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Prairie Lakes Library System Gets Green Light; Debuting January 2023

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 – Milton, Wis. – Walworth County became the third and final county to approve the merger of Arrowhead Library System (ALS) and Lakeshores Library System (LLS).  The newly merged entity, Prairie Lakes Library System (PLLS), will take effect on January 1, 2023, and will serve the counties of Racine, Rock, and Walworth.
Following Walworth County’s vote and ahead of the October 15 deadline, the necessary annual system plan was filed with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction declaring the
formation of PLLS and the dissolutions of ALS and LLS. A few of the next steps include
appointing representatives to the PLLS board of trustees and developing policy
recommendations for the new board to adopt.
“This merger process has been years in the making, really, but the last 10 months have been an intense stretch of research, planning, and collaboration,” said Steve Platteter, director of
Arrowhead Library System.
Steve Ohs, Administrator of Lakeshores Library System added, “It’s tremendously rewarding to see the partnerships we’ve forged become solidified, the research the exploration committee
completed used to inform our communities, and the strategic goals of this merger be embraced
so enthusiastically not only by every library in both systems but also by all three counties.”
Patrons will not be directly affected by the merger; local library boards will maintain local
control over their policies and procedures as before (as outlined in state statutes), and because
library systems are funded through state appropriations county budgets need not be altered.
The merger’s primary benefit is reduced overhead and administration costs, which will result in more dollars for services.

About Wisconsin Public Library Systems
The creation of public library systems fostered the establishment of a strong network of
resource-sharing and mutually beneficial interdependence. The creation and development of
public library systems in Wisconsin were voluntary and gradual. No county or public library is
required to be a member of a library system; yet, as of this writing, all of Wisconsin’s 72

counties and more than 380 public libraries are library system members. Wisconsin’s 16 public
library systems developed in distinct ways in response to the needs of their member libraries
and area residents. According to the statutes, two library systems may merge if approved by
the System Boards of Trustees and the County Boards of Supervisors of the participating

Currently, we are a member of the Prairie Lakes Library System, which serves 23 libraries in Walworth, Rock, Racine and Kenosha counties under the SHARE Library Consortium.  We currently offer these services to the public:

  • Wi-Fi and public computer stations
  • Audiobook CDs
  • Variety of music CDs
  • DVDs
  • Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Large Print books
  • Children’s Picture, Easy Readers and Graphic Novels
  • Magazines and 5 daily newspapers
  • Faxing and Scanning
  • Color Copier

Meet the staff

Walter Burkhalter-Director:  Walter joined us in 2015 and has been in the library profession since 1990. Over the course of that time he has been the director of several libraries and library systems.  In addition he served as the State Consultant for Public Library Administration and as an independent consultant.

Jodie Porep-Youth Services Coordinator:  “Ms. Jodie” has been with the library for since 2000. Patrons can see her daily working at her desk or involved in projects for our yearly Summer Reading Program.  She lives in Fontana with her family.  In her free time, she enjoys quilting.

Sally Lee-Library AssistantSally started working full time in March 2016 but has been working in the library system since 2011. She has BA from UW Whitewater where she took many studio art classes and minored in art history. She lives in Elkhorn with her husband Tom. Kayaking and grandkids keep her entertained these days.

Along with the these 3 full time staff members, we have 4 part-time staff members:                  Kathy Bikowski, Susan Gilkes-Howell, Norma Gowlett, and Laurie Cornue:  All of these woman can be seen helping patrons at the circulation desk or helping with many other library projects.

Library Board Members

Tom Whowell-President,  Ann Barth, Diane French, Lisa Laing, Julia Leamanczyk,    Margaret Reuland-Treasurer, and Steve Torrez.

Library Cards Requirements

Adults, who own property, need to provide a valid driver’s license or state ID and a printed document with the property address (utility or tax bill). Children, 7 years or older, are eligible for library cards. Parents must provide the required documents listed above along with filling out and signing a registration card for each child.

Seasonal renters or non-property owners please call the library for guidelines to obtaining a library card.

Giving Tree

Did you know the library accepts financial donations?

Your gift to the library means the difference between a nice library and an outstanding library. It will be used in a variety of ways including improving library collections, adding new furnishings, and updating computers.

The library also maintains a Giving Tree. Your gift will be recognized on the tree and will appear as a rock, acorn, or leaf depending on the amount of the donation. Make a gift if you want to invest in the library’s future, remember a loved one or family friend, or simply say “thank you” to your Library.  Donations of, or on-going donations totaling, $5,000 or more are honored with a rock.  Donations of $2,500 to $4,999 are honored with an acorn; donations of $1,000 to $2,499 a gold leaf, $500 to $999 a silver leaf, and $250 to $499 a bronze leaf.  To make a donation simply stop by the library or mail it in.  Be sure to let us know if it is a memorial or in honor of a person, group, or occasion.

The Giving Tree is located by the entrance of the library and is just our way of saying thank you to those who have given to us.