Creating More Effective Library Systems - Background Information

This year the SRLAAW is undertaking a multi-part process to examine how public library systems can remain effective in meeting member library needs into the future, including the possibility of reconfiguring systems.


In August 2012, SRLAAW members agreed to move forward with a process to investigate what could be done to ensure a positive future for library service and library systems in Wisconsin. WiLS developed a proposal for a process that was approved by SRLAAW in October 2012.

Public Library System Services/Configuration Discussion Process


A retreat was held on February 4, 2013 to obtain input into this process. Each system was able to designate three attendees, i.e., the system director (or designee), the resource library director (or designee), and one additional person of the system’s choosing. Documents related to the retreat are posted below:


Wisconsin public libraries were asked to complete surveys in six areas related to system services. Each library could complete any or all of the six surveys, but libraries were limited to no more than one response to each survey. The survey results are posted below. Included for each survey is a report (pdf format) and a data file (Excel format) of survey responses.


Two webinars were held about system reconfiguration in Massachusetts and Illinois. The two webinars have been recorded and the archives are available:

January 15th 1:00-2:30:  Massachusetts

Greg Pronevitz, Executive Director, Massachusetts Library System, Inc.
Esme Green, Library Director, Goodnow Library, Sudbury, MA


January 23rd 1:00-2:30:  Illinois

Amanda McKay, Director, Helen Matthes Library
Deirdre Brennan, Executive Director, Reaching Across Illinois Library System


Additional Information

An informational paper about public libraries, prepared by the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January 2013, provides background on the current organizational structure and financing for libraries, systems, and resource libraries.

A paper summarizing information learned from five other states has also been prepared.

A spreadsheet of technology-related services provided by Wisconsin public library systems, compiled by the Winnefox Library System.

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