ACA Health Insurance Exchanges Begin Enrollments

Libraries are poised to play an important role in providing information to patrons interested in learning about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  An important component of the ACA is the availability of a health insurance exchange. An exchange is a transparent, centralized marketplace that will offer a choice of health insurance plans to individuals and small businesses. Plan enrollments began Tuesday, October 1, 2013 with a coverage effective date of January 1, 2014.  One way to gain access to information at the Illinois Health Insurance Reform Information Center is through the Illinois Department of Insurance website at

Talking Book and Braille Program Releases Apple Mobile Download App

Many patrons of the Illinois State Library’s Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) have been buzzing since last Friday. That’s when the free Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app first became available through the Apple App Store, and TBBS patrons immediately began downloading audio and braille books and magazines to their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

The BARD download system, which allows TBBS patrons with internet access to download audio and braille materials to their home computers, and its new Apple-compatible Mobile app, were developed by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in the Library of Congress.  NLS is also working on an app for Android devices that will be available soon.

People who are blind, visually impaired or have a physical disability may register as a TBBS patron and receive free services through BARD and TBBS.  To learn more about these programs, persons living within the City of Chicago may call 1-800-757-4654, and those living anywhere else in Illinois may call 1-800-426-0709.

Free Webinar on Disability Parking

Significant changes in Illinois’ disability parking program law enacted by PA 97-845 take effect January 1, 2014. William Bogdan, an accessible parking expert with the Secretary of State’s office, will present a free webinar on the changes from 2 to 4 p.m. on November 1, 2013. The webinar, entitled How Will the New Accessible Parking Law for People with Disabilities Affect You, is being organized by the State of Illinois’ Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities.

To register and receive sign-on instructions for the webinar, email

Public Libraries Asked to Complete Important Construction Needs Survey

As part of Public Act 96-37 that created the $50 million Public Library Construction Act Grant Program (30 ILCS 767), every two years the Secretary of State and the Illinois State Library are required to file a comprehensive assessment of the capital needs of all public libraries with the Illinois General Assembly.

It is important that ALL public libraries respond to this survey so that the Illinois State Library can continue to convey to the General Assembly and the public the need for public library capital improvements. In order to compile the assessment report, the Illinois State Library requests that every Illinois public library complete and submit the one-page electronic Capital Needs Assessment Survey by Friday, October 25, 2013, even if no capital improvements are needed.

To complete and submit the survey, please visit:

If you have any questions or difficulty accessing, completing and/or submitting the survey, please contact Jason O’Dell at, Pat Boze at 217-782-1891 or Mark Shaffer at 217-524-4901.

Thank You So Much!

We’ve had a fabulous time learning about all of the awesome services provided by school libraries here in Illinois. A great big Thank You goes out to all of the guest bloggers for Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic, & the School Library. We appreciate your willingness to share with the WJIL learning community.

Do you have a great story to tell? We would love to hear from you, email and let us know.

Federal Depository Libraries & the Affordable Care Act

As libraries look ahead to the October 1 open enrollment date for the health insurance marketplace, there is an abundance of information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and many opportunities for libraries. IMLS is working with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and with WebJunction and ZeroDivide to provide library staff with the online resources and community contacts they will need to respond to questions about the Marketplace. One of the key roles that Federal Depository Libraries can play is to maintain an awareness of available resources in your area, and develop an approach for connecting patrons to those resources in the way that makes the most sense for your community.

Federal Depository Libraries are a key resource in connecting the public with documents and resources that are produced by the federal government (find a Federal Depository Library near you). Please join us for this interactive session, where we will discuss strategies for libraries to identify ACA resources, hear from a Federal Depository member library that is working to prepare for patron requests, and obtain key policy and resource updates from ACA experts.

Presented by:

  • Susan Hildreth, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Susie Butler, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Kendra Morgan, WebJunction
  • Robbie Sittel, Tulsa City/County Public Library (FDL member)

Monday, September 23, 2013 ♦ 1 pm CST ♦ 60 min Cost: $0
Register today!

Nominate Your Library for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service!

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is seeking nominations for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for exemplary museum and library community service. Any individual may nominate a library in the United States and its territories for the National Medal.

All types of libraries, including public, school, academic, research and archival, are eligible to receive this honor. The medal winners will be the institutions that make the most extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental and social contributions. The nomination deadline is October 15, 2013.

What do you win?
Recipient institutions receive the National Medal at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., and a $5,000 award in recognition of their exceptional contributions. After the ceremony, StoryCorps — a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing the stories of Americans — visits each institution to provide an opportunity for community members to share the stories of their lives. These stories are preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

For more information and to access the nomination form, please visit or contact Michele Farrell, Senior Library Program Officer at 202-653-4656 or The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

Leaving Fort Ref: Frontiers of Embedded Librarianship

At the innovative Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries, librarians don’t just wait for the questions to come to them. They leave the building and embed the public library in the community. Through a series of projects and experiments, the Douglas County librarians have explored a new dimension of modern reference service, one that places their expertise at points of need to respond to the questions the public didn’t take to the library. By helping to define and answer questions in context, the embedded librarians add value to their community.

Presented by: Jamie LaRue, director, Coble Galston, business librarian and Amy Long, Parker library manager, Douglas County Libraries (CO)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 ♦ 12 pm CST ♦ 90 min ♦ Cost $0
Register today!

Did you miss youThink! Friday?

Don’t worry, the archive is now available. Mary Jo Matousek from Meridian Middle School and Lisa Coleman from Vernon Area Public Library provided a great presentation. We learned how they’ve managed to bring the public library and the school libraries in their community together to form a remarkable partnership. Plus, they gave some great examples of how you could start a similar partnership of your very own. Check it out today!