News

In This Issue: October 2010

Library Trustees as Public OfficialsAdvocating in a Tough Economy ToolkitSteps Toward E-rate Reforms • OverDrive Public Domain eBooksCelebrate Friends of Libraries WeekCheck out the Library's Job Search Tool •  TechnologyTrainingLinksReflection

Current Events

October 13, Social Networking Webinar, 10:00-2:00
October 20 NWLS ILL Meeting, 10:00 Hayward
October 21 NWLS ILL Meeting, 10:00 Presque Isle
November 2-5
Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference, Wisconsin Dells
November 13 NWLS Board of Trustees Meeting
November 18 Merlin consortium Meeting

Current News

Library Trustees as Public Officials

From Mark Arend, Assistant Director, Winnefox Library System - Often when we think of the term “public official,” we think of a person who holds elective office. But appointed officials, such as library trustees, are also considered public officials, and as such they have certain responsibilities. These responsibilities are listed in Section 19.59, Wisconsin Statutes, which is entitled “Codes of Ethics for local government officials, employees, and candidates.”

Wisconsin’s ethics and conflict of interest laws for public officials are complex, and local ethics ordinances may add further complexity, but there are several key points to keep in mind.

First and foremost, you may not use your public position for financial gain or to obtain anything of substantial value for your private benefit. This prohibition also applies to members of your immediate family and any organization with which you are associated.* This could include special privileges such as being exempt from overdue fines or receiving extended loan periods. If, however, these special privileges are available to broader groups of people, trustees may take advantage of them on the same basis as others. Examples of this would be extended loan periods given to teachers using materials for classroom instruction or a “Food for Fines” program in which library users have fines forgiven if they bring in articles of food to be donated to a food pantry.

Second, you may not take any action as a trustee that affects a matter in which you, a member of your family, or an organization with which you are associated has a substantial financial interest. Nor may you take action that produces a substantial financial benefit for yourself, a family member, or an organization with which you are associated. This could come into play when decisions are made regarding purchasing or the letting of contracts. You may participate in action on an issue in which you have an interest as long as the action affects a broad group of people and your personal interest and benefit is not significant when compared with others. An example would be approving a “Food for Fines” program that may benefit you or a family member but also affects many others.

Third, you may not accept anything of value if it could reasonably be considered to influence your actions as a trustee or could reasonably be considered as a reward for your action.

These rules can be complex, but library trustees are not required to become experts in them. Trustees have to be conversant enough with them to be able to recognize a possible conflict and seek guidance from the appropriate authority. If you have concerns about the propriety of an action, be sure to seek advice from the municipal attorney, the municipal ethics board (if you have one), or the county corporation counsel.

Please refer to Trustee Essential # 16: Ethics and Conflict of Interest Laws Applying to Trustees, found at http:// dpi.wi.gov/pld/te16.html for more information. This resource includes URLs for the Wisconsin Ethics Board and information from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, as well as further discussion of these issues.

* For purposes of the state ethics law your immediate family means your spouse or relative by marriage, lineal descent or adoption who receives, directly or indirectly, more than onehalf of his or her support from you or contributes, directly or indirectly, that amount for your support. You are “associated” with an organization when you or a member of your immediate family is an officer, director or trustee, or owns at least 10% of the organization. You are not associated with an organization merely because you are a member or employee of an organization or business.


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"Advocating in a Tough Economy" Toolkit

American Library Association provides an extensive advocacy toolkit with tips and strategies that reinforce the critical role libraries play in our democracy and shed light on ways the library helps the community and the local government in times of economic stress.

Those who determine funding need to be well aware that Americans turn to - and depend on - library services during tough economic times. Jim Rettig, American Library Association, asserts “During tough economic times, people turn to libraries for their incredible array of free resources, from computers to books, DVDs and CDs, for help with a job hunt or health information. The average annual cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of resources is about $31, the cost of one hardcover book. In good times or bad, libraries are a great value!”


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Steps Toward E-rate Reforms

In September the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed an order to reform the E-rate program critical to libraries across the country. For 13 years the E-rate program has provided discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. The reforms would adjust the annual funding cap to inflation, upgrade E-rate for the 21st century, and simplify the administrative requirements.

The FCC order is another step toward realizing the National Broadband Plan’s (NBP) vision of improving connectivity to schools and libraries by upgrading and modernizing the Erate program. Schools and libraries serve as anchor institutions for their communities, making it possible for the NBP to achieve their goal of affordable access to broadband of at least 1 gigabit per second in every community in the country.

Broadband is an essential tool to help educators, parents, and students meet challenges in education and life-long learning. Through broadband, librarians can assist library patrons to improve skills for jobs, apply for employment, or access government resources. Access to broadband – at home or at anchor institutions – is a critical component of enabling everyone in America to develop the digital skills they need to prosper in the 21st century.

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OverDrive Public Domain eBooks

As of October 1st, the OverDrive site has added a collection of public domain (EPUB) eBooks to the downloadable media options. This is a separate collection of eBooks from the main OverDrive collection. The collection contains over 15,000 titles. Patrons do NOT need to sign in to download the titles. Titles act like Always Available titles so there are unlimited simultaneous downloads, but downloads do not expire. The collection of eBooks also uses the Adobe Digital Editions software patrons are currently using. These titles will not be available from library catalogs but only from the OverDrive site.

To browse the free public domain titles, click on the "Additional eBooks" graphic at the bottom of the side menu on the Digital Download Center page. For more information on how to download the public domain EPUB content, please see the ‘tips’ link at the top of the Digital Download Center page.



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Celebrate Friends of the Libraries Week

The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) is coordinating the fifth annual National Friends of Libraries Week, October 17-23, 2010. The celebration offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate. Friends groups can use the time to creatively promote their group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. The celebration also offers an excellent opportunity for the library staff and Board of Trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.

“I encourage the whole nation to celebrate Friends of Libraries and the work they do. I’m convinced that the libraries are so much richer for the enthusiasm and expertise that the Friends bring to the Library,” said ALTAFF Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed. Libraries across the country can take advantage of the opportunity to honor their Friends of their Library and to promote and expand their membership in this valuable organization.

In a 2006 survey of members, 754 respondents reported raising more than $11 million dollars to support libraries with an average annual donation of more than $50,000. Eighty percent of respondents indicated they support their library through advocacy efforts with primary focus on local or municipal government and the general public. Friends also support their library by coordinating programs, volunteering in the library, promoting the library in the community, and advocating for libraries on the state and national level.

Friends groups, library Trustees, and library staff can access a variety of online resources to help them celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week. Materials available on the ALTAFF website include promotional ideas, editable publicity materials, camera ready bookmarks, ideas from past celebrations, and much more.

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Check Out the Job Search Tool @ Your Library!

For job seekers in northern Wisconsin help has arrived! Job & Career Accelerator, a comprehensive online job search system, is now available to help overwhelmed job seekers find employment. This innovative online resource provides job seekers everything they need to find their next job, all in one easy-to-use application. The online program is a feature in LearningExpress Library and can be accessed with a library card at your library or from any Internet-enabled computer.

LearningExpress Job & Career Accelerator™ provides personalized, step-by-step assistance for job seekers at all experience and education levels—from exploring and matching suitable occupations from over 1,000 detailed occupation profiles to finding available jobs in their area from a huge database of up-to-date job postings. With Job & Career Accelerator, users can easily create professional resumes and cover letters, master interviewing and networking techniques, improve work related skills, and prepare for occupation related exams. In addition, it helps job seekers plan, tailor, and track multiple job searches while providing expert advice and tips for every step. The end result is the most efficient and effective job search possible.

To find out more about how you can access and use Job & Career Accelerator, call or stop by and ask any of your neighborhood librarians for more information or check out the links and information guides at Northern Waters.


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Technology

Web Notification Service

ChangeDetection.com provides page change monitoring and notification services for monitoring any website page for changes. Just provide the url and an email address and a change log will be created for the page to alert you by email when a change in the page text has been detected. This free service has been available since 1999.

Password Generator

The Password Generator is a place online to keep a set of passwords. You type in your unique master passwordand the generator creates passwords for you for sites such as Amazon, Hotmail, Paypal and so on. If you forget them, simply input your master password again to regenerate the same set of passwords. The security is based on the fact that you don't need to say who you are - the key element is the master password itself. The disadvantage is that the same new password is going to be recorded for anyone who uses the same master password.

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Training

Taking Your Job Search to the Next Level

Designed to help job seekers, particularly those who are out of work, learn strategies for taking their job search to a higher, more focused level. October 20, 2010 (1p.m. Central, 1hr, 30 mins) sponsored by the ALA JobLIST Placement Center

Confidentiality and Privacy: The Law and the Ethics
The Confidentiality and Privacy webinar presented by John DeBacher and Bob Bocher for the Indianhead Federated Library System is available: http://www.ifls.lib.wi.us/Default.aspx?tabid=1214.

BadgerLunch Webinar Series
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning team has organized the BadgerLunch webinar series to help folks make better use of BadgerLink.

This series of learning sessions will explore BadgerLink’s rich collection of information tools. Each session covers one resource, database, or interface. All sessions are open to anyone who wants to learn. Topics include a description of the information/learning resource, searching techniques, and helpful features. All sessions are Thursdays at noon and last 30-45 minutes*.

BadgerLink FAQ:
• October 7 – What is it? How do I get access? ...and, can I get help? - (http://tinyurl.com/38lorml) no advance registration
• October 14 – New from BadgerLink: WNA’s Wisconsin Newspapers - (http://tinyurl.com/35y5g6q) no advance registration
• October 21 – New from BadgerLink: LearningExpress Library - (http://tinyurl.com/26oo9uv)

A Festival of Books and Literature:
• October 28 – Novelist and Novelist K8 - (http://tinyurl.com/22kzlt2)
• November 4 – Literary Reference Center - (http://tinyurl.com/26kh377)
• November 11 – Humanities International Complete - (http://tinyurl.com/25ghn8q)
• November 18 – TeachingBooks.net - (http://tinyurl.com/2dgh76y) no advance registration

Stay Healthy with BadgerLink:
• December 2 – Consumer Health Complete - (http://tinyurl.com/2b6eeon)
• December 9 – AltHealth Watch AND Lexi-PALS Drug Guide - (http://tinyurl.com/2bmq8xp)
•December 16 – Business of Healthcare: BusinessSource Premier - (http://tinyurl.com/289nuxm)

*Each session is short so please log into the webinar a few minutes early so as not to disrupt the other participants. If you have little experience with webinars, then give yourself some extra time and log in a few minutes earlier. An archive of previous sessions can be found at http://www.badgerlink.net/training.html.

BadgerLink is a project of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning. The goal is to provide access to quality online information resources for all Wisconsin residents.

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Links

NetSmartz - An Internet safety education resource for children, teens, parents and educators.

URL: http://www.netsmartz.org/

American Library Association Advocacy Clearinghouse - Tools and resources to assist you in advocating for your library, including a new Advocacy Fact Sheets section with tips and tools for successfully planning outreach.
URL: http://tiny.cc/xw62j

American Library Association Resources for Library Fund Raising - In recent years, many librarians have turned to nontraditional sources of funding to ensure that their library or library system will be able to provide necessary services with a high degree of excellence. Whether you are looking to fund a large, one-time project or to form lasting connections with the community at large that will generate future dividends, these sources will be valuable tools.
URL: http://tiny.cc/zlmnl

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Reflection

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
- Author Emilie Buchwald