Common School Fund helps ensure books are on school library shelves

ELK MOUND, WI (WEAU) -- "I think that's the great thing about a library is that it's for everyone," said Laura Lagesse, the Librarian at Mound View Elementary in Elk Mound.

She is a strong believer in making sure kids have access to books and technology to help them learn. Every year the Wisconsin Common School Fund helps make sure that happens.

The fund this year is about $30 million dollars. That money is distributed among school libraries across the state to help them buy books and technology.

"I would say 80% goes toward books and the other 20% would go toward digital resources," LaGesse said. "Anything that supports a library, as long as it's housed in the library," she added.

The amount a district gets is based on the student population. In Elk Mound, that amount to about $40,000. Chippewa Falls is about $186,000 and in the school district the size of Eau Claire it is about $354,000.

Elk Mound Superintendent Dr. Ron Walsh says the money was first distributed when Wisconsin became a state. It came from the sale of public land.

"So they use the proceeds from that and then other things have come into the funding, like loans from the state trust fund," he said. "The money raised from that goes into the fund; it's called the Common School Fund," he added.

Walsh says Elk Mound has put a lot of money toward technology and software over the last few years but this year has been back to the basics.

"So we have purchased quite a few more books and that kind of reading material for our library, that's still very important, you still have to do that," he said.

LaGesse says the fund helps ensure library resources will always be there.

"And so the common school fund is an amazing resource for school libraries because it guarantees we have that funding," she added.

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