Library Advocacy in Action

"Advocacy is something that needs to happen every day, with various activities from various people. It has to happen at a local level, with all the other stakeholders and then with community members. It can’t just come from the library."

—Stacy Reyer, Youth Services Librarian Manatee County Public Library System


WebJunction provides Advocacy in Action resources to help build a successful library awareness campaign in your local community. The campaign will showcase the vital role of the library in your community and educate the public about the critical funding issues libraries face. Five sequential phases are designed to help your campaign gain momentum and make an impact: 1. Plan Your Campaign  2. Create Awareness  3. Generate Engagement  4. Encourage Action  5. Sustain the Momentum. Ten campaign tips:

1. Be an involved community member to spread awareness about the value of the library.
2. Take the library message where people gather; local events, the farmers’ market, etc
3. Make connections with influential community members.
4. Create library advocates in the community or local organizations to help spread a positive message.
5. Build consistent and strong partnerships in the community that can bring value to local organizations. Encourage partners to tell their stories to your funding bodies.
6. Empower staff to be your biggest advocates—on and off the clock.
7. Capture and feature compelling stories that humanize statistics with examples of how the library provides essential value to individuals and the broader community. Tell these stories to the media and influential members of your community.
8. Use statistics that are relevant to your community.
9. Ensure that the messages you use to solidify the library’s value is appropriate for the audience you are trying to reach.
10. Beyond your website and other communication channels, dialogue with your community where they are most comfortable. Use the power of social media to consistently and effectively communicate the value of the library—and ask your fans to pass it on.

Public Library System Revision


State Superintendent Tony Evers announces the appointment of a Steering Group to oversee a multi-year project to re-envision how Wisconsin Public Library Systems serve Wisconsin’s 384 public libraries.  Wisconsin’s library systems have provided services to public libraries in Wisconsin for over 40 years.  With the support of the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND), the Steering Group in conjunction with various work groups and the Division for Libraries and Technology, will seek to update and refine the roles and services of Public Library Systems and maximize the public investment in library systems and public libraries.


The Steering Group will:

  • Provide Strategic Vision, oversight and general leadership for the process.
  • Work with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to select a project manager to lead the service model development and implementation process.
  • Establish process to select and appoint implementation for work group members.
  • Provide feedback and guidance to the project manager in the development of the work groups and timelines.
  • Provide oversight to ensure transparency and appropriate communication to the library community, decision makers and stakeholders.
  • Work with DPI to assess, based on information gathered and progress of service work groups, budget and legislative requests for the 2017-2019 biennial budget.


BadgerLink Updates

Super Search
A new Super Search feature is now available to help you search 53 BadgerLink resources simultaneously. Results will easily identify which articles are full-text as well as filter by date, subject, and database. Go to and begin your search!

As of June 30th "Explora" has replaced Searchasaurus, Kids Search, and Student Research Center. The three new Explora interfaces use the same great EBSCO databases with new and improved features:

Campaigning for Libraries

A Library Advocacy Success Story in Wisconsin
Recently a group of Wisconsin libraries developed an advocacy campaign in response to a plan to cut library reimbursements for serving county rural residents by 30%. Information and talking points were distributed to the community asking for their support, and used by library supporters to pass county funding resolutions with library and municipal boards. Several months later the county board voted unanimously to pass full funding for libraries. Read the full article in the Winnefox Trustee Tale (May 2015). 


Responding to a Budget in Crisis in Texas
Watch a free webinar (50 minutes) on Responding to a Budget in Crisis with valuable tips for developing an advocacy campaign for your library. Discover creative ways to campaign, get publicity, work with the media, and more. Learn about the advocacy plan used by the Friends of the Dallas (Texas) Public Library to campaign for funding to open 12 branches for 50 hours a week, after experiencing budget cuts of 40%, leaving it the worst funded urban library system in the country. Speakers include Kate Park, executive director of the Friends of the Dallas (Texas) Public Library; Patti Clapp, advocacy chair of the Friends, and Sally Reed, executive director of United for Libraries. For additional resources visit Citizens Save Libraries Power Guide.


VoteLibraries: A New Advocacy Project
A new library advocacy project was recently launched to offer libraries the resources needed to build the best voter engagement campaign. VoteLibraries is a community of library campaign experts devoted to helping local ballot committees succeed in voter outreach and engagement, while also supporting effective informational communications campaigns by library staff and trustees. VoteLibraries is a project of EveryLibrary, the first national political action committee for libraries. For more information visit 

The Power of Summer Reading

Reading through the summer makes a huge difference when kids return to school. It's important to keep up the good work! For enjoyable activities with lifelong benefits, check out the summer library programs for kids of all ages, an opportunity to meet new friends and discover the fun in defeating the villainous Summer Slide with the POW!-er of reading!


Broadband Quality in Public Libraries


Broadband speeds in U.S. public libraries continues to lag behind national broadband connectivity standards, according to “Broadband Quality in Public Libraries: Speed Test Highlights,” a new report released jointly by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland College Park as part of the Digital Inclusion Survey.

A more detailed report, Broadband Quality in Public Libraries: Speed Test Findings and Results available from iPAC examines the quality of broadband access in more than 2,200 public libraries from data collected on upload and download speeds in 49 states.

Library Systems Landscape


From Library Journal (April 7, 2015) - Selecting a library management system is never an easy decision. Vendors of integrated library systems (ILS) offer solutions tailored to public, academic, and special libraries, but even when organized by type, libraries are hardly one-size-fits-all organizations. Choosing a new vendor tends to mean a major investment, with a multi-year commitment to a solution that often will require new training, adaptation, and trade-offs among cost, features, and functionality. Still, it’s a tough choice that many libraries are facing once again. The second edition of Library Systems Landscape examines the impact of recent mergers, the continued adoption of next-generation library services platforms, the emergence of mobile-optimized staff clients, and new partnerships and feature development in the open source arena. (...Read more)

COLAND Work Group Directives


From Nita Burke, COLAND Chair - This is the first of a series of articles for those of you who are following the progress of COLAND regarding library systems and the process of Lean.


The Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) Work Group completed a 9- month project, writing the Strategic Vision for Library Systems in the 21st Century. The Work Group made a few changes to the strategic directives before Work Group Chair Kathy Pletcher, COLAND Chair Nita Burke, Library System Director Krista Ross and Bruce Smith from WILS recommended the document with COLAND’s full support to Superintendent Tony Evers last month.


Of interest to most librarians, Directive 3a was changed from suggesting a statewide ILS to a statewide discovery point; this meaning that COLAND agreed to recommend moving to a single discovery layer of some type, but not to mandate a single shared catalog. Other directives in the Strategic Vision for Library Systems included recommendations about library consulting, technology support, coordination of electronic resources and a transition to a multi-hub delivery system.


The directives were partially developed by consulting key ideas from the Lean Study conducted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Lean Study Group last year. The Strategic Vision is heavily steeped in Lean principles and supported by the group, which includes many system directors. Lean Study members wrote an accompanying Roadmap to the Vision including a timeline to move forward the strategic directives for library systems in the future. COLAND unanimously moved to support the Strategic Vision with the accompanying Roadmap. The strategic directives received full support from the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) on Friday, February 13, 2015, a few days after Superintendent Tony Evers received the COLAND recommendations.

The Lean Study Group and the COLAND Work Group are both in agreement that the Lean process is a methodical way to take a look at library services to identify efficiencies as well as inefficiencies in order to determine cost effective and value-added library service for Wisconsin patrons. The new efficiencies will allow reallocation of resources in order to deliver broader and even more new services to deal with the flat-line increases to library budget in the past year.


If you are interested in reading the Strategic Vision for Library Systems in the 21st Century as well as the Roadmap for implementation of the directives, please check out the Wisconsin Council on Library and Network Development website at


The discussion will continue about the Vision and next steps at the COLAND virtual meeting this Friday, March 13 at 10 a.m. A copy of the agenda is on the COLAND website also, under "Agendas and Minutes . . ." This meeting is open to the public and input is welcome.

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.

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.