On July 23 the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) initiated the most comprehensive reform process of the e-rate program since the program started in 1997. Background: E-rate provides our schools and libraries with discounts on their broadband and Internet costs. Wisconsin schools and libraries receive, directly or indirectly, about $35 million a year from the program (about 90% of public libraries indirectly benefit from the program as part of the statewide E-rate application that the TEACH program submits). E-Rate is the largest federal technology program for school and libraries. The FCC website provides a good two-page summary of this major reform effort and the complete reform notice, which includes over 600 questions. Department of Public Instruction staff members will submit comments to the FCC on E-rate reforms by the September 16 deadline.
The President of the American Library Association introduced The Declaration for the Right to Libraries as an advocacy tool to help communities take action to protect the value of their libraries and library staff. The initiative focuses on transformative library practices in literacy, innovation, and community engagement and the value of libraries as institutions that empower individuals, strengthen families, build communities, and protect our right to know. Signed declarations will be presented to Congress by library supporters during the 2014 National Library Legislative Day on May 5-6.
The Bad River Public Tribal Library has been awarded a minigrant by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation to help fund the Bad River Traditional Outfit Creation Program with goals to teach young adults and children at the library to learn more about the Ojibwe culture. Participants will learn how to design and make their own traditional dance outfit. The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation awards 59 minigrants each year to teachers and librarians across the United States for programs that foster the love of learning, enhance creative expression, and optimize interaction between educators and students.
Public libraries that do not routinely count library visits will be required to collect data for a "typical week" in October. The questions on the annual report that might be answered with data collected during "typical week" counts are Reference Transaction, Library Visits, and Public Internet Computer Uses, Wireless Internet Uses.