Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, Recipient

Libraries are designed to make people’s lives better. From students doing research to kids checking out their first book to book clubs discussing the latest best-seller, libraries are a wonderful community resource. While regular visitors may know their local librarian’s face, the job of a librarian can be lonely, especially for people working in small-town libraries. That’s where the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation (WLA Foundation) comes to the rescue. The WLA Foundation supports and advocates for libraries—and the people who work in them. One of the ways the WLA Foundation supports librarians is to host conferences, such as the annual Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries, that help librarians feel connected and learn new skills. When the most recent conference had to go virtual, the WLA Foundation found a way to still help librarians feel connected—by giving them branded conference swag. Connecting and teaching librarians The Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries conference is a great opportunity for public librarians to connect with each other. Many librarians work with only one or two colleagues. Attending the conference gives librarians a chance to network, expand their skills, and bounce ideas off each other.Library employee holding branded lip balm and a drink in a can cooler. At the conference, librarians share outreach programs they provide to their communities. For example, many libraries are now taking their library on the road. One presenter explained how she visits older adults’ homes, bringing books and resources to older people who can’t travel. She discussed practical ways other attendees could implement a similar program. Many libraries offer creative lending programs that loan everything from cake pans to telescopes to musical instruments. Conference attendees learn the administrative techniques of these lending programs, as well as how to create polices to make these unique programs happen. When the May conference went virtual, the WLA Foundation wanted something to help the conference maintain its personal, connected feel. Thanks to a 4imprint one by one grant, the organization received branded Koozies®? and lip balm giveaways. They mailed the conference swag to attendees. “We heard from several attendees that it was so nice getting a package in the mail. The giveaways helped bring some of that camaraderie of an in-person conference. The gifts helped people feel connected to other attendees,” according to Teresa Schmidt, librarian at Mercer Public Library.

For more information about Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, please visit https://www.wisconsinlibraries.org/foundation opens in new window