Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter July 2017

July 2017

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

State Librarian's Excellence Award

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley

One of my favorite things about events like the American Library Association's (ALA) recent annual conference is that it provides me with an opportunity to brag about the great libraries found in Michigan. I admit I am biased, but our state is truly blessed with some of the best and most innovative libraries in the country. The State Librarian’s Excellence Award (SLEA) is just a small vehicle that helps the Library of Michigan (LM) to officially recognize great library service in Michigan.

The LM and the Library of Michigan Foundation are pleased to announce that nominations for the 2017 State Librarian’s Excellence Award are now being accepted. SLEA recognizes a Michigan library that best exemplifies excellence in customer service. The selection panel consists of the state librarian, the director from the winning library from the previous year and a representative from a public, school, academic and special library.  A $2,000 cash prize made possible by the Roger and June B. Mendel Fund is awarded to the winning library. Also, two $1,000 Citations of Excellence made possible by a donation from Martin L. Gibbs in memory of his wife Carole Sorenson and by the Library of Michigan Foundation in honor of past Executive Director Carolyn “Sparky” Mowery are handed out to three worthy libraries. All three recognized libraries will receive a handsome trophy for public display and bragging rights for the next year.

Please take a few moments to nominate your library or your favorite library for this year’s award! The criteria are described on the nomination form. The deadline for nominations is August 18, 2017. Winners will be celebrated at the State Librarian’s Luncheon during the 2017 Michigan Library Association (MLA) Annual Conference in Lansing. Library directors, trustees, library users, or administrators can all nominate a library for the SLEA. If after reviewing the full criteria, you have questions or want additional information, please contact the Library of Michigan Foundation office at (517) 373-1297.

TV White Space and Michigan Libraries

Mitch Shapiro

by Mitch Shapiro

Over the years, public libraries have carved out a vital role in bridging the nation’s “digital divides” by providing free in-library Internet access. For example, according to a 2015 Pew study, 31% of library users with household income below $30,000 used library-provided connections to access the Internet. 

This year, nine U.S. library systems, a third of them in Michigan, will be exploring new ways for libraries to extend this role more deeply into their communities.

The three Michigan projects, undertaken by Lansing’s Capital Area District Libraries, Otsego County Library, and the UP’s Superiorland Library Cooperative, are part of a Gigabit Libraries Network initiative appropriately entitled “Beyond the Walls.” All nine projects will use unlicensed spectrum known as “TV White Space” (TVWS) to extend free Internet access and library online services to Wi-Fi hotspots at undeserved locations, including parks, community centers and township halls. Some will also work with local public safety officials to explore how TVWS can support disaster response.

TVWS consists of television channels left unused to avoid interference between stations operating in the same or adjacent markets. In recent years, as technology has improved and demand for spectrum has increased, the FCC has decided to allow unlicensed use of some “white space” channels as long as this use doesn’t interfere with broadcast signals.

One important characteristic of TVWS is that it tends to be most plentiful in smaller and more rural communities, which also happen to be where the need for improved broadband connectivity is most acute. Another is that, compared to other spectrum bands, TVWS does a better job penetrating through obstacles, which makes it especially well-suited to reach remote locations in Michigan’s tree-filled environment. And the equipment is increasingly affordable, relatively easy to deploy, and less dependent on very tall and often expensive antenna installations.

The three Michigan projects are supported by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds provided through the LM, and by financial and technical support from Microsoft, which has been a leader in exploring socially beneficial uses of TVWS spectrum through its Affordable Access initiative.

With lots of TVWS spectrum available to improve connectivity in its most rural and hard-to-reach areas, and three of its members stepping up to explore how TVWS can help extend library online services “beyond the walls,” Michigan’s library community is poised to play an important role in bridging the state’s remaining digital divides.


University of Michigan Joins MeLCat

University of Michigan logo

by Emily Ketchum Campbell, Resource Sharing and Assessment Librarian, University of Michigan Libraries

After many years and a lot of work the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Library joined MeLCat as a lending partner on May 15, 2017.  We are very happy to have this opportunity to share our books with our fellow Michigan libraries. We have added around 5 million volumes to the MeLCat catalog and are already seeing material flying off the shelves to libraries around the state. Our collections are particularly strong in International Studies and we have over 400 languages represented.

For over 150 years the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Library has been collecting material from around the state and the world and we have built one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of any academic research library. We were one of the first libraries to work with Google and our digitized material became the core of the HathiTrust Library. The library is an international resource in support of virtually all fields of scholarly endeavor and now much of the print collection is available to Michigan via MeLCat! We are thrilled to see our collections used in new and exciting ways by Michiganders. You can read more about our collections and our fields of specialty.

As we settle into being lending partners and the increased workflow that it brings, we will look at taking advantage of the other services that MeLCat offers. Thank you to everyone who made this possible at MCLS and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Library!

​If you have any questions about our collections or our participation in MeLCat please contact Emily Campbell at

Michigan Library Association (MLA) Launches Member Interest Groups

Gail Madziar

by Gail Madziar, Executive Director, Michigan Library Association

Recently the MLA Board of Directors launched informal Interest Groups to foster member engagement and provide an additional opportunity for both online and in-person connections. MLA Interest Groups connect members with mutual goals and interests, providing a platform to network and participate in knowledge and resource sharing among peers. These groups are member driven and can be structured in a variety of ways to accommodate the communication styles and availability of the participants. By participating in an Interest Group, MLA members can:

  • explore networking opportunities with colleagues
  • engage with others to discuss problems and find solutions
  • keep current on trending topics
  • share resources and materials with colleagues 
  • develop leadership skills
  • create knowledge resources
  • lead MLA into the future.

Interest groups can be established by a volunteer coordinator who submits the MLA New Interest Group Application form to a topic description and the names of 10 or more individuals with a common interest within the scope of MLA Interest Group Procedures.

To join a current MLA Interest Group, a member visits the MLA website and selects the name of the interest group and submits a request.  Currently the Youth Services group is active and is designed to share ideas and focus on issues that are directly affecting Youth Services Librarians in Michigan.   

Members have indicated an interest in additional groups and are currently collecting member names to build their group. Some potential groups currently in process are:

  • Academic Libraries: To discuss items of interest relevant and useful to those working in academic libraries. To promote the role and work of libraries on college and university campuses. To offer professional development opportunities and support to professional and support staff.
  • Intellectual Freedom: To educate library staff throughout Michigan and the communities they serve about intellectual freedom issues, and the role of the library in protecting, defending and advocating for intellectual freedom. 
  • Library Administration: To discuss topics of concern to current and future library directors including best practices, community engagement and advocacy.  This group will encourage the sharing of ideas and help engage upcoming library leaders.  
  • Public Programming: To create a space for librarians and library staff who provide public programming to share ideas, keep up with new trends, and strategize innovative program planning and community partnerships. 
  • Rural Libraries: To create a space for rural libraries to discuss topics of interest and focus on issues that directly affect these libraries.

If you are ready to establish a new interest group start here.

East Middle School Library is the Model 21st Century School Library for 2017-2018

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, Library Consultant, LM

Kathy Lester, the School Library Media Specialist at East Middle School, is an outstanding proponent of quality school library programs in Michigan. She recently requalified East Middle School as an Exemplary library in the LM School Library 21st Century (SL 21) benchmarks program. She actively collaborates with teaching colleagues in her building and district and is dedicated to educating professional colleagues across the state about the impact that a quality school library program can have on students. When the LM began reviewing nominations for the 2017-2018 Model School Library program, Kathy’s application stood out. Her passion for her profession and her students is exemplary, and has led her to develop a school library program that truly achieves for East Middle School.

Kathy comments on the teaching about the role of technology in the library program. “At East Middle School, it is important to me that students use technology ethically to enhance their learning and to create, communicate, and collaborate while using critical thinking.  I enjoy working with teachers and students on a wide variety of projects such as creating digital videos or evaluating websites for research or using high quality resources such as Michigan eLibrary (MeL).”

East Middle School is part of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools in northwest Wayne County. The school library won the Model SL 21 honor for collaborative teaching efforts, creative use of technology from one to one program support to Maker groups, and professional outreach at the community and state level. Kathy Lester and school principal Scott Burek are to be commended for their efforts to provide excellent support for their students through the school library program.

Those interested in the SL 21 program and the annual selection of the Model SL 21 library can go to for more information. The program and benchmarks recognize high-quality schools and library media specialists and promote the development of similar initiatives in other schools. East Middle School Library holds Exemplary status in the SL 21 program through July 2019. Its designation as Michigan’s Model 21st School Library is for the 2017-2018 school year.

East Middle School Library staff are available for consultation with and visits from other educators who want to learn more about the successful program. Interested persons may contact Kathy Lester at or Karren Reish at  

Michigan Activity Pass Marks 10th Anniversary

Michigan Activity Pass

by Brigette Felix, Shared System Librarian, the Library Network

May 24 marks the 10-year-anniversary of the Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) program. 

Beginning May 24, 2017 through May 23, 2018, public library cardholders can print a pass for free or discounted access, either at home or at their local library. It can be used at 435 participating destinations.  The destinations are a wide ranging mix of: cultural institutions, state parks, recreation areas, historic sites and campgrounds across the state.  This year, nine new destinations have been added to the program’s already inclusive list of institutions and parks across the state.

Patrons can check out one pass every seven days with their library card.  Once you reserve and print out a MAP pass, you have seven days to use it. 

The program is administered by The Library Network (TLN).  TLN is proud to say it has actively supported the program since the beginning.  In 2009 TLN took over administration of the program and changed its name from the Museum Adventure Pass to the Michigan Activity Pass.  Under TLN’s guidance the program went statewide in 2013.

“The Library Network is pleased to continue support for the highly popular Michigan Activity Pass. From humble beginnings in southeast Michigan, featuring a partnership with 30 museums and cultural institutions, the program, with its destination partner, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, now features 435 sites statewide,” said Library Network Executive Director Jim Pletz. “With all 11 Michigan Library Cooperatives participating as contact points with more than 367 public libraries across the state, library patrons are empowered to visit these sites. Last year, the Michigan Activity Pass program returned $50,000 in value to over 10,000 patrons who used their library card to secure admission to a featured site."

For more information on MAP including brochures of participating institutions, directions on how to reserve a pass and more visit:

The direct link on how to reserve a pass is:

Celebrate MAP’s anniversary by checking out a MAP pass to explore the great state of Michigan! 

Library Security: Workshop Opportunities

Denise Hooks

by Denise Hooks, Director, Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative

Library safety and security have always been at the forefront of customer service goals in libraries.  With shifting library patron demographics, service populations, and other daily challenges, libraries must continue to provide a safe environment and also a welcoming presence for patrons and library staff of all ages, ethnicity, gender, and religion.

Recognizing a need for information sharing, implementing new strategies for accomplishing our objectives, and reaching a greater understanding of the library’s expanded role in our individual communities are topics that must be explored as plans developed for the future success of our libraries. 

The Collaborating Partners – Michigan Cooperative Directors Association, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, LM, Michigan Library Association, and Michigan Academic Library Association – have scheduled two fall workshops for the library community with a focus on those issues.

The first day in Gaylord is at the University Center on September 6, 2017 and features Dr. Steve Albrecht, author and security expert, who will speak on "Library Security:  A Safer Place."  The second day workshop is at the Dearborn Public Library on September 7, 2017 and includes three speakers who will present on safety, empowerment, diversity, and inclusion. Dr. Albrecht is again the keynote speaker; Jodie Layne, founder/director of Safer Spaces Winnipeg, and Eva Davis, director of the Canton Public Library, with join Dr. Albrecht the second day. That workshop is titled: "Creating a Culture of Safety and Security in Your Library."  

With funding through LSTA dollars and sponsorships by the Partners, the cost of attendance has been made affordable so that more than one library staff member may attend. Registration is now open through MCLS.  The Collaborating Partners are excited to offer these opportunities and encourage you to be a part of this important discussion.  

Michigan eLibrary Professional Development

David Votta

by David Votta, Community Engagement Librarian, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services

August kicks off a new semester for Michigan students, and professional development opportunities for library staff. A fresh series of live webinars will be freely available to anyone interested in learning more about the robust resources in MeL Databases. These 30-minute sessions will all be recorded and made available on-demand. You can view our current group now.

The presenters are mostly Michigan library staff who are content experts in the subject areas covered in each webinar.

I am very fortunate that I get to travel throughout our state, and meet so many dedicated staff working in all levels and positions in libraries. One commonality I often hear, no matter the type of library, size, or position the staff holds, is they want to make positive impacts on their community. I also hear staff talking about the challenges of scarce resources, both in their libraries and communities.

This webinar series addresses both challenges, and works to enhance the positive impacts libraries make on our state. Any Michigan resident can access these vetted databases covering business, education, health, and more, at no direct cost. When library staff are more knowledgeable about the resources, and able to more efficiently answer their communities’ questions, they make deeper positive impacts. Directing entrepreneurs to market research builds stronger local businesses. Educators with better resources can produce more academically proficient students. Guiding residents through health and legal resources develops more well-informed citizens, who then make better choices.

Take a look at our upcoming semester and register now. All webinars are 3:30-4 p.m. Eastern time.

New and Advanced Directors Workshops

Evette Atkin

by Evette Atkin, Continuing Education Coordinator, LM

It’s almost that time again. Are you a library director for the first time or have you recently accepted a director position in Michigan for the first time? In order for your library to be eligible for state aid, all new public library directors and all newly appointed directors in Michigan must attend one or both of these workshops dependent on library class.

  • New Director Workshop (September 14, 2017) – required for all new library directors within 12 months after appointment.
  • Advanced Director Workshop (September 15, 2017) – required for all new Class IV-VI library directors within 24 months of appointment.

The New Director Workshop is an annual one-day event that provides a wide range of essential information for new public library directors. Attendance at these workshops is mandatory for new directors as part of the qualification criteria for state aid to public libraries.

The Advanced Director Workshop is a one-day event that provides in-depth information on specific topics for new and experienced directors. Attendance at these workshops is mandatory for new directors as part of the qualification criteria for state aid to public libraries.

All library staff is welcome to attend, even those not seeking certification. Topics presented include Library Law, Human Resources, EveryLibrary, Budgeting for Libraries, Community Engagement, Organizational Health and much more.

Attendees also will be presented with numerous resources available to public libraries. Registration is $30 for the New Director Workshop and $35 for the Advanced Director Workshop. The deadline to register and also to cancel with a full refund is 5 pm on Wednesday, September 6th. These workshops will be held at the LM.  For more information, please contact Evette Atkin at

The New Director Workshop is supported with funds from the Library of Michigan Foundation.