 a.m. when the COLAND work group will hold a forum on the strategic vision for library systems during the Wisconsin Library Association conference at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
 
Final Recommendations
The work group’s recommendations will be presented for approval by COLAND at the next regularly-scheduled COLAND meeting on Friday, November 14, 2014, at the Columbus Public Library. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. If you have questions about the progress of the Strategic Visioning for Library Systems in the 21st Century, contact Kathy Pletcher, pletchek(at)uwgb.edu and/or visit the COLAND website. If you have questions about COLAND or its role in the visioning process, contact Nita Burke, COLAND Chair, burken58(at)gmail.com

Integrated Library Systems Report

 

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) contracted with WiLS to study and report on the current state of shared Integrated Library Systems (ILS) operated by Wisconsin’s public library systems. The consultant was asked to collect information from each ILS consortia and to develop cost and operational comparisons that will be valuable when considering larger units of service for systems and ILS in the state. The report would also identify the remaining larger stand-alone libraries and counties in the state and determine their reasons for non-participation in the consortia.
 
Some facts that were shared about the ILS consortia in Wisconsin:

  • most of the consortia in the state are using one of two products from Innovative Interfaces, Inc.;
  • as independent entities, there is very little consistency among the consortia, including how the budgets are structured;
  • no mechanism is in place to measure satisfaction with the ILS consortia.

The DPI also has some recommendations for how to move toward more consistency and cost-effective centralized services. A second phase likely will continue into 2015 to analyze the results and propose changes to the current structure for savings or efficiencies and to avoid duplication of resources and efforts. The DPI’s recommendations based on the results of the study are available at http://pld.dpi.wi.gov/files/pld/pdf/ILS_snapshot_2014.pdf. The full ILS study developed by WiLS is available http://pld.dpi.wi.gov/files/pld/pdf/WiLS_ILS_study_final.pdf.

Libraries: More Important than Ever

 

"Why Libraries are More Important than Ever" is a presentation by Sari Feldman, President Elect of the American Library Association, discussing with a Cleveland City Club audience the increasing relevance of libraries and their impact on our communities in the digital age.

Sari Feldman is the Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library honored with Library Journal's 5-star rating and the busiest per-capita library system in the nation. In 2013 she was the recipient of the PLA Charlie Robinson Award, established to recognize innovative public library directors.

Raising Visibility for the Library

 

Wisconsin Librarians are invited to gather this fall season for an informal discussion around the theme of raising visibility for the library in the community. Discuss the significant impact new technology, shifting expectations and budget fluctuations have had on library services and the successful ways your library has evolved to meet the changing needs of your unique community. Six regional meetings around the state will be hosted by WiLS and WLA. For more information visit WiLS 2014 Regional Community Meetings.