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
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.
In the August 6 E-Rate Modernization webinar, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) discusses the efforts to provide robust connectivity for all schools and libraries through proposed changes to E-rate support for broadband connectivity. The FCC released a public notice last week that opened a comment period opportunity within the next few weeks for libraries to suggest ways in which the e-rate program can support their needs. Discussions of proposals included transparency and affordability of pricing/costs, CIPA challenges, improved application processes, opportunities for schools and libraries in close proximity, contract term issues, and support for economically challenged areas of the country.
Wisconsin Digital Library Catalog Upgrades
The Wisconsin Digital Library Catalog of OverDrive e-books and e-audiobooks recently added new features (view demo) including the ability to suspend holds, automatically check out held items, view recommended titles, and access more accurate search results:
Suspend / "Freeze" Holds
When you leave town or know that you are going to be otherwise occupied, you can "freeze" holds for OverDrive ebooks and electronic audiobooks. In the Holds section of your OverDrive account, you will be able to select an area called "Options" to manage your holds.
Elect to have held items automatically checked out to you when they become available. If you prefer the current system, you will still have three days after your hold becomes available to check it out. Either way, an email notice will be sent out as soon as your requested item is available. You can elect to use auto-checkout by using the Options area for each title in the your Holds section of your OverDrive account.
When you log in to the Wisconsin Digital Library, you will now see a list of recommendations based on the items you have checked out or on hold. If you do not have items on hold or checked out, you will not see these recommendations.
More Relevant Search Results
Searching the digital library will now return shorter, more relevant lists.
2014 Public Library Directories
The 2014 Wisconsin Public Library Directory from the Department of Public Instruction’s Public Library Development Team is now online in PDF and Excel formats. The directory is based on data compiled from the 2013 Public Library Annual Report and subsequent, ongoing updates. Library directors are asked to please review the information for their libraries and report any corrections.
The PDF version includes a combined "Directory of Public Libraries and Their Branches" listed by city, followed by an alphabetical index of library and branch names. The document also includes system and resource library directory information.
The Excel file has three sheets containing information for all 383 public libraries and services, 82 branches, and the state's 17 regional library systems. This Excel file is useful as a merge source for mailing labels or form letters.
New Workforce Act Recognizes Libraries
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) was signed into law on July 22 to improve the delivery of job training and workforce development. The new bill recognizes the important role public libraries play in improving our workforce development system by making them eligible for funds as One-Stop partners. The Act is an amendment and reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 which established a national network of One-Stop Career Centers to provide assistance with employment and training services to all individuals (including people with disabilities). There are currently 1,700 One-Stops across the United States providing an expansive array of job search services and resources job seekers need to access the kinds of skills training, career information, and education that are required for today’s job market.
The new legislation instructs State and Local Workforce Development Boards to build “digital literacy skills” through training centers to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the time frames for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment.
The Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) will continue to support collaborations between libraries and federally funded adult education programs to help Americans take advantage of workforce development resources. IMLS recently partnered with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) to assist the estimated 3 million Americans who are seeking access to federal job information, education, and training by connecting them through resources at their public libraries. IMLS partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will highlight effective practices and encourage additional collaboration between the workforce investment system and public libraries.
Finding ways to make ebook access as simple as possible is vital for libraries. Frustrating experiences can push patrons away and can have a lasting impact on their perception of library ebooks. In an effort to increase readership by removing these barriers, the New York Public Library launched “Library Simplified” in December, a two year project that aims to make library ebooks and other digital content easier to access.
LibrarySimplified will involve a coalition of ten libraries working with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop for libraries an open ebook reading platform, integrating content systems like OverDrive, 3M, Axis 360 as acquisitions modules, that will enable ebooks to be borrowed seamlessly using a single app or interface. Read the full article from Digital Shift.