New Public Library Survey Results
The Public Libraries in the United States Survey (Fiscal Year 2012) has recently been released by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS). The report examines when, where, and how library services are changing to meet the needs of the public. These data, supplied annually by more than 97 percent of public libraries across the country, provide information that policymakers and practitioners can use to make informed decisions about the support and strategic management of libraries. The report describes shifts in funding, as well as changes in the services and programs of public libraries that reflect changes in public demand.
The report ranks Wisconsin #1 in interlibrary loans received per 1,000 population and #8 in Circulation transactions per capita. Wisconsin also ranks high in video (#5) and audio (#6) collections. The report reveals positive links between investments—particularly in staffing and collections—and public library usage. Visit IMLS to view report details.
Please Take the Digital Library Survey
We'd like to here from you if you use the Wisconsin's Digital Library. Be a part of the future directions for the Wisconsin's Digital Library collection of ebooks, audiobooks, streaming video, music, and other digital materials so it is most relevant to Wisconsin library patrons. The survey will be open through February 16th. It can be found at:
Helping Readers Find the Perfect Read
NWLS rolled out fantastic new features for the Merlin catalog this year to help readers answer one of their most important questions, ‘what should I read next?’. The enhancements take the guess work out of finding similar titles to read or the next book in the series. Now you can discover new titles as you search in the Merlin catalog based on reader reviews, similar appeal (e.g. bleak and disturbing, or funny and offbeat), reading levels, award winners, book discussion guides, and recommendations from the NoveList information services.
Answers to questions are now showcased in the resource readers can use from their own computer – the library catalog. For fans of series, reading order is now easy to find in Merlin. Just click on a title link below the beautiful display of book jackets and request a copy! To view an example, take a look at the "The Giver" and scroll down to the links of titles. NoveList provides expert recommendations combined with reader reviews from Goodreads. Reading levels for younger readers are perfect for finding books at a skill level, regardless of age. If you’re looking at a title with a score of 700, just click to search the catalog for titles with a similar score to find just the right book.
The Merlin catalog is shared by libraries in eight northern Wisconsin counties. It offers a “borderless library” that provides equal access to over 800,000 items that can be delivered to a home library free of charge, including over 600,000 books and more than 70,000 movies.
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
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/kids • http://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.
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