John Thompson is the WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year! We are delighted that John’s talent, dedication and hard work are being recognized. Those of you that have worked with John will heartily agree! Stef Morrill did a great job expressing why IFLS staff value him as a leader, “He not only supports his members himself, but he has also built a team of kind and diligent staff members at IFLS. He cares deeply for and supports them, often by getting out of their way and allowing them to set direction and move forward. He respects their expertise and trusts them to do their best for the member libraries, which they do.”

There are so many facets to John’s work! I’m going to share some quotes from his nomination application because they said it so well!

“His demonstrated leadership and vision have had significant positive impact on library service, providing tangible results affecting the lives of residents of all ages, extending well beyond his system’s service area. I cannot think of a candidate more deserving than John Thompson.” Shannon M. Schultz, Public Library Administration Consultant for Libraries and Technology at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

“He is consistently caring and respectful. He acts with integrity, even when it would be easier not to. He is an inspiration and leader and deserves to be recognized as Librarian of the Year.” Stef Morrill, Executive Director, River Valley Commons (RVC)

“A quality “that deems John Thompson worthy of being the Wisconsin Librarian of the Year is his sense of humor. He is able to laugh at not merely silly things, but he can find ways of laughing at some of the more darkly absurd moments in the world of librarianship.” Hollis Helmeci, Director, Rusk County Community Library

Polk County library directors submitted a joint letter, which included testimonials from six library directors, including this one. “He helped me get my feet on the ground. He continues to be available to offer insight, advice, or to simply offer a sounding board when I just need to talk things out. He always amazes me with his vast knowledge of library policy, statutes, and protocol.” Kris Surbaugh, Director, Frederic Public Library

“Simply put, John Thompson has the skill set, personality, integrity, and energy that make him an enormous asset to IFLS Library System. As one Trustee put it, ‘…after a few years of Board involvement I really understand what a fantastic job John does.’” Jim Tripp, President, IFLS Board of Trustees

There was so much more in the application documents! Congratulations, John! We’re lucky to have you. (Thanks to Leah Langby and the team that put together the nomination!)

Events, Continuing Ed and Calendar Items

WLA Conference

While we’re on the subject of the WLA, don’t forget to take advantage of early-bird registration, and don’t forget to sign up for the Awards Dessert Reception on Thursday.

IFLS represents! Check out what our own library pros are bringing to the conference:

  • Christine LaFond (Clear Lake Public Library) presents A Recipe for Grant Writing Success
  • Kathleen Larson (River Falls Public Library) and Anna M. Zook (L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire) present Activating Change: Moving From Awareness to Action
  • Claire Parrish (Rice Lake Public Library), Jenna Gilles-Turner (Chippewa Falls Public Library) and Laura Turpin (St. Croix Falls Public Library) present Diversity Audit: How and Why to Make It Happen With Your Collections
  • Stacey Brown (Augusta Memorial Public Library), Christine Lafond (Clear Lake Public Library), Caroline Herfindahl (Ellsworth Public Library), and Heather Wiarda (Amery Area Public Library) present Collab-O-GREAT! How We Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Collaborative Program
  • Kathy Setter (IFLS Library System) and Barb Krueger (Deer Park Public Library) present Hot, Hot, Hotspots!
  • Caroline Herfindahl (Ellsworth Public Library), Valerie Spooner (Rusk County Community Library), Stacey Brown (Augusta Public Library) and Jenna Gilles (Chippewa Falls Public Library) present Teens & Tech – What the Heck! A Guide to Collaborative Teen Programming
  • Kathy Setter served on the conference planning committee
  • Reb is joining Tovah Anderson (ALS) and Cole Zrostlik (WRLS) to present How to Position Your Library as a Partner in Workforce Development: Staff Training, Marketing Resources, and How to Use Them

Did I miss anyone? Please let me know.

Big Library Read

From Maureen: The next Big Library Read kicks off on November 1 with the thriller Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards. Download their marketing materials to help get the word out. Readers can use #biglibraryread on social media for a chance to win a tablet, Libby swag and signed books by the author. See the official rules.

Coming Up

You can find complete details and registration info on the IFLS calendar.

  • Wed, Oct 6 is the application deadline for the Marketing Mini-grant
  • Thu Oct 7th 12:00pm – 3:00pm: Human Resources Office Hours with Mabel Gehrett (for IFLS libraries only)
  • Tue Oct 12th 1:00pm – 3:00pm: Webmaster Office Hours
  • Wed Oct 13th 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Creating a Healthy Culture with Conduct, Communication, and Conflict Resolution
  • Wed Oct 13th 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Youth Services Check-In: Promoting Diverse Books

Funding and Grant Opportunities

ARPA Grant Funding Announced

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today announced the competitive grant application process for library relief funding is now open. All Wisconsin public libraries and regional public library systems are eligible to apply for the American Rescue Plan Act funds awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS awarded Wisconsin nearly $3.3 million to be used for supporting digital inclusion efforts, providing rapid emergency relief to libraries, and supporting library services that meet the needs of local communities.

For more information and for a full news release, visit

Operations and Tech

Spotting an E-mail Scam

Passing on this useful info from the always-vigilant Kris Schwartz. Kris was made aware of a scam email that was sent to at least one IFLS staff member that is fairly hard to spot immediately.  The email appears to come from John but the email address is wrong – .

How to tell that it’s a scam? The email had an odd request to go out and purchase some ebay gift cards in $100 increments, scratch off the code on the cards, and send the codes to them. This is a common scam but Kris has never seen it come in on an email, usually they use this scam as part of a tech support or tax phone scam. If you get an email like this you can just delete it.

  • Always remember to check the email address on all emails before you click on anything in them or respond to them no matter how legit they seem to be.
  • Also make sure that the email makes sense for the person it is coming from before you take any action on it.
  • Remember you can always forward something to Kris if you are unsure or just want me to double check.

New on the Website: Operations Survey Spreadsheet updated

At your request we updated the spreadsheet. We won’t be sending out another survey, please just update your information right on the IFLS page. We:

  • added a “staff required to wear masks” column: check for “yes”, leave it blank for “no”
  • added indoor/outdoor check boxes for in-person programming
  • removed SLP columns

Please note that an option to comment on masks for patrons is already in place on column G. Just in case you learn all this more easily visually, I made a quick video to walk you through. As always, contact me ( with any questions or suggestions.

Tell Me About It

What’s missing? Do you like the new headers that make it easier to scan the Weekly Digest? Is there something that’s really bugging you? Rebecca Kilde puts this together, and you can comment here.