Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter, November 2015

Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter November 2015

1. Public Library Trustee Support Now Available Statewide with New United for Libraries Membership

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley

Building strong relationships with our boards and trustees is essential to building strong public libraries. In Michigan we have more than 2,000 library trustees serving as stewards of our nearly 400 public libraries. 

This group has a tremendous responsibility to help ensure our public libraries have the resources they need to deliver quality services to their communities. In turn, the Library of Michigan (LM) provides resources to help them gain knowledge and skills necessary to carry out their responsibilities. For the past two years we have worked with the Friends of Michigan Libraries Trustee Alliance to support continuing education and training programs for our public library trustees with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds. 

This year we are taking an additional step to provide greater access to trustee resources through a statewide membership in the American Library Association’s division of United for Libraries.

Our statewide United for Libraries membership provides all Michigan public library trustees with training opportunities such as:

  • Short Takes for Trustees (short videos to help stimulate discussion about what it means to be a trustee)
  • Trustee Academy (six online courses to help trustees become proficient in their roles)
  • The Voice newsletter
  • Organizational tools, practical guides and more

I ask for your help promoting the United for Libraries membership. We hope our Michigan trustees will take advantage of these resources now available at no cost statewide. To find out more, join United for Libraries staff at two online welcome webinars where you can learn about the membership benefits and how to navigate the website. 

You can register for the webinars from the LM's website at or watch a recorded version when it is convenient for you. Be sure to peruse our United for Libraries Michigan site and log in using our statewide access information. Access information is available from your library director or by contacting the LM’s Statewide Library Services department.

2. There's a New Server for MeL in Town

Eunice Borrelli

by Eunice Borrelli

After 10 years handling millions of digital requests from some 440 participating libraries, MeL and MeLCat servers are getting new digs. In IT parlance, they're migrating. MeL and MeLCat service resumes Dec. 11 when the move is complete. A complete shutdown was deemed the most-desirable, least-problematic option.

There are several reasons for the migration, including better support for libraries and patrons, greater flexibility in scheduling maintenance and upgrades in off-peak times, and shortened turnaround for IP approval (from 2-3 weeks to three working days). The LM and the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, our partner in everything MeL, are confident that users will appreciate the long-term improvements resulting from these short-term inconveniences. Please see the MeLCat FAQ and the MeL Databases FAQ for more information.

Migration timeline:

MeLCat & MeL Discovery Search

November 18, 12:01am - MeLCat requesting turned off

December 1 - last day MeLCat items can be renewed

December 11 - MeLCat requesting restored

MeL Databases & MeL Discovery Search

**MeL databases direct access will not be affected when done from within a school/library as long as the school/library IP address is registered with the vendor.**

December 2 - MeL Databases remote access via driver’s license/state I.D. or MeLCat library account turned off

December 2 - MeL Discovery Search turned off

December 11 - MeL databases remote access via driver’s license/state I.D. or MeLCat library account and MeL Discovery Search restored

3. Getting Ready for the 2016 Michigan Notable Book Library Tour

Michigan Notable Books

 by Edwina Murphy

Scheduling for the 2016 Michigan Notable Book (MNB) Library Tour may remind many a Michiganian of the perennial quest using the state's online app to reserve their favorite camping spot. This alternately involves waiting with great anticipation and furiously stabbing at computer keys as slots become available in the dead of winter, and then syncing vacation schedules with friends and family, followed by the profound satisfaction of snagging a premier beach spot in July.

Folks familiar with the MNB program know that the Notables list comes out the first of the New Year, a perfect time to use those holiday bookstore gift cards while giving Michigan material a well-deserved nod of appreciation. The tour, as usual, runs from April 1st until June 30th.

To correspond with the tour opening, the Night for Notables, an annual gathering of many of the Notable authors at the LM, has been bumped up to Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Please note that applications for the tour portion of the program are now due to the LM by Friday, January 29th, 2016. Application forms are available on the MNB webpage at The new application date allows participating libraries more time to get in contact with their authors, set up dates and times, and report their schedules to MNB program staff, and are due by February 29th, 2016.

Participating tour libraries are encouraged to LIKE the LM Facebook page to get news and insights and use their own Facebook account to promote their author visit. Don’t have a Facebook page yet? Check out YouTube for some how-to videos for non-profits: For Twitter users, the Michigan Notable Book hashtag is #MINotableBks. 

4. Pickford Community Library Young Writers Workshop

Pickford Writers Workshop

by Ann Marie Smith

Welcome to the world of the Pickford Community Library, a 5-year-old small-town library in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a shoestring budget, a “why not?” programming attitude, and an enthusiastic staff.  These factors have fostered some amazing projects, including our benchmark program, the Pickford Community Library Young Writers Workshop. In 2012, a student's request for a writing class for young authors was granted, then things began rolling faster than a St. Ignace snowball down Castle Rock.  

Our homegrown program expanded in unexpected and delightful ways:

  • Our teens and tweens became published authors
  • We gave “how-to” presentations at schools and conferences
  • We developed strong partnerships with public schools, homeschool organizations, and humanities councils
  • Our volunteer mentors developed a professional curriculum

In addition, our teen writers group helped create an internship program at the library, designed a young adult services corner, and assisted in new program development, including intercultural studies.  Most importantly, several teens reported a new found confidence and sense of self-esteem through their accomplishments.

The workshop, spearheaded by authors Dar Bagby and Janet Beasley, consists of 14 sessions that offer participants an opportunity to hone their writing techniques and experience the process of publishing.  The program is free and open to all students in the Eastern Upper Peninsula in grade 6 through college; current enrollees come from Pickford, Rudyard, Cedarville, Kinross, and Sault Ste. Marie.

First-year writing enthusiasts’ short works are published yearly in an anthology. Returning students expand their writing abilities by composing novellas. To date, three anthologies and one novella have been published. All participants’ works are published free of charge by JLB Creatives Publishing, and no one collects royalties. Each published item is free and available to the public through SmashWords and is also available for digital checkout through Great Lakes Digital Libraries via Overdrive. (Type “Pickford” and “anthology” in the search boxes.)

For more information on this program, please visit or  or contact Library Manager Ann Marie Smith at 906-647-1288 or at

5. Every Child Ready to Read

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish

The LM asked about interest in the American Library Association (ALA) Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) program this summer. We are pleased to announce a two-year intensive program starting in January 2016. The program provides training and materials to any requesting library in 2016 and 2017. 

Look for a short survey to request materials in early January. Libraries may request materials for each branch location. Materials will be shipped in late January. We encourage everyone who requests materials to participate in training as well. We are in the process of hiring a trainer who will do in-person introductory workshops around the state in March 2016 and an intermediate workshop in March 2017. The trainer will also provide monthly communications on early literacy and parent engagement and a series of webinars on specific topics during the two year period.

We will evaluate the training and its impact on your community. We hope you can participate. The program includes elements of early literacy, parent engagement and community engagement. Head Start programs, Great Start Readiness programs, child care providers, elementary groups, and other social services all are possible partners. ECRR can help libraries position themselves as the place for early literacy in the community.

If you have any questions, please contact Karren Reish at or 517-241-0021.

6. Michigan Humanities Council: Libraries Make Our Programs Possible

Michigan Humanities Council

by James Nelson

At the Michigan Humanities Council, we strive to be a statewide organization by spreading our grants and programs throughout Michigan - from urban to rural, upper peninsula to lower, from Houghton to Detroit. A lofty goal and one that would be impossible without our most prolific partners: Michigan’s mighty public libraries.

The Great Michigan Read, our statewide literature program, is an excellent example of this partnership. The program strives to have as many Michiganians reading and discussing the selected title as possible, and since no one is better at circulating books than libraries, each cycle they are our main partners. For example, with our current title Station Eleven, 185 of our nearly 300 partners are libraries.

Our collaboration with libraries can also be seen with our family literacy and humanities program: Prime Time Family Read Time. While we are able to provide host libraries with grant support, it takes the hard work of dedicated library staff to ensure that underserved families are joining the program and learning to read together, all while discovering the numerous benefits offered by their local library. This has been a rewarding endeavor carried out for years by the Peter White Public Library in Marquette, the Chippewa River District Library in Mount Pleasant, the Harper Woods Public Library, and a host of other sites.

Libraries in Michigan that want to create their own programs are also eligible for all of our grant opportunities. It can be something as simple as one of our arts and humanities touring grants to the creation of a comprehensive humanities program using one of our larger humanities or heritage grants.

Through our various programs and grants we can partner with libraries of all sizes. We are honored to have a great working relationship with the LM that allows us to get the word out to other libraries and to help sponsor the MNB program. We have also been equally honored to work with one of the newest libraries in Michigan: the Pickford Community Library.

Despite being only five years old, Pickford Community Library has already hosted four of our programs and is gearing up to host our touring Smithsonian exhibition, Hometown Teams, in August and September of 2016. Pickford perfectly embodies our partnership with libraries, by using our programs to help grow their organization.

We see our work with libraries as a mutual partnership and an invaluable means for meeting our mission of spreading the humanities across the state. Please feel free to contact us or visit our website at to see if there is a program or grant that will work for your library.

7. Sculptamania at the Stair District Library

Stair District Library

by Colleen Leddy

Stair District Library is partnering with their local schools Morenci Elementary School and Morenci Middle School via an arts grant that emphasizes enhancing creativity skills in students. “Sculptamania!” does this by introducing 3rd to 8th grade students to 3-D art through sculpture, abstract art, and art in public places.

The “Sculptamania!” grant funds field trips for students to see outdoor sculptures in Adrian and Tecumseh, and to see the Flatlander Sculpture Galleries on U.S. 223. Over the next couple of months, students will create sculptures for display at the library.

Also, students are "adopting" sculptures to research at school before the field trip and then share what they learned with their group when they come upon their adopted sculpture.

Stair District Library had an open house Nov. 7 for the community to try out many creative construction toys purchased through the grant. The toys will become part of the library's collection which children may use daily to encourage creativity. 

Classrooms will be visiting the library to tour, play with the creative construction toys, and participate in smaller sculpting projects.

One of the students' sculptures made at school will be selected for an artist to replicate. This life-size sculpture will be placed in a downtown location for permanent display. Stair will have a big unveiling event when the sculpture is finished.

These types of successful school/library partnerships do so much to build strong bonds in the community.

8. Continuing Education Stipends for Library Staff

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish

The first round of the Continuing Education Stipends has been a great success. The LM funded 21 library staff to attend events such the Michigan Association for Medica in Education (MAME) school librarian conference in Bay City this month, Public Library Association 2016 conference and even the TESOL (English as Second Language) conference. As you can see, the program funds attendance at training events like workshops, webinars or conferences, both in-state and out-of-state. 

Use this program as an opportunity to learn about new programs and methods from panelists and national speakers. Even better, network with colleagues and share your ideas and inspirations for improving services and trying out new programs. 

The program is open to any library staff in academic, public and school libraries. You can apply at any time and applicants are notified every three months if their application is approved. Funding ranges from $200 to $1,500. The next application review is January 4th for events happening after that date. 

Look for more program details and the application link at in the Library Continuing Education program section. Contact Karren Reish at if you have any questions about the process or the application process.

9. City Directories at the LM

Matt Pacer

by Matt Pacer

Reams of valuable information exist for researchers at the LM. You can find many newspapers, state documents, and historical materials on Michigan. One great resource  are the city directories in print and on microfilm. Please use our catalog,, to find our holdings.

Why are these resources valuable? First, many researchers use these materials to find where a person lived. Additionally, you may find their occupation and the name of their spouse. But there are other reasons to take a look at city directories. When looking at a directory, take the time to look at the abbreviation list in the front. Occupation is not the only piece of information you may find. Many times you will see abbreviations listed for property owners as well as the armed forces. Those other abbreviations may provide extra clues to aid your research.

While browsing the first part of a directory, please look for any sections with historical information. Some city directories provide a brief history of the city, along with a discussion of its local press and organizations. Some directories may even have listings of elected government officials, key facts, and perhaps a historical timeline.

Please visit LM where staff will direct you to the city directory collection. Questions? Please call us at 517-373-1300.

10. Nomination Deadline Is January 8 for Rural Libraries Conference Awards

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris

We all enjoy the feeling of being recognized by our peers for a job well done. This is your opportunity to take a few hours between now and January 8th to put together a nomination packet for one of four awards being given at RLC 2016 on Mackinac Island May 4-6. Please consider who you know who possesses the quality of excellence in the profession.

Do you know someone at a small or rural library who is a leader in our profession? How about someone who goes the extra mile when working with children and teens? Do you have Trustee or Friend who goes above and beyond the call of duty to promote and advance your library?  Do you know a small or rural library that truly excels (and that library could be you!) We want to hear from you!

It’s time again to nominate libraries, directors, librarians, employees, trustees, and friends of rural libraries for a Loleta Fyan Small and Rural Libraries Conference Award.

There are four awards in 2016 (the same number as 2014). The categories are:

  • Outstanding Small/Rural Librarian Award
  • Trustee/Friend Award
  • Outstanding Youth/Children Award
  • The June B. Mendel Award for Excellence in Rural Library Service 

Please note that Library Cooperative staff and conference planning committee chairs are not eligible for conference awards. To qualify for an award the library must serve a population of 25,000 or fewer. Branch locations of larger libraries do not qualify for nomination. Nominations may come from another library, a library user, a community business or organization, or a library cooperative. A library may self-nominate for the June B. Mendel award.

The award nomination form is available now and nominations are due by January 8, 2016; please see the form for submission details.