Library of Michigan Dispatch newsletter May, 2017

May 2017

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

Reporting Back from National Library Legislative Day

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian

On May 1-2, hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters, and patrons from around the country gathered in Washington, DC to express the importance of continued funding of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). 

National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is a two-day advocacy event that brings library supporters to the Capitol to meet with members of Congress and their staff. 

Key topics included:


  • Funding LSTA and IMLS;
  • Funding the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program that enables schools and non-profits to obtain essential materials;
  • Supporting public access to government data and taxpayer-funded information research;
  • Supporting strong net neutrality protections;
  • Expediting the modernization of the copyright office; and
  • Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and supporting "real" privacy and surveillance law reform.

Prior to the meetings, participants received advocacy tips and training from the American Library Association’s (ALA) Washington Office, along with important issues briefings. More information can be found at:

Being part of the 37-member Michigan delegation was humbling. Honestly, no other state exceeds the commitment and dedication demonstrated by our delegation. Its commitment to libraries, of all types, was inspiring. This year we were also blessed to have representatives from Gale Cengage and ProQuest as part of the delegation. 

Visiting congressmen in DC is a tremendous opportunity, but it is not the only, or even best way to advocate for Michigan libraries. All library supporters should talk about the importance of libraries at the local level whenever possible. City, township and county officials need to hear how crucial library services are in your communities while school superintendents, principals and teachers all should be part of the discussion. Don’t overlook the time spent in the grocery check-out lane or conversations with parents in the stands at your child’s soccer game as an opportunity to talk about libraries. Recently a friend started a conversation by pleading “can we talk about something besides libraries tonight?” But I know that he is informed…  By collaborating and building partnerships we can ensure that Michigan libraries remain strong for years to come.

Did you know?

  • There are 16,559 public libraries in the United States and 9,767 are in small towns or rural areas.
  • 1.4 billion library visits take place per year.
  • An average of 2,663 library visits take place per minute nationally.
  • 94% of parents think libraries are important for their children.
  • 92% of public libraries helped people apply/interview for jobs in 2014.
  • It is estimated that K-12 students visited a library 1.5 billion times in 2015.

Start the conversation.

Digital Public Library of America

Richard Adler

by Richard Adler, University of Michigan

One of the best ways to learn about Michigan's rich heritage is to explore the historical collections of archives, libraries, and museums. Today many of these collections can be found online, where photographs, diaries, letters, and audio recordings are available even to patrons who are many miles away. Finding collections online is not always easy, though, especially if one is not exactly sure where to look. Fortunately, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) ( makes it much easier to find collections from hundreds of cultural institutions nationwide.

Michigan officially joined the DPLA by creating a "service hub" under the leadership of the Library of Michigan (LM) and with support from the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS), the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, and Michigan State University. Together the four universities selected several collections to share, and in January the first of them became searchable on the DPLA's website. View some of the items from these collections

The Michigan Service Hub ( will act as an intermediary, working with cultural institutions throughout the state and serving as a point of contact for the DPLA's small staff in the Boston Public Library.

Sharing collections benefits both the DPLA and a contributing institution. Only the metadata used to find a collection are shared, not the collections themselves, which remain on the institution's website. If a patron wishes to look at a particular item in a collection, clicking on the link takes the patron from the DPLA to the institution's website, which benefits from the additional traffic. At the same time, the institution will benefit by making its collections more easily available to students, teachers, genealogists and history buffs everywhere.

To learn more about the Michigan Service Hub please contact coordinator Richard Adler at

2017 LSTA Collaborative Library Services Grants

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, Grants Coordinator, LM

This first year of our new subgrant program has been exciting and we have four grantees. Congratulations to all who participated. All the applicants invested time and creativity, which made for a great first year. The LM received 21 applications from public libraries, cooperatives and academic libraries. The applications were peer reviewed by the LSTA Advisory Council, made up of librarians from a range of libraries around the state and LM staff. The grantees include four large grants and four small sponsorship grants. We are looking forward to great outcomes from these grants.


Dearborn Public Library – “Dearborn Public Library and Smartlocker™ -a Community-Based Initiative” -  3-year grant for $110,000.

The Dearborn Public Library is partnering with Salina Elementary and Intermediate Schools to improve access to library material in an underserved, largely immigrant, community.  A Smartlocker™ will be installed at the Salina School Community Center that students and community members will be able to use to get public library materials. The goal is to provide community access to library material for education and entertainment, opening the doors of knowledge and lifelong learning.


Jackson District Library (JDL) – “Project BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Diverse Generational Experiences)” – 2-year grant for $150,000.

Project BRIDGE is supplementing the traditional elder outreach programs with innovative services for citizens living independently or in residential facilities.  It will develop a range of offerings, including:  Connections (a special collection for memory impaired individuals), JDL on the Road (a series of programs tailored for older adults), Music and Memory (a personalized music program for memory impaired participants), Reminiscence Kits (program kits designed to stimulate conversations and memories), and TimeSlips (a program using group storytelling for people with dementia).


Wayne State University (WSU) Libraries – “Discovering Michigan History” – 2-year grant for $161,747.

Discovering Michigan History will establish pathways to share cultural content from Michigan libraries, archives, and museums via digital platforms to the public, educators, and the DPLA. The project aims to advance Michigan’s digital collections in three areas: digital collection creation and hosting, digital discovery, and curricular development. WSU will work with LGBT Detroit, The Arab American National Museum, and the Burton Collection at the Detroit Public Library to share their content.


Ypsilanti District Library – “Texting and Learning for Kindergarten (TALK)” – 3-year grant for $175,000

Many parents are unaware that their daily interactions can prepare children for success. To meet parents where they are, libraries in Washtenaw County are developing a text messaging service for families with children age 5 and under. New partnerships with libraries, preschools, service agencies, and the Sheriff's Office will ensure that the service reaches low-income residents, parents with limited literacy skills, and other underserved groups.



  • Friends of Michigan Libraries – Workshop support – 1 year grant for $2,500
  • Michigan Academic Library Association – Workshop support – 1 year grant for $2,980
  • Michigan Library Association – Workshop support – 1 year grant for $5,000
  • The Library Network – Michigan Activity Pass program – 1 year grant for $5,000


Funding availability for the 2018 grant program will be announced this fall. The Library of Michigan Collaborative Library Services grant program is made possible in part by the IMLS. For more information, contact Karren Reish at or 517-241-0021.

littleBits STEAM Programming

Pamela Salo, Director, Buchanan District Library

by Pamela Salo, Director, Buchanan District Library

Have you heard of littleBits? The perfect word to describe littleBits is inventing. The littleBits website says “electronic building blocks that empower you to invent anything, from your own remote controlled car, to a smart home device. The Bits snap together with magnets, no soldering, no wiring, no programming needed.” Go to “how it works” and you will be drawn into all the possibilities.  At the Buchanan District Library we designed a “certification” program that enables the participants to get a basic knowledge of over 60 Bits. Once certified they become a Geeky Bit Tech and move on to projects. We started with $350 of Bits. Popularity soared and the community provided funding to bring our Bit collection to over $5000. 

In the beginning, boys outnumbered girls 6 to 1 in the program. We hosted a Gizmo Girls event to turn that around. One of our classes this week has six girls and four boys. On our website you will find videos that link to our YouTube channel. For programming ideas we scoured the littleBits site and designed projects of our own. Take a look at our Facebook page to see pictures of “aha” moments on our children’s faces. 

Not all children in our community would have access to this type of STEAM technology. The Geeky Bits Tech Club has changed that. To build on this opportunity we offer kits for check out. The Gizmo & Gadgets Kit was the 5th most checked out item in the last six months. We are fostering creative confidence. Thomas Edison said “to invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”  We have boxes of junk, containers of bits and no shortage of imagination. 

The Buchanan District Library is a Global Chapter for the littleBits community. Are you thinking of venturing into Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) programming? We are willing to share what we have learned to help you in your endeavor. You will find lots of support in the littleBits community also. For questions or comments email Pamela Salo at  

New Artists & Slogan Updates for Summer Reading

CSLP 2017 artwork example

by Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Librarian, LM

The 2017 Annual Meeting for the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) was held in Charleston, South Carolina on April 10-12.  Attending as State Representative was Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Coordinator at the LM, and Gillian Streeter, Youth Services Librarian from Muskegon Area District Library.  Participants discussed and approved upcoming CSLP themes, slogans, art, incentives and more. Cathy shared feedback from various Michigan survey respondents throughout the meeting.

A sneak-peek at art by Brian Pinkney for the 2018 youth program and by Larry Jones for the teen and adult programs was shared, along with announcements that the 2019 artist will be Leeza Hernandez. Members should also look for work by LeUyen Pham in 2020.   As previously announced, the 2018 musical themed-slogan for all-ages is “Libraries Rock!” Slogans for the 2019 space theme were discussed and voted on, with the decision to carry forward “A Universe of Stories” for all-ages. Themes for the 2020 summer program also were debated; the winning theme is fairy tale/mythology/fantasy.

The 2017 Teen Video contest winners for the “Build A Better World” theme were announced at the meeting. Novi Public Library’s entry was the Michigan winner; all winning state videos are available at the CSLP website for viewing.

CSLP is a grassroots consortium that relies on volunteers for various committees and their board. Michigan’s own Cathy Lancaster was elected in April to serve a 3-year term as Board Member-At-Large.  A call for committee volunteers will go out soon; please consider volunteering.  Committees to serve include manual editing, artists, vendors, inclusion, and more.  For more information on CSLP, please go to or to our site at 

Learn About the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation

Lisa Waskin

by Lisa Waskin, Director, Superior District Library

UPRLC is the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation and was established in 1984. It is a group of people working together to improve library services in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan.

UPRLC provides these libraries opportunities to improve their services and expand their resources. UPRLC believes in libraries working together.

I feel that the members are excellent at collaboration.  In fact, the main purpose of the organization is to:

  • Facilitate the sharing of information resources among Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan libraries.
  • Encourage sharing of resources with cost-effective practices and procedures made possible through interlibrary cooperation among these libraries.
  • Enable these libraries to link up and interact with other regional and national electronic bibliographical communication systems.
  • Assist libraries in providing information and educational services to the residents of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan.

Each year the UPRLC members hold an Annual Meeting Day. At this all day workshop, we bring in speakers on relevant topics to improve library service for our membership. For example, last year we brought in LM staff members Sonya Schryer Norris and Joe Hamlin to discuss ways to use social media to promote library services. We also held a “Before Hours” networking opportunity the night before the Annual Meeting. At this event, we enjoyed a Jeopardy-style trivia game and a live band, along with pizza and other goodies. Because of the positive feedback from this event, and the fact that we actually made money, this year, we are planning to make this a two day event and bring in vendors, hold committee meetings and provide another fun networking event in the evening. 

Because many of the UPRLC libraries are small and rural, it is not always possible for staff to get away for an all day workshop. By expanding the event, we hope to provide members with many opportunities to participate and network with their colleagues in a variety of settings and at various times in the hopes of providing the widest opportunity possible for some kind of participation.

In short, the collaboration between members of the UPRLC ensures that more can be accomplished by working together and that there is a greater benefit to the user community by pooling resources in a formal structure. But these benefits are not only economic; they are also related to the informational, educational, cultural and social needs of the members and their library community. Together we are more. 

The Device Purchasing Window Is Now Open

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris, LM

Does your library need new computers for staff or for your public areas? Check out the 2017 Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) device purchasing program. Public libraries are welcome to participate.

This year there are 43 mobile and desktop devices along with related accessories and options available for purchase, most at substantial discounts from retail cost. Brands include Lenovo, HP, Dell, Google and Apple. You can choose options such how much memory you want, which size Solid State Drive (SSD), and a range of accessories such as optical drives and touch displays. There are also a variety of Notebooks, Chromebooks and even iPads. You can view the full list of included products on the Device Purchasing Planning Spreadsheet (

Purchasing takes place on the Statewide Purchasing Online Tool (SPOT). SPOT was developed to lower schools’ and libraries’ purchasing costs by aggregating sales volume statewide during a defined purchasing window. That purchasing window opened April 19 and remains open for about another five months.

For more information on setting up a SPOT account or making a purchase on SPOT, see the SPOT FAQs ( Word to the wise: when libraries set up their SPOT accounts they should select “Nonpublic” for district and ISD.

Any questions should be sent to REMC representative Karen Hairston at

Two New Free Webinars for Michigan Library Staff

Evette Atkin

by Evette Atkin, Continuing Education Coordinator, LM

The LM is pleased to announce the addition of two new, free webinars. On May 24 at 3 p.m. EST, join us for a 1-hour webinar covering information and updates on the Quality Services Audit Checklist (QSAC). QSAC is a voluntary management standards program that assists public libraries by setting benchmarks for Governance & Administration, Human Resources, Services, Collection Development, Technology, Facilities & Equipment and Public Relations. LM recognizes public libraries as they achieve each level. Libraries can be certified at the Essential, Enhanced and Excellent levels. For more information on QSAC, visit the Library of Michigan’s QSAC page at

On May 26 at 2 p.m. EST, join us for a 1-hour webinar covering information and updates on the Continuing Education Stipend program.  Did you know that library staff may apply for a Continuing Education Stipend for up to $1500 per person, per fiscal year for most continuing education opportunities? Michigan public, academic and school library staff are eligible to apply. Applications may be submitted quarterly, up to the last business day of March, June, September, or December for a continuing education event that is at least 30 days after the quarterly submission deadline. For more information on the CE Stipend program, visit the CE Stipend page.

To register for these, or any other LM program, go to the LM's registration system.

Kalamazoo Public Library and

Kevin King

by Kevin King, Branch and Circulation Services, Kalamazoo Public Library

A patron frantically approaches the reference desk needing to submit a resume to a potential employer. You can sense their anxiety and can almost predict the first question, “Can you help me email my resume?” The patron then points to the computer, “I cannot use one of those things.” Most library employees would escort them to a computer and walk them through the process. What if there was another way? What if you could show patrons a tool that would grant them free access to multiple self-directed tutorials to increase their digital literacy? What if patrons could track their progress? In 2013, the Public Library Association launched an online hub for digital literacy support and training,, and it is the answer to these questions and more.

In the fall of 2016, the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) was honored to be selected as one of the pilot sites for the initiative. KPL was one of four new libraries selected to add the resource after the Chicago Public Library launched their DigitalLearn site in early 2016. The goal was to offer patrons of Kalamazoo access to resources that would equip them with the knowledge to improve their digital literacy skills. Staff had been experiencing increasing numbers of questions about everything from basic computer skills to navigating the web to getting an email account. The opportunity to add to the library website gave staff another tool to assist low-level tech skill patrons with many of the digital skills needed today.

The implementation process could not have been easier! Over just a few months of working with PLA’s contractors, our site debuted in January of this year ( Within days staff were sharing stories of patrons using the site to create resumes, learn how to use Skype, search for jobs and buy a plane ticket. The courses are well produced and very easy to follow. The IT staff was excited to learn that not only can we create our own courses, but we will also have access to courses created by other libraries using! This will allow KPL to respond to specific community needs and help patrons learn the digital skills they seek out the most. has enormous potential. KPL hopes to not only create our own content, but also work with other partners to build a tool that is useful for all libraries. In addition to Chicago Public Library and KPL, you can check out the other great public libraries with sites. If you are interested, check out or call Scott Allen at (312) 280-5858. 

Ploud Website Templates for Small and Rural Libraries

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris, Ploud Coordinator, LM

Ploud (Public Libraries in the Cloud) is a website template and hosting solution. It is designed for small and rural libraries, provided by vendor Enfold Systems and subsidized with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) dollars through the LM. Over 100 Michigan libraries utilize Ploud for their websites. Are you thinking about changing website services? Consider Ploud.

Michigan Ploud libraries will pay $200 this year. For that low cost libraries are able to take advantage of one of four templates, each of which comes with between four and a dozen color schemes that can be changed at any time; hosting; a vendor-provided help desk; and on-going development. A subdomain of “” such as “” is available to new libraries or you are free to use your own domain name.

And there’s no uploading HTML files with Ploud. In fact, you don’t need to know any HTML at all. You simply log onto your site and from there you can edit text, images and links from an easy-to-use interface that requires no coding. Ploud is great for libraries without specialized technology staff.

Ploud comes with carousels, or rotating images, which you can use on any page; optional drag and drop page layouts; a selection of MeL databases which can easily be extended for your patron base; an intuitive calendar for library events; a News section; a Kids & Teens area; and a Contact Us form. From there you can develop any new content that you’d like. Your Ploud website can be as small or as large as you care to build it.

To get an idea of what the product looks like and how Michigan libraries are using it check out these sites:

The LM provides an in-person workshop series every fall at locations around the state to train on site operations and any updates that occurred during the course of the year.

Questions? Contact Sonya Schryer Norris at or 517-373-4457. You can also check out the program website. This summer is a perfect time to consider Ploud.