LM Dispatch September 2017

September 2017

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

Visiting the U.P. and the 2018 Rural Libraries Conference

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian

In August, I had the pleasure of visiting several impressive libraries mainly in the western end of the Upper Peninsula (Dickinson County District Library, Crystal Falls District Community Library, West Iron District Library, Wakefield Public Library, Bessemer Public Library, Ironwood Carnegie Library and the Peter White Public Library). The amount of services provided by a relatively small staff for these libraries was impressive. Each library has made outreach to the community they serve a top priority. Small and rural libraries in Michigan continue to face steep challenges on a range of topics from collection development to building construction and everything in between. Continuing to see that they thrive is a priority of the Library of Michigan (LM).

On April 30 through May 2, 2018, the LM will again be sponsoring the Loleta Fyan Small and Rural Library Conference (RLC) at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme. This conference continues to be a forum for highlighting the great things Michigan’s small and rural libraries are doing and for providing powerful and unique networking opportunities. If your library has programs or success stories to share session proposals are due by 5 p.m. EST on Monday, October 16, 2017 to be considered for inclusion in the 2018 conference. Libraries will be notified of the status of their submissions by the end of December 2017. Visit here for more information.

RLC also offers the opportunity to nominate a library for one of four awards being given at the conference.  The award categories are:

  • Outstanding Small/Rural Librarian Award
  • Trustee/Friend Award
  • Patron Service Award (includes children's services)
  • The June B. Mendel Award for Excellence in Rural Library Service (this award goes to a small/rural library)

Please take a couple of hours to nominate a library leader, trustee, public services librarian or an exceptional small/rural library. Self-nominations are accepted for the Mendel award that goes to a library and it includes a cash award. Here is the award nomination form.

If you need more information about the awards process, do not hesitate to contact Sonya Schryer Norris at norriss2@michigan.gov.

Ray Township Public Library Receives a Construction Grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs

Ray Township Library After Renovation

by Terry Goike, Alyssa Goike and Christy DeMeulenaere of Ray Township Library

Walking into the Ray Township Public Library today, it is hard to remember the towering, dark green shelves that sectioned off each genre of book a little too well – our patrons seemed to disappear in our cozy 1863 one-room schoolhouse. Instead, the oak bookshelves embrace the “Sporty Blue” walls and reach toward the white tin ceiling providing an openness like an expansive sky.

For 91 years, the “Mill School” educated Ray Township’s children, then served as the Township Hall. In 1983, volunteers reconditioned the building as the Ray Township Library. With the passage of a millage in 2006, the new Ray Township Public Library joined the Suburban Library Cooperative.

While hosting many programs for children and adults, the Library’s congested floor plan made navigating the Library difficult. Our patrons wanted more activities, but the Library didn’t have the space.

The Library Board, staff, and patrons dreamt of renovating the Library, but how to fund it? The Library established a new event, Simply the Finest Fest, while participating in corporate fundraisers. Our patrons and the Friends of the Ray Township Library and Historical Society also donated to our renovation project.

Library Design Associates proposed a new floor plan but we quickly realized that funding the entire $80,000 project was going to be quite the feat. We started researching various grants, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). With the letters of support from our community leaders along with the skilled writing from our Board, MCACA awarded us a $30,800 matching grant for our project.

In May 2017, renovations to the Library began! After volunteers removed all the furniture, the ceiling and walls were painted, carpeting installed, and the jigsaw puzzle of custom shelves was assembled. The new circulation desk, tables, and chairs coordinated with the historic blackboard. We re-opened on June 6 and celebrated with a ribbon cutting at the Township’s Ray Day on June 27.

We received such welcoming feedback from our community. On Ray Day, we registered six new patrons. The Library achieved its goal of an open floor plan with space for its entire collection. Phase II will renovate the children’s room and provide space for archives.

For more information, please contact library director Christy DeMeulenaere at 586-749-7130, raylibrarymi@gmail.com, or visit the library’s website.

Collaborative Library Service Grant Program for 2018

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, LSTA Coordinator, LM

The LM will be providing the LSTA Collaborative Library Service Grant program again in 2018. The grant program is designed to provide Michigan libraries an opportunity to start innovative programs or services that have the potential to develop into sustainable regional or statewide programs, and include strong partnerships between libraries and local community organizations. The expectation is that applicant libraries will have partners at the time of application. In the first year, the LM funded four projects and expects to fund one to three projects in 2018. These projects can run up to three years. Applicants may request $50,000 to $225,000 in any one year and no more than $500,000 over a three- year period.

The grant program priorities are:

  • Provide funding for innovative library services and programs,
  • Create the opportunity to develop sustainable new regional or statewide programs, and
  • Develop partnerships among libraries or between libraries and community agencies.

Libraries may propose a library program or service in any content area appropriate for library services, such as:

  • To develop an innovative service or program to meet a newly identified community need;
  • To meet the increased community demand for a service or resource;
  • To improve or develop new services to target populations, such as people from diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds; individuals with disabilities; and individuals with limited functional literacy, limited English proficiency or limited information literacy skills.

To learn more about the program, you can find both a General Information document as well as an Application Information packet in the Grant Program section at www.michigan.gov/lsta. You can also sign up for an informational webinar on that page. Libraries interested in applying must submit an Intent to File form by Oct. 31.

Please email or call Karren Reish at reishk@michigan.gov or 517-241-0021 with any questions.

A Little Funding Can Go a Long Way... at the Montmorency County Public Libraries

Art supplies

by Lori Haas, Director, Montmorency County Public Libraries

Montmorency County Public Libraries is a small rural library in northern Michigan. We serve a population of just over 9,200 people with our three branches. We have a small budget and a very small staff. Yet we have managed to offer a school outreach art program to our local elementary schools for more than 20 years. How is it we can do this?

Approximately 20 years ago we applied for and received a small Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant to purchase a starter kit of art supplies. We agreed to offer art programs using the supplies and then replenish the supplies as they ran out.  The grant was just a few thousand dollars.  We got watercolor sets, paint brushes, paper, oil pastels chalk pastels, pencils, class packs of crayons and markers, paper and a few other odds and ends. Then we contacted our local schools and offered to host free art lessons in their school, using all of our supplies. The only catch…the teachers had to stay with their students during the lessons.

The timing was perfect. Schools were cutting back on art funding and still are. We didn’t intend to replace art teachers, rather we hoped to give the teachers who now had to teach art on their own tool kit to help them in the future. We offer a roughly hour long lesson that features a famous artist or art technique. After the lesson, the students create a work of art in this style and finish the project in one class period. All art lessons are done step by step. The students have choices, so they can be creative, but are given enough instruction so that they can feel successful even if they don’t consider themselves a skilled artist. And most importantly, we try not to repeat lessons from year to year. So the teachers are free to “steal” the art lesson to use in their own classroom in future years.

I am the Director of the library and teach all the art lessons. I do not have an art degree, just a love for art and a passion for finding and creating lessons that I can make work in my under an hour format.  Some of the lessons we have done are featured on our website.

You can contact director Lori Haas at director@montmorencylibrary.com.

Kathy Kosinski Joins the Statewide Services Team

Kathy Kosinski

by Kathy Kosinski, Analyst, LM

Hello everyone. I'm Kathy Kosinski and I am the new Statewide Library Services Analyst for the LM. A graduate from the UM School of Information, I previously worked at the University of Michigan library in multiple divisions, but most recently in Information Technology. There I worked on the project intake system, digital collections, and qualitative and quantitative data analysis on a variety of projects.

My position is a new one at the LM, so you may be asking yourself, “what does a Statewide Library Services Analyst do?” Luckily for me, the answer is: a lot of qualitative and quantitative data analysis. I will be working to ensure that the programs and services offered by the LM are useful, usable, desirable, and effective for your library and all others across the state. To do this I will be diving deep into data collected over the past years as well as gathering new information in the coming months through conversations, interviews, and surveys.

With this data, I will look beyond rows and columns of numbers to get meaningful insights into the complex, user-driven libraries of our state. I can’t wait to learn about the little idiosyncrasies, nuances, and qualities that make each library unique and how to create actionable items for LM’s services to fit each library’s style. I am eager to work with all of you to tell some great, data-founded stories about the libraries of Michigan.

In addition to my work as an analyst I will be joining Deb Renee Biggs and Sonya Schryer Norris on the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) team. This includes representing MeL interests in the LM social media group, assisting with usability testing, and working within the MeL pages of the website.

I grew up and lived most of my life in Michigan, as such I am excited to get to know the many libraries across the state both as data analyst and MeL team member.

I can be reached at kosinskik@michigan.gov.

A Little Free Pantry at the Northfield Township Area Library

Northfield Township Area Library

by Zaley Nelson, Director, Northfield Township Area Library

Have you or someone you have known ever experienced a time when putting food on the table seemed impossible? Perhaps you have seen kids or teenagers go longer than they should without food. These are problems we see every day at our library.

Additionally, basic hygiene items such as tooth paste, soap, and feminine products are not covered by state and federal assistance. Food banks are helpful but most are only open for limited hours and require people to travel to these locations. I have always believed that a strong community is one that cares for each other, and in that spirit, our library wanted to do our part. But how?

After reading an article about a Little Free Pantry I was inspired to try it at our library but unsure if it would catch on. That’s when I got my first glimpse of the spirit behind the Little Free Pantry. While at the circulation desk, I asked a co-worker if she would be willing to help keep the Little Free Pantry stocked. A patron who overheard me was excited about the idea, and she and her kids graciously volunteered to purchase the materials and build the Little Free Pantry. Their enthusiasm and willingness to give their time for something that could help others foreshadowed what has since transpired. Our Little Free Pantry has been open for a year and a half and very rarely do we have to stock it ourselves. To our delight, but not surprise, our community has been extremely generous and helpful. In fact, the only issue we’ve faced is not enough room for all of the donations. They forced us to create overflow storage in our maintenance closet.

The Little Free Pantry is for “neighbors to help neighbors,” reveals the true spirit of a community, and it isn’t limited to only food. There are many things that can be put into the pantry helpful to kids and families (e.g., hygiene products, school supplies, etc.). The Little Free Pantry is a way for a community to show that it cares by aiding those in need in a manner that reveals the best in who we are. The pantry may be little but the kindness and compassion shown through it is enormous. For more information on the Little Free Pantry, please visit www.littlefreepantry.org.

Back to School with MeL

Deb Renee Biggs

by Deb Renee Biggs, Library Consultant and MeL Coordinator

Labor Day has come and gone and so another school year begins in Michigan. The eResources in MeL stand ready to help teachers and students get the most out of their research with quality, vetted content.  Just check out MeL Kids (http://kids.mel.org) and MeL Teens (http://teens.mel.org) for access to digital content that can make a difference in the classroom.

Brookie, the MeL Kids mascot, invites younger students into the Kids portal where they can find read aloud stories (in BookFlix), learn about colors, numbers and practice reading (in Early World of Learning), start their research for class assignments (in Britannica Elementary/Middle, World Book Kids and Kids InfoBits/Research in Context) and much more.

In MeL Teens, older students are encouraged to expand their research for class assignments as they prepare for college or career with Britannica High, Gale Virtual Reference Library, InfoTrac Student Edition, Opposing Viewpoints in Context to name a few.  Teachers and students can also find great websites to enhance learning in all four of the centers in the Teens portal:  Homework Help, Life Happens, Reading Zone and College Bound.  It’s in this last center that students can find practice tests and prep for college entrance exams and other careers.

Finally, MeL Teachers, (http://teachers.mel.org) is undergoing an update and soon will contain even more valuable information and content for teachers and homeschool parents on how to integrate MeL resources into the classroom curriculum.

So, whether you’re a public, school or academic librarian/staff working with teachers, students or parents, or a teacher, student or parent yourself, remember that MeL is there to get the academic year off to a great start while keeping up the momentum until the school year ends.

Sanilac District Library Goes to Work for the Students of the Carsonville-Port Sanilac School District

Sanilac District Library Logo: Books and Beyond

by Beverly Dear, Director, Sanilac District Library

On November 12, 2015, Sanilac District Library (SDL) entered into a partnership with the Carsonville-Port Sanilac School District (CPS) to manage their elementary (EL) and high school (HS) libraries in exchange for the right to use them as SDL branches. This agreement is a matter of exchanging services rather than monetary gain. CPS budgeted $3,900 for school library expenses of books, supplies and the Integrated Library System (ILS).  

This arrangement provided a solution to problems faced by both entities. CPS, like many schools in Michigan, cannot fund a full-time librarian and students have been deprived of library use for several years. It has been a long-term goal of SDL to provide some type of outlet for the residents in Carsonville, the second village in our library district.  

James Stewart, the current CPS Superintendent of Schools and Secondary Principal said, “We are very pleased to have our local library present in our school buildings. This is an important and effective collaboration between two institutions that have similar goals. Libraries are an integral part of education.”  

Our priorities:

  • Get books into the hands of students. On November 13, SDL opened the EL using Word to circulate books. Both libraries have been open one day per week.
  • Create a database of EL holdings (11,500) for conversion and migrate the HS holdings (9,023) into an integrated library system (ILS), which went live in April 2016.
  • Repurpose the large EL office into a public library with adult and teen books. Books for every age are now available during the summer in conjunction with the CPS STEM programs and the Meet Up and Eat Up meal site. James Stewart reported that, “Several community members have expressed their appreciation for creating an additional location where students and families have access to books.”

"I am so thankful for the Sanilac District Library partnership. Before their staff came into our school, our libraries had been neglected due to budget cuts and staffing difficulties," said Jennifer L. RichmondK-5 Administrator & Title I Director. "The staff from Sanilac District Library are so knowledgeable and professional. Our library has never looked better! Their staff are kind and courteous to our students and school staff."

This has been a challenging and overwhelming experience, stretching our staff (1 FT and 4 PT) to the limits. There are many rewards, SDL has contact with the majority of school-aged children in our library district, many of whom have never visited SDL. The partnership has generated goodwill in the community. It is a privilege to share the joy of books with children.  

Read more about it at SDL’s website, CPS Elementary Library website, and CPS High School Library Website

What Do You Want to Read About in the LM Dispatch?

Sonya Schryer Norris

by Sonya Schryer Norris, Library Consultant, LM

We periodically survey our readers to ask what type of articles you like to read about in the LM Dispatch. The Dispatch is the bi-monthly newsletter of the LM where we share opportunities for libraries, information about the LM and library news from around the state. We have a diverse audience – library directors and staff, State of Michigan employees, members of the public, and others. Survey data allows us to cater to the interests of our subscribers, evolving and improving to meet your needs. The survey is brief, just five questions, and won’t take more than a few minutes to complete. Please take a moment now to click through to the survey and give us your feedback. Our goal is to make the newsletter relevant and interesting to our readers.