Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter July 2015

LM Dispatch July 2015

1. Continuing Education Scholarships from the Library of Michigan

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a traveler. Flying makes me a nervous wreck. Staying in hotel rooms and trying to sleep in strange beds usually results in long nights of staring at a television screen. Breaking from my exercise routine and having to eat out for every meal gets old fast. I admit it. I am a creature of habit, so travel sometimes adds stress to my days. However, one of the best perks about being State Librarian is having the opportunity to represent the Library of Michigan (LM) at various events and activities. Recently I fought through my fear of flying and hotel phobias to attend ALA’s annual conference in San Francisco.

To be part of a gathering of thousands of like-minded librarians in one place is energizing. What filled my fuel tank with the knowledge needed to run today's libraries? Some stand-outs:

  • Listening to keynote speakers like attorney Roberta Kaplan, actor Nick Offerman and Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame musician Robbie Robertson talk about the importance of libraries in their lives
  • Attending a wide-range of sessions on topics such as E-Rate, community engagement, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) projects, veterans' services, collection assessments, and hiring and recruiting future librarians.
  • Ample exhibit space for meeting vendors and networking with potential future collaborators.

Maybe the most significant aspect of ALA’s conference is having the opportunity to rub shoulders with librarians from across the county. Such gatherings allow colleagues to discuss what works and what doesn't work back at home. The camaraderie often rekindles the creative juices and provides the necessary spark for improving local library services. Whether it is overcoming the fear of flying, battling food allergies or carving space out of a heavy workload, make time to attend conferences and workshops. You and your library will benefit greatly.

Placing a priority on the importance of continuing education is essential if we want Michigan libraries to be their best. Karren Reish has posted on Michlib-l and on the Library of Michigan’s (LM) website about how to apply for scholarships to defray the cost of attending conferences and workshops. The LM provides funds to help cover the expense of attending conferences like ALA. Scholarships ranging from $100 to $1,200 are offered to help librarians improve their skills and library services. LM accepts applications quarterly. Participants are expected to share what they learn by writing a short article, doing a PowerPoint presentation at their library’s next in-service day or developing a conference or classroom program.

2. New Contract for Core MeL Databases Set for October 1, 2015

Deb Biggs Thomas

by Deb Biggs Thomas

The Michigan eLibrary or MeL is re-energized with new and returning content, thanks to a 2015-18 subscription contract. What started with a Request for Proposal in early 2015 ended with a contract in late June. The process involved the LM's Statewide Library Services, an advisory group comprised of librarians from across the state, vendor demos, and resource trials, with Michigan's Administrative Board expected to give final approval to the contract soon. The $1.5-million subscription takes effect Oct. 1, 2015.

Below is the final product lineup for MeL contracts funded by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) dollars.

From Gale/Cengage: We have contracted for similar content in this new cycle covering resources for all library types and enhanced training support.

Academic OneFile with eCollections
Small Business Resource Center
InfoTrac General Business Collection
InfoTrac Newsstand
Informe Academico
General OneFile with eCollections                                                                 
General Reference Center GOLD
Military and Intelligence Database
Gale Virtual Reference Library (50 Titles)
Biography & Genealogy Master Index
Health and Wellness Resource Center w/Alternative Health Module
Health Reference Center Academic
Nursing and Allied Health Collection or Nursing Resource Center
Kids InfoBits
Research in Context (for Middle School)
Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Michigana: Sources in U.S. History Online

Enhanced training and support for K12 community resources

From Britannica Online: Britannica School – providing general encyclopedia content for all ages and library types 

From LearningExpress LLC: 

LearningExpress Library – providing test preparation resources for all library types

From ProQuest: 

HeritageQuest Online – providing genealogical and historical research resources for all library types

For more information on the 2015 MeL Databases RFP process, please go to:  

3. Taking Summer Reading Club Beyond Reading

TADL Summer Readers

by Cathy Lancaster, Coordinator of Youth Services
Traverse Area District Library

Traverse Area District Library's (TADL) district-wide  Summer Reading Club (SRC) is open to readers of all ages, but focused on enhancing early literacy skills. Research shows that summer reading maintains child reading proficiency. Launched in 2014, the program encourages family fun by requiring participants to pair reading with an activity in one of 12 categories. For example, a youth participant can read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander and then play a game of basketball with a parent to obtain a badge in the Sports Fan category. These categories encourage participants to explore new genres and use their imaginations. As a bonus, participants who read the minimum of six books are entered into a drawing for prizes at the district’s Grand Finale.

As most of us have encountered, new programs sometimes face challenges. Our challenges centered around getting all district staff comfortable with our online registration and tracking system which was developed in-house by our technology staff.  The open source program (available at, simplifies tracking and reporting, but its learning curve took some getting used to by staff and volunteers.

Funding for SRC came from the Friends of TADL as well as community business sponsors. Such partnerships are key to a successful SRC and came in many different forms, from in-kind programming and prizes to cash donations in exchange for business logos on materials. At the end of 2014, SRC had more than 2,600 participants at our main branch alone -- a 37% increase over 2013. We are on track to exceed those numbers in 2015.

4. LM Newspaper Collection

Microfilm reader and a Michigan newspaper

by Kevin Driedger

LM collects, preserves, and shares Michigan newspapers.

Despite the ubiquitous internet, newspapers continue to be a vital source of current and historical information. Newspapers are a big help to people researching genealogy, local sports, legal and business issues.

The LM's newspaper collection is one of our most popular collections. We subscribe to about 50 dailies and weeklies. We also offer nearly 67,000 reels of microfilmed newspapers - the biggest such collection in Michigan. Ours is the most complete collection of microfilmed Michigan newspapers in the state with newspapers from every county, and representing several languages and ethnic communities. It includes everything from the first newspaper printed in Michigan, to the most recent issues of the Detroit Free Press. While the vast majority of these reels are Michigan titles, we also have a few significant out-of-state papers. This collection grows both through adding recent papers as well as through the ongoing work of microfilming older titles.

There are several ways to access this important collection. The LM provides several microfilm readers and a growing number of microfilm scanners for patrons to scan and save information directly to a flash drive.

All Michigan residents may access at least some of the collection’s content at their local library. Some titles are available through interlibrary loans.

The LM also partners with the Clarke Historical Library which is digitizing several Michigan newspapers. These titles are available at the Michigan Digital Newspaper Portal.

5. Michigan Activity Pass Program

Michigan Activity Pass

by Brigette M. Felix

The Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) program began its third year on May 24, 2015. MAP is a statewide partnership of Michigan’s public libraries and participating state destinations. 

It is available to all library card holders in Michigan. They can check out passes for free or discount admission, coupons good for discounts in gift shops, and other special offers by going to One MAP pass may be checked out per person every seven-day loan period.

MAP expanded significantly this year when it merged with the MI Big Green Gym (formerly known as Park and Read). This means that state park and campground passes are now available exclusively online through the MAP site. More than 400 destinations are now available in MAP. “The addition of these venues gives MAP a truly statewide footprint,” said Jim Flury, Technical Services Manager at The Library Network.

To reserve a pass visit:  Use the search box to find a list of participating locations. Select a location and "get pass" to check availability. A library card number is required to complete the pass request.

Put your library card to good use and reserve a MAP pass to exercise your mind and body to soar and explore!

6. East Olive Elementary School Gets a Visit from the LM Rare Book Road Show

Rare book room staff at Mt. Olive Elementary School

by Kendel Darragh

On May 26th, students at East Olive Elementary School  got a visit from the Rare Book Room at the LM. Carol Fink, Julie King and Kendel Darragh brought a field trip to the school, part of St. John Public Schools, so all East Olive students could enjoy a taste of the unique, odd and quirky items in the collection. Students examined magazines, books and an audio book with two different kinds of raised type: braille and Moon type. More fragile items could be viewed up close, such as the LM’s tiniest book, a handmade pop-up book, a peep show book, a book with fore-edge paintings, and more! 

About 130 kids took home copies of the My Michigan Adventure writing prompt booklet. Teachers and staff received copies of the new MeL overview brochure for their own reference.

This visit was inspired by a continuing desire to expand the LM’s engagement with Michiganders and to promote an interest in learning, research and information in our state’s youngest citizens.

7. Michigan Reads! Tour and Kit Delivery Dates

Michigan Reads!

by Karren Reish

The Michigan Reads! materials are being printed soon! Look for kits to arrive at local libraries at the end of August. Every library building will receive a kit. This year's book is Laurie Keller’s Do Unto Otters featuring Mr. Rabbit, who learns about the Golden Rule and making friends.

The official launch and tour of the 2015 Michigan Reads! program is in September. Twelve public libraries and 11 schools are partnering with us to bring Laurie to meet children across the state. Libraries and schools are also encouraged to have local launch events in September with local celebrities, such as the mayor, fire chief, a local reporter, or a local library/literacy supporter.

Tour sites and locations are:

Official Launch

  • September 15th - Grand Ledge Area District Library and Beagle Elementary School

Tour Events

  • September 9th - Ionia Community Library and Boyce Elementary School
  • September 10th - Mason County District Library and Franklin Elementary School
  • September 11th - Chippewa River District Library and Ganiard Elementary School
  • September 16th - Ypsilanti District Library and Perry Early Learning Center
  • September 17th - Ferndale Area District Library and Roosevelt Primary School
  • September 18th - Farmington Community Library and Kenbrook Elementary School
  • September 19th - Caro Area District Library
  • September 28th - Oscoda County Library and Mio Ausable School
  • September 29th - Tahquamenon Area Library and school TBA
  • September 30th - Munising School Public Library and William G. Mather Elementary School
  • October 1st - Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library and Aspen Ridge Elementary School

You can also use BookFlix with the program this year as Do Unto Otters is one of the featured BookFlix stories. The Michigan Reads! site explains how to access the animated version of the story.

Thank you for your support and participation in this program! 

8. Capital City Writers Association Partners with the LM

Zachary Bartels

by Edwina Murphy

On June 27th, the LM and Capital City Writers Association hosted a session entitled Indie vs. Traditional Publishing: Choosing Your Own Path.  Keynote speaker Zachary Bartels walked the audience of writers through the evolution of self-publishing. Bartels, a minister by profession, has self-published books and used traditional publishing houses.  His latest book, The Last Con, is published by Thomas Nelson.

Bartels described the pre-digital era when a person might spend thousands of dollars and end up with several thousand copies of their book collecting dust in a garage. In contrast, the current practice of “print-on-demand” calls for nothing being printed, and no funds being expended, until an order has been received.

Bartels has his own press, the Gut Check Press, which he started with an established author. He candidly detailed what worked and why. He also discussed the importance of cover design, showing mistakes to avoid.

9. Alcona County Library (Harrisville) Celebrates 75 Years of Library Service!

Retiring Alcona County Library director Carol Luck

by Deb Biggs Thomas

I was pleased and privileged when State Librarian Randy Riley asked if I would represent the LM at the Alcona County Library’s 75th anniversary party on May 29. The 3 ½ hour road trip up and back was well worth it as I had the opportunity to chat with staff, library board members and friends from the community. All of them expressed a sincere appreciation for their library and its four branches serving all of Alcona County. Outgoing Director Carol Luck was so gracious and allowed me a few minutes to bring well wishes and congratulations from the LM on this major milestone. The Alcona County Library was started unofficially in 1935 when parents and teachers in Mikado, MI began discussing the need for such a facility in the county. The original collection of 200 books actually came from the State Library and were housed in the Mikado Post Office!  Visit the Alcona County Library online at:

10. The LM Wishes Four Student Employees Good Luck

Library of Michigan student workers

by Kevin Driedger

The Library relies on a group of wonderful student workers to help us accomplish all we do. Eventually, however, they finish their studies and leave us for new opportunities. Four such students are moving on this summer. Below are a few words from each of them about their experience here.

The LM has been a fantastic place to work for the past two years. I could not have asked for better coworkers and friends to encourage me throughout my educational journey. I have made lasting friendships that I will cherish for many years to come. Thank you!  -- Kate Vaughn - Integrated Science for Elementary Education from Central Michigan University

My years at the library have been a great experience for me. It is fun to know I am one of few people in my law school to know what a legislative history is and how to look it up. I would not trade the experience for anything. -- DeCinces Martin – JD from Cooley Law School

Working at LM, I have gained first-hand knowledge about state libraries, library practices, and accessibility. I feel I have contributed to what this institution provides to its patrons and gained invaluable practical experience in the process. I’m grateful to the kind people I’ve had the opportunity to work with here. -- Courtney Whitmore - MLIS from Wayne State

Working at LM has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to explore my interests in digital library and content management. I was able to put the knowledge and skills I have acquired through my studies to work. Collaboration with coworkers and patience with technology were key to my success. -- Eileen Zimmerman – MLIS from Wayne State

We wish them the best of luck with their future careers and thank them for their joyful and steadfast work.