LM Dispatch May, 2015

LM Dispatch May, 2015

1. National Library Legislative Day

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley

Recently I had the opportunity to be part of Michigan's delegation to National Library Legislative Day (NLLD). NLLD is a two-day advocacy event where hundreds of library supporters, leaders and patrons from across the country gather in Washington, D.C. There, they meet with members of Congress to champion national library funding. 

This year's event was made even better because my daughter, Madeline, joined me. Madeline will be attending the University of Michigan's Gerald Ford School of Public Policy as a junior next year.

Her positive vibe and excitement made this jaded old librarian perceive things quite differently. In fact, seeing D.C. and this process through her eyes was re-energizing. Once I got past her question, “are all librarians this old?” I began to feel the important role librarians play in the “process.” 

Talking up Congressional staffers on the priority issues and networking with colleagues had an impact on me. Jimmy Stewart’s role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington kept coming to mind. No, I wasn’t elected to Congress, but NLLD did remind me just how important librarians are in the legislative process. We have the information state and national legislators need to do their work.

Call or email your legislators and introduce yourself. Let them know that you would love to host a “town meeting” in your library space. Make the effort to reach out. We have a story to tell about how libraries make a difference in our communities. More importantly our legislators need to hear those stories.

And… it is not too early to start thinking about next year. There is always more room in the Michigan delegation. 

2. East Lansing Public Library Receives $1.5 Million Donation

East Lansing Public Library

by Diane Donham

Library directors: imagine going about your business in your office, and being alerted that there is someone who would like to meet with you. You welcome the guest into your office and he hands you a check, just a regular, ripped-out-of-a-checkbook kind of check, except that it’s for $1.5 million. Well, you’re imagining an actual day in the life of East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) Director Kristin Shelley!

ELPL’s recent windfall, a gift from an anonymous donor, was inspired by the resident’s appreciation of computer access for patrons and the library's outreach to community teens, providing them a safe and welcoming after-school destination. Wanting to make a positive impact on the community, the donor recognized the library's ongoing contributions and decided to help expand them.

The money will be used for the first partial renovation of the library since 1996. Plans call for creating a more dynamic children’s area; an expanded Teens’ section; enhancements to the Maker Space; and a generally more open floor plan. Also, the library looks forward to plans to offer a cyber café with vending machines.

The April 10 donation was in perfect sync with ELPL’s April 17 fundraiser, Books, Bites, and Bids. At that event Director Shelley drew a collective gasp from the audience when announcing the gift. It was the perfect time to launch a capital campaign to build upon the donor’s extreme generosity. The goal is to match or exceed the donation by May, 2016.  These improvements should help the Library meet the needs of its users for the next 20 years.

3. So, You Want to Be a District Library!

by Kim Koscielniak and Kathy Webb

In the 60 years since district libraries first appeared on the Michigan landscape, the law and procedure for establishing them has been evolving. In 1955, the State Library had little involvement in the legal creation of new districts, but under the current law, Public Act 24 of 1989, the Library of Michigan (LM) is required to review and approve both new and amended agreements. The LM consults with local communities and libraries on the process of district library establishment and may conduct a preliminary review of an agreement before it is sent to the State Librarian for final approval.

LM provides data to planning committees and library attorneys as they work to determine which areas are already served by other libraries or districts and which may be potential partners in a new district. LM does this by reviewing documents filed by other libraries, and checking its records for population and service area information. 

Two benefits of a district library organization are its independence from other local government entities in terms of board and budget and its status as a taxing authority under the Michigan Constitution (which permits the district library to place its own millage proposal on the ballot).  Many prospective districts are interested in learning how this new status will affect a library’s relationships with both its current patron base and local government unit. LM staff is available to discuss this as and provide background research into an issue that a library can then share with stakeholders in the new district.

For more information about forming a district library, call the LM Law Library at 517-373-0630.

4. Doing Outreach Right: The Capital Area District Library

CADL Outreach Team

by Sonya Schryer Norris

The Capital Area District Library (CADL) has a Community Outreach department of nine people. And each and every one of them strives to spread library service beyond the walls of the main library and CADL’s branches. Reimagined since January 2014, the Community Outreach department has been expanding on executive director Maureen Hirten’s vision to bring library service to people where they live, work and play.

CADL reaches out across its service area to people with diverse needs. The Rotary Club? They’re helping Rotary members research their centennial. Meals on Wheels? A great opportunity to spread the word about CADL's books by mail service. Farmer’s markets? Bring on the crafts for kids so other staff can speak strategically to freed-up parents about library objectives.

The CADL Outreach team never stops looking for opportunities: Where can it take the bookmobile beyond its normal 22 weekly stops? How can it engage teens beyond the library walls? Besides engaging with users on Facebook and digitizing materials online, how can the library bring local history to life?

CADL's motto is: "Take the concept of being 'too busy' for outreach out of your lexicon. Figure out a way to say yes." It has helped spur a growing list of partners. The biggest partner? It could be the Meridian Area Resource Center, a business incubator in Okemos; mini lending libraries in local retirement communities; or Impression 5 children's science museum.

5. Detroit Public Library Celebrates 150 Years

Detroit Public Library 150 Year Celebration Logo

by Sonya Schryer Norris

On March 25, the Detroit Public Library kicked-off a one-year celebration of its 150 years of service. DPL actually is recognizing three milestones this year: the opening of the Coleman Young papers in the Burton Historical Collection which turns 100 this year, the bookmobile's 75th anniversary, and the 50th anniversary of the Junior Grades Book Program.

Saturday mornings, the Junior Grades Book Program engages children in grades 2 – 12 to discuss great books and teach critical analysis skills. It’s the longest-running program of its kind in the country.

Last August, Detroit voters demonstrated their support and understanding of the importance of the library, passing a 10 year millage by a 3-to-1 margin. Detroiters recognize the vital community services the DPL provides including traditional print as well as ebooks and audio books. DPL also has programs and services serving a wide spectrum of city residents including immigrants, digital natives, and residents that come to the library to take part in civic engagement. DPL is more vital and flexible to changing needs than ever and it is one of the city's outstanding quality of life institutions. It's looking forward to being a major part of the changes coming to the city.

DPL intends to spend the year thanking the residents of Detroit for their support with great programming. DPL’s programming melds technology with traditional services and manages their many offerings for a large and diverse population.

Last year, DPL was No. 1 across the state in programs offered with a total of 6,450 and first in attendance at nearly 250,000 patrons. They are first in the state for the number of computers available for patron use and they have the largest print, physical audio and physical video collections among Michigan libraries.

Congratulations, DPL!

6. Researching Local History at the Library of Michigan

Matt Pacer

by Matt Pacer

LM can help you and your patrons in many ways. Researching local history is one such way. A great place to start is LM's second-floor Michigan Collection. This rich collection includes Michigan County histories, a treasure trove of information for any local history researcher.

The best part of the Michigan County histories is both the breadth and depth of coverage. It is truly a one-stop-shop for the researcher. This part of the collection is alphabetical by county name. The county histories provide an array of information. County histories often have an index of names referencing biographical sketches within the volume. Additionally, you will find descriptions of early settlements, churches, newspapers, and other important local events. Many county histories include wonderful sketches of courthouses and portraits. Examples of published county histories include H.B Fields History of Cass County; and Durant’s History of Kalamazoo County. Some County sections may offer up other hidden treasures such as First Land Owners of Mason County or Isle Royale Shipwrecks.

Any research project should begin by searching the Library’s online catalog, ANSWER. Enter the County name as subject and click the search button. Each record will tell you where the item is located in the LM. Next, stop by and let us help you start your research project.

We are always looking to improve the collection. If you are weeding your collections of Michigan materials, please consider donating to us. You can contact LM at librarian@michigan.gov.

7. I Spy the Library of Michigan at the MSU Science Festival!

by Diane Donham

The LM was well represented at this year’s Michigan State University Science Festival, held April 15-19.  Library staff submitted two event proposals and both were accepted. 

Karren Reish’s submission, Michigan Literary Science, was a display that featured Michigan Notable Book selections from throughout the program’s history with a science-related theme. Karren’s responsibilities as Library Grants Coordinator found her out of state the week of the Festival, so she left the task of compiling and monitoring the exhibit in the capable hands of Edwina Murphy, Michigan Notable Books Coordinator and Michigan Collection Curator, and Matt Pacer, Reference Librarian. 

Reference Librarian Diane Donham proposed a panel, Science in State Government: Your Tax Dollars at Work, and recruited employees from three state departments to talk about the science they do. She was the moderator for the panel, which included Dr. Rick Smith from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, who spoke about his work with bovine tuberculosis; Gloria Zunker, who talked about her work with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Public Health Preparedness, and Luke Biernbaum, an Intelligent Transportation Systems researcher for the Michigan Department of Transportation. 

The panel's goal was to shed light on some of the science involved in running a state, some of the types of credentialed professionals involved. As librarians who field questions from both government employees and members of the public, LM staffers used the discussion as an opportunity to reach out to fellow state employees.

The staff already is looking for new ways to participate in next year’s Festival.  

8. Better Than Coupons! How MeL Saves Your Library Real Money

Eunice Borrelli

by Eunice Borrelli

There really is economy in scale and the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is proof.  MeL resources include big ticket items like databases as well as individual items such as eBooks. All are available at no charge, 24/7, for all Michigan residents. MeL enables any library to offer 24 hour service, have a virtually unlimited collection development budget, provide unique reference tools, accommodate non-English speaking patrons, provide multiple copies of frequently requested titles, have up-to-the-minute information on trending topics, and address the needs of students, job seekers, and entrepreneurs. Here’s how:

GED, SAT, GMAT, and other study guides are found in LearningExpress Library.

Michigan Legal Forms for divorce, power of attorney, leases and more are found in Gale Legal Forms.

Vehicle repair manuals from 1940 to the present are in Chilton’s.

Printable Maps of all kinds are found in CultureGrams.

Science Project ideas are found in SIRS Discoverer.

Early Literacy Resources are found in BookFlix™, Early World of Learning, eBook K-8 Collection, and Kids InfoBits.

Trending topics coverage and Pro/Con statement development is found in Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

Business trends and projections can be studied in Business Insights: Global, BusinessDecision, and DemographicsNow: Business & People.

Don’t see what you need?  Take a minute to run through the alphabetic list of databases found at MeL.org and we think you’ll see MeL has you (and your patrons) covered. 

9. We've Improved Our Homepage

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris

LM recently unveiled a new homepage. The page has four tabs: About Us, Services for Libraries, Research and Headlines. Each tab contains information not found anywhere else on the site.

The purpose of the new tabbed layout is to promote information of importance to Michigan library staff and patrons. We want to provide items that are timely and useful for tasks such as keeping up with the profession and patron research.

Under the first tab, About Us, we still have our rotating carousel that provides LM news, shout-outs to Michigan libraries, and other items of interest. On About Us is our brick and mortar area which talks about upcoming LM programming and provides easy access to a librarian and catalog search.

In Services for Libraries we provide continuing education listings culled from national opportunities and weekly updates of examples of useful statistical data about Michigan libraries from library data analyst Joe Hamlin. We also offer a special section, “Build Your Community” about effective outreach efforts and learning opportunities across Michigan and the nation for this important aspect of modern-day librarianship.

The Research tab is a regularly updated showcase of LM offerings from our law library, newspaper collection, Michigan collection and more. Be sure to check out this great space.

Headlines is news of interest to Michigan library staff divided into three sections: national news, state news and LM news. Here we promote the initiatives of the many organizations that we consider partners in promoting the library profession.

Check us out at www.michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan.