The News: November 2021

Thank you to our amazing library community: Trustees, Friends, Library Staff and supporters. You inspire us!

Better For Us All

Public library directors and trustees, along with local municipalities are required to comply with ADA regulations. IFLS libraries expand accessibility beyond those requirements. Why do that?

Here’s one reason: keeping accessibility in mind leads to innovation. A recent New York Times article quoted Dr. Joshua Miele, designer and MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant recipient. “Almost always when you find something that is really cool for people with disabilities,” Dr. Miele said, “it will find its way into the mainstream in a way that is wonderful and makes life better.”

If you’ve listened to an audio book then you’ve experienced that. Creating accessibility doesn’t need to be expensive or high-tech to be effective! Clear Lake Public Library’s large and highly visible open hours got positive attention in their recent accessibility audit. It’s designed for a person with limited vision, but is also helpful if the weather is bad or you’ve got kids in the car.

That audit was provided by the Center for Independent Living Western Wisconsin, and IFLS paid for the ten libraries to participate. More on that in a later edition of The News.

I’m sure you don’t have to look far to see some great examples of accessibility at your library! Sometimes we don’t notice barriers to accessibility, though. Work with your library director to consider accessibility as you plan events, review or create policy or plan library design. And make a point of recruiting diverse members. Here are some tools to help you keep innovating to support great libraries!

Digging In To History

Your library card gives you access to two excellent genealogy resources. Ancestry Library Edition (Usually only available at the library, but temporarily available at home with your MORE card) and HeritageQuest (available through BadgerLink). Guided by IFLS staff Maureen Welch we’ll dig a little deeper into what you can find in City Directories.

Do you want to know more about where your ancestors lived and worked? Which businesses were on your town’s main street? Who taught at the school, fought fires, sold insurance, worked at the library?

City Directories, available for some locations, can be a treasure trove of this type of historical and genealogical information on your family and their communities. Often found in city directories:

  • Alphabetical listing of residents with spouse, occupation, address. Maybe one of your great greats’ president of the local woman’s auxiliary!

  • Street address listing of residents/businesses.

  • Business listing along with advertisements.

  • Addresses of churches, schools, funeral homes, cemeteries, post offices, courts, hospitals, benevolent associations, newspapers and often the names of persons associated with those entities.

  • Historical Information on the community – think real estate lure to the neighborhood.

Directories for larger cities were often printed annually which makes it possible to keep track of where your ancestors lived and worked between the national censuses a possibility.

Many directories used abbreviations for additional information, so remember to look for the explanation for them. Some abbreviations are quite common, such as h for home or r for residence. You might find some that distinguish between r for residents who are related to the homeowner and b for boarders who are not related.

Some IFLS libraries have on-site historical records to explore, and there are additional resources available at the library. Your local librarian would be happy to help!

Intro to Ancestry Library Edition

In the Neighborhood

  • Thanks to everyone that joined us for John’s Open House!

  • John was interviewed by Al Ross on WPR’s Spectrum West.

  • Christy Rundquist and Pepin Public Library were awarded funding from the East Asia in Wisconsin Program. This funding supports books and materials purchases or programming that deepens our understanding of East Asia. Congratulations!

  • Leah Langby’s work has taken her to Brodhead and Kenosha as part of the Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities (WLTC) program. In the process, Leah learned to use new technology and coaching tools to bring to her work with IFLS libraries.

  • Congratulations to Amery and Baldwin, who won the competitive Library Marketing Mini-grant!

  • Welcome to the new director at Altoona, Arin Wilken.

  • Here are updates from some library construction projects:

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