To:                  Winnefox Library System Trustees 

From:              Mark Arend, Interim Assistant Director

Subject:           Report of System activities

Date:               22 September 2005


The following is an update of activities since our last meeting.  I would be happy to provide further details at our meeting, or feel free to give me a call or send an email in advance.


County Budget Planning:

This is an extremely difficult budget year.  Local governments are trying to maintain services in the face of continued increases for utilities and health insurance premiums and state-imposed levy limits.  


Although most counties are requesting county departments to submit reduced or no-increase budget requests the library directors in all counties decided to submit funding requests higher than last year for these reasons:

  • County contracts are in place specifying the formulas to be used in calculating funding requests. 
  • County funding is actually a reimbursement to the municipal libraries for services rendered to rural residents in prior years. 
  • Submitting reduced or no-increase requests would not accurately reflect the costs of providing services to rural residents.


The current status is as follows:

Fond du Lac County –When Fond du Lac County joined Winnefox the libraries received a reimbursement of only 70% of their cost of serving rural residents; when the Lac County joined Winnefox it agreed that it would increase library funding each year.  While funding has increased, it has not done so at the rate the initial plan called for.  This year the libraries received a reimbursement of 80% of their cost of serving rural residents; had library funding increased at the planned rate each year they would be receiving 95% reimbursement this year. 


The county library directors met with the County Executive in early August and requested funding of 90% reimbursement for 2006.  The County Executive has said he hopes to fund libraries at no less than the 2005 level.. 


Green Lake County – The county librarians decided to request an increase of 8.20%, or $18,522 over last year.  This was endorsed by the Agriculture, Extension, and Education Committee and forwarded to the Finance committee. At this time the Finance Committee is recommending no increase for this year.


Marquette County –The Rural Planning Committee approved an increase of 3%, or $4,235 over this year.  The Finance Committee will be meeting the last week in September.


Waushara County – For 2006 the Waushara County librarians requested a funding increase of 8.7%, or $30,079 over this year. The Library Services Committee is recommending an increase of 3% or $10,369.  The Finance Committee will be meeting on 3 October. 


Winnebago County – The librarians requested an increase of 3.01%, or $52,233 over 2005.  The County Executive has said he will support this request if the county-wide sales tax proposal is approved.  If it is not approved he will propose no increase in library funding.   



County Planning:  The county agreements and 5-year plans of library service in Green Lake, Marquette, and Waushara counties will be expiring at the end of 2006.  The directors in these counties have begun the process of revising these documents and plan to begin meeting with their respective county board committees of jurisdiction early next spring and to present revised plans to the county boards next summer.



Overdrive Digital Audiobooks:   The Overdrive project went ‘live’ for Winnefox libraries in mid-September.  At this time it’s too early to have statistics but it has been popular in other parts of the state that were ready to circulate before we were.  An article from the Oshkosh Northwestern is attached.



Library Director Changes:   In my last report I related that the Oxford Public Library had hired a new director.  Two days before our board meeting that person resigned.  The library has since hired Jim Walker as director.   The Endeavor Public Library has hired Janet Brooks as their new director.  Both started in August. 



Hurricane Katrina relief collection:   Shortly after the devastation in the Gulf Coast area became apparent several of our member directors asked what they could do to help affected libraries.  We have provided interested libraries with posters & other information they can use for collecting donations.  The American Library Association has developed an 'Adopt a Library' Program to assist libraries to recover and rebuild and I have registered Winnefox as a possible donor. Once they have connected us with an affected library or system funds collected by member libraries will be forwarded to them.



Centennial Celebration at North Fond du Lac Public Library (Spillman Library):  We have another library celebrating its centennial: the Spillman Library in North Fond du Lac.  The library will be holding an celebratory open house on  Saturday, October 15th between 11 AM and 1 PM.  Stop by if you’re in the area.



Article in the Berlin Journal Newspapers:  Two weeks ago there was an article about the Redgranite Public Library in the Berlin Journal/Omro Herald/Markesan Regional Reporter newspapers that quoted some inaccurate statements by the Redgranite village president.  I responded to the comments in a letter which was published in the Sept. 22 issue.  Both the original article & my response are attached to my report.



Library Construction Report:  Wild Rose is expanding the library and building a community room addition.  Work is moving along well and they hope to be finished just before Christmas.  The Endeavor Public Library will be temporarily moving to a remodeled storefront in late October or early November.  Their current home, an old school, is too expensive to heat and the village is looking for other options for housing the library and the village offices.






Redgranite Library raising funds...brick by brick

By Jim Wolff

Many viewers of the annual  Redgranite Labor Day parade probably came in contact with a flyer promoting a fundraiser for the Redgranite Public Library.  It's drawing attention to problems facing libraries throughout  the area when facilities deteriorate or expenses accumulate.   For Redgranite, the slogan will be: "Buy a brick for only $5... our library needs a new  outside." The names and numbers of bricks purchased will be listed on an honor roll inside the library for all patrons to see.  One of those working hard to promote the library and keep it afloat is Opal Barclay who has been on the Redgranite Library Board since 1986. Despite living with an oxygen tank in her Preston Place apartment, she is making every effort to have the fundraiser succeed.  "We love the library," she said.  "We worked so hard to get it." She points out that a hail storm wrecked the siding a few years


'BUY A BRICK FOR ONLY $5... our library needs a new outside'. Redgranite Library is
using this slogan to help raise funds for new siding on the building.

ago and some of the old stucco was covered with siding which now needs replacing or repair. "Bob Ruminski came up with the 'brick' idea and started the fund out with a $100  donation," she said, "and other individuals and organizations are contributing also. But we need help from all the citizens who want to see our library preserved."

The Village of Redgranite originally purchased the former Burman Pharmacy building for the library and has made payments through the years. Although the building is finally paid for, expenses continue to mount while contributions stay essentially the same.

Barclay says the village con tributes less than most municipalities provide for their libraries, but village president Jerry Sieg notes that the village paid for the library through the years and supported it. Current payments, he says, are established by the budget. The problem, he says, is with the Winnefox system which has contributed practically nothing through the years. "Now that we're due to get our rightful amount," he says, "they want to take it away."

Library contributions arc determined through a formula that considers population as well as circulation. Since the correctional institute was built there, the 750 prison population is added to the village's population total, thereby decreasing Redgranite's per capita contribution to about $6.89, far below Waushara County's average of $24.04. Wild Rose, for instance, received $58.04 per capita for library funding in 2003, Plainfield got $28.45 and Wautoma received $25.12.  Redgranite was given only $6.89 per capita for its library.

The Waushara library reimbursement is figured by dividing the total operational expenditures of each library by the total number of loans of materials to county rural residents. Of the eight Waushara libraries, four will see a budget increase next year. Redgranite is one of die remaining four that will not, receiving $10,749, or $3,338 less than last year. One of the factors for the circulation loss was the Highway 21 construction for two straight years.

In a library review, head librarian JoAnn Borchardt notes that the library has had only enough funds in the past ten years to buy best seller fiction books demanded by patrons. There has not been enough money for children's books or for updating non-fiction books. The library has received several grants as a member in the Winnefox system. "All our public Internet computers were obtained free with these grants," Borchardt writes. "Two are from a Bill Gates Foundation grant which also included a laser printer, a scanner and a year's supply of printer paper. Another Internet is from a Senior Net Grant which offers easier access and e-mail to senior citizens." Another free Internet came from Winnefox Technical Cooperative Services.

Barclay notes that the library board does not want to touch any of the donations and memorials that have been made in the name of deceased residents by using that money for operating expenses.

Last year the Redgranite Library had the lowest contribution of any Waushara County library, $30,581 compared to between $41,000 and $149,000 for the seven other libraries. Salaries and wages at Redgranite, however, were about average in the county. "The library now is open only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday because we can't afford any more," said Barclay. We even had to dismiss our cleaning lady and have the library staff do the cleaning."



OPAL BARCLAY, a resident of Preston Place, is a long-
time member of the Redgranite Library Board, who is
urging residents to help provide funds for a new build-
ing exterior.

Despite growing concern with operational budgets, the Redgranite Library's immediate concern is with the replacement of the exterior. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 291, Redgranite,



To Correct Matters

I wish to correct several statements relating to library funding and Winnefox Library System in the article "Redgranite library raising funds-brick by brick" in the Feature Section of the Thursday, September 8 paper.

You quote the Redgranite Village President Jerry Sieg as saying that the Winnefox Library System has contributed practically nothing to the library and that "Mow that we're due to get our rightful amount they want to take it away."

His statement implies, that Winnefox Library System funds libraries, which is incorrect. Winnefox provides services to the 30 public libraries in Pond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Waushara, and Winnebago counties.  We maintain the network that gives libraries high-speed and wireless internet access and manage the shared catalog and circulation system that allows library users access to the collections of the other libraries. We provide the van delivery service that moves materials between libraries, free printing and graphics service, summer reading program coordination, continuing education, and other services to member libraries. But, except for occasional special grant projects, we do not directly fund any libraries.

The article further states, "Library contributions are determined through a formula that considers population as well as circulation." While this has been true in Waushara County in the past, population has not been an active factor in determining county funding for about 5 years. The three primary factors used to determine a library's share of county funding are the library's expenditures  the total number of items the library checked out, and the number of  items the library checked out to residents living outside municipalities supporting libraries.

This funding partnership between the municipality and county helps to maintain strong public libraries and ensure library access to all county residents, regardless of where they live.

Mark W. Arend, Assistant Director




Library patrons
can download

Winnefox now offers service

of The Northwestern

The Winnefox Library system is turning - or clicking - the next page into new services for library patrons.

Library-card holders in the 30 libraries that make up Winnefox can now download audiobooks to their personal computers, 24 hours a day, signaling the next phase
in library service.

"We started out where everything was in the building. Over the last... years, we've been slowly expanding that," said Mark Arend, assistant interim director for Win-
nefox. "We started with e-Books a few years ago. The downloadable audio is just the next step. Rather than owning the physical object, we own a virtual object."

The audiobooks project has been in the works for more than a year and a half, .Arend said, as Winnefox worked with the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium.

For about $2,800 a year, the Winnefox system has access to 500 downloadable audiobooks from the Over-Drive Digital Audiobooks collection. The 500 titles in-
clude fiction books in several genres and non-fiction books. Statewide, the audio-book contract costs about $25,000 a year. Arend says the system plans to track usage and popularity of the current titles to determine what books to purchase downloadable access for in the future.

Patrons can access the audiobooks through theWinnefox Web site. To download a book, Arend said, they must first download the OverDrive Media Console, which is a free software piece. Once a patron downloads a book, it can be transferred to a digital audio player or burned, on a CD.

BethanyK Wamer. (920) 426-668