Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter July 2016

July 2016

1. State Librarian's Excellence Award Coming Soon

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian

Too often Michigan libraries do not get the credit they deserve. Michigan is blessed with great libraries and library systems. In many communities libraries’ incredible accomplishments go unnoticed or are taken for granted. The recent American Library Association (ALA) Conference in Orlando gave me a chance to brag about Michigan libraries when talking with vendors and other librarians. Hands down, Michigan has some of the best libraries in the nation.

Again this year the Library of Michigan (LM) and the Library of Michigan Foundation will be presenting the State Librarian’s Excellence Award (SLEA) at the Michigan Library Association conference in October. This award provides a small opportunity to shine the spotlight on great library service in Michigan. With the support of the Library of Michigan Foundation we will recognize a library (any type) that exemplifies excellent customer service. The selected library receives a $2,000 cash prize and a “fancy” trophy to display in a public area. Two additional Citations of Excellence will be awarded with recipients each receiving a $1,000 award and trophy.

Library directors, trustees, library users, administrators or parent agency representatives can nominate their library for the State Librarian’s Excellence Award. Nominations should demonstrate how libraries: provide superior service to the community in a cost effective manner; operate with a can-do attitude; and deliver on promises. They should include specific examples of outstanding service over the past year and outline how the staff’s interaction with the community showcases a high level of customer service.

See here for a more detailed description of the SLEA criteria and a nomination form.

For more information, contact the Library of Michigan Foundation office at (517) 373-1297.

2. StoryCorps: Building Community Memory of Current Events

StoryCorps 2

by Kay Schwartz, Director, Flint Public Library

The Flint Public Library (FPL) applied for a StoryCorps @Your Library grant in 2015. The grant equipped and trained library staff and volunteers to digitally capture stories for preservation in the Library of Congress. People in the community, especially youth who worked on the project, had the chance to learn interviewing, recording and editing skills.

More than 70 Flint residents shared their personal recollections and viewpoints via StoryCorps. These people talked about families migrating to Flint for the hope and promise of factory jobs. They described the pain of watching Flint change over the years through job displacement, unemployment and crime. They also related family stories of joy, of laughter, stories of unbelievable experiences and unshakable people.  StoryCorps underscored the variety of human experience that is the bedrock of Flint’s history. 

The Flint water crisis hit the news in the fall of 2015, just about the time our grant was expiring. We applied for an extension, because we believed that people should have the opportunity to share their perspectives on this historic crisis as it unfolded. StoryCorps granted our request, and now we are inviting people to record their stories about how this crisis has impacted them. Powerful stories are beginning to emerge…stories of grief and pain and challenge. All of them feature an unmistakable air of authenticity that will not fail to move people who listen to them years from now.   

Anyone can hear what the people of Flint have had to say. Visit to play edited recordings that we have posted. Note that the specific water crisis stories that were recorded in this extended grant period will be posted later in the year. 

We believe the Library is a democratic and accessible place for community memory to be built. StoryCorps has been a wonderful way to accomplish that goal.  

3. Reading Redefined: Deep Reading, Learning, and the Impact of Digitization

Shannon White

by Shannon White, Director, Statewide Library Services, LM

Have your own reading habits changed over the past decade as you have adopted new technologies? Do we fully understand the impact of the use of technology on a new generation that hasn't migrated from paper to electronic reading? Today's scholars are studying the impact reading has on young learners, readers and comprehension in a digital only environment. What does this mean for libraries, the organization best known for books, information and literacy?

We invite you to join us on September 30 to hear from two leading researchers in the field as well as your colleagues as we present Reading Redefined: Deep Reading, Learning, and the Impact of Digitization, a one-day symposium to discuss the ways that reading is changing as our environment and interactions become ever more digital. 

Our two featured speakers are Maryanne Wolf, Ph.D., Director, Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University and author Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain and Natalie M. Phillips, the Co-Director of DHLC and Lead Faculty for Literary Neuroscience and History of the Mind at MSU. The event also will feature breakout sessions from K12, university and community college colleagues addressing technology and today's students. 

The event's venue is the Lansing Community College West Campus. Registration is open

This event is a collaborative program provided by the LM, the Cooperative Directors Association, the Midwest Collaborative of Library Services and the Michigan Library Association. This project also is supported with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


4. New and Advanced Directors Workshops

Evette Atkin

by Evette Atkin, Continuing Education Coordinator, LM

Are you a new library director or have you recently accepted a director position in Michigan for the first time? Registration is now open for the LM's annual New & Advanced Director workshops. In order for your library to be eligible for state aid, all new public library directors and all directors newly appointed in the state of Michigan must attend one or both of these workshops.

  • New Director Workshop (September 15, 2016) – required for all new library directors within 12 months after appointment.
  • Advanced Director Workshop (September 16, 2016) – required for all new Class IV-VI library directors within 24 months of appointment.

Library employees are welcome to attend voluntarily. Topics include Library Law, Human Resources, Community Engagement, Organizational Health and much more.

Attendees will learn about numerous resources for public libraries. Registration is $30 for the New Director Workshop and $35 for the Advanced Director Workshop. Registration deadline (and also to cancel with a full refund) is 5 pm on Wednesday, September 7th. The location is the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. For more information, visit

5. Livonia Public Library Summer Reading Program

Livonia Public Library video

by Karen Smith, Head of Children's Services, Livonia Public Library

Libraries can do wonderful things when they have creative librarians, talented videographers and help from community partners. In March 2016, the Livonia Public Library teamed up with Livonia Television Channel 8 and Phoenix Freerunning Academy to create a Summer Reading Program video that showcases the summer reading program itself, and by showing kids how fun and knowledgeable librarians are, promotes library usage.

The idea originated with Children’s Librarian Julie Novak after learning that Parkour was coming to the library for summer reading. Eric Zimmerman and other athletes from Phoenix Freerunning Academy were happy to lend their talents to the library. Using creative camera angles, an inspired script, librarians and “bad stunt doubles,” Paul Sutherland and Nathan Rockwell from Livonia Television, filmed and edited a Summer Reading commercial like no other.

Once the video was posted to social media, the real fun began. The video was being shared not only by other Michigan libraries, but also libraries on every continent except for Antarctica (and we are still working on that). 

Library Director, Toni LaPorte (you may have seen her jump off the roof) could not be happier with how well the video has promoted the library and its programs. “It’s incredible the people have shared it,” she said. In fact, the video has been viewed over 32,000 times on Facebook and has been featured on all of the local TV channels, on WKAR's public radio program "Current State" as well as the “Late Late Show with James Corden.”

Although you won’t find any librarians actually practicing Parkour in the library, those at the Livonia Public Library pride themselves on fabulous programming, excellent customer service and mutually beneficial collaborations with community partners. View the video on the library’s Facebook page.

6. The Demo Site Program from the Braille and Talking Book Library

Digital Player from the Braille and Talking Book Library

by Stephanie Wambaugh, Outreach and Youth Librarian, Braille and Talking Book Library

The Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) collaborates with public libraries across the state to educate all Michigan residents about the free braille and audio book service available to those who have difficulty reading standard print due to a visual or physical disability, or organic reading disability. Through ongoing outreach efforts, any public library may sign up to be a Demo Site. In short, Demo Sites receive information and training regarding BTBL, a Digital Talking Book Player and book, and applications for the service. Demo Sites are encouraged to promote and distribute BTBL materials as best meets their needs. 

Since 2014 when the Demo Site program officially started, more than 55 public libraries of all sizes have joined the effort to promote BTBL services. With a collection of books very similar to a public library’s, but solely in braille and audio formats, we provide patrons thousands of books in alternative formats with more added every day. The Braille and Talking Book Library is a part of a nationwide network of libraries made possible by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. In Michigan, the Regional Library in Lansing and 11 subregional locations throughout the state provide service and support to our patrons. For more information, please visit our website at or contact the Outreach Librarian, Stephanie Wambaugh, at

This Demo Site program provides an opportunity for public libraries to help an often underserved library population connect with a free, easy, and accessible resource. Please join in helping those who cannot use standard print rediscover the joy of reading. Become a Demo Site today so “that all may read”.  

7. Come and Visit Your State Library!

Matt Pacer

by Matt Pacer, Reference Librarian, LM

Summer is in full swing and if you are looking for a wonderful, yet educational experience, look no further than your LM. The LM is the State Library and has been in existence since territorial times. Our collections focus on all things Michigan, providing rich and varied resources to learn about many aspects of Michigan history and its place in American history.

What can you find when you visit us? Many things actually! We are the official repository for Michigan print and electronic government documents. Some of the earliest documents go back to 1805. These documents provide a historical perspective on the development of Michigan’s state government. Our Michigan Collection spans both historical and current Michigana. These materials are commercially or privately published. You can find books on county histories, cemetery transcriptions, Michigan architects, the Great Lakes, Michigan rivers, state parks, automobiles, and so much more. Our Martha W. Griffiths Michigan Rare Book Room has many types of items: maps, booklets, artists' books, journals, etc. The Rare Book Room is open by appointment only. Lastly, we have a huge collection of Michigan newspapers on microfilm. A fun game for the family is to look at the front page of your home town newspaper to see what made the news on the day of your birth. Our collections are all cataloged and you can search the catalog by visiting this website:

A trip to the library would not be complete unless you walk to the east side of the building past Carl (a very happy Michigan White Pine who likes to be photographed) to see the State of Michigan Museum and the Archives of Michigan. The museum has many displays, covering three floors and depicting Michigan history. The Archives of Michigan is a wonderful place for Michigan research whose collections complement ours. Michigan Library and Historical Center staff look forward to seeing you.

If you have any questions, call us at 517-373-1300 or email us at


8. STEAM Ahead, a Maker Program in Rural Michigan

STEAMAhead Makerspace

by Anne M. Belanger, Regional Outreach & Program Director, Presque Isle District Library

Rural libraries focus on building partnerships locally and regionally. At the Presque Isle District Library (PIDL), located in northeast Michigan of the Lower Peninsula, we benefit from these collaborations and our community partners.

The STEAM Ahead program at the Presque Isle District Library is a good example of strong partnerships. (STEAM) Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math is prolific throughout the country.

With funding from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, the library introduced elementary to middle school students at the Rogers City Area Schools to the world of STEAM based projects.

Students worked in a creative environment at the library making hands-on electronic gadgetry with Squishy Circuits, Snap Circuits, and Little Bits componentry while developing their critical thinking and creative skills. Students were guided by Don “Mr. Don” Dimick, PIDL Youth Librarian. Students worked in teams and others were comfortable running solo with their creation.

In the 2D animation session, middle school students learned how to write out their story ideas and create a storyboard prior to their animation project. This helped them to develop story-telling skills.

We have started an animation club due to the interest in making animated shorts. With the library’s recent acquisition of the Rogers City Theater, students now have a place to meet, create animated shorts, and screen them at the theater prior to feature presentations. The public can see the talents of our local students, who in turn can celebrate their creativity through STEAM Ahead.

STEAM Ahead© rolled out in Rogers City in March 2016. The plan is to have a sustainable program reaching students throughout Presque Isle County in this fall.

9. Libraries are getting “Outside the Lines” #GetOTL this September 11-17.

Joseph Hamlin

by Joseph Hamlin, Data Coordinator, LM

Outside the Lines (OTL): Libraries Reintroduced, is a weeklong nationwide event created by Colorado library marketers and library directors. It's designed to show the creativity and innovation occurring in libraries across the country. Currently 111 organizations registered to participate in the nationwide program. Joining the fun is free and easy. Registrants agree to host at least one campaign or event that meets the 7 OTL criteria.

  1. Gets people thinking – and talking – about libraries in a different way.
  2. Showcases the library out in the community as well as in the library.
  3. Highlights how your library is relevant to people’s lives.
  4. Represents your local community.
  5. Is active versus passive – gets people engaged.
  6. Is extraordinary and unexpected.
  7. Most importantly, is fun!

In Michigan we're launching a social media campaign around OTL using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Its hashtag: #GetOTL. Our focus is the partnerships Michigan libraries have formed within their communities and the innovative services and events that resulted. We encourage all Michigan libraries to share their success stories. Show us what’s working for you and checkout what is happening in the state and across the nation. Please tag your posts with #GetOTL so your content is easy to find and share.

Visit the OTL website or search social media using #GetOTL for some examples of how libraries are showing their communities what they have to offer and how libraries have changed. You can follow OTL on Facebook @GetOutsideTheLines or on Twitter @GetOTL.

10. Libraries Read: 1 Book discussions announced

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

by Jan Davidson, Member Engagement, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services

The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr has been selected as the title for “Libraries Read: 1 Book.” Join the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) at one of the following discussions. It may even change your brain.

  • July 21, 2 pm Eastern.  Twitter Chat. Use the hashtag #mclschat
  • August 2, 10 am to Noon Eastern.  Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, IN
  • August 3, 10 am to Noon Central. Lake County Public Library, Merrillville, IN
  • August 4, 2 pm to 4 pm Eastern. Indianapolis Public Library Service Center, Indianapolis, IN
  • August 5, 11 am to 1 pm Eastern. MCLS, Lansing, MI: This discussion will be led by Michigan librarian extraordinaire Kevin King, Head, Branch and IT Services Kalamazoo Public Library
  • September 29. Peter White Library, Marquette, MI: This discussion is part of the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation (UPRLC) meeting. Time to be determined. Look for more information soon.

Read more and register for a discussion>>

11. Joining Together for the Ultimate Battle

Battle of the Books

by Rebecca Campbell, Community Relations Assistant, Delta Township District Library

This year, the Grand Ledge Area District Library (GLADL) and the Delta Township District Library (DTDL) collaborated in the hugely successful Battle of the Books. The Delta Township District Library has been hosting this all-ages trivia competition for eight years. Teams are comprised of four to five members and are quizzed on five pre-selected books while the judges hand out scores for accuracy. This year’s winning team beat out 21 competitors to take home first place and a Barnes & Noble gift card.

Because of the proximity of our libraries and the overlap of patrons, it is important to pool our resources and offer a bigger and better opportunity for the community. The collaboration allows us to advertise through more channels, as well as host pre-events jointly to spread the word. Funding for the program also was shared; both libraries helped provide prizes and advertising funds for the event.

“It was a great opportunity to partner because many of our Battle participants are from Grand Ledge” said Becky LeBoeuf, DTDL’s Youth Services Librarian and head of the Battle of the Books.  “Rather than having competing programs, we could share resources and the program benefited from the extra staffing, funds, and marketing.”

Lise Mitchell, Director of the Grand Ledge Area District Library, added, "We love working with DTDL, and really appreciate partnering with them for Battle of the Books.  When we go out into the community we want patrons to focus on reading and learning and by promoting a unified front GLADL and DTDL show that libraries know how to collaborate and deliver the best."

What’s next? We hope to continue to work together to bring our communities closer and offer bigger and better events and programs to patrons of all ages.

For information on Battle of the Books, as well as any of our other great programs, please visit our websites at: and