by Randy Riley, State Librarian
Helping Michigan libraries find new and improved ways to
engage with their communities has been a priority of the Library of Michigan’s (LM) for the last several years. We have successfully partnered with the Midwest
Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) and the Harwood Institute for Public
Innovation to help LM better understand what libraries
need statewide. We have also worked with MCLS and Harwood to provide 100
librarians with the opportunity to participate in the Public Innovators Lab
workshops to better prepare them to conduct community conversations. As a profession,
we have traditionally been good at telling people what they need, but not so
good at asking them what they want us to be and then becoming it. The Public
Innovator Labs are one good way to better prepare libraries of all types and
sizes to organize these conversations and discover how they can change their
image into something more than book warehouses.
At the recent MLA Annual Conference, I had the privilege to
recognize Amanda McLaren, the director of the Benzonia Public Library, and her
staff as the recipient of the 2016 State Librarian’s Excellence Award. Besides
bragging rights, they received an impressive trophy and a $2,000 “cash prize”
made possible by a donation of Roger Mendel in memory of his wife June.
Benzonia is a rural Class 1 library with a budget smaller than $100,000.
However, it is a living, breathing example of a library that is fully
engaged with the people it serves daily.
There is a motivation and passion
demonstrated by the staff that is drawn directly from the community and as a
result, the community provides wonderful volunteers, informed users and shared
support of the library’s central place within the community. It is refreshing
to see the novel approach the staff takes in creating new programs and
services; they simply ask the community what programs it wants. Benzonia
Public Library has created a culture where it would be unthinkable to not be at the table when the community comes together to discuss
The library profession is rapidly changing. It
is a constant battle to keep up. Moving forward libraries must do more to
be viewed as problem-solvers changing how communities work
together. The Harwood Public Innovator Labs are one way of doing this, but it
is essential that librarians get out of their buildings and start interacting
with the communities they serve, like Benzonia has done.
We are the voices that
will change how our libraries are viewed within our communities. Start today. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations and ask patrons, chambers of commerce,
local leaders, and schools what aspirations they have for your community and
then work with them to make change happen. The important work we do every day
will become even more apparent when these conversations get rolling.
by Cathleen Russ, Director, Troy Public Library
The joint Troy Public Library (TPL) – Bloomfield Township Public Library (BTPL) staff in-service day featured Black Belt Librarian author Warren Graham. He discussed library
security and how staff can approach uncomfortable situations with awareness and
cautious confidence. There was also time for information-sharing
between staff from both libraries.
"Cathy Russ, the director at Troy, and my Assistant Director Tera Moon,
both heard Warren speak recently. We commented to each other how our staffs could
benefit from hearing his practical tips," explained Carol Mueller, BTPL director.
"Our staff training goals often exceed our staff training budget," said
Troy assistant director Phillip Kwik. "Coordinating our training efforts with
Bloomfield Township helped us offer expertise we might not have been otherwise able
For the in-service, the libraries divided their staff by departments.
In the morning, some departments heard Graham, while others toured the Troy
facility and met with their peers from the other library. In the afternoon, the
groups switched, so that everyone could learn from the presenter, as well as
from each other.
"Feedback from our staff was overwhelmingly positive," said Tera Moon,
assistant director at Bloomfield Township. "Several told me it was the best
in-service ever. People really liked spending time with the Troy staff. It was
educational for everyone."
Both libraries are exploring ways to continue to work together on joint
programs for their staff.
by Deb Renee Biggs, Library Consultant & MeL Coordinator, LM
Michigan eLibrary (MeL) Business was successfully launched this past July 2016. It is a complete
redesign of the former Business Gateway and features a video series designed to
assist entrepreneurs starting or growing businesses. MeL Business offers everything from
subscription resources available at no cost to all Michigan residents to targeted
websites which cover “How To”, “Business Support” and “Social Media”. A short four video series helps users to
understand how MeL Business has helped Michigan entrepreneurs and those
who work with them, specifically librarians and business support
providers. These videos are engaging and
they can be shared. They can also be found on MeL’s YouTube channel.
linked on the MeL Business homepage are six resources that can assist
entrepreneurs to Start, Grow, Support and Succeed. They are:
DemographicsNow, Small Business Resource Center, Business Insights: Global, Gale
Virtual Reference Library: Business Collection, and Gale LegalForms.
Click on the “How To” tab just above
these resources and scroll down to find “Helpful Links” which include
additional tutorials and training information specifically for BusinessDecision and DemographicsNow.
academic and school libraries can take an active role in helping with and
providing resources that support economic development in their
communities. Academic and school
libraries can help train students to become future entrepreneurs and
corporate employees able to use research tools for their
businesses. Public libraries can assist
their patrons interested in opening a business or those who want to take existing businesses to the next level. MeL Business is your launchpad.
information about MeL Business email: email@example.com
by Evette Atkin, Continuing Education Coordinator, LM
Did you know that you may be eligible to participate in a
continuing education event for little or no cost? The LM always has strived to
support libraries’ efforts to provide quality service and programming to their
communities. A major element of excellent service is empowering library staff
to learn and implement new skills and best practices. Because of this, the LM, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has implemented the Librarian
Continuing Education (CE) program. This program provides financial support for approved
library staff who wish to participate in CE via the
reimbursement of allowable expenses up to the amount of $1500.
Michigan public, academic and school library staff are
eligible to apply for continuing education stipends. A maximum one CE stipend
per fiscal year may be awarded to each individual. Program details and
criteria can be found in our Program
Applications may be submitted quarterly, up to the last
business day of March, June, September, or December for a CE event that is AFTER the quarterly submission deadline. You will be notified of
the funding decision within two weeks of the last business day of the quarterly
submission deadline. Successful applicants will be required to sign and return
an agreement form within two weeks of notification of the award.
After attending the event, you must submit a reimbursement
form, receipts and a required article or presentation no later than 30 days
after the end of the event to receive reimbursement. Within 30 days of
submission of the reimbursement form, the LM will notify the
attendee of the final approved amount. Libraries MUST be a State of Michigan
vendor to receive funds.
by Lisa Waskin, Director, Superior District Library
initial reason for considering a collaborative enterprise is the perception
that there is a need. Participants see
the possibility of pooling resources – intellectual, technical and financial –
to make a purchase or develop a program with benefits to the user community
that override local autonomy. Once you
have an idea, leaders of any collaborative effort need to convince all
stakeholders that more can be accomplished by working together and that there
is a benefit to the user community by pooling resources in a formal agreement.
fabulous, right? But is forming a
collaboration with another library right for you? There are four key questions to ask when
deciding on whether to do a collaborative project:
there a benefit for all the participants?
likewise - is there a mutual risk for all parties?
you have the commitment of the organizations’ leaders? And,
more being accomplished jointly than could be individually?
the answer to all of these is yes, then it is time to take the next step
in creating a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship.
the case of the Bayliss Public Library and the Kenneth J. Shouldice Library at Lake Superior State University (LSSU), we had two libraries sharing the same community. Both libraries had limited budgets and a
defined patron base. Or did they? By creating a joint library card and sharing
programs and resources, these two diverse library communities could meet a need
in Sault Ste. Marie that maybe people weren’t even aware existed. Instead of trying to be all things to all
people, each library focused on their strengths and let the other organization
pick up their slack. For example, a
university library’s focus is generally non-fiction research and databases –
all very costly items in the library world.
On the other hand, the public library focus is more on families, leisure
reading and entertainment through programs and materials.
By working together, these two entities did
not waste valuable time, staff and resources trying to copy what each other already was doing well. And by creating a joint library card and promoting each other, each
facility became richer and the perception in the community was that all of
its literary needs were being met by the Sault Ste. Marie library "system." It indeed was a win-win-win for all involved.
by Matt Pacer, Reference Librarian, LM
There are many new and interesting things happening at the
LM. First things first: events. The LM hosts the Clark Historical Library's Native Treaties Shared Rights Exhibit November
5 - December 22, 2016. It will be located in
the Lake Erie Room on the second floor. Later in November, Randy Asplund, demonstrates book illumination as part of Silver Bells in the City, the
annual holiday event in Lansing. Please check our website for date, time, and
location. January starts off with a great presentation on Private Book Collecting: Beginning Basics.
Please stay tuned to our website for date and time.
We constantly are adding new and new
to us books, pamphlets, maps, etc. to our collections. There are some really
good recent additions. If you are interested in railroad history, we now offer a
wonderful collection of books, newsletters, and magazines.
You may ask yourself, what else have we done?
Our microfilm move is complete. Our newspaper microfilm all is located in
one spot nearer the microfilm viewers and reader/printers. If you are on
Instagram, please check out and follow #mimondays - a fun hashtag about items in
our collection. Also, please check us out on Facebook and on the LM website. There’s always something new to read.
by Clare Membiela, Library Law Specialist, LM
about the updated overtime regulations that are due to go into effect on
December 1, 2016? Here are some basic facts and links to information that may
make it easier to determine if the changes will affect your library.
amendments only affect professional, executive and administrative employees (typically referred to as “white collar
workers.”). They do not effect part-time workers (who, regardless of type, are eligible for overtime [including
compensatory time] if they work more than 40 hours in a week.)
regulation raises the salary ceiling for overtime eligibility from $455 per
week to $913 per week (from about $24,000 annually to about $48,000
annually). For comparison, the 2016 Federal Poverty guideline is about $24,000
for a family of four).
updates amend existing regulations that determine if an employee is Exempt (not entitled to any overtime
compensation) or Non-Exempt
(entitled to overtime pay or compensatory time = to 1.5 times salary or time over
40 hours a week).
must consider three separate tests when determining if an employee is exempt:
1. Salaried Basis Test - Employee has a fixed and predetermined salary that is not subject to
reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work.
2. Salary Level Test - Paid more than a specified salary level, which is $913 per
week (the equivalent of $47,476 annually for a full-year worker).
Duties Test - The types of work the employee does, the
responsibilities the position requires, and the educational or certification
requirements for the position.
Text of the
Salary & Duties tests, via the DoL, Wage & Hours division Fact Sheet
17A (note that the sheet is dated 2008 –
which is current for the duties tests, which were not affected by the updated
rule. However, the salary numbers on this sheet have not
yet been updated to reflect the upcoming changes).
additional information, see:
This information is provided for informational
purposes only, and is not meant to be considered legal advice. Determination of
an employee’s status is one that should be made in collaboration with your
attorney or HR professional.
by Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Librarian, LM
As Nathaniel Hawthorne so elegantly wrote in The Scarlet Letter, "She had not known
the weight until she felt the freedom." I read it in the ninth grade and while many in my class moaned and groaned,
and quite frankly hated it, I was absorbed into the world of Salem,
Massachusetts in 1642. Absorbed into the
plight of Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl. It was an awakening to examine how the world has, or has not, changed in
our treatment of women in the centuries since. Now the details of the plot and much of the book itself have faded from
my memory, but I definitely recall the impact the book and its author had on my
view of the world.
"How did an author’s work change your view of the world or
yourself?" is this year’s Letters About
Literature (LAL) contest theme. It is designed to encourage students to select a fiction or
nonfiction book, a poem or play that gave them strong
feelings. LAL asks students to reflect
on how the work changed them, how they knew of its effect and why they or their
view is different. Finally students are
asked to write a personal letter to the author supporting
their ideas with specific details. Deadlines for submissions are December 2, 2016, for Grades 9-12, and
January 9, 2017, for Grades 7-8 & 4-6. Details, resources and submission forms can be found on the LM website
or at http://read.gov/letters.
A committee of volunteers will select Michigan finalists in
early spring and those selections will be sent to the National level for award
consideration. We are looking forward to
learning what books and authors are inspiring and opening our students' minds
by Jeff Milo, Ferndale Area District Library
Participating in the Libraries Transform campaign this summer
was such a morale boost for myself and the Ferndale Area District Library.
Camaraderie and common cause between our neighboring members in the The Library Network of
Oakland County was reinforced and strengthened for the foreseeable future when
we forged a joint public awareness campaign through press
releases, social media posts and blogs, that promoted our efforts to help
transform communities through access to information and enriching programs.
The public libraries of Ferndale,
Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Hazel Park, Southfield, and Oak Park each used
the resources of the Libraries Transform online toolkit for display or distribution in
their main space. Each also promoted “the 5 E’s”
at the core of the campaign: Empowerment, Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Engagement. Since we had six libraries in our
team, we added a sixth E: Entertainment. Each social media post or blog essay
provided concrete examples demonstrating how this aspect of library
service substantially enriches each of their communities.
Here at the Ferndale Library, we
printed our own 20”x 23” posters from the campaign in vivid color and framed
them in the Corridor Gallery. Once patrons saw that, they came to the
circulation desk with positive remarks, or they inquired about the nature of
the campaign, creating a perfect opportunity to converse with them. Then we invited patrons
to fill out note cards with personal messages declaring why they
personally believed libraries matter more than ever in the digital age. We
collected these on a board near our main entrance. We also received
support from local businesses in our Instagram campaign to offer gift cards as
We’ll celebrate the spirit of this advocacy campaign all year long, while encouraging everyone to share their own personal stories or
perspectives on how libraries have helped change their lives or communities.