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Library of the Month

Library of the Month: Waupaca Area Public Library

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team. Want to be the next Library of the Month? Nominate your library!

Staff at the Waupaca Area Public Library are dedicated to providing the best possible customer service. The motto of “Imagine, learn, connect” guides the library to provide innovative programs and needed services to their community.

Waupaca Children's Programming Image from
Waupaca Area Public Library

School programs meet the needs of both the local school population of students and teachers as well homeschooled children and parents. Programs focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning with special emphasis on coding. iPads and coding games for all ages are available to children and their caregivers. The early literacy play area provides toys and an interactive learning wall. The hollowed out cottonwood tree invites kids to use their imaginations while furniture provides a comfy place to share a story. Weekly programming is held for babies, toddlers, and school age children.

Waupaca Teen Programming Image from
Waupaca Area Public Library

Teens can relax in their own space. The “Best Cellar” was originated in 1998 and expanded in 2006. With a computer bar, gaming corner, and makerspace, teens can always find something to do. The full time teen librarian leads a group of high school age employees, who staff the room when school is not in session. Drop in programs and activities are available on a regular basis.

The library also has strong adult programming that utilizes local experts. A film series features a retired professor who researches and shares classic films on the first Thursday of the month. The monthly Lunch & Learn Program provides an interesting speaker with a light lunch provided by local restaurants. Special programs, including author visits, are provided on an almost monthly basis.

Waupaca Area Library Image from
Waupaca Area Public Library

The library provides meeting space for non-profit and for profit organizations. The Winchester Academy, a local organization committed to lifelong learning, utilizes library meeting spaces and calls the library its home. Political organizations, a writers’ club, and a photography club meet regularly at the library. The Library Exhibit Room (funded through the Library Foundation) provides up to eight exhibits a year, providing cultural, historical and educational displays free to the general public. The Exhibit Room is run by Committee which includes a paid coordinator, community members, and a library board member.Twice annually the library has a “Food for Fines” drive. Food collected, in lieu of overdue fees, is donated to the local food pantry.

Waupaca Area Public Library entry Image from
Waupaca Area Public Library

Serving the community means being in the community, not just in the library. The library collaborates with organizations to bring programming to the local farmer’s market, area schools and city festivals. Children’s librarians provide stimulating book talks at school. Delivery between the library and school expands student access to the books they want to read. With the schools, the library has been able to bring award winning authors, connecting readers and writers. Last year, Gordon Korman and Jan Brett visited our community with the library as facilitator.

This past year the Waupaca Area Public Library went through a remodeling project and the community demonstrated how much the library is loved. The library’s $270,000 renovation was completed with an amazing outpouring of support from the library users; for every $1 of taxpayer money spent, $1.50 was provided by the Waupaca Library Foundation. Carpet, paint, furniture, adjustable height main desk, self-check and new RFID security system were included in the upgrades. Happily for everyone, the renovation was completed without the library closing.

Guided by the needs in the community, the Waupaca Area Public Library is committed to offering opportunities for innovation and engaged learning.

Library of the Month: Rhinelander District Library

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team. Want to be the next Library of the Month? Nominate your library!

Rhinelander District Library building Image from Rhinelander District Library

What is now the Rhinelander District Library began in 1897. By 1902, the library needed to expand and an application was made to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for the money to build a new library. Money was promised, lumber and a location donated, and funding for operating costs secured. The formal dedication of the city’s first public building took place in November 1904. Now, more than century later, the library looks different and there are different services, but the core mission is the same, promoting equal access to information and ideas, the love of reading, the joy of learning, and engagement with the arts, sciences, and humanities

Adults having fun with crafts Image from Rhinelander District Library

The library offers many fun and educational programs. For adults, a popular event is Crafternoon which takes place the third Wednesday of every month and features a DIY activity like creating a string art, building a layered sand terrarium, or decorating cookies. Art is an outlet that relieves stress, encourages creative thinking, and is generally good for mental health. The library provides the materials and everyone benefits.

For young children, the library provides several storytimes to develop early literacy skills. Another very popular program is the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. After only two years of the program there are 16 graduates and over 30,000 books have been read!

Kids watching a movie Image from Rhinelander District Library

The library connects with the local schools. When classes are reading a book that has a movie, the library provides copies of the books, does book talks, and then also hosts a screening of the movie with popcorn. When the students participate in the movie screening, they get a quick tour of the library and leave with a free book.

Kids with certificates Image from Rhinelander District Library

This fall, the library will continue the collaboration with schools to present the Kid's Choice Awards, which gives kids the opportunity to vote on their favorite book from a list of great books. No educational collaboration is complete without the inclusion of 21st Century skills! To incorporate technology skills and digital literacy, kids can also use library equipment to create book trailers that will be shared with other kids.

The Rhinelander District Library is your small town library with big city services. Serving Rhinelander with pride since 1897!

Library of the Month: Monarch Library System Bookmobile

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team. Want to be the next Library of the Month? Nominate your library!

Kids finding books on the bookmobile Image courtesy of
Monarch Library System

The Monarch Library System Bookmobile, formerly the Eastern Shores Library System Bookmobile, has been serving the citizens of Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties for almost 40 years.

We’ve heard some whispers that bookmobiles are becoming obsolete. Right? WRONG. Public libraries serve lifelong learners of all ages and that’s great. But what about people who are homebound, disabled, or geographically isolated? The Monarch Library System Bookmobile service provides library access to individuals who don’t have easy access to traditional library services at schools, day care centers, assisted living facilities and rural communities, parking at churches, fire stations, local businesses, town halls and more.

Bookmobile leaving a church parking log Image courtesy of
Monarch Library System

A bookmobile is more than books! The bookmobile stops allow folks to participate in reading incentive programs, storytimes, and provides a gathering place where people can discuss local news or just share what’s new. The staff of the bookmobile provide very personalized service, selecting and reserving materials for the regulars and constantly making new connections in the community. In addition to providing access to books, the bookmobile also has magazines, audiobooks, DVDs, and the internet, including hotspots available for checkout. In fact, the bookmobile itself is a mobile hotspot, providing free WIFI anywhere they park. Because one in five Wisconsin residents have limited access to broadband, the bookmobile a powerful equalizing tool in the fight against the digital divide.

Soon the bookmobile will also serve as a mobile scanning lab. Many libraries have scanners for patrons to use, but to patrons who are unable to visit a library building, that’s not much help. This service provides access to people who might not otherwise have access to the needed technology and allows people to preserve memories or make digital copies of important documents at no charge.

The Monarch Library System Bookmobile Team are always looking at the road ahead with open eyes and an open mind for what’s next. Hop on and see for yourselves!

Kids standing in front of the bookmobile Image courtesy of Monarch Library System

Library of the Month: Bayfield Carnegie Library

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Each month, the BadgerLink team shines a spotlight on a library in Wisconsin, detailing that library's unique contributions to its community. This month, we are excited to share what's new and upcoming at the Bayfield Carnegie Library.

It's a busy time at the Bayfield Carnegie Library, between summer library programs, planning for future initiatives, and working on creating an endowment for the library. Director Blair Nelson recently took some time out of his schedule to give us the details.

Bayfield Carnegie Library Image courtesy of Blair Nelson, Bayfield Carnegie Library

Nelson attended Indigenous Comic Con in Albuquerque this past year, and in late October of this year the library will be co-sponsoring its 3rd annual Comic Con, hosted by the Legendary Waters Resort and Casino, Owned and Operated by the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Nelson and the Comic Con Committee are already looking ahead to 2018's Comic Con, as they search for grants to help secure funding so that the library can invite native authors and artists to Bayfield for next year's Comic Con.

Summer programming is in full swing currently, and the Bayfield Carnegie Library has many great events and activities coming up around the "Build a Better World" theme. Programs and events include a recent “Meet the Big Machinery” event with equipment from the Bayfield City crew, a Family Fort Night, a production from the CLIMB Theatre group based out of the Twin Cities, and a teen night where groups will build a LEGO Mindstorm set or LEGO Architecture set. Two LEGO sets of each type were purchased with a grant from the Bayfield Community Education Foundation Fund, and Nelson hopes to bring the models to the school district in the fall for a competition, as the sets involve robotics, moving parts, and an interface that can be controlled with your mobile device. Nelson is looking to invite community members that are leaders in mechanical fields to be judges for the competition.

Children and adults sitting in the bucket of a loader truck Image courtesy of Blair Nelson, Bayfield Carnegie Library

Coming up this fall/winter is a new music appreciation program, where community members with knowledge of specific music genres will host a discussion on that genre. Director Blair Nelson will kick off the first program, sharing his knowledge of film music from his time as a film critic. This series will culminate with concerts in the community, as well as a 2018 Big Community Read on music that will tie into next year’s summer program theme, “Libraries Rock.”

The library underwent a renovation on its main floor last year, including custom bookcases, new carpeting, and new blinds to let in more natural light. The renovation project was completed as part of the library's 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

An endowment is also in the works for the library, and the first goal of raising $25,000 has been met and exceeded. The library is now working toward its second fundraising goal of $50,000, and they're currently only $10,000 away from reaching that goal. An anonymous donor has promised to match the next $10,000, so that goal of $50,000 may soon be reached!

Thanks to director Blair Nelson and the Bayfield Carnegie Library for sharing what's new and exciting!

Library of the Month

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The BadgerLink Team has been bringing you the Library of the Month, a celebration of Wisconsin libraries since 2014! We’ve been selecting libraries based on cool things we’ve been hearing about in the library community. We now want to open up the selection process to self nominations.

If you’d like to be featured as the Library of the Month, complete the Library of the Month Self Nomination Form and a BadgerLink team member will be in touch!

Take some time and enjoy the great stories of Wisconsin school, technical, and public libraries!


Featured Libraries by Year

Map of Featured Libraries Key:
Blue 2014
Red 2015
Yellow 2016
Green 2017

Library of the Month: Hurley School District

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

The Hurley School District has 571 students and since January 2017, there have been more than 5,000 visits to BadgerLink from Hurley School District website! So we reached out to find out what they were doing.

Main entrance of the Hurley School DistrictHurley School District is located in the township of Kimball and serves residents in the cities of Hurley and Montreal, and the Towns of Anderson, Carey, Gurney, Kimball, Knight, Oma and Saxon. Serving such a large region can pose difficulties, but also allows for a variety of educational field trips within their 468 square mile service area. Recently students have learned new things with visits to the Iron County Historical Society and Museum, North Lakeland Discovery Center, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, and Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department.

Varsity football player reads to 2 fourth graders Team Read

The Hurley School District finds ways to make learning fun and connect with the community. This year Hurley held a read-a-thon in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Together the elementary school read for 91,591 minutes! Also in support of literacy, Hurley hosted “Team Read” sessions and varsity football players read with 4th graders. The Senior to Senior Tech Class reached out to senior citizens in the community and gave them an opportunity to learn the basics about computers from the school's resident experts, the senior class.

Students teach senior citizens how to use computers Senior to Senior Tech Class

The library is a hub of technology learning. Each library has a computer lab for students to use in addition to the district's 9 laptop carts and 2 iPad carts. Additionally, the High School students each have their own laptop. All students, pre-kindergarten through high school, spend time in the library learning about technology and developing digital literacy skills.

This spring, high school students put their digital literacy skills to the test when they were assigned in-depth research projects. Evaluating the credibility of resources and their information is vital to any research project. Freshman searched for information on influential people in U.S. history, while the sophomores researched controversial court cases throughout U.S. history, and the seniors researched potential careers. Students relied heavily on BadgerLink’s reliable resources to research their topics.

The last day of school for students was June 2nd. We hope staff and students have a great summer break! We send a huge thank you to Hurley School District for using BadgerLink!

Library of the Month: Wilson Junior High School Library

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

Students around a tableThe BadgerLink team recently noticed a lot of visits to our website from the Wilson Junior High Library’s LibGuide. So we reached out to find out what they were doing. As it happens, the LibGuide is very heavily used in the school to direct students and staff to great online resources. So far this school year, Wilson’s LibGuide has been accessed more than 56,000 times which is huge for a school of 575 students!

The Wilson is one of two junior high schools in the Manitowoc Public School District. Built in the1930’s, the Wilson library was renovated four years ago. The library layout changed to allow for group work, a maker space, and a TV studio. Since the renovation, the library has become a hub of inquiry and independent study. In addition to use during the school day, the library is used for staff meetings, parent meetings, and a space for students to gather before school to hang out and relax.

Students working together in the libraryIn the mornings on Tuesdays through Friday all students participate in 30 minutes of Hawk Time, which is when students may receive additional help from their teachers, participate in enrichment activities in the library, or have silent reading time. Recently, as an enrichment activity, students began recording segments for a new program for station W.J.H.S. Aired on Tuesdays and Fridays, the TV show allows students to learn reporting and filming techniques using equipment in the designated library area studio.

Ellen Reinerston working with a studentThe library is also a space to learn about technology. Classes come to the library’s computer lab to use Microsoft Suite programs and other important computer programs. Soon, a SMART Board will be installed in the lab for additional instructional space. To support students’ digital literacy, library staff use ISTE standards to teach to how to be successful in the digital age. The librarian, Ellen Reinerton, works closely with teachers to facilitate learning. Teachers often refer to Reinerton’s expertise when teaching research skills or designing a project.

Student working independentlyWilson Junior High School celebrated National Library week with staff and students. A golden ticket was hidden in one of the books in the library. Students were given clues which required them to use the LibGuide, Destiny Catalog, BadgerLink, and other library resources to find the correct book with the hidden ticket. Another scavenger hunt activity got teachers involved. Staff wrote a clue about their favorite book and placed it outside of their room. Students matched the book to the teacher to win a prize. Additionally a new “Book Trailer” section was added to the LibGuide and the library hosted 500 students for independent reading. It was a fun-filled week!

The library is a busy place! Thanks Ellen Reinerton for her support of BadgerLink and for giving us a glimpse into their libraries, and here’s to a successful rest of the school year!

Library of the Month: Hedberg Public Library in Janesville

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Library of the Month feature is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries.

Hedberg Public LibraryBuilding Community is a philosophy that the Hedberg Public Library (HPL) in Janesville has fully embraced, interweaving that concept into everything the library does. It was at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Conference in Seattle a few years ago that the Library Director, Bryan McCormick, attended the ALA President’s Program and heard about the concept from Peter Block, an expert on Building Community and author of Community: The Structure of Belonging. At its simplest, Building Community is about bringing people together to share common thoughts and ideas; building relationships so that when different thoughts and ideas are presented, there has been a foundation built from which we can discuss our differences and work together to find common ground. As a result, HPL is often the first place people in Janesville think of when they talk about community.

Local Experts

One of the first initiatives presented by the library in order to Build Community was the Local Experts series of programs. The series featured local gardeners and horticulturalists, a toy-collector/hobbyist, extreme coupon clippers, local shop owners with unique items, and local history experts (cemetery ghost stories anyone?). These sessions were very popular with the community and helped to introduce people to neighbors they might never have met before.

Reference librarian Beth recommends Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

What’s the Staff Reading?

Is there a better way for a library to be involved with its patrons than to show what they’re reading? At HPL there are several large monitors placed strategically around the library, and patrons are greeted by the smiling faces of library employees and the book they are currently reading. All library employees are encouraged to participate, from shelvers to supervisors. This brings about great diversity in what staff are reading, but also illustrates that each member of the team is part of this community, representing a vast difference in what interests are featured.

A kit including lifelike toy cat, comedy DVD, puzzle, and matching game.

Memory Care Kits

Part of Building Community is reaching out to those unique audiences that may not have a connection to the library. In many areas, there is an increasing number of individuals suffering from dementia. In Janesville, the library works closely with the Rock County Council on Aging, a group that provided funds to purchase Memory Care Kits. These kits come with many comfort items to help those suffering from dementia. HPL has created 20 different kits, with the most popular items being the realistic cat and dog that someone can hold and pet.

Parenting Connections

HPL is also building relationships with several organizations to provide resources for caregivers of youth with special needs by hosting parenting workshops. Families of children with special needs are a part of the community, and the library wants to be a welcoming place for all, creating a place where these families can connect, share and learn from each other. The workshops will help foster this community and link families to the different organizations and services that can give them the information and support that they need. The first 3 workshops are Library Meet and Greet, Autism 101, and What’s After High School: Training on Transitions.

Human Library

In celebration of National Library Week this April, HPL is hosting their first Human Library. Attendees are encouraged to “read” a human “book” in order to start a conversation with someone who is different than them in some way. Featured” books” include a young Muslim poet, an African American woman, a Latino father and a tattoo artist. The goal is to break down stereotypes and, essentially, build community.

Photo of community members standing in front of bookmobile for ribbon cutting ceremonyBookmobile

Finally, what better way to Build Community than a bookmobile that travels into the neighborhoods of a city. And better yet, this bookmobile was a gift from the community to the library. A group of professionals taking part in Janesville’s Leadership Development Academy knew that the library had shown some interest in a bookmobile as a way to get more involved with neighborhoods and to promote library services. This group acquired an ambulance that was going to be auctioned off and helped convert it to a bookmobile. They raised funds and worked with a local marketing group to put a new wrap around the vehicle and Voila! The library now had a bookmobile, with the added benefit of lights and sirens (great for parades and bringing attention to yourself!). The bookmobile will be back again this spring and summer and will be seen all around the Janesville community.

Hedberg Public Library provides important programs, resources, and services for bringing the community to the library, and for bringing the library into the community.

Library of the Month: Talking Book and Braille Library

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

Talking Book and Braille Library If you’re serving a library patron who has vision impairment, reading disability, or physical difficulty holding a book, make sure they know about the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library!

Front door of WTBBL offices Welcome!

The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) provides audio and braille of books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as audio-described DVDs and videos to people living in Wisconsin who cannot see regular print or handle print materials. The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library is funded through the National Library Service, the Department of Public Instruction and the Milwaukee Public Library.

Image of the playback machine and book cartridge that are provided by WTBBL Playback machine and
book cartridge

Located in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library serves adults, young adults and children throughout the entire state. WTBBL provides users with playback machines, accessories including headphones, and braille or audio cartridges. All books, equipment, and services (including the mailing of materials) are free to WTBBL patrons.

Image of returned equipment recharging Playback machines recharging

WTBBL currently serves nearly 7,000 registered patrons and over 580 institutions like libraries, schools, nursing homes, and veterans centers. A staff of 14.5 people handle phone calls, emails, and circulation. About 1300 digital cartridges are checked in each day and about 1300 digital cartridges checked out each day. This small library makes a huge impact.

You are eligible for WTBBL if you have vision impairment, reading disability, or if you have physical difficulty holding a book. To become a patron of WTBBL, you must complete an application. The application is free and requires certification by a medical professional, professional librarian, or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress (see the application for details).

The equipment provided by WTBBL is easy to use at home. This picture shows the playback machine on a coffee table with an inviting cup of coffee.In addition to physical materials, WTBBL also provides users with digital services through BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download), a web-based, password-protected service that provides access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music materials. With the BARD Mobile app, readers may download and play talking books on their smartphones and tablets. Braille readers also may download and read materials using a refreshable braille display with a Bluetooth connection.

Working with a local non-profit, ABLE (Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement), that transcribes print materials into alternative formats for people with disabilities, WTBBL selects books by Wisconsin authors to be recorded and accessible on digital cartridge or via BARD. In 2016, 23 books added so that Talking Book patrons from other state programs all over the country have easy access to the Wisconsin recordings.

Get more information and fill out an application at

Library of the Month: Wisconsin Historical Society Newspapers in Chronicling America

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

Each month, the BadgerLink team highlights a library in Wisconsin, detailing that library’s unique contributions to its community. This month, we are excited to highlight the new Wisconsin collection in the National Digital Newspaper Program, managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS). 

Newspaper displaying a list of names for the WWI draft Watertown News, July 18, 1917: WWI draft roll

The National Digital Newspaper Program is a project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, developed to provide open access to digitized historic newspapers online via the Chronicling America website. The collection from Wisconsin can be found by doing a search by state on the Chronicling America website, or by visiting this page.

Newspaper article with photos of 1930s women Watertown Weekly Leader, July 25, 1931:
At what age is a woman most beautiful?
Newspaper clipping with article on women's suffrage Manitowoc Pilot,
August 26, 1920:
19th Amendment ratified

The Wisconsin collection just began to go live on January 26, 2017, but it first began to take form back in 2015, when recruitment started for the Program Coordinator position. Overseen by Program Administrator Katie Mullen, Laura Farley started working on the project at WHS in February 2016, and in September of 2016, Randi Ramsden was hired as a Program Assistant. In March of 2016 Mullen and Farley worked together with the project’s Advisory Board to make decisions on how to move forward with involvement in Chronicling America, including the selection of newspapers to be included in the collection. The advisory board consist of members from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, WiLS - Recollection Wisconsin, Sheboygan County Historical Society, La Crosse Public Library, Wisconsin Historical Society, and Sheboygan Falls Memorial Library.

The collection kicked off by offering access to the Wood County Reporter. The rest of the collection will be added in batches over the course of the year.  The following newspapers are included in the collection and will go live this year:

  • The Superior times, Superior, 1870-1912
  • The Manitowoc pilot, Manitowoc, 1859-1932
  • The Manitowoc tribune, Manitowoc, 1865-1878
  • Wood County Reporter, Wisconsin Rapids, 1857-1923
  • Watertown republican, Watertown, 1860-1906
  • Watertown weekly leader, Watertown, 1906-1908
  • Weekly Watertown leader, Watertown, 1908-1909
  • Watertown leader, Watertown, 1909-1911
  • Watertown weekly leader, Watertown, 1912-1917
  • The Watertown news, Watertown, 1917-1919
  • Wisconsin tribune, Mineral Point, 1847-1854
  • Mineral Point tribune, Mineral Point, 1854-1858
  • Mineral Point weekly tribune, Mineral Point, 1859-1868
  • Mineral Point tribune, Mineral Point, 1869-1938
  • Iowa County democrat, Mineral Point, 1877-1938 Historic newspaper with headline "Horrible Affair in Washington. President Lincoln Killed by Assassin" Manitowoc Pilot, April 21, 1865: News of Lincoln's Assassination ​​The board selected these titles due to their long runs, high-quality microfilm, and representation of four diverse geographical regions across the state, in order to maximize coverage from regional settlement through 1922. The collection currently includes over 11,000 pages, with more content being made available in the future.

    ​Look for Laura Farley and Randi Ramsden as they begin statewide outreach, with planned events and workshops at conferences, for National History Day, and more. For more information on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s involvement in this project, as well as their other newspaper collections, visit the Wisconsin Newspapers page on the WHS website. Thanks to everyone involved in this project for making these newspapers available to those in Wisconsin and beyond!