Wisconsin public school libraries to get more than $40M to help expand offerings

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — Public school libraries across Wisconsin will get more than $40 million to help expand offerings for students and help them bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski announced Tuesday.

In a news release, Godlewski, who is also running for Senate, said the money will come from the state’s Common School Fund.

That fund, which was set up in 1848, gives schools money each year to buy library books and other learning materials, according to the state’s Department of Public Instruction. The money from the fund comes from land sales and proceeds from unclaimed property, fines and fees.

The distribution announced Tuesday sets the record for the total amount distributed in a year, Godlewski said.

“For many of Wisconsin’s school libraries, the Common School Fund is the only source of funding for a district’s library media program,” DPI Assistant State Superintendent and State Librarian Tessa Michaelson Schmidt said in the release. “The DPI is grateful for this fund and acknowledges its vital importance in providing all students with access to the accurate, reliable resources they need for their academic, personal, and social growth.”

The Madison Metropolitan School District is set to receive more than $951,000, while Janesville schools will get just under $430,000. Other awards include:

  • $299,284 for Beloit schools;
  • $165,904 for DeForest schools;
  • $334,563 for Middleton-Cross Plans schools;
  • $151,178 for Monona Grove schools;
  • $121,656 for Stoughton schools;
  • $357,234 for Sun Prairie schools;
  • $248,680 for Verona schools; and
  • $162,337 for Waunakee schools.

The announcement came during the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association’s conference in the Wisconsin Dells.