The next Community Conversations will be a presentation by our Menomonie Public Library director Joleen Sterk.  Day: Saturday, March 4.  Time: 12:00 noon to 2 PM. 

  Joleen will be giving us a perspective in regard to our local library and what is possible for the future of libraries in general.     Past:  The history of libraries in Dunn County started 150 years ago.  The Menomonie Public Library has been at Wolske Bay for the last 40 years.     Present: There are many ways that people currently use libraries.  The library has reinvented itself as technology changes.  The library has looked at how it can serve the needs of our community.  Joleen will discuss how the library is funded as funding for libraries has always been an issue in the past and in the present.  She will discuss how the City of Menomonie is involved with our library.       Future:  How can we work together for the library to provide the most community good?  Jolene will discuss the future of developing outdoor space for community needs.    Following is a lightly edited machine-generated transcription of the event:


library, community, menominee, county, books, city, building, wisconsin, public libraries, board, collection, state, dunn, people, access, question, wonderful, municipal, service, money


Margo Hecker, Steve Hogseth, Joleen Sterk, Lorene Vedder


Lorene Vedder 00:00

The Washington library that she is what is going on with the press related to this library, and all libraries in general. So I'd like to tell you that our next community conversation, this is a second weekend of next month, and it's going to be on housing. And while people have a lot of different impressions on housing and what we can do about it, so it's basically getting together and having people discuss the issues of housing here. And we do have some experts working on it, and our community and then County in voicemail and Menominee. So it should be pretty interesting. So hope you can join us, I will send you if you've got your name on the email list, then I will send you information about what we've said here today, and what this next presentation will be. So thank you all for coming.


Joleen Sterk 01:03

On as Laurie said, I'm Joleen Sterk. I'm the director of this library. But before we get started thank you all for coming. I mean, and this is the first nice deal we have had in a very long time. And for you to willingly sit here while the sun is shining outside. And it's really said something we do have some light refreshments. There's some cookies in the back and we have some water bottles in the fridge. So feel free to help yourself if you're feeling a little thirsty. I hope no one came here expecting like a university level lecture for two hours. It's very Jigen. Please put your hand down. That's not my background. I went to library school back in 1991. I started I went to UW Stevens Point got an undergraduate degree in English, non teaching and just stumbled into libraries accidentally. I was raised in Price County, Wisconsin in a I would say rural enclave of a lot of Finnish immigrants. And not a lot of support in the hinterlands for continuing ed or access to libraries. I got my books, by mail, actually go through the catalog and check things and they'd be shipped via postal mail in my house. So I never got to college, or I got a library card and public library until I went to college in Stevens Point, and got my first public library card and it just blew my mind and opened a whole new world. So we had back in the day I went to UW Madison for library science for my masters. And that was of course before the internet was really readily available. We were still using card catalogs and using the stamps and charging things. I have no support at Gaylord machines and Cynthia knows what I'm talking about. My interest was in children's services, I loved kids wanted to work with kids, I just didn't want to teach kids in my classroom because that's not my skill set. Thank you to the amazing teachers that we do have that work diligently tirelessly. I couldn't do their job. So thank you. And I worked in youth services for a number of years and bounced around the state for my husband's work and my own work. When it was time to have a family of our own, I decided to step back and concentrated on our children. For a while I was a library board member and President in Chippewa Falls. Before we moved to Menominee I worked at IRS associates engineering in Eau Claire as their engineering librarian for a few years I worked at the Menominee middle school library. And then when I came here, I started in an on-call capacity at the information desk, learn how to do some cataloging and tech services kinds of things. When Virginia comptroller retired from circulation, I stepped into those shoes. When Helen Gilbert retired, I had stepped into her shoes, doing a lot of fitting in wherever there was a hole to fill in during COVID, our director at the time, Ted Stark decided he was ready to retire. So there was a gaping hole to be filled. And selfishly, I thought, Well, I'm not going to work for just anybody. I can't entrust that just anybody is going to take the care up for our staff that I wanted them to. So I had the degree I thought okay, I'll step in, I'll try it and to my shock. and amazement I was hired.



Administration is very different. Many of you know, professionally, that administration is very, very different than working hands on with the public every day. And I still struggle to find ways to connect with the public in ways that are meaningful for me personally so that I'm always mindful of the work that we're doing and why we're doing it. I believe in the importance of good government and public service, and that's why we're here. So with that, I've got Margo Hecker here. It's her fault that I've been standing in front of you today. So I've decided To put her to work, my first question for all of you, and I hope this can be kind of an interactive thing, apparently toolbox full of all kinds of slides and information and factoids, but I'm not going to lecture you for two hours, we need to have a community conversation. So my first question for you is, when you hear the word library, what is the first thing that comes to mind for any of you? Margo is gonna take diligent notes, because that's just the journalist she is. And does that pen writes. Your budget? Yeah, for sure. Why else might someone come to a library? Does anyone remember Carnegie buildings? Carnegie libraries from years gone by? Oh, yeah, we'll get into that a little bit. So there are structural elements having a place for public or civic beauty. It's for people to go to what else? Do you think people connect with library's research research? Who said research? Yes, ma'am. Absolutely. And how many of you remember going to reference stacks and opening actual physical volumes of journals and journal articles, and encyclopedias and dictionaries and all of these bibliographic wonders that we used, and now with how many of them are online, I mean, my son is a student at UW Stout, and everything that he needs is fun, his laptop on his device, they still have a library. It's a fabulous library. But so much of what's been done in academics is now available digitally. A reference collections look pretty different. What else? Internet access. How many of you were like me grew up as a rural kid in a place where you probably wouldn't have great broadband service these days. Still don't? Right?


Joleen Sterk 06:58

Yeah, it's it's a real struggle. And I know that public service commission, and a lot of really smart people are working on getting that pipeline built, but in the same way that people didn't have access to planes, trains, and automobiles and that kind of infrastructure, we have our own infrastructure crisis. And it's a crisis of having access to information and broadband. So let's keep that going and get it to everybody. Until that day arrives, we have public libraries that serve as sort of hubs for folks to come to gather, and access the internet get their needs met. We also at the Menominee, public libraries circulate Wi Fi hotspots. So if we have students that don't have great access, or people that are taking a business trip, we have one person that routinely uses it because she has a small business, and they don't have the bandwidth at home, to run their small business and have enough for their students to support all of that internet use. So having broadband is really, really important. That's a big part of why we're here today. Miss Margo? Yes, um, you just said


Margo Hecker 07:58

something that I think is really important hub. I think that the library is a community hub. And boy, have I noticed that since I've retired, when I want to get out of the house and just kind of mingle and, you know, look at stuff.


Joleen Sterk 08:18

Thank you. And how many of you had an opportunity to read Susan Orleans book, the library book, The Big Red One with a fancy gold lettering? Yeah, I'm midway through it. And I'm just, this is amazing. But in her book, she says that libraries have become this third place where people can go in their communities. It's not your workplace. It's not your place of worship. It's not the place where you go bowling, but it's a place where all of us can come together. Cynthia,


Margo Hecker 08:43

I noticed when I used to work at the homeless shelter, the library was a place of homeless people. And I worked with a young woman with some severe learning disabilities. And we would spend a morning here. We work we do puzzles, we read books, and the public collection this month.


Joleen Sterk 09:08

And as it's going really well supported, and I remember that young lady and the care and the time that you took with her, and I was always struck by what a gift you gave to her by volunteering your time.


Margo Hecker 09:17

Not volunteer. Okay,


Joleen Sterk 09:23

you know, she's she came to LAX and that experience for us to watch you model that was really wonderful. Yeah, truly, I'm looking out at the sea of faces of really capable folks. Many of you have a certain age, similar to my mom's generation, I would say, who still cared about governance, about voting about the importance of being informed about what's happening in your community, and taking action if something needs to change, and you're the people that are best positioned to help us chart our next chapter. Moving forward for this library because you've already lived and have all this lived experience this knowledge, professional backgrounds, whatever it may be. And maybe you're sitting around with a little more time on your hands. I don't know, I'm in Steve's, you know, working on getting a different house set up. But perhaps as your productive, engaged work years are coming to a close, there's opportunities. And I think you're one of our greatest natural resources in this community. We have growth, one of our volunteers here, and she's just delightful. And it's not because you shell videos and pull things off of the paging list. It's because of who you Ruth Mori are to our community. And I just, I'm tickled to see so many of you with all of this wisdom and experience here, because you're the ones that I would most want to invite into conversation. Because you've got all of this knowledge. Why aren't we harnessing it? That's just not going to be? Any other thoughts about libraries? Why we have libraries, children's story? reading programs? Does anybody remember being a young parents and maybe feeling like you might want to get out of house? Yeah, and in the absence of organized playgroups, it's a great way to meet people. And to see parenting modeled to see reading to young children modeled if you didn't have that experience growing up of someone cuddling you on their lap, and reading to you how on earth would you know how to do it with your own kids? So having that model has been wonderful. Yes, ma'am.


Margo Hecker 11:41

I remember the controversy. And our city manager lost his job because we built this building. But our oldest son when he was in sixth grade, he and his friends would come down every Friday, next Friday afternoon to spend time at this library. They loved it. And who was it seemed that it was very special. And I brought a high school student, tutor. And we saw a monk person coming in and I had the chance to explain to him, the monk people are good people. And they're here because they need to be I wouldn't have had that opportunity if we weren't coming to the library.


Joleen Sterk 12:26

So can we be in agreement that the library is a pretty important and spectacular community resource? Excellent. Okay, then we can get started on the slides. And Margo, thank you for taking those notes. Because I think that's really important to kind of ground what we're talking about today. All right. So I did a little research, because that's just the kind of history nerd I am. People, in my opinion, are story sharing creatures, right? So I mean, I can't train my dog to shares and exchange stories with me. But I can talk to my children about that I can share stories and talk to my mom and ask her questions and hear about her experiences. We organizing groups, and we started recording things a long, long time ago, back in 3400 BC, in fact, writing was starting to develop. So then soon after that scholarly sort of curation of writings began, well, 2500 BCE. So you know, a little bit of time have passed. But I was thinking about what are some of the oldest libraries or collections that we know about? So the Persepolis archives were found, and they date back to the first Persian Empire, which was founded in 550 BCE. That's pretty amazing to me. And then the end of that empire, of course, was symbolized by the burning of Persepolis by elegant Alexander the Great. Another old old library of the great library of Alexandria in Egypt, was taken by Phoebe BBC. Yep. Okay. It was one of the biggest in the ancient world and founded between 323 to 283 BC, but a whole bunch of scrolls got burned in that library during Caesar's civil war in 48 BC. There is the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal was founded in the seventh century during the Assyrian Empire, and it's now housed at the British Museum. So it's a bunch of tablets, and it's a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments that have things recorded in lots of different languages. The Vatican Library, another really old library was established in 1475, although it's much older than that, one of the oldest libraries in the world. So the Bodleian or Bodleian Library is the main Research Library at the University of University of Oxford, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It's got 13 million printed items. It's the second largest library in Britain after the British Library, and they still Make people who are not University associated take a pledge to the solemn oath, when they enter, that they, you know, I hereby undertake not to remove from the library not to mark to face or injure in any way any volume document or other objects belonging to it or in its custody, not to bring into the library or Kindle there in any fire or flame, not to smoke in the library. And I promise to obey all the rules of the library. You've probably all heard in the Library of Congress in Washington DC, it serves the serves as a sort of de facto National Library of the United States founded in the 1800s 1800s, that it is the oldest federal cultural institution in this country. And it's one of the largest libraries in the world, it has about 173 million items, and has more than 40,000 employees, which is a few more than we have. Collections are not limited by subject format, or national boundaries, research materials from all parts of the world, and in more than 470 different languages. I have no idea. I mean, I knew it was based but that diversity with language is just amazing. Well, then we slide into from ancient history into what I would describe as the golden age of libraries. And if you think about American history, in the late 1800s, and you think about the founding of Menominee, you know, with industrialization came a need for workers that were literate, that could understand that could communicate effectively, and increased access to public education produce more demand for libraries, and democracy itself requires informed citizens, right. So Americans began to believe in this idea that libraries should belong to everybody, not just the elite, the well educated, the well connected, but to everyone, regardless of your station or status. So there was a Scottish American businessman and philanthropist, you might have heard of me, Andrew Hardy, funded the building of over 2500 Libraries between 1883 and 1929. I would say that was a pretty productive stretch of time for Mr. Carnegie. In the midst, you're repeating yours, please. Yep. 1883. So 1929, and it was 250 2509, actually 509. Some of them were public. Some of them were universities. But the last Grant was made in 1919. And there were 3500 public libraries in the United States, and almost half of them are turning to libraries. He provided grants for 63 public libraries in Wisconsin. So we've got 300, and some plus right now. And 63 of them were Carnegie libraries. The first of the ones that he built, of course, was in Scotland in his native homeland. And the first one that was built here and commissioned by Carnegie was in 1886. In Pennsylvania. He believed currently that anyone who could who worked hard was going to be successful. That's the American dream we were all taught about right. He also believed that libraries would benefit immigrants by helping them to assimilate into culture and to understand the lands that they were coming to. You might also recall that we had a robber baron or two in Menominee history. Captain Andrew and Mrs. Tainter built the maple paint or memorial in memory of their daughter Mabel, Mabel died in 1886. But does anyone know when the Mabel Tainter Memorial building was opened? In 1890, you're right. Yeah. Well, it was complete in 89, but probably officially christened in 1980 90. And the Reverend Maxon was a driving force and getting this established because not only was it a beautiful place to go to the theater, but it's a community cultural center and had a free library that was in a reading room that was open to the public, and it was a gathering point for the Unitarian Society a little bit more about Menominee history, I found out that the first school was established in 1852. To help support families that were in the lumber camps. Our first mayor was William Wilson. Margo probably already knows this. But the first newspaper the duck county lumberman was founded in 1860. And then it became the Dunn County News in 1866. But that same time, churches started to get established, and we're getting a sense that Menominee is really a growing and thriving place that's going to be here for a little while. So in 1872 public libraries were established in law in Wisconsin, are established by law in Wisconsin, and in 1874, so next year, this 150 years since this happened, our first library in Menominee. And I think of it as being synonymous with the old library with the Mabel.. And of course, it was at the Mabel for a very long time. But before that, it was located on the second floor of the First Bank and Trust building. I didn't know that either. I thought that was really interesting. And that bank became First National Bank in 1883. And today, we know it is Dairy State Bank. And the person who founded that bank was on the first board of directors for the library. So the way that got established initially was a group of women got together and decided, surely, there's got to be something better for these young men in town to do with than rattle around and hang out in the bars. And it was decided that this would be a good way for people to spend their time, their leisure time. And as for the governance of the library, in 1876, it was taken over by the city, and was maintained as the municipal institution until 1900. And so there, we have this overlapping period where this municipal library existed in the bank building, and then the Mabel opened, and somehow we had to transfer the collection into the table, there were about 3000 volumes at that time. And a number of them went to the table, I think six to 800. The remaining went to the school district to be used in the schools in the area. So the city even though it ceased to be a municipal library decided to provide what would you call it sort of an enhancement of support enhancement, they didn't view it perhaps as their major responsibility, but saw the value that it provides. So they gave a subsidy to the Mabel, even though it was a privately held. library and reading room? Well, back in 1882, the city of Menominee, Incorporated, and it was about that time also that there was another gentleman in Menominee, Mr. Stout, he became Senator stout came up with this idea of sending boxes of books to rural areas in Dunn County. And he spent his own money on this, he purchased 500 books, he put them in three dozen boxes, and distributed them to little post offices and general stores and places where people gathered all around that county. And then they would switch and rotate these boxes of books, so that people would have better access to reading materials. I thought that was really cool. And it wasn't too much longer after that, that he got involved with the State Library Association. And this became a thing Menominee is one of the first communities in Wisconsin to have had a public library, and definitely at the forefront of having traveling libraries. So it's something to really be proud of. And I think it's sort of a challenge for us to live up to that legacy moving forward in some way.


Steve Hogseth 22:54

Was that the first? You seen these little libraries all around the country? Yes. Was this works?


Joleen Sterk 23:02

Well, I can't say that other people didn't have the same good idea. Yeah, I


Margo Hecker 23:07

think those little like those little free libraries that you see around, I looked it up once. I technically the very first company that was ever promoting them actually wasn't. It's.


Joleen Sterk 23:22

So the little free library, they have their own website, you can look that up and find out there. It's dots on a map all over. It's just caught on like crazy. It's amazing. But yeah, you think conceptually, that's sort of the same idea. If you think back to bookmobiles, and books by mail, and that concept of sending service to places that's outside of the library itself. You was just kind of a free thinker back in the day, and it's amazing. All right, where do we want to go after this? Okay, well jump ahead in time to the 1970s because that's when the city got re involved with the library. And the City Council voted to create a municipal library board and somebody 577 somewhere in that area, and it had nine members instead of our current 12 members, couple of which are here today. Thank you guys very much. In 1979, council approved funding to purchase or develop a library building, get a site paid for the construction costs, and a few architects were chosen to compete for this project. And at the time, Mr. Bob Willow was one of the library board members and his wife Jan commissioned John how to design plans to be considered. And at that time, a downtown location was desired. So in 1980, the board the library board purchased this two acre plot of land from Myrtle Werth for $70,000. That seemed shocking to me and you buy property. So that happened, I The deal that I saw was dated October 28 1983. And that property deed is held by the library board to this day. So John Howe was kind of an interesting cat too. And some of you look like familiar faces. You might have seen a presentation at the Historical Society about the work of architect John Howe. He was someone who practiced for a lot of his later years in his career in Minnesota, and developed what he would call Minnesota prairie style architecture. His papers are held at the University of Minnesota library. So if you're ever curious about his other works, check it out. But he was a draftsman he was John. Sorry, Frank Lloyd Wright's chief draftsman. John, how h o w. E, correct. Okay. Yep. So he was Wright's chief draftsman for 27 years. Okay. So what? Actually Oh, I mean, if you think about what you worked on, he was the chief draftsman for Falling water for the Johnson wax building in Racine for the Guggenheim Museum. This is the architect that designed this building for us. It's just stunning. And if you want to have a conversation about the impact of John Howe's work, the just the wonder of John Howe's work talked about and janela, because they they knew him personally, and will have a lot to share. We still have a lot of his line drawings from the original renditions back in the 80s. So if anybody ever wants to look at that, just out of sheer curiosity, I'd be happy to show you. But how's idea with organic architecture had to do with simplicity and integration, he wanted to create something that was going to be timeless and something that integrated into the natural landscape. And I think he did a great job, I think he knocked it out of the park and he created a space that's really beautiful, and it's unique. And even after almost 40 years, it's still very functional. We've had to tweak it a little we've had to, you know, address ADA accommodations, we've had to add wiring for internet connectivity, but the shell of the building remains the same. And I'm just going to give you a little peek here. There's a beautiful lakeside, how could you argue with having? I know, it was a thing I know, there were, you know, vigorous disagreements about where to locate how to locate we change the city government formats as a result of decisions that were made.


Margo Hecker 27:30

When we thrive,


Joleen Sterk 27:33

we do we do indeed. This building was built in 1986. And guess who was president and back bed? Wow. I mean, 1986 just seems like yesterday, right? It wasn't that long ago. But when you put it in the context of presidential administrations and think that Ronald Reagan was in office, when this building was built, it does give you sort of a perspective of time that has passed. And this is our floor plan, which is much the same as it was, you know, we have these gorgeous south and east facing windows with pockets of sunshine for people to just relax, I'm taking the view. From the street, we have a very welcoming walkway, either to the meeting room or through to the main, you know, central the heart of the library itself, we have for the information desk, but staff we have a circulation desperate staffed, and really are trying to invite people into this, what I call the money shots, where you just look at this gorgeous glass and look out on Lake Mahnomen. I don't I challenge you to find a better view and town that the public can access. There are some lovely homes on the lake. But I don't think the people that live in those lovely homes particularly want to share that. So this is our beautiful, beautiful view. And we're so so grateful for all the work that was done to make this happen. All right. So now I'm going to turn to a little bit about what's going on these days. Our annual report and I had copies of this at the table in the back if you're curious and want to take it home. Every year we are required by the state of Wisconsin to submit a rather lengthy record of what it is that we've been up to. So we wanted to put together in our communication specialists Tracy Sorenson did a phenomenal job in making this look attractive. I would just nerd out on numbers all day long. And she says no, no, no, you can't do something interesting. So you know, we've, you know, checked out over 250,000 items. We have a branch in Elk Mound and that has garnered almost 10,000 checkouts as well. The cool thing about Elk Mound is that I don't know if any of you have noticed this but it's on the border between Don county you Get block county very close to Auclair County. So all of this. Use participation interest in an Elk Mound community library that is located in Dunn county does good things for Don County, because all of those borrowers from Chippewa and Eau Claire that are coming into use it, you have to pay for that. It doesn't come for free. So that is a check that gets cut back to Dodge County. That was a strategic plan that my predecessor and the board put in place. And it's something that I will work really hard to try to keep because as I said, I'm a rural kid, I want people to have access, even if they don't live in the big town of Menominee. It's really, really important. And Monica Rushkoff works at the Elk Mound branch, and they love her. If anyone else goes to her branch, they were building relationships that people love it. So thank you, thank you. We have a lot of in person visits here, you know, almost 60,000. And it's I think it's interesting that in this day and age, we have over 45,000 website visits, people are looking at this website, this beautiful website, we'll get to that in a minute that Tracy has graciously enhanced, improved and made really shine. So people can find what they're looking for and visit the library, even when we're not open. As far as cardholders, we can look back at this over the years, but it is subject to how you define cardholder, we have gotten really rigorous about cleaning our data up recently. So this seems to be a pretty good number to me about 9500 card holders, half city borrowers, half non city borrowers. And then when you look at programs and program participation, particularly since COVID, we've seen people hankering to get back in person and doing things and gathering again. And certainly that's evidenced with our preschool programming, but also the offerings that we have for the adults in the community. And you know, older kids, teens, what have you, everybody. It's just a human thing. We crave connection. Yes. One person come in. Yeah, sure. So


Steve Hogseth 32:16

let's take the conversations in here, so is that aid programs versus community conversations? One,


Joleen Sterk 32:29

it would be aid provided that the library was partnering, there are lots of people that come and use this meeting room for their own, you know, meetings, it might be a League of Women Voters, or it might be a boy scouts group. And we make this meeting room available to the public, provided that people aren't trying to sell anything, and it has to be open to the public. So we don't count that as part of our total, what we do count as part of our total would be today, I would say the library is definitely involved in the community conversation. But our storytimes when we have concerts on the line when we do yoga classes, that all counts. Does that make sense?


Steve Hogseth 33:09

So it's library and golf. Yeah. Yeah, your work here. The other ones would not be correct.


Joleen Sterk 33:17

Yeah. So the programming doesn't really tell the full picture of how this meeting room is utilized. We have a calendar, and you can look at it and see all of the different groups that use it for one reason or another.



Can I ask two quick questions? Yeah, the Elk Mound branch would be individuals from the other counties? Are they paying a fee to use the library? Or is the other counties?


Joleen Sterk 33:43

That's a good question. So it's not a fee that's assessed to the individuals. It's, it goes, it gets built back to the county, and we'll get into that in a minute. We're going to dive deep on some numbers, it's gonna be fine.



My second question was going to be the 59,000. In person visits, that's in 2022. What was it prior to COVID? That was curious.


Joleen Sterk 34:06

Oh, that's a good question. I can look that up. Margo. Do I have a pen on me? Because I, you know, as fully as I packed my toolbox, I don't have answers to everything at the ready. So I'd be happy to follow up with that. I've been



comparing what's happening before that.


Joleen Sterk 34:21

Yeah, I'll be honest and say that I know it is not at the same level as we were before COVID. But I would also say that we have had the drop about 20 hours of service weekly, in order to make our budget balance. So if you're closing your doors that many more hours a week, you're not going to have as much foot traffic in and out and to the extent that we can handle I think we're seeing a lot of foot traffic for the hours that we are open so not really suggesting that we would want to see a whole lot more for I think the staff would have something to see. Okay, but we want to know for visit pre and post COVID Okay, yeah, absolutely. Shall we move on? Or does anyone else have a question that you want to draw straight away? So here's the big question. How is the library funded? Well, given our kind of funky, starting out with some philanthropic funds at the maple, and with Senator stout, and being a municipal organization, and then not to know we're sort of a municipal organization, but we also serve the county and we're trying to help Elk Mound, what's going on here? Well, we're governed by the state of Wisconsin, the Department of Public Instruction division for libraries, and has a municipal library. There are different types of libraries in Wisconsin, like Hudson is a joint library. Milwaukee has been lucky County Library students point has Portage County Library, but by and large, the libraries in Wisconsin are mostly municipal libraries. So this part of the chart shows what we have received in funding last year from the city of Menominee. It was about I shouldn't say about it was exactly $440,000 for service, dog County, kicked in $509,733. Those other counties that we were talking about that are using Elk Mound are people from St. Croix County that are using Menominee, or Pepin or any of Baron, you know, the other counties in this 10. County area, pay us back as well. So we received over $34,000, in payback from other counties for their service to their rural residents. We do get some gifts to the library. Yes, ma'am.



How about the other direction, like when I get interlibrary loan books from other counties?


Joleen Sterk 37:00

We haven't paid this library? No, that's a really good question. So to be clear, we have a catalog or consortium catalog. And we're constantly borrowing from other libraries, that service is covered and paid for that doesn't affect anything. If you borrow from WisCat, you're not charged an additional service for that either. So that allows us to borrow from Milwaukee, Madison, lacrosse superior, anywhere you want to go. If we don't have it, we will try to find it for you. And occasionally, you know, we might go as far away as Washington or Texas or Florida or who knows where. But that's the extent that we'll go to to try to find what you're looking for now you begun, so I can't disappoint you. I won't do it. We love a challenge. You know, it's just lovely to see people thinking critically, I love it. But where was I going with that thought. So we were talking about funding from these other sources. And it doesn't cost money to have things sent here. But if you live in like I live in the township of Menominee. I don't live in the city limits. I live in the township. If I were to visit the Eau Claire library and checkout physical items at the Eau Claire library at Le Phillips, it would cost Dunn county money for me to do that. So that's why I use my more library and have them ship it here. I'll visit the library and look at the very beautiful building. But if I'm checking materials out, I'm doing it right here. Good question. This carryover pot is a bit of an anomaly because we are instructed to spend our money in the fiscal year in which it was, you know, given we are getting reimbursement dollars, it's we'll get into this funkiness in a little bit. But the goal is to spend down so that we have no money leftover COVID kind of threw a wrench into things. We've had a lot of high level staff retirement, and we've had rehire and things. It's just, you know, frankly, taken me a little bit of time to get on my feet as a director and understand how the budgeting has worked. We have an excellent board, they oversee all of the funds, you don't have to worry about that at all. But we did have this little bit of carryover. So that's going to be gone very soon. And we're gonna get to that. How is the money spent? I mean, it's shocking, really, you know, we have a $1.140 million budget. And most of it comes from the city in the county, but we need other revenue sources because we can't keep doing this with just government funding. Yes, ma'am. How much of that is salary? That's a good question about 1.1 million. So when we look at the second graph, staffing accounts for $668,612 So over half over half that includes salaries, wages and benefits, and anyone that works in HR or works The staff has a small business and has to pay people knows that benefits cost money and a lot of money, it's not getting less expensive. And frankly, with the labor market being what it is, if people can get a job at Kwik Trip or at Burger King, or, you know, I won't even go into the factory level of work, but just doing customer service level work, and they're paying kids $15 an hour, I have to compete with that I have to be competitive in a workplace where that's almost the bottom wage that we can start at. So it's it's tricky. We have were required by statute to spend at least $20,000 a year on physical materials. So that's an expense that we have, of course, we need to keep up the buildings. So there's the heating, there's the cooling, there's the electrical, there's probably going to be internet charges here. And right now we have free free fiber object, which is fabulous, but I believe that's probably gonna, you know, be changing too. We had some depth retirement. So we had to, during the John remind me was that for the elevator project was boilers, boilers. So there was some infrastructure work that needs to be done on the building. The city said, We'll give you a low interest loan, not we'll cover it for you, we'll give you a low interest loan and you can pay us back out of your operating budget. We had debt retirement. Other library services, we have to pay for that contracted cataloging that we get we pay for people to shuttle our materials to and fro from Eau Claire and voice Ville and Colfax and everywhere, that costs money, we have to pay people to clean the building to cut the grass to do all of the things that you need to do to upkeep a home or a business. Am I forgetting any big ticket things, we've got digital things that we subscribe to, that all costs money. And a lot of these are fixed costs that I can't do a lot about, because that's what the market is dictating digital materials we spent over $15,000, which seems shocking, but then when you look at what we actually have access to that's another untapped gem. Holy moly. Did you know During COVID, we had access to from home. I mean, if anybody wanted to get into family history, that was the time to do it. Now you'd have to come back to the library to do it. We'd love to see you happy to help. Yes.


Margo Hecker 42:26

But then County, Genealogical Society has just partnered with Family Search. So anybody that doesn't have an account, Family Search can now go to the Genealogical Society at the museum.


Joleen Sterk 42:38

That is wonderful. It just happened about a week. Wow. And who was emerging? Thank you for sharing that. And maybe we can get that in our next newsletter. That would be wonderful. You were wondering about physical materials, and what happens if the library burns down? And what do you do? And so I called up John Thompson, our system director, and he said, Well, it's an insurance claim is what it is. And I was taken aback and he said, well think about it. Most of the material you have is stuff that's housed in other public libraries. It could be replaced, except for the local history, we need our local history. So we have digitized the Dunn county news. So it's available online, rather than having to go through those horrid microfilm reels. Oh, does anyone remember microfilm reels? Yeah, so that's been digitized, where the wild rice grows has been digitized. The history of Dunn County has been digitized. We partner with Stout, we try to link to their archives services, we partner with the County Historical Society and try to give them a little love to remember there because I love them so much. And yeah, I think by working together, we're protecting the assets that are unique to Menominee. But if you don't like no match in the stacks, Honey, I'm sorry. They're just going up in flames. I'm getting to step out of the building. And that's it. We do have an emergency plan to get the staff out to get it public. John says nope, that's an insurance claim. But maybe some of you know this, too. In Hudson, they recently had some pretty substantial damage at their library. They had a storm and something caved in through their plate glass floor to ceiling glass all over the kids collection and they're still ringing money out of their insurance company to get your collection built back up. Yesterday, I was just wondering whose noticeable amount of money we love our friends. You know what we're gonna get there. Okay. Because Holy cats, Tracy, there is no way I'm getting through all of this. Well pick up the pace a little bit. But please keep asking questions. This is more fun than I've had it. And so this is data that we look at at least once a year but I like looking at it. Oh, I don't know a couple times a week, you know, or maybe, maybe more. We won't get there. When you Look at our checkouts. So this is coming from city residents. This is me and the town of Menominee. And Tracy, I seek to chime in on a user to town of Tainter, the red cedar Township, this is the town of Dunn. And then other is all of the other townships and Dunn county plus all the other counties that come here for service. So that's kind of interesting. Now, how does the money get calculated? Like how do we know how much to charge these other counties? This is in state statutes, and it's act 150. And the board gets real twitchy about this, we have to send these bills out in a very timely fashion and make sure we get the money back. But for example, for the for this year, 2023, we had to look at our operating expenditures for 2021. And then we subtract out any state or federal monies that we have, and these are the expenses that are billable. Then we look at our circulation, which was done because of you know, pandemic we look at our circulation and divide our total expenditures by circulation to get a unit cost for circ did I do that? Right? Okay. Then we look at the numbers that are harvested from our library catalog that keeps track of where people live, we don't know your addresses, or I mean, we don't track your addresses. But as an aggregate, we know how many people from the township of Menominee, how many people from the city of Menominee, how many are rural, how many are living within a municipality, a village, that sort of thing. So this is another interesting thing about state statute. The counties that reimburse only have to reimburse at 70% of the cost of doing business, not 100% 70. So when we send out these bills, we're looking for reimbursement, we're in this range of 100% reimbursement. But often, the check that we get in the mail looks more like reimbursement in this range. So that's a difference of $160,000. That's going to impact services that's going to impact hours that were open, that's going to impact collections that we have to offer all of you people and knock on wood. Dunn County has funded us at 100% for several years due to a lot of hard work by people that are on the county board, that are library advocates that are on our own board that have sort of set the tone, and set the expectation that this is what Dunn county really wants to invest in. Now, I don't know how many of you live outside of the city limits, you might be aware of, you know, budget shortfall shortcomings with county funding here or there. Could they go down to 70%? They sure could. And would that be devastating to us? Absolutely. It would, it would decimate what we do. I don't think that's putting to find a point that it would be really, really bad. But that's that's where we get our funding from from outside sources. Any questions? State Legislature, this is another fun thing if you wanted to go looking. It's in chapter 43 of the state statutes. There is everything you ever wanted to know and more about municipal libraries that define what municipal libraries are, how we're supposed to operate, what that means what the statutory obligations are. So if you want to go down a rabbit hole and look and learn about municipal libraries, this is the place to do it. Now the city of Menominee, you may or may not know we've had some recent vacancies. Lowell Prange has also served as city administrator here since the era of Ronald Reagan decided to retire. And as a city department head. I was involved in the process of meeting the candidates. I think Council will be coming up with an announcement soon as to who's going to fill those shoes. But really, the city administrator as a public servant, just like the rest of us, the city administrator, the mayor and city council all answer to the citizens of Menominee. And that's very much the way that I view the work that we do here. We are this is not a top down organization. This is a grassroots, bottom up. We're here to serve you. It's your library. But within the city. Within the city, I just I don't know how many of you know this, and I think this is fascinating to know. You know, this is how it's set up. There's the administrator, the administrator has an assistant. We have corporate counsel for the city. We have Have a Director of Public Works that oversees building inspection, wastewater, streets and parks. The water department we have contracted with cedar Corp is our city engineering firm. And then we have an Environmental Services Program. So that's kind of all under the purview of the Director of Public Works. On the other side, there's the recreation department, through the water park, they work with the senior center. There's it there's the city clerk that runs elections. There's the city treasurer, and a deputy treasurer. And of course, we have police and fire. There's one department that I'm not seeing on the org chart. But thanks, Tracy. We put ourselves in there. That's going to be a challenge. We we need people to understand that we are a municipal library. We are part of this city, we get our paychecks from the city, we get our benefits from the city. And the city needs to understand that we're a city department and they need to take us seriously and fund us appropriately. Yes, ma'am.



So then do you report? Does the library report through the administrator? Or where does it end up on this chart? If you had to put it up? That's a


Joleen Sterk 51:14

really good, that's an excellent question. This is also specified in chapter 43. Because we are a public library, and we're supposed to be separated from the politics of things. We are governed by a Library Board of Trustees. Our board is made up of 12 people, one of them is from the school district, and they have to work in an administrative capacity for the school district. We have another five or six that have to live in are appointed by city council. So we've got about a half and half split half live in the city limits half live outside the city limits. So Council appoints the you know, some of them. And then the Dunn County Board of Supervisors appoints the remaining and all decisions made on behalf of the library go through the Library Board of Trustees. Are you interested in being on board?



I'm sure we all are


Joleen Sterk 52:12

an advisory group? Yeah, it's it's a huge responsibility that they have, actually. And I, I think that's what allows for the continuity from director to director is by having strong boards in place, active participants from the community that are really invested in what the heck is going on around them.


Lorene Vedder 52:33

So just to follow up on that, yeah. So then your board of directors who then are they accountable to? Well, so you know,


Joleen Sterk 52:43

they're accountable to the city indirectly, because it's council with debts, appointing them? And if Council is not happy with them, they can appoint somebody else? Or the board of the County Board of Supervisors? Yes.



I guess I'm confused. This whole city here. Money's in each of these departments. Yes. The Public Library is not on there.


Joleen Sterk 53:09

correct. I noticed that too. I thought they might.


Steve Hogseth 53:13

I guess I don't.


Joleen Sterk 53:16

Like, you know, I looked at the advertisement for Lowell Prange's job. And it's said that they have a $31 million budget. And they're giving us 400,000 of it. That's not a lot. So when you look at the city's budget documents, which are available on the city website, it's 100 Plus pages. It's kind of convoluted. But certainly, that's something you could talk to your older men representatives about. And just to better understand it, I feel like everybody has, in a way dropped the ball on study governance in finding out where your tax dollars go, what are they used for? Would anyone else be interested in knowing why or where or how these funds are spent? Or am I on my own on us? No, no. Okay. Okay, so I offered this to my colleagues at the Department had meeting on Wednesday, I said, What would you all think about coming down to the library and meeting with folks and just explaining to them why the fire department needs new turnout gear or needs a new fire truck or needs extra people? Why you're having trouble recruiting kids out of these technical school programs? How come we can't fill all of these vacancies? What's the problem? Or to have the rec department had come in and say, you know, our playground equipment is about 30 years old, and that's just not okay anymore. Unless people know that we have a need for investment in the community. Why would they care? So I invited them to come here. I said, Would you be interested in talking to folks and they said, absolutely. So I shared that with a reason. If you want any contact information, happy to send that your way. I think it would be great the more that people participate actively in local government and understand what's going on, the better we're all going to be. But steadily, I feel like your generation is the last one that maybe understands that in a real way. No, no, no, no. Tell me I'm wrong. You're wrong. Okay. Okay, how much is the annual city budget? 31 million, was what they had it advertised us in this packet of stuff. Okay. And if anybody needs to get up and stretch, we're about halfway through. So if you need to take stretch, break, grab some water, excuse yourself to the restaurant, please feel free to do that. But I'll just keep we could do this all day long. I have so much fun.


Steve Hogseth 55:45

With the Mondays chart, interview satisfactory answer,


Joleen Sterk 55:50

I have to be honest, I have not brought it up yet. I think that there is an opportunity to build our case. Without being critical. I think it would serve us better to come in in a spirit of partnership. And assuming that we, of course, were a city department. This is ridiculous. I don't feel the need to point fingers or suggest, you know, that's, I'll let you draw your own conclusions and have your own conversations with your representatives. How's that? Awesome. But if you want to know about library funding, just kind of looking in a sort of multi tiered fashion. This shows from 2003 to these are actual expenditures and what was reported in the DPI reports, annual reports, they're all public information, do you want to go out and find that knock yourselves out, I'll be happy to send you the link. But we're just over 500,000, back in 2003, you look at 2023. And what are projected, or budgeted expenses are for this year, they've grown pretty substantially. You can look at the blue bars. And this shows levels of county funding. And you can see that done County has consistently stepped up and made increased investments, probably partly because they're using our facility heavily. And partly because they value library service, and they're funding us at 100% of our incurred costs. on the city side of things. Here we are in 2003, probably 300,000, somewhere in that range. And it looks pretty stable to me, I'm not seeing a lot of change in 20 years time, are you? Right? Well, here's a


Steve Hogseth 57:40

call for inflation.


Joleen Sterk 57:43

You're a clever guy. This is adjusted for inflation. So this is the total revenue dollars that were spent. This is the inflation adjusted dollars that were spent. Here we were last year. And this is what we're projecting for our expenses this year. But we know that the amount that we're likely to get from the city and the county is likely to match about where we were at last year. So unless we get a windfall, or some really deep pocket donors, we may be in a little bit of trouble. We have a little bit of extra capital left from that reserve fund that we're not supposed to have. And we'll have to get spent the our system director said next five years, get it done with I don't think it's going to take five years, I think maybe to maximum. Yeah, when you adjust for inflation and look at where we're at, it's not crazy. I thought this was kind of interesting. As far as library service in Wisconsin, we're broken down into a little better than a dozen that keeps changing. They start merging systems to provide library service, but we're part of a 10 County Consortium. So if you try to use your library card in Medford or wasa or Marshfield, or down in Lacrosse, it won't work because we're not part of their systems. Or if you go up to northern waters, Bayfield you're vacationing somewhere up north. You don't go any further north and priced out your your government work. But it's interesting because when you look at the state comparisons, you can go down a rabbit hole on this one too. And I have a few times most municipalities in Wisconsin maintain library funding well above the minimum required rate. So what the what the city does is they opt out of paying the county library tax. They say what do we have to pay you so that we don't have to pay John county the library tax and that's based every year on assessed value of buildings in the city proper. So those numbers will come out or not? Justin, we'll see where we're at. But when you look at comparables, as reported on the annual reports to dpi, most of the 382 public libraries in Wisconsin or municipal libraries, as opposed to the county system, or a joint library system, so we knock those out and you're down to 325 municipal libraries in Wisconsin. Okay, and 2020, you're all sitting down, we were ranked 314 in terms of per capita support for libraries. So only a left, let me do the math for you. Only 11 communities in the entire state of Wisconsin that have municipal libraries, funded their libraries at a lower rate than Menominee. did. I find that appalling? I mean, I know Dunn County has problems with poverty, with affordable housing, with economic development. But it's it's pretty staggering. When you think about our past where we came from with Senator stouts. And the traveling libraries and the trainers who give to the city this gorgeous building to where we are today, we have come a long way. And it's, it's kind of stunning. So how do we go about changing that? I would say mostly at the local level, Know Your City representatives, know your county board of supervisors, go to meetings, participate in local government to be informed. And I would also say that, from a professional perspective, the Wisconsin Library Association has a very strong lobbying arm. Just a couple of weeks ago, there was a buffalo people from our system that went down to Madison to meet with legislators on Library Legislative Day, talking to them specifically about the good work that libraries are doing in their communities. And why it's important to maintain specific library contracts to help with interlibrary loan borrowing to have services for people that are visually impaired to support what are some other things digital access to things through the Wisconsin Digital Library. And that's not just books or audiobooks, but databases, newspapers, research tools that you can't get by scrolling on Google, things that you would have to pay for that you're already paying for, that you need to have access to. So it's important to meet with legislators and the last time stout in the last state biennium budget hearings, Stone had these hearings on campus. And I met with and spoke to the people on that committee and explained why it was important for Dunn county to have library funding.



How is the library helping with poverty? And


Joleen Sterk 1:02:55

how is the library helping with poverty? That's a good question. I would say that one of the big things that we're doing is with the people that we serve every day, providing a place for the for them to come into that as a safe haven and a place where they are recognized as valued human beings that have needs just like everybody else, sending them the two points of referral, like stepping stones like the bridge to hope to area churches to places that are having meals available to the community. Dunn county Health Dunn Right is a coalition in Dunn County, you might remember a few years back there was a big survey that they did to see what's going on in Dunn County, what do we really need to work on? So they broke it down into think five different work groups. There was housing, there was a ODI stuff, there's chronic disease, there's, you know, a bunch of different things. Environmental, yes, thank you. So I work with the Chronic Disease team. And we distribute a lot of these brochures for health plan, right to say if you need access to housing, if you need access to support services, if you are dealing with addiction, here are some resources for you. So we're very direct. And Heidi Hooton, who manages the housing end of stepping stones has come and spoken at our staff training days. Yes. What



about the voice to the homeless? How is that how do they have an opportunity to speak about their needs? If they're being massacred?


Joleen Sterk 1:04:21

That's a good question. What would you suggest? Would you think that our community forum would be helpful



to try anything at this point?


Steve Hogseth 1:04:31

What is it the origin 1.2?



Well, we're gonna discuss it as a group for housing and solutions for the housing problem, not just for the poverty


Joleen Sterk 1:04:42

people, but for everybody else. Yeah. It's a huge deal. And if the library can be a partner in that work, we're very happy to do it. If we can help spread the word, distribute things, make information available. We do information really well here. I'd like to thank so much helps spread the word and get it out. We have to work together. It's it's got to be smarter, not harder because we don't have an infinite supply of resources.


Steve Hogseth 1:05:10

Great question. Yeah. The homeless? Who speaks for them? Really? We have, we can speak for them. Because they don't want to have us they don't have a president. That's a contract. It's a matter of conscience and morality. Personally,



it would be nice if they had a pulpit by which they could give their beliefs out individually or collectively,


Steve Hogseth 1:05:39

how do they even get the communication



meeting be held?



chime in, I'm on the board was stepping stones and the new housing shelter that they're they just tore down the feed mill for, they're going to have community services available there. So people who are staying there can speak to what they need, again, those empowerments in there I was I was homeless 10 years ago. So I feel I've experienced it. And I've worked with people who are almost no, and it's just a matter of encouraging them to see that they are a valuable piece of the community. So


Joleen Sterk 1:06:27

thank you for your Yes, in the back.



So back to the library advocacy for a minute. So is so it sounds like the Wisconsin Library Association has advocacy capabilities? And would that reach out reach down to our grassroots level to for them to mobilize us as well? Or is there something we need to work on locally?


Joleen Sterk 1:06:51

I think it's a yes. And yes, actually, WLA has a pretty active membership of professionals and professionals that work in libraries. But certainly that sounds a little self serving, you know, for a librarian to go down to Madison and say libraries aren't important datasets. Oh, because I'm a librarian. It's far more compelling to hear it from the public saying, Hey, I pay my taxes, I value this service. I want to keep this strong in my community. That does that is far more impact than, you know, a bunch of us just sitting down with legislators. And I think really, I don't know, that's just the way I was taught. It starts with local participation, local government, that's where you can have the greatest impact. I think we've had listening sessions with legislators here before and would welcome the opportunity to do that. Again, I think that's important, not just for library issues, but for things like housing and homelessness, and whatever else is going in our communities, drug abuse, I mean, there's, there's a whole lot of stuff going on, that legislators need to hear about. So I'm going to put that on my list too, to have listening sessions. Thank you. And I find this shocking, I don't please correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard a statistic that just made me sick to my stomach, that in this school district and Menominee School District, there's over 100 kids that are homeless, is that inaccurate? No. And that's a lot.



A lot of the children that might have a place to stay, a safe place to save might not actually have a decent meal except when they're


Joleen Sterk 1:08:29

young. And I know that project, Sam has been really helpful. For some families. Food Insecurity is a huge problem. There's probably more problems than we have time for today. But I encourage you all to please share your ideas and your concerns so that we can try to be a partner in making this community better for everybody. Because until we're lifting up, it's it's not working, you know, portions of our community are succeeding, perhaps, but we're not as a group lifting one another. That's what I would aspire to do is to maybe have a word better for everybody. Well, fortunately, this is a very pretty chart that trains did. So I wanted to show sort of our path of accountability. I was hired by the Library Board of Trustees, the board of answers to the Department of Public Instruction. We're part of the IFLS library system. Professionally, we associated with the Wisconsin Library Association and the American Library Association. We get funded through Dunn county through the city of Menomonie. We have partnerships with our friends of the library, and with the Menomonie Public Library Foundation. Our staff works incredibly, incredibly hard. And this is about as bare bones as I would ever want to see and our staff we're open 49 hours of service a week here and then 12 hours of service a week in Elk Mound were pretty light on the admin side. I mean Tracy's here part time, we have a business manager to pay the bills. And we have a gentleman that does maintenance for us about five hours a week. And then we have a contracted cleaning company. Our pages are high schoolers, young kids usually getting their first job learning about why it's important to show up on time to be prompt to communicate to, you know, pretty decent human beings, even, maybe, in spite of the fact that they're teenagers. Because I had some of my buddies, Jody Berg, my colleague, is our public services manager. So she oversees programming and collection development. We have folks at the information desk, we have Monica in Elk Mound, and Debbie Nelson is our treasurer and a new services and she's going to be, I'm not going to go there. Okay, she has done a wonderful job for a very long time. But that's what I will say, on the circulation, and we have folks, one person that's working full time and everyone else, we are sucking as many part time hours out of them as we can without having to pay benefits. And I hate to admit that but that is where we are at. It's not the, you know, an ideal model. But that's where we are at. We went through a planning process not that long ago, and the board and consultation with the community with a staff develop this mission and vision. And it's something that we try to put out in front of us every day that we're here, we provide resources and foster community to enrich the lives of Dunkirk citizens in a welcoming environment. Anybody can check out books, anybody can hand you a video or show you how to look something up on the internet. But when you walk in here, it's your community library, people generally know you if you'll take a little bit of a risk and share a little something personal, we're going to remember that we're going to ask you next time. How's it going? How did you like that? How are you doing? How's your dog? What's new in your life? Did you take that trip you were talking about? It's a community place. And then our vision is to work together to build an informed and engaged and connected community. You can live anywhere, you can work anywhere, but to call someplace home, means you're investing in it, you're investing a little bit of yourself, you're extending a little bit of yourself, you're caring about your neighbors, the people that are around you, it's a different kind of connection. And that's what we're trying to do here. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss represents our new library cards, does everybody in this room have a library card? If you don't, I can show you where to get one. You can check out up to 200 physical items on your library card, you can reserve up to 150 or 100 at a time, it's a ridiculous amount. And then you can do digital content. On top of that. We've got a really fabulous website. And I wonder if you linked it here. Or if we're going on programming, we try to offer a little something for everybody. So if you're a book reader and avid book reader, we've got a book discussion coming up at the renown it on the night. Start with the seventh of March. Oops, why did it go backwards? For the kiddies or grandkids or neighborhood kids in your lives, during spring break, Miss Debbie has some awesome fun things planned for pretty young people, different experience each day. And the cool thing about Debbie is she is one who subscribes to a play theory that allows kids to unplug from devices and get back to doing things the business of early childhood with their hands and their minds. Yeah, it's we're so lucky to have her that we're building kids that sure know how to function with technology in our environment, but aren't losing sight of the really important brain development and work that goes into early childhood. And you're never too old to play and build with Legos. I don't care how old you are. I'm just gonna say it. And there's treats. There's usually treats. Oh, yeah. This is a partnership. How many of you have been down to Lakeside Park and seen the storywalk? Yeah. So this was grant money that became available and the city cooperated with this because Lakeside is a really nice accessible park with a paved pathway. So roughly quarterly, we're changing out these stories and families can walk through the park and read a story. If you've been to Chippewa Falls to see their Christmas lights. You might have seen the storyboards in Irvine park or maybe at Baldwin Park in Eau Claire. There's a lot of communities that have started locks now, but it's a way to engage Kids with reading was story sharing while they're being little busy bodies, and it's a lot of fun. We're partnering, like I said, we're partners with health done right? We're partnering with the school district for this film. It's a Ken Burns documentary, hiding in plain sight, youth mental illness. And it's going to be happening in the high school lecture hall on March 30. It's really surprising and a little bit disturbing when you think about the level of mental illness and then unwellness in young people, when they're just having a time of it, I think between COVID and just this crush of digital information and what's happened in society, it's just a perfect storm of a lot of wild things coming together and our kids aren't being well served



on PBS. Yeah. If you any of you have passport, watch it this afternoon.



A couple of copies in our collection.


Joleen Sterk 1:16:08

If anybody still uses DVDs, we do love ya. Great. Thank you for that, though. And yeah, PBS passport, it's really wonderful to do that. Here's an opportunity for people to get involved if you are at all artistic, or craftsy. Or like taking pictures. This is on display on our art wall right now. And it's done by a dear friend of ours, Mary Marin, these are all looked on again, felted wool, she created these. And it's just stunning. So getting back to what I was saying about the resources that are available in this community. I know there are people in this room that know how to make that. Oh, my God, what's that stuff called at Christmas time this, Lefse? Oh, yeah. Yeah. So you know, not going there at all. That have, I think, I don't know, I'm just kind of anyway, but you know, people, I think about the ladies in the church basement that do stuff that only the ladies in the church basement know how to do most capturing that? How are we going to keep that when they're not with us anymore. I mean, there are so many traditions, rich traditions, rich local history, movers and doers and shakers. And people that know so much that are sitting in this room, and that you're friends with that we need to share. I mean, this is what I'm calling you to do today, actually, is to get involved with sharing your wisdom with us so that we can collect it, preserve it and share it with people moving forward. When this has enriched our community so much, just a simple little art wall. You know, maybe your thing is to say, well, I go to the Senior Center, I could bring a tote of books over there. Or I could show somebody how to put Libby on their mobile phone, or there's all kinds of ways that we can extend ourselves in small little measured steps that will make things better for all of us. May I just mentioned about your art wall or



whatever it is, it's your I call it your exhibit wall which educates us all about maybe the talents in our community. But in April, it will be Over the Edge Quilt Club, you're going to be displaying quilts, different sizes, I think, but then they will match up books that match up with whatever that cool pattern is. And if any of you in here are quilters we meet the first Tuesday of every evening at



the Senior Center. It's free. So


Joleen Sterk 1:18:39

that's awesome. Are you going to do a bed turning this time?



I don't think that's been set up yet. Okay.


Joleen Sterk 1:18:48

We have a lot of gifted quilters in this community. Oh, yeah. It's amazing. Amazing. Thank you for promoting that. That is wonderful. And we got to be okay, I'm getting that on my. Yeah. And we partner with Mayo Clinic. We've got some mayo peeps with us today. One of the things that Mayo is committed to is making the community healthier. So we offer free yoga classes here Mondays at nine in the morning, if anybody can make it and if you can't, you could do it from home on Zoom. And if that doesn't suit you, we have lots of materials in the library to show you how to do yoga. So that's that's an option to digital content. I mentioned Libby, any of you familiar with overdrive or have had the OverDrive app or used it for Yeah, so overdrive has sunsetted their app. And now it's all based on Libby but we have wonderful people at the information desk that can help you navigate how to make a transition from overdrive to Livi. And you can look at books you can get some video content, you can look at magazines, you can listen to things we have Video streaming service called canopy. And when you said about PVS passports, I'm not sure how much overlap there is with PBS offerings and canopy. But it's really a great resource, you can get some wonderful documentaries and educational films. So there's a lot of badger like Holy cats don't even get me started on vendorlink. If you my brothers really had no time for libraries until I showed them that there is an Auto Repair Reference Center database. You can look up your vehicle by make model year, you know engine size, it'll give you a wiring diagrams, it'll show you anything you want to know about your vehicles. If you don't want to have to pay a mechanic to you know, to diagnose a problem, or you handy enough to figure that out on your own. That's not my bag. But you know, good for you. You can look on bedroom like and have access to that. There's a lot of full text, newspapers, magazines, just a world of information at your fingertips. It's amazing. And it's all through state of Wisconsin funds. So it's a great resource. And also, you know, Ruth had a good question. We will get into this in a little bit she was asking about, Do people still get concerned about censorship or trying to remove things from your collection?


Steve Hogseth 1:21:20

You just read my mind.


Joleen Sterk 1:21:24

Where I was going with that is that there's Wisconsin Digital kids. And I serve on this committee for the school district for reconsideration. And one of the comments that I made at our last reconsideration meeting was that you can get all you know, wound up about something that you don't like about a book, like today's children have access to so much digitally, they're carrying this book in their in their phone already. So it's not that I really would take issue with anybody that says the DPI is trying to distribute pornographic materials to children, I really don't believe that's the intent of public education. They're trying to teach our kids. But my point is just that you can find objectionable materials in lots of other ways besides books. And public libraries are founded on the premise and the belief that people should have access to information not that it shouldn't be limited. So Wisconsin's digital library for kids


Steve Hogseth 1:22:24

with for this topic, I wanted to ask you a question. Yeah. How's the library? Have you seen an increase in people coming in challenging the books and getting into what is going out of the country? Especially in some particular states? In North


Joleen Sterk 1:22:48

Dakota? Or


Steve Hogseth 1:22:50

Florida, or Texas or whatever? Have you seen any? We have more so than in previous years?


Joleen Sterk 1:23:02

Well, if the previous benchmark was zero, and now we have one person who seems quite committed to this process, then yes, we have seen an injury because it would be a 100%. Question? So pardon?


Margo Hecker 1:23:19

I think he has a very serious question.


Joleen Sterk 1:23:21

Yes. So what I, what I wanted to bring to your attention is a book that is currently under review. It was something that was selected by our collection development people, because it was reviewed well, in our professional review journals, it filled a collection niche, it tells a story of someone who wants to use a bathroom other than the one that most people think they ought to use, should this book be removed from our collection? I mean, are there offensive pictures? Is there anything about this that's proselytizing, or suggesting this is how you need to live your life? No, if I don't want to read it, I don't have to read it. But there might be someone in my neighborhood, who that story really speaks to that might really appreciate having access to that information. And as much as it pains me to defend some materials. If we're not both delighted by and disgusted by maybe not disgusted or disinterested by things that we find in our local libraries, then frankly, I'm not doing my job. It's supposed to be there for everyone in the community, not for a certain sect or denomination, or group of people. It's for all of us.



Sometimes in those that have sort of local or national uptake in trying to censor certain titles, people would come to the bookstore wanting to buy it. So it has the So


Joleen Sterk 1:25:03

that's encouraging what I would also say if you're curious about this, the American Library Association has a particular sort of laser focus on this, they have a subgroup that looks at the numbers of challenges nationally, and they have been on an increase. I think it's still in the hundreds rather than the 1000s. But it's something that I'm mindful of. And I don't take for granted that we live in Wisconsin, not North Dakota, or Louisiana or Texas. But I would ask you to encourage people to support what public libraries were established for.


Steve Hogseth 1:25:42

Maybe three months ago, or four months ago, I attended a speaker over itself. And it had to do with both banning and circulation. It was mainly students who attended, there were a few of us like myself, there was a person who was an older lady. She spoke up and she was very much into censorship. And ended up creating, she was sort of not to welcome. And so it's good to see that people, especially the younger students, are speaking out against us.


Joleen Sterk 1:26:33

It's a concern, it is a concern, it is a concern. And luckily, we have board approved policies, we have a methodology in place. So when challenges like this one happened, I can look at the material and see if it meets our selection criteria, and bring it to a subcommittee of community members to say Does this meet the selection criteria in your view? And the committee will decide either yes, it does, or no, it doesn't and make a recommendation. So then I follow up with the person who has complained. And if they're not happy with the answer, they can appeal to the full library board, for most recent question was, well, how do you get on the library board? Is that funny, you should ask that. So now she knows what the process is for being involved. Because


Steve Hogseth 1:27:21

we have seen people in this community running for school or on your library board, we're in trouble.


Joleen Sterk 1:27:34

Yeah, I agree with you. There's a community in our consortium and up in Philips, not far from my, where I grew up. And they're having that very situation, they are dealing with multiple challenges 5060, some ridiculous number of books that the board, the Library Board wants to see removed from the collection. And, you know, wanting to, I don't think they've gone to the extent of wanting to remove the director, but definitely control the operational aspects of library services. So it's not far from from home. And it's something to be mindful of in our communities, when you're voting for sure. If that's important to you, it's important to me, there wasn't more that you want to disable. Okay. And also in the state of Wisconsin, we have access to this wonderful library called the Cooperative Children's Book Center. And when I was in grad school, it's a it's a specialized library in the School of Education. That's also supported by the library school. To some degree, I think that's changed a little bit since I was there a million years ago. But one of the services they offer to teachers and librarians across the state at no charge is to provide information and support when there are challenges and communities on children's materials. Now, if we had Mablethorpe exhibits, or something that people you know, got into twist about. We don't have resources at the state level to help with adult content. But we do with kids content, so they are very active and well versed in how to handle challenges. And I'm just so grateful to live in Wisconsin instead of Dakota. Anyway, ah, more fun. So this spring, we are rolling out Menominee emotion. And I wonder if my colleague Tracy would want to say anything about that today.



So this is a program just to get the community moving. And we have done this since I think 2017, but we used to do through the school district. And so we're bringing it to the library this year. We've had a couple years of break due to COVID. But we're coming back and basically it's a group that meets twice a week for a 10 week series and we then our goal is to run the Git agenda. So to do a 5k when we're done so we work our way up we start with walking than walking, running and some people will run the whole thing for some people. So it's a great way to get together and get to know each other and to support each other no matter where we're at, in our fitness. And it's I've just seen a lot of really amazing connections come out of it between people of all ages. So it's been fun.


Joleen Sterk 1:30:17

And Tracy, could you kind of speak to the group as far as two people share stories when they're walking in community connections when they're walking in. So you don't see this as being an EIS with our mission at a library.



No, definitely enriches the lives of people. It is just and I just see it all over town. That's what's so fun all year long, even though it's just a short program all year long. I see people connecting that met each other in class.


Margo Hecker 1:30:47

So when what date are you implementing?



April 3, it starts April was April third, certainly Monday and Wednesday, starting April 3, you can sign up, there's a link on our website, you can also just there's a QR code in the bathroom. There's our E newsletter, if you don't get that sign up for that, and you can, it's just a Google form that you fill out really quickly. And because it's to the library, it's a free program to.


Joleen Sterk 1:31:20

And I'm pleased to announce we're gonna have another season of music over Mahnomen. One of our partnering organizations, the Friends of the Library, sponsored this single handedly, because they've had successful book sales, they are covering the entire $5,000 cost of having 10 bands spread out in the summer. So we're going to do that Thursday evenings on the library lawn starts at seven o'clock, bring a lawn chair or a blanket or a refreshment or two or bring your friends, your neighbors and come out for some wonderful music. And you said we'll roll off and the band's in April,



April. Yes. So the website and our social channels. Absolutely. And the first night we actually have been working on it. So if you want to see what we're doing for summer program, the first Junaid



did you talk about I can't have



the first night we're also doing a big summer kickoff. So that's June 8. And so if you want to see what we're up to all summer and sign up for some programs, that would be the night cool.


Joleen Sterk 1:32:21

Yeah. And the friends can't do this without having big book sales. And oh, golly, they've got one coming up. It'll be here in this room. And the kickoff for friends members is on March 19. That will be open to the public March 20. And we'll run it through April 1. So two solid weeks of book shopping. There's a lot of puzzles to. But it's because people support the friends that were able to offer this kinds of programming, because clearly our regular budget does not allow for much of that. And the friends are always looking for more active volunteers. If you have things that you've been holding on, you've been cleaning out your closets, and you're ready to let go of some stuff. If I could just ask you to please wait until about me, that would be mid April. Yeah, we gotta get through this first. So there we go. And it all benefits for the library. They are fabulous human beings. This, oh, this still makes my heart hurt. This was another fabulous human being in our community, John Pulaski than any of you know, John, she was a wonderful library user and supporter and she passed. It's gonna be two years in November. But she was generous with her gifts, she left us a really nice estate gift. And she had specific ideas about what to do with it. She wants to celebrate the architecture of this building the beauty around us the natural beauty and really have an emphasis on mental health and wellness. So that's another reason why we're partnering with the high school on that particular program is to really draw attention to mental well being I mean, it's one thing to be in our physical bodies, but that's only part of our, our liveliness our existence, right. And if we're going to treat each other in a favorable way, we need to know how to take care of ourselves first. So, that being said, I think it's okay, can I share the dollar amount that she gave to us? So it was an excess of $70,000. Yeah. And the board, I think wisely, took some time to reflect and decide what we want to do moving forward. They hired an architectural firm to come up with a space design for the outside of this gorgeous building. There have been many attempts over time to try to enhance the size of this building to build it up out bigger, taller, you know, finish off the basement, what have you, but really to touch the shell of this An architectural gentleman to me would just be sacrilege. But there are some great opportunities to be had looking at this space all around us. If you look at a Google map and see the library in relation to the commercial plots that are adjacent to us, there's this little strip of shoreline, it's actually owned by NSP or Xcel Energy, and it has to be kept as an undeveloped spot in perpetuity. So we're looking at seeing if we could get some sort of access to that property, or if they would, perhaps want to give it to the city so that we could develop some really wonderful spaces for people to gather, to have spots to reflect in nature to enjoy our lake to draw some attention to the maybe the greenness of the lake. But just to have a better setup, and to be able, frankly, to offer the concert series. It's not great when you look at the way that we're plugging into outlets and what we're asking those Albert's to support. So there's a little bit of infrastructure improvement, that could definitely happen. And it's been a pretty phenomenal process, we've had about a dozen community stakeholders involved with developing this, and the board is going to get a presentation by the firm at their next board meeting. So that's coming up, I want to say March 16. Does that sound right? Yep, six o'clock in this room. So if you're interested, come on down, and you can learn all about it. We'll just look at this quickly, I can get my link to work. So library catalogs changed a lot. Since we all started thumbing through the card catalogs. Just a really quick overview of what's going on and more you have access to digital content for Wisconsin's Digital Library, digital magazines. If you're looking for a recipe, you might find it there. Or if you need a review from Consumer Reports, either find it here or in veggie link, that's that helps a lot of people that there's an app, so you don't have to be on in a browser, you can just put the app on your phone to manage your library account. This content is always changing as in terms of what is popular from the library. But you can go down so many different paths here. If you're looking for book recommendations, or bestsellers or award winners or what's coming up new from publishers. Sidenote, we also have a magazine called off page that you can just save from the information desk and it'll give you the releases to a little bit quicker. But I just want to call out praise for like the library l simplified and supported vital. Yeah, so library elf is an email service that you can use to help hound you to remind you when things are due. We have dropped our overdue fees on video checkouts, so it's now 10 cents a day to mirror what we do with books and audio content. But we just haven't gone down the route of being a fine free library because it takes money to run libraries. And if you're not going to play along responsibly, then I'm sorry, there are consequences. Which can if you are looking for things that we don't have available locally, a research page, and maybe we can just take a hot second look at some of our the wellness Chippewa Valley resources. There's Wisconsin Historical Society's image search, which is fabulous. It's a lot of fun, local genealogy resources. There's just tremendous depth to these local history collections. And I would encourage you to dig deep and really check what's in the library catalog. All right, I need to help out with that. You're just sitting here with rapt attention. I'm kind of blown away our library websites, and she stepped out of the building or stepped out of the room for a minute. But as I said, Tracy is our communications specialist. And she has made this website same. The last most recent page that she launched has to do with supporting the library and giving to the library invest in all of us, because the library makes our community better for everyone. So in the past, there's been a variety of strategies implemented, let's just put it that way for how to help people wrap their heads around this. And what made sense to Tracy and I is to have to describe it as one library with three different ways if people wanted to give, so for today. The library has a gift account that's also controlled by the library board. They approve all expenditures, but it allows us to use funds right now for things that are really important like doing programming for kids or if we need to get a specific collection area enhanced. We just got a grant and took some of our funds to enhance audio collections for kids. So they have the mp3 file embedded in the book, they can listen to it read along, they don't have to use a disc. It's, it's fabulous. So our gift account will allow us to do things like that or for you, if you want to remember someone you want to mark an anniversary or a birthday or something like that we've had lovely donations that have been received, and we put bookplates in them so people can be remembered for the wonderful library supporters that they were for tomorrow. The Friends of the Library is a great organization. They are such hard workers, they've tireless in their fanatics with sorting books, and selling books and doing good things and throwing money at us and saying do good for the community go go, how much do you want, they're just shelling it out. Which is wonderful, because it's because of all those collective little dollars, that we can do big things like write out a check for $5,000, or 10 checks for $500, actually, to these different bands. But you know, we couldn't do it without all of these little pool together. And then in the future, the Foundation was established a very long time ago by some wonderfully insightful folks who said, We need to keep this thing going, we need to keep our libraries strong. And today, they have about a half a million dollars invested in the Community Foundation. And that's one of the largest pots of money at the Community Foundation. Now that money when they don't touch the principal, they're able to spend money for as dividends. So we get a portion of that back. But their interest really is in saving money and growing things for the future. So if you're interested in any of these aspects of giving to the library, I'm happy to talk to you, the friends would be happy to talk to you, the foundation would be very happy to talk to you. It's all tax deductible, to the extent that laudable that are 501 C, three organizations. And we can do this together, it's going to take more than just government funds. And we need your help, we need everybody's help. Actually, if we're going to pull off having the caliber and quality of library that you all deserve to have. It's going to require investment. But I really believe that we can do this if we work together. So here's a couple of examples of just quick little things. We recently got an anonymous gift in honor of Amy and Dr. Dave, and it's going to be used specifically the donor requested, specifically use it to build relationships with seniors in our community. The Rotary Club gave $1,000 so that the first graders in the Menominee school district can come here for a field trip this May so we can talk to them about why it's important to read and what fun we're going to have at the library this summer. That wouldn't have happened without them. Someone else that has a Thrivent account said you know what, I've got this matching gift program. And I want to supply some supplies for a grant program. Fantastic. It's money that we can put to work for the community doing good right now, right here. We've got another lady whose talent is sewing, she wants to sew bookbags for us, right? I mean, thank you very much. We all have gifts, we all have the ability to do something to make this library work better for all of us. And the doors, these foxy doors with the glass mean, that was the foundation, they thank goodness for the foundation, they took care of a tuckpointing project that was long overdue and hideously expensive. They made sure that the found the literal physical foundation of this building is protected for years to come. And I'm so grateful for that. The doors are a lovely enhancement as well. And we're so thankful for the foundation funds for that. So thank you for any of you that gives to that it's really appreciated. I don't know how much longer I have left here. Let's see. Nope, not that one. Let's go back over all the fun stuff we talked about. What was it? There's how lucky are we to have this community? You know, I think we can do this together. And if you have any questions, any suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Thoughts? Yes,



of course. I mean, I think all of us are here, because we love this library. And I really want to thank you and the staff for continuing the high quality of service that you provide the community. And I also really appreciated your history of the library. And remember when Warren and I moved here Elizabeth in may pick a pack with the librarians. Yes. And this was not and this was really they were wonderful ladies, but this was like a Sal little cycle. One, one half of a salary maybe for two women who didn't have benefits. And this was allowed to go on and a friend of ours, Dan reared and recognized the kind of financial hardship that we will posing upon those those women. And that began to change. So I feel like what you brought up today about the great generosity like senators down and his ideas, and you know, all of this, it is in our heritage, but it's also somehow in our minds that we don't need to compensate professionals for what they're doing for us. And so I'm going to take part of that, and I am going to contact my council person, and ask them to think more deeply about the relationship that we have with the library and with the professionals who run it. Thank you. Thank you, and


Joleen Sterk 1:45:50

it's our pleasure to serve you really does matter. Yep.


Steve Hogseth 1:45:55

Question on the Library Board, who recommended the library board?


Joleen Sterk 1:46:03

I think that if you were to reach out to the mayor, that that would be a route to take, because it comes to council, and it needs to get on the agenda somehow.


Steve Hogseth 1:46:15

Really well. I'm asking. I pay very close attention in school. Because I've been sitting here I've been thinking about the library. Well, the city council approves them. Yes. Yeah. It's important to our vote for for city council.


Joleen Sterk 1:46:34

Absolutely. Part of the reason


Steve Hogseth 1:46:37

but who recommends people?


Joleen Sterk 1:46:42

I think some of it is self generated. If you're interested, you can have a word with the city administrator or with the mayor, or you know, the county equivalent on the other side. I was just going to pull up. I'd like to introduce the two gentlemen that are on our board that are sitting in the room today. Mr. Darren wood. Tukey is our board president. He is a longtime community. supporter. He works at UW Stout and Mr. John grape who is in Wisconsin credit union, and it's been a longtime community member and supporter. We built a playground together a long time ago.


Steve Hogseth 1:47:16

But I just I just raised about it was something that went through my mind as we're talking.


Joleen Sterk 1:47:22

I want you to I would like to introduce you to our library board though because we have amazing, amazing experience on that board. Kelly McCullough is our city representative. He is the city council representative. He's also the chair of the county board, which has been very helpful in getting that messaging across to other elected officials. Ryan Stegman is from the school district in the Menominee area. You met Darren and John already. Logan Mather lives in the city but represents the county. She's raised her family here and has served on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for the city. Dan Keator just lives up the street from us. Many of you probably know him. He was involved in county government for a long time really wonderful man still is still is Yeah, I just yeah, he's sorry. I feel better. So Dale Mandelson retired from UW stock. She's an economist and was the one that came up with the inflation adjusted figures that you saw. She's really brilliant. She's been here for a very long time. And I don't know what we would do without her. Sarah human is a city representative. She is raising her very wiggly boys up on the north side of town. And it's just wonderful to have her perspective. Pat Hein represents elk mountain so that there is some input from the village about mount on the services we provide there. Jessica Graham is a city resident and she's also a school Media Specialist in the district. So I feel like that's a really nice point of connection as well. Suzanne ganz is, I think, a recent dish transplant to the area, but comes with a lot of background on administration, and was involved in government in the Twin Cities, and she's really a great wealth of information and knowledge. It's got flesh and Ryan also lives in the city. And he has a background and it has been a longtime friend of the library and library supporters. So we have got a dream team. I hear from so many directors that have problems with their boards, our board, your board the board that I answer to that I'm just humbled to work for them. Frankly, they're so smart. They're so good. So anything else? I think there's still cookies left to so please take you know, five or six on your way. Thanks

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