Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter May 2016

May 2016

1. Darcy Library of Beulah Wins June B. Mendel Award for Excellence in Rural Library Service

Darcy Library of Beulah receives June B Mendel award
Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley

Representing the Library of Michigan at events like the Loleta Fyan Rural and Small Library Conference (RLC) on Mackinac Island is easily one of the best parts of being State Librarian. The positive energy generated from this year’s conference, held May 4-6, was re-energizing. More than 600 librarians and presenters from rural and small libraries took over the island and for a few days they were given the attention they deserve.

Many of Michigan’s 396 public libraries fall into the category of small or rural. They play a huge role in the communities they serve. Small and rural libraries serve not just as information providers, they also serve as community centers. In many places these small libraries are the heartbeat of their community. Rural and small libraries are places where staff often provide a host of services ranging from reference desk help and holding story time to organizing community outreach activities. The daily work they do, while often unheralded, helps level the playing field for children and lifelong learners.

The RLC gives librarians and support staff a chance to network and discuss similar challenges. It also provides unique opportunities for them to find professional partners and collaborators for projects and programs.

After spending a few days with the conference attendees, it became clear that we need to celebrate the differences rural and small libraries in Michigan make in their communities. At this conference we recognized the outstanding services of the Darcy Library of Beulah by bestowing the June B. Mendel Award of Excellence on this amazing facility.

This conference in a small way demonstrates the LM's commitment to serving the needs of libraries of all sizes across the state. Hope to see all of you in 2018.

2. Library Snapshot Day - #MiLibSnap - June 13-17, 2016

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris

The LM is spearheading an American Library Association (ALA) initiative this summer called Library Snapshot Day. It’s a time for libraries to get out and use data to demonstrate the value and impact they have on their communities. In Michigan we’re going to share this data via social media. Participation takes place during the week of June 13-17. 

You can participate one day or every day, and contribute via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest using the hashtag #MiLibSnap.

The event is scheduled after conference season and is well situated to support summer reading participation. I suggest that you pull stats out of your annual report or collect data such as door counts between now and snapshot day. The objective is to share the impact of your library on your community in eye-catching ways. 

Some ideas for demonstrating that impact include: Use photos of the staff and facilities to personalize and put a face on your library; promote programming activities, outreach events, author tours, genealogy, and local history resources; and use stats such as circulation numbers to make your point. Get creative. You already know what you do best.  

Check out the tools below for creating great visuals.

Word cloud tools:

Infographic tools:

Data visualization tools:

Please tag your posts with #MiLibSnap and I look forward to seeing your great posts on social media.

3. A Warm Welcome to Pam Christensen at Superiorland Library Cooperative

Pam Christensen

by Pam Christensen

It is not always easy to change gears or start a new chapter in your life, but after 24 years as Library Director at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette, Michigan, I felt I needed a change. It is difficult to leave a place that you have loved and where you have found professional success and personal fulfillment. Luckily, I found a new challenge as Executive Director of the Superiorland Library Cooperative (SLC).

Headquartered in Marquette, SLC serves public, school/public and tribal libraries throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. I have 37 years of experience with library cooperatives, and feel Michigan’s cooperatives level the playing field for libraries in our state. Cooperatives offer services to libraries large and small. They assist library board members and staff to provide direct patron services to their communities. Cooperatives leverage the buying and brain power of their members to maximize the use of scarce resources. This is what SLC members tell me they value the most about our cooperative. They are able to provide services to their members because we have all banded together. These are services they would struggle to offer without the strength of our numbers.  Use of electronic products such as the Great Lakes Digital Library (Overdrive), Zinio, Mango and Scola is growing in our cooperative. We continue to look for other products that meet the needs of library customers and allow us to cooperatively purchase resources. 

I started my position at SCL in mid-December 2015. Since that time, I have been visiting member libraries to get acquainted. I think SLC has the most beautiful landscapes in Michigan - including two islands - Mackinac and Drummond. I am proud of the services SLC provides and even more appreciative of what the 42 libraries in our cooperative offer to their communities.

4. Two New Staff Members at the Library of Michigan

Cathy Lancaster and Clare Membiela

by Cathy Lancaster and Clare Membiela

On April 25th the LM’s Statewide Library Services (SLS) welcomed two new employees, Cathy Lancaster and Clare Membiela.

Cathy is the new Youth Services Coordinator, handling Michigan Reads, Summer Reading, Every Child Ready to Read, Teen Librarian Outreach, and more. After graduating with her Masters in Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) from Wayne State University in 2003, she worked as a Children’s Librarian at the Flint Public Library for 10 years and then spent two and a half years serving as Coordinator of Youth Services at the Traverse Area District Library. Cathy is a member of Michigan Library Association’s Board of Directors and greatly enjoys participating in community collaborations. Her favorite things are biking, snowshoeing, trips to the family cottage and being on the water. Cathy lives with her dog, Stella, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever, who is a certified therapy dog and has joined her at the library to read with children.

As the new Library Law Consultant, Clare will be helping public libraries understand and manage legal issues that impact library services. She comes to the LM from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Libraries where she had been the Associate Director for Library and Instructional Support. Clare came to Michigan from Miami, Florida in 2003, with her husband Dan, and her children Maddie and Collin. In Miami she worked at the University of Miami Law Library as the Head of Reference Services. She has an Master's in Library Science (M.L.S.) from Southern Connecticut State University, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Miami, and almost 30 years of law library experience. Her favorite things are helping people access the law, researching legislative histories, comics, costuming and all things textiles. She is excited about, and looking forward to helping, public libraries by connecting them to the legal information they need. Clare lives in Haslett with her family, including her furry "child," a calico named Molly.

5. For Software Think TechSoup, for Hardware Think TRIG

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris

Last year, Michigan libraries were invited to participate in an important initiative. The Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) program is involved in developing, issuing and administering statewide bids for mobile devices and desktop computers. It provides for lower purchase prices on many products, as well as accessories and even some services such as installation. The nice thing about this program is that it allows you to purchase off the bid and know you’re getting a good price without actually issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) yourself.

This year's program includes brands and products such as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Chromebooks, Android tablets, iPads and MacBooks. Accessories include onsite warranty, mice and keyboards, adapters, RAM upgrades and DVD RW drives. 

Last year nearly 170,000 devices were purchased off the bid. Unfortunately, libraries made up a very small percentage of this number but the savings for those libraries was substantial - $60,000.

In our January issue, Wendy Hand of Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) wrote an article about how KPL bought Chromebases last year to use as an OPAC solution. This summer she will be conducting a webinar through the LM to talk more about the device purchasing program and walk you through the steps of the ordering process.

Join us on Tuesday, June 21 at 10:00 a.m. at

I would like to encourage you to learn more about this program. If you're thinking about buying hardware this year, the purchasing window is open now through October 15th. To learn more about this program, check out the TRIG website


6. Collaborative Summer Library Program

Cathy Lancaster

by Cathy Lancaster

The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) held its Annual Meeting April 19-21, in Salt Lake City, UT.  The CSLP is a consortium of states, founded in 1987, that  work together to “provide a unified summer reading theme along with professional art and evidence-based materials so that member libraries can provide high-quality summer reading programs at the lowest possible cost and to play a significant role in literacy initiatives.” 

The three-day event was full of discussion, brainstorming and planning for summer reading clubs across the country. Some of the big decisions included:

Summer Reading 2017: the slogan is “Build a Better World.”

  • Early Lit/Youth Poster & Clipart Illustrator is: David Macaulay
  • Teen Poster & Clipart Illustrator is: Scott Sosebee
  • Adult Poster & Clipart Illustrator is: Larry Jones

Overall, the participants loved the art work, finding it to be diverse and interchangeable. It will work for your library if it uses the “building/construction” theme or even a broader, more “improving the community” type of theme. 

Summer Reading 2018: the slogan for all-ages is “Libraries Rock!” focusing on a musical theme.

  • A list of potential illustrators was narrowed down to a top 10 of who to approach for posters & clip art, including Frank Morrison, Brian Pinkney and Yuyi Morales.
  • Chapter themes were brainstormed – I’ll soon send out a survey seeking your topics and ideas.

Summer Reading 2019:  the theme is Space (Slogan will be voted on in early 2017).

  • It will be the 50th anniversary of the Moon Walk.
  • Washington DC Public Library has a relationship with NASA and CSLP will work on expanding that relationship for libraries across the country.

CSLP has announced the 25 winning videos from the Teen Video Challenge for 2016. View the winning videos here.

Stay tuned for more updates on the LM’s Summer Reading Program page, including a link to samples of the poster artwork for 2017.

7. Continuing Education Stipends

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish

The LM’s continuing education stipend program has been going for nine months now and we’ve had great participation. We’ve approved 72 applications from public, school and academic libraries around the state. Librarians and library staff attended the Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Denver and the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages annual conference (TESOL). We are also sending participants to the MLA Spring Institute and Leadership Academy events. We also are assisting with upcoming genealogy conferences, the Music Library Association conference and more.

We will be sending out special editions of the Dispatch newsletter with articles from participants about what they’ve learned. Consider using this program as an opportunity to:

  • Attend an in-state or out-of-state conference or workshop
  • Take a webinar class through the American Library Association (ALA) or the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
  • Take a short online continuing education class from a library school such as the University of Wisconsin

We are unable to fund classes leading to degrees or attendance at LM programs, but we may be able to assist with many other opportunities.

Contact us with any questions about what can be funded. Apply at in the Library Continuing Education program section. We review applications every three months for events after the review date. You can request from $200 to $1,500. All approved amounts are reimbursed to your library after the event. Questions? Please contact Karren Reish at or 517-241-0021.

8. Beverly Jenkins to Visit the LM on Saturday, June 11

Beverly Jenkins

by Edwina Murphy

Saturday, June 11

Michigan Romance Writers Panel Discussion & Open House

A Discussion with Author Beverly Jenkins

LM, 2nd floor conference room 

On Saturday, June 11th, the Library of Michigan hosts its first Michigan Romance Writers Event. It features the nationally known writer, Beverly Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild. Ms. Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by AABLC, the nation's largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature. Ms. Jenkins will have two books out in the first half of 2016: Forbidden and Stepping to a New Day.

Journalist Karen Hopper, of Michigan Volumes, will be on hand to MC a full panel of local Michigan romance writers including: Isabelle Drake, Nancy Gideon, Loralee Lillibridge, Alyssa Alexander, Dana Corbit Nussio, and Elizabeth Heiter. 

Genre writing has a complicated history. The fist barrier to fall was the genre of Science Fiction. John Cole, founder and director for the Library of Congress’ National Center for the Book, fought diligently to have it included in the National Book Festival line up. 

In 2015, after years of earnest encouragement with leadership, Mr. Cole was also able to include Romance novels in the National Book Festival celebration. For the first time, Romance writers have a spot on center stage on the national level. A great believer in all books, John Cole takes the position of first Library of Congress Historian on June 12, 2016.