Library Innovation Subcommittee Minutes

October 12, 2021

Hybrid-SCLS Headquarters and BlueJeans



Present: (attended virtually) Mehta Hess (MFD), Kris Houtler (REE), Renee Daley (ROM), Leah Fritsche (DEE)

Excused: Nicole Ozanich (STP), Melissa Roelli (MTH)

Recorder: Tamara Ramski

SCLS staff (attended in-person): Mark Ibach, Mark Jochem, Jean Anderson, Tracie Miller, Tamara Ramski

SCLS staff (attended virtually): Craig Ellefson, Shawn Brommer, Rose Ziech


1.      Call to order time: 9:02 a.m.

a.      Introduction of guests/visitors: None

b.      Changes/Additions to the Agenda: None

c.       Requests to address the Committee: None


2.      Approval of previous meeting minutes: August 10, 2021

a.      Changes or corrections: None

b.      Approved by motion  Kris (REE), Mark Ibach


3.      Action items: None


4.      Reports (for Committees only)

a.      Social work intern cohort. Mark Jochem reported.

                                                              i.      A Nuts & Bolts of Social Work webinar was held.

                                                             ii.      Planning is underway to make social work interns available to SCLS member libraries. Libraries have to opt in.

1.      Interns will provide services and staff training.

2.      It will be set-up as a cohort. SCLS will be the site supervisor/coordinator.

3.      The intern will not (necessarily) be full-time at a single library.

     iii. A survey will be sent out to see who is interested. Responses are due October 18.

b.      Update on Kwik Trip coupons: SCLS Foundation has already declined the offer of drink coupons from Kwik Trip in lieu of other sponsorships (for Library Card Sign Up Month, Cornerstone Award, etc.). Libraries can approach Kwik Trip individually if desired.

5.      Discussion

a.      Grants:

                                                              i.      From Alex, 9/10/21: I'm always on the lookout for grant opportunities and lately I've been looking for a more efficient way to find grants en masse, such as through a grant database. I found this database called Instrumentl and it looks promising: nice interface, good info, easy to use.
As far as I can tell, the cost is $150 per month at a basic level, but you can share that with 5 people. I was thinking that it might be interesting for 5 Innovation Subcommittee members or at least 5 SCLS libraries to use the database for the year and to track wins and money that was taken in, and then give a short summary of the experience when the year was done. It's quite possible we'd take in more than we spent on the database. I know money that was there for the subcommittee to spend has likely already been spent, but it's something that might make for an interesting discussion at the next meeting.

                                                             ii.      Jody requested a free trial with Instrumentl and received the following response: “At this time we are only working with the following: 501c3s based in the US with budgets over $90k or those regularly applying for grants grant writers with 501c3 clients in the US that have budgets exceeding $90k.”

                                                           iii.      The Grants Information Collection at UW-Madison's Memorial Library is a free resource.

1.      Within the GIC, Ellen Jacks, Grants & Public Services Librarian, is a useful contact.

a.      Jean: Ellen Jacks has done webinars in the past, could possibly do another webinar.

2.      The leading database GIC offers for nonprofit grant seeking is the Foundation Directory Online, but it is only available on-site at Memorial Library.

3.      The Visualizing Funding for Libraries tool is a subset of the Foundation Directory, but can be accessed for free outside the library.

                                                           iv.      More grant resources.

1.      Jean: SCLS subscribes to “Foundations in Wisconsin”. SCLS has the printed version and access is available through the SCLS Pro webpage.

2.      Jody has a list of grant resources.

                                                             v.      ARPA.

1.      Mark I.: Asked if any libraries are planning to apply for ARPA individually or in collaboration with other libraries?

a.      REE and MFD are maybes. 

b.      DEE is not.

c.       ROM is collaborating with ACL on a bookmobile grant.

2.      A meeting for directors about ARPA will be held October 13th

3.      Another survey will be going out for libraries to decide if they want to be included in the final grant applications.

                                                           vi.      SCLS Foundation funds for 2021 are already spent. 2022 funds will be available early in the year.


b.      Library visit project:

                                                              i.      Reports on new visits.

1.      Mehta visited MCM. Impressed by:

a.      New construction and projects.

b.      Wide aisles.

a.      Visible and welcoming seating areas.

b.      Videos playing on a loop about the construction projects.

c.       Samples of new theater seating, patrons can try it out.

2.      Kris attended the ribbon cutting and open house at RKS.

a.      The old location flooded in 2008 flood and again in 2018 flood.

b.      Prior to recently moving to a new location, since the 2018 flood the library was located in the basement of a church.

c.       The new space is in a building shared with the Community Center.

d.      Artwork of a tree with leaves engraved with donor names is in the entryway and memorial benches are outside.

e.      A kitchen is shared with Community Center. The library can be secured when events are happening in the Community Center.

f.        Impressed with what they fit into the new space. They have a nice set-up to provide services to their community.

3.      Renee visited Mosinee.

a.      The library is in her hometown, her aunt was the librarian.

b.      The space has not changed, it is exactly the same as ~30 years ago.

c.       In comparison, it made ROM seem not so small.

d.      A lot of people were using the library while she was there.

e.      It is small but busy.

f.        They make good use of the space. Frequently change the displays.

                                                             ii.      Follow-up on what should be done with information gathered from visits

1.      Member Features, Online Update, Top 5, SCLS website.

a.      Leah suggested after there are a few more, start sharing them.

2.      All Directors Meeting presentation and discussion.

a.      Leah: Maybe add this to next March’s (2022) All Director Meeting agenda.

3.      Track innovations to make them actionable at other libraries.

a.      Leah: Likes the idea, asked how it can be done.

b.      Rose: Suggested having a page on the SCLS website with visit reports that can be tagged with categories.

                                                                                                                                      i.      The tags can be searched.

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Can use a controlled vocabulary list of categories.

                                                                                                                                   iii.      Whoever conducts the visit is responsible for tagging.

c.       Leah: The visit reports will serve as inspiration for other libraries. Either by libraries searching for specific tags or by browsing the reports.

d.      Mark I.: Value in the reports is that sometimes libraries do not feel what they are doing is worth sharing, but other libraries may see that what they are doing is actually creative and should be shared.

e.      Rose: Encourage everyone to do more.



6.      Items from clusters: None


7.      Plan for next meeting: December 14, 2021

a.      Meeting will be 100% virtual (all agreed).

                                                              i.      Renee: Gives her time to be at another meeting at 10am.

                                                             ii.      Mehta would not be able to attend if it was in-person only.

b.       Provide Jody with feedback on new data dashboards – are these of value (worth maintaining?). Review them before the meeting:

                                                               i.      2020 Collection Usage| CIRCBR, PSTAT, Language, Collection Code

                                                             ii.      Spanish language materials July 2021

c.       Library visit project.

                                                              i.      Reports on new visits.

                                                             ii.      Follow-up on what should be done with information gathered from visits

1.      Member Features, Online Update, Top 5, SCLS website.

2.      All Directors Meeting presentation and discussion.

a.      Add to March 2022 All Directors agenda?

                                                           iii.      Track innovations to make them actionable at other libraries.

d.      Updates on grant discussion.

                                                              i.      ARPA

d. 2022 Foundation Fund ideas.


8.      Adjournment:  9:47 a.m.  Leah (DEE), Mehta (MFD)

For more information about the Library Innovation Subcommittee, contact Rose Ziech.


SCLS staff are available to attend cluster meetings to share information and answer questions pertaining to this committee meeting and other departmental projects.

Library Innovation Subcommittee/Minutes/2021-10 (Saved as 2021-10-12-lis-minutes)