Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter March 2016

March, 2016

1. The Flint Water Crisis and What We Can Do

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian

It is difficult to open up a newspaper or watch the nightly news without seeing stories about the water crisis in Flint. The crisis has been discussed during presidential debates, appeared as the top story on national news programs and blazed from numerous newspaper and magazine headlines. Recently, I realized just how big the story has become.

While visiting my daughter, who is studying abroad at Kings College in London, we made a train trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. When shopping in one of the many great woolen shops a friendly salesperson took an interest in where was I from in the States. When I replied "Michigan," he asked: “how could your state allow Flint’s water to be poisoned?” So much for the Flint water crisis just being a local issue...

The entire state has responded in trying to find ways to help the people of Flint. After touching base with Kay Schwartz, director of the Flint Public Library, she mentioned that they were being inundated with calls and emails from people wanting to help. She expressed that the best avenue for finding a way to help Flint was to work through the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Because the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has made it a priority to join the rest of state government in offering various forms of assistance, I asked myself what the Library of Michigan (LM) could do to contribute. I asked Michigan-based database and information providers ProQuest and Gale-Cengage if they would like to join the LM in identifying ways to help Flint. I was delighted when both responded promptly and affirmatively. These two companies know the importance of being a “good” citizen of the state and jumped at the chance to help Flint.

A special fund has been established by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to address the needs of Flint’s children and the potential long term effects of exposure to lead. I encourage everyone who is interested in helping, like ProQuest and Gale, to make a donation at Rest assured that your gift will be used for critical interventions today and well into the future. 

For more information visit:

2. ConnectED Library Challenge and the Clinton-Macomb Public Library

Ojibwa 2nd grade classroom

by Larry Neal
Library Director, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
Immediate Past President, Public Library Association

In 2014, President Obama announced ConnectED, a signature initiative focused on transforming teaching and learning through digital connectivity and content with the belief that every child deserves the chance to learn and thrive in an environment that is enriched by the latest technology. In 2015 the initiative was expanded, recognizing the need to strengthen learning opportunities by improving access to the nation’s public libraries and digital content through what has become known as the ConnectED Library Challenge.

Last April the Clinton-Macomb Public Library (CMPL) received an invitation from the White House staff on Domestic Policy to participate in a call, “to discuss your library’s commitment to ensure that all children in your community can access library resources to further their education.” The premise of the program was straightforward and highly aligned with CMPL’s mission. To participate, the library board, elected officials and school superintendents had to agree to:

  • Support student learning and school success through programming and other activities that develop students’ language, reading and critical thinking abilities
  • Provide digital resources such as ebooks and online collections to learners
  • Provide broadband access through public computers and WiFi
  • Give access by providing every student with a library card

Thanks to the relationships the library has cultivated over the years with schools and local elected officials, it took just a couple of quick phone calls to get everyone on board. In fact, CMPL was the first library in the country to sign up for the challenge and we were invited to attend a White House-sponsored event in January 2016.

CMPL serves 30,000 students in two school districts and parts of four others. Checkout privileges of physical materials require a parent or guardian signature. Since starting the program in September 2015, nearly 1,000 students have secured a full-access library card.

CMPL is now collaborating with its public library counterparts in Chesterfield Township, Harrison Township and St. Clair Shores to partner with L’Anse Creuse Public Schools which is served by all four libraries. Reducing complexity and making policies as education-friendly as possible across libraries was the first goal. At this point we are on track to complete this first multi-library/school partnership by the end of the 2015-16 school year.

3. Introduction to the New MeL Education Specialist, Christine Schneider

Christine Schneider

by Christine Schneider

Hi everyone! My name is Christine Schneider and I am the new Michigan eLibrary (MeL) Education Specialist.  This is a newly created position as of December 2015. My main focus is to work with K-12 educators and media specialists on incorporating the outstanding quality and vetted online resources that MeL offers to Michigan schools and residents at no cost.

Over the past eight years, I have been a classroom teacher of grades 6 through 12 and even adults. Most recently I taught math and English at Clawson High School. I also taught technology in elementary education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I hold a master’s degree in Teaching from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a bachelors in Business Administration – General Management from Davenport University. Outside of work, I absolutely love raising my wonderful 11-year-old identical twin daughters Trinity and Tiffany.

If you would like to find out more about the great resources has to offer or would like some professional development in your school, please send me an email at I look forward to meeting and working with everyone.

4. Introduction to the New Continuing Education Coordinator, Evette Atkin

Evette Atkin

by Evette Atkin

Hello all. I'm Evette Atkin and I have the honor of being the new Continuing Education Coordinator here at the LM. I look forward to working with Michigan libraries to provide continuing education opportunities that ensure libraries remain vital parts of their communities.

I began my library career at the Michigan State University Libraries, working in numerous areas over nine years ranging from Database Management to Facilities and Interlibrary Loan.  Upon earning my Master's of Library and Information Science, I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to join the staff at the Michigan Library Consortium, now the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS). There, I was the Coordinator of the Michigan Evergreen Project. I also developed, planned and instructed programs and workshops, and provided support and training in various areas of library services, for which I was named a 2008 Library Journal Mover & Shaker.  During my time at MCLS, I also had the wonderful opportunity to instruct future librarians on the topic of technology as an adjunct professor with Wayne State University’s Library & Information Science graduate program.

After spending the past three years as the director of a Class V public library, I am excited to return to providing services to libraries throughout the state and am eager to provide creative, innovative and relevant continuing education opportunities for Michigan libraries.

5. Night for Notables Is April 2, 2016 at the Library of Michigan

Notable Books logo

by Carolyn Sparks

The Library of Michigan Foundation is pleased to host the thirteenth annual "Night for Notables," a celebration recognizing the 2016 Michigan Notable Books and their authors.  Each honored author has helped to showcase the state’s rich literary history and, through their compelling stories, has spotlighted the diverse experiences of life in the Great Lakes State.

The books and their authors will be recognized at an April 2nd gala at the LM. This year’s gala features a trio of politically minded speakers. The three authors were given Michigan Notable Book Awards in past years for their compelling biographies of vastly different Michigan governors. Lawrence M. Glazer, author of “Wounded Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Michigan Governor John Swainson” (2010); Dave Dempsey, author of “William Milliken: Michigan’s Compassionate Conservative” (2009); and Thomas J. Noer, author of “Soapy: A Biography of G. Mennen Williams” (2006) will discuss their views on what makes an effective governor and how governors respond to crises. The panel moderator is John Truscott, a former spokesman for Governor John Engler, and Kelly Rossman-McKinney who has worked in public relations both in government and the private sector. The two are partners in Truscott-Rossman, a bipartisan public relations firm.

The Night for Notables event provides a rare opportunity for guests to mix and mingle with authors who have captured Michigan’s heritage while gaining wide public appeal.

Advanced registration is required. For reservations or more information, please call 517-373-1297 or visit: or

General Admission                

$50      Program, Reception, Book Signing

Host Committee                     

$150    VIP Reception beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Reserved seating for program
Reception - Book Signing

Books are available for purchase.

5:30 p.m.
General Admission Registration

5:45 p.m.                     
Program - Forum Auditorium
Recognition of Authors and Awards Ceremony
Panel Discussion

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.          
Reception - Hors d’oeuvres, Michigan beer and wine
Book Signing - 2016 Notable Authors in attendance and panel participants

6. Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative (MMLC): 3D Printing Initiative

3D Printer

by Denise Hooks

MMLC’s goals regularly have included support of the technology needs of our members. In the past, many cooperatives purchased mobile laptop labs and other equipment that circulated among libraries. The practice provided libraries with the opportunity to offer new services for patrons such as bibliographic instruction and other classes on how to use emerging technologies in a group setting. This effort predated the computer lab environment that we have come to appreciate and rely on in our libraries today. 

While updating our last Technology Plan, MMLC library directors were asked to give suggestions on what technology needs they might have for the future. 3D printing was at the top of the list. With the assistance of Chippewa River District Library (CRDL), we tested 3D printing processes and, after an evaluation period, library members agreed to participate in a longer project. CRDL offered suggestions on 3D printers and both Capital Area District Library and Bay County Library System shared their equipment experience with MMLC to assist us in making an informed choice. 

Last month, MMLC’s Advisory Council meeting was devoted to presentations and conversations about how libraries might offer this service to patrons. Divided into seven regions, the groups met to complete a planning worksheet that included questions such as: a schedule for printer use, transportation among members, and supply replacement procedures. 

Each region agreed on the library that would take the 3D printer, dedicated laptop and scanner that day. Those lucky libraries drove away with a brand new 3D set-up. This exciting pilot will run until 2017 as support systems are developed.  

7. Registration for Beginning Workshop Now Open

Evette Atkin

by Evette Atkin

Are you new to library work? Do you want to network with colleagues facing the same challenges of figuring out all there is to working in a public library but are not sure where to go? Then the LM's Beginning Workshop is for you. Each spring the LM provides an opportunity for those new to library work and seeking to be certified at Level 3 or 4 to come together for a three-day learning event. This workshop provides a crash course in basic areas of library work from intellectual freedom to weeding.

At this workshop, library colleagues from around the state share their expertise in select sessions on issues of importance to today’s public libraries. In addition to the day-time programs, we offer optional activities in the evening to continue your learning experience in a less formal setting with a bit more fun. A book-tasting party and tour of the Bellaire Public Library are on tap.

Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire is the location for the 2016 event May 18 - 20. If you have not had formal library coursework and are ready for an introduction to working in a public library please join us. To learn more about the workshop and register online, visit:

Registration is $140 and includes meals. This event is sponsored by the Library of Michigan Foundation and the LM. Deadline to register for the event and make lodging reservations is April 17.

8. Michigan Libraries Poised to Make an Impact with Harwood


by Dave Votta

On March 15 and 16, 2016, a cohort of more than 50 Michigan library staff convened in East Lansing for a 1.5-day workshop led by two certified coaches from the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. That training will be followed up by nine months of coaching calls from the Harwood Institute, and guidance and support from Harwood trained LM and MCLS staff.

The workshop and follow-up training are designed to help individuals and organizations learn what it means to Turn Outward — to use the community, not the conference room, as the reference point for choices and action.

The cohort was selected through a competitive application process. The libraries represent a spectrum of library types, sizes and geographic locations in Michigan, all with a common goal of engaging more deeply in their communities.

Look for an announcement soon about a second cohort. Applications will be gathered beginning this spring with a fall start date.

The participating libraries are:

  • Allegan District Library
  • Bay County Public Library
  • Bay de Noc Community College Library
  • Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Cromaine Library
  • East Lansing Public Library
  • Escanaba Public Library
  • Fremont Area District Library
  • Grand Ledge District Library
  • Houghton Lake Public Library
  • Hudson Carnegie District Library
  • Ironwood Carnegie Library
  • Lapeer District Library
  • Loutit District Library
  • Niles Public Library (In collaboration with the Niles History Center)
  • North Adams Community Memorial Library
  • Oakland University Kresge Library
  • Orion Township Public Library
  • Peter White Public Library
  • Portage Lake District Library
  • Public Libraries of Saginaw
  • Roscommon Area District Library
  • Salem-South Lyon District Library
  • Saugatuck-Douglas District Library
  • Southfield Public Library
  • Superior District Library
  • Superiorland Library Cooperative
  • Tahquamenon Area Library
  • University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigian Library
  • Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs and University Archives (Wayne State University)
  • Wayne State University Purdy Kresge Library
  • White Pigeon Township Library
  • Ypsilanti District Library 

This project is supported by the LM with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

9. Registration for Fall 2016 Prime Time Family Reading Now Open

Michigan Humanities Council

Michigan Humanities Council

The Michigan Humanities Council offers grant opportunities to public libraries and public schools across the state to host Prime Time programs. Prime Time is a free six-week program of reading, discussion and storytelling that targets families of non-active library users. The program features award-winning children’s literature to stimulate discussion about humanities themes and issues encountered in everyday life. Since 2008, more than 6,700 Michigan children and parents have participated in Prime Time.

Each week a storyteller reads up to three books, followed by facilitated discussion with a humanities scholar who engages participants with questions that promote critical thinking skills. At the end of each session, families keep the books that were read to create home libraries.

Programs typically serve up to 25 families comprised of parents and children ages 6-10 with separate pre-reading activities planned for children 5 and under. Programs are presented in English or as a bilingual Spanish/English program.

Prime Time is designed to be a fun and memorable experience. Each session begins with a free meal and participants learn about the valuable resources offered by libraries. Weekly door prizes ensure families are motivated to return each week.

Any public library system or public school library in Michigan is eligible to apply to host a six-week Prime Time series. Applications are being accepted until May 2, 2016For questions or more information, please contact James Nelson, Program Manager, at 517-372-7770 or