Thorp Courier, Thorp, WI
December 20, 2006, Front Page
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Library Systems Share $15.5 Million in State Aid
State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster announced that Wisconsin’s 17 federated public library systems will receive $15.5 million in state aid during 2007 to support cooperative local, regional, and state efforts to share library resources and improve public library service statewide.
Aid for 2007 represents a four percent increase over the 2006 state aid allocation. State aid is the primary state program supporting public library services statewide. The department’s 2007-09 state budgets include a request to provide library system aid at the statutory index of 13 percent. Library systems currently receive aid at an eight percent index. Recent library statistics for 2005 reported increases in several areas of library usage, including a 13 percent one-year increase in interlibrary loans, a service coordinated through library systems.
“Library systems help our public libraries off high-quality services to meet Wisconsin citizens’ needs,” Burmaster said. “However public libraries have been providing increased services for a number of years with little to no growth in staffing levels, a condition that we cannot expect to continue indefinitely.”
Each system’s regional board develops plans for using state aid to meet system needs. Across the state, library system services include:
• ensuring that system residents have complete access to all public libraries within the system area. State residents made 33.1 million visits to public libraries and checked out nearly 57.9 million items last year.
• coordinating the loan of library materials among participating libraries to meet user needs. Annually, 5.5 million items are sent from one public library to another library in response to users’ requests and are delivered by system-supported delivery networks.
• providing training and continuing education for local library staff to help them provide the best possible service to their communities.
• coordinating cooperative library technology projects. More than 85 percent of the state’s public libraries now participate in shared computer systems, and all libraries provide public access to computers with Internet connections.
“Public libraries and library systems provide free access to knowledge, information, and the diversity of ideas that is essential to our democratic society. They serve as a primary information source for small businesses, job seekers, and personal investors. They are a valuable part of each community and make a tremendous contribution to quality of life and economic development in Wisconsin,” Burmaster said.
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