State Programs > State Profiles

State Librarian

Mr. Kurt Kiefer
Assistant State Superintendent
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries and Technology
125 South Webster Street
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Phone: 608/266-2205
Fax: 608/267-9207

State library website:

photo of Wisconsin State Librarian“Our 17 regional library cooperatives led to shared catalogs and efficient interlibrary loans. The cooperatives are creating similar efficiencies related to e-books. Assistance for job search and job readiness is a high priority. The Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin libraries and the Department of Workforce Development are collaborating to share job search and digital literacy training resources and cross-training staff.”

--Kurt Kiefer, Assistant State Superintendent, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries and Technology


The Grants to States Program

The Grants to States Program is the largest grant program run by IMLS; it provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) using a population-based formula set by the law. SLAAs determine goals and objectives for the funds in their statutorily required five-year plan (see below). For more information, see the Grants to States program overview.


Recent Allotments

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
$2,946,913 $2,862,663 $2,745,416 $2,840,170 $2,663,262

View allotments for all states


Project Examples

Bridging the Summer Reading Gap with Reading Lounges
The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) worked with three partner sites to develop dedicated spaces for children to engage in daily reading. The spaces, called Reading Lounges, included a welcoming environment, comfortable seating, thousands of books and a certified teacher who served as a reading mentor to motivate and engage students in the joys of reading for pleasure. All materials were selected by the MPL’s Children’s Book Selector, and the program was designed by the MPL Education Outreach Specialist. The mentors read aloud to students each day, helped the students discover books that they could read on their own and provided time for students to read material they selected. A total of 378 students were enrolled at the three sites and spent at least one day in the program, and 87 percent of participating students met the four book minimum. Of the participating students, 57 reported reading 20 or more books.
IMLS Funds: $28,254

storytime for children with Autism Spectrum DisorderConnecting Libraries and Autism
In order to address perceived barriers to library use for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Indianhead Federated Library System worked with 20 participating libraries in seven counties to provide training, equipment, and materials to make the library more welcoming and accessible. All participating libraries sent staff to a related workshop, and four librarians attended the 2012 Wisconsin Autism Society Conference. Each library received a copy of Boardmaker, which is useful for visual communication, and the project leads offered a webinar on using it. The participating libraries held 329 programs that were promoted as open and welcoming to kids on the autism spectrum. They were mostly sensory storytimes, and mostly open to everyone in the community, but with adaptations to make them more accessible. Some libraries also held events, including an open house to showcase materials and an event about apps for autism.
IMLS Funds: $18,467

Other project(s) featured through IMLS media include:

Search the Awarded Grants Database for additional details about awards in this state.


Five-Year Plan

Each state creates a 5-year plan for its programs to strengthen the efficiency, reach, and effectiveness of library services. Click here to read Wisconsin's 5-year plan for 2013-2017 (PDF, 260KB). View all states' plans.


Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning

General Services and Initiatives

  • Encourage public libraries to provide the space, materials, services, and information needed by Wisconsin residents to enrich their quality of life and enable them to contribute in a democratic society.


  • Coordinate a statewide summer library program.
  • Support the efforts of public libraries to improve the reading skills and digital literacies of all people, including those who have difficulty using libraries because of their educational, cultural, or socioeconomic background.

Online Learning

  • Encourage public libraries and public library systems to provide tech training opportunities to enhance patrons’ digital literacy skills.

Information Access

Access to E-Resources

  • Ensure improved telecommunications in public libraries and public library systems for convenient and affordable access to e-materials and information by supporting, among other features, adequate access to data lines and bandwidth.
  • Encourage libraries to provide e-content and information to expand learning opportunities and access to information and educational resources for library users’ needs for lifelong learning.

Interlibrary Loans

  • Facilitate the sharing of library materials and information resources throughout the state and beyond.
  • Assess interest and viability of a statewide shared integrated library system (ILS) and equipment and services that the ILS would support. In addition, foster the inter-compatibility of an existing or adapted regional ILS for more effective searching and sharing of materials.
  • Support delivery services among public libraries throughout Wisconsin.


  • Facilitate the digitization of unique local resources and communicate the availability of these resources locally, regionally, and statewide.

Economic and Employment Development

Job Seekers

  • Promote the role of public libraries in providing resources, training, and space for those who are seeking employment opportunities.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Encourage public libraries and public library systems to provide training opportunities for library staff.
  • Provide support to assist local libraries in transforming to digital communities.


  • Provide state-level leadership, planning, and coordination of technology services throughout the state, including consulting services to libraries in relation to participation in the E-Rate program.
  • Facilitate the exploration and implementation of the newest technologies to improve library services and access to information.

Human Services

Special Services for Special Needs

  • Promote and support learning and literacy activities in public libraries to provide services for special populations.
  • Provide consulting and planning assistance to public libraries and public library systems for youth and special services populations.


Five-Year Evaluation

At the end of a 5-year period, each state reports their results in achieving goals and objectives projected in their 5-Year Plan. Click here to read Wisconsin's 5-year evaluation for 2008-2012 (PDF, 4,189KB). View all states' evaluations.


IMLS Data Collection

State Library Survey
The State Library Agency Survey (SLAA) provides descriptive data about state library agencies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Public Library Survey
The Public Library Survey (PLS) provides national descriptive data on the status of public libraries in the United States and its territories. Data are collected from over 9,000 public library systems with over 17,000 public library outlets. Click here for Wisconsin's profile from the most recent PLS publication (PDF, 336KB).