Rep. Mary Felzkowski, center, receives the legislator of the Year Award from members of the Antigo Public Library Board on behalf of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service.

Lawmaker Receives State Library Award

Rep. Mary Felzkowski, whose 35th Assembly District includes Antigo and most of Langlade County, has been named Legislator of the Year for 2018 by the Wisconsin Library Association.

The honor was presented Tuesday in Antigo by the Antigo Public Library Board.

“I am so honored that the Wisconsin Library Association has presented me with this award,” Felzkowski said. “There is hardly a more diligent and dedicated group of people than our library directors and librarians in Wisconsin. I believe that is why we’ve been able to achieve so much together.”

Rep. Mary Felzkowski, center, receives the legislator of the Year Award from members of the Antigo Public Library Board on behalf of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service.

“Representative Felzkowski has been an extraordinary friend to Wisconsin libraries during the last two legislative sessions – particularly as a member of the Joint Finance Committee where she had primary responsibility on the Assembly side for matters related to education.” Dominic Frandrup, Antigo Public Library director, said in presenting the award.

Frandrup said that, thanks to Felzkowski’s efforts, Wisconsin public library systems have been able to invest $1.5 million additional state aid dollars in delivering enhanced services such as Gale Courses to Wisconsin residents through their home town libraries.

She also took the lead in passing the Public Library Data and Technology Training Bill that opened TEACH block grants to small and rural libraries for the first time this past year.

“Most recently, she has been collaborating with a WLA member team to fund the expansion of free library access to information technology education tools such as Microsoft Virtual Academy and,” he said. “ It’s an exciting project that is ongoing, and which you’ll hear more about in the months to come.”

Felzkowski said she was pleased to receive the honor for the third time.

“Libraries are not only the beloved settings for childhood memories and story times, but are also modern, effective hubs for job training and workforce development,” Felzkowski said. “Our local libraries provide opportunities for professional development for those transitioning careers or preparing themselves for the workforce. With our state facing record low-unemployment numbers, this is a perfect opportunity for us to look at how we can train employees for the careers of the future. I believe our libraries have a vital role to play in that and I look forward to working together to make it happen.”

Gale Courses support libraries as educational institutions and gives community members easy access to lifelong learning opportunities including professional development, technology, and personal enrichment courses, Frandrup said. Available around the clock, Gale Courses provide more than 360 six-week long, online programs taught by college instructors.

“New courses begin each month, and lessons are assigned twice a week, enhanced with images, videos, and games to support varied learning styles,” the library director explained. “Users enjoy a self-paced learning environment and engagement with fellow students and instructor through weekly discussion boards.”

During the first five months, from November 2018 through March, after the Wisconsin Valley Library Service made Gale Courses available to its 25 member libraries, there have been 411 class enrollments, 2,606 course logins and 4,880 hours of activity logged.

Source: Antigo Daily Journal