Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter

November 2017

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

MeL Databases: Time to go out for Bid

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian

As library staff around the state know, the Library of Michigan (LM) provides access to subscription database resources through the Michigan eLibrary.  The contracts with our content providers expire September 30, 2018.  This requires initiating a bid process for a new contract. There are many steps in this process which we began this past summer. Conversations were held with the Michigan library community in eight locations around the state: Clinton Township, Canton, Marshall, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Cadillac and Marquette. At these sessions, the LM’s MeL Team talked with 154 library staff from across all library types—public, academic, school and special. In addition, we got more library community feedback from an online survey with 272 responding. 

Both the in-person and online feedback have given us important information that we will factor into the Request for Proposal (RFP) to which interested content providers will respond. We expect to issue the RFP for the MeL databases before the end of 2017. Content providers will then have 4-6 weeks to respond. After the responses come in, LM staff will score them to determine which of the respondents will go forward in the process. At this point, we again will reach out to Michigan’s library community to assist us with reviewing the resources before deciding which resources/content providers we will be working with starting October 1, 2018.

We are happy to have your feedback and input throughout the RFP process. Stay tuned for posts on the various library listservs and let us hear from you at

Success with Harwood

Am I turned outward?

by Julie Meredith, Director, Clarkston Independence District Library

The American Library Association created a partnership with the Harwood Institute to train library staff how to turn outward, how to listen to their communities aspirations and turn that knowledge into the strategies and actions that help the community achieve those aspirations. Using Community Conversations, a small-group conversation that guides participants through a series of questions designed to discover people’s aspirations for the community, the steps that might be needed to get there and who should be involved, the library shares public knowledge to help move the community forward.  

This is how we explained the Harwood Institute’s Community Conversation techniques to our community leaders and the public when we received a grant to participate in the collaborative project and receive training from the Harwood Institute - a project supported by the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services and LM. The path that we followed with Harwood has been a winding road, but the results have been wonderful.

We started with Community Conversations between our library board and staff. Next, we held a few conversations with the public that resulted in small turnout, but interesting discussions. We felt more energized after a lively conversation with teens, but the real turning point was a Conversation with the City Council. The Council had been experiencing some tension with residents, so we asked them to take off their council “hats” and participate in the Conversation as residents. Because of the Open Meetings Act, the Council’s Conversation was open to the public, but we asked the residents to remain spectators during the process. It was an enlightening moment as each side was reminded that these elected officials were really just neighbors trying to make the community better for all.

One Council member observed that this was a wonderful service for the library to provide, a neutral facilitation of a conversation about potentially contentious issues. Since then we have been invited to facilitate two conversations about future plans for the city park, and we may do a third about the heated topic of parking downtown.

Some might question if this is something the library should be doing, but our mission is Innovate, Enrich, Educate. We've been given the opportunity to apply our training in a way that brings people together at a time when that’s what is needed most.

Michigan Public Libraries and Opioid Inhibitors: Narcan or Narcan’t?

Clare Membiela

by Clare Membiela, Library Law Specialist, LM

Ninety-one Americans die every day from opioid overdose. In Michigan, 1365 people died from opioid overdose in 2016 -compared to 884 in 2015. Overdoses occur in shopping malls, concerts, grocery stores, and public libraries.

Narcan is the brand name for Naloxone. The drug is touted as a “miracle” treatment for opioid overdose, and is credited with saving thousands of lives, quickly reviving a victim with few negative effects.

In 2016, The Michigan Chief Medical Officer issued a standing order (a “general, statewide prescription”) for Narcan. Several pharmacies in Michigan dispense Narcan in accordance with the new laws.

 What About Public Libraries?

 “Person” & “individual” are terms used by the statute to identify entities permitted to prescribe, dispense, obtain and administer Narcan, and that are exempt from civil and criminal liability (under MCL 333.17744c & MCL 691.1503).  “Person,” according to the Michigan Public Health Code:

MCL 333.1101 “(4) "Person" means an individual, partnership, cooperative, association, private corporation, personal representative, receiver, trustee, assignee, or other legal entity. Person does not include a governmental entity unless specifically provided.

Yep. That’s right – Public Libraries ARE governmental entities and, NOT specifically provided for within the statute (like schools).

 What does this mean?

  •  Individual staff (including Board members, friends, directors, etc.) CAN obtain Narcan as INDIVIDUALS and administer it WHILE FULLY COVERED BY LIABILTY EXEMPTIONS.
  • Public Libraries may NOT obtain Narcan in the name of the library.
  • Public Libraries as entities are NOT covered by Narcan liability exemptions. The library MAY be liable should any injury or problem occur in the administration of Narcan within the library. This is a very grey area.  Liability is dependent on the circumstances and facts of a situation, including relevant procedures and policies the library has in effect.  

 What should libraries do?

  • Talk to an attorney about liability issues - especially in having library Narcan policies and/or formal training.
  • Check with your liability insurer to see if your policy would cover a Narcan suit.
  • Talk to staff as a team about this issue – do any staff members have Narcan?
  • Does the library employ outside security?  If that company has a Narcan policy, it could help alleviate the need for library staff to administer.
  • Talk to your legislator. The Michigan Department of Education, the LM, and the Michigan Library Association (MLA) are working to introduce legislation that specifically includes public libraries as entities that can obtain Narcan and that are exempted from liability – just like schools.

In Sum:

The question of Narcan policies is a risk-benefit calculation that should be made by each individual library and their attorney.

For now, however, the watchword should be preparation. Libraries interested in Narcan should do their homework and understand any risks as they might apply to their institutions. 

United for Libraries Success Story at the Tecumseh District Library

Tecumseh District Library

by Jane Poczatek, Tecumseh District Library Board President

Thank you LM for our free membership to United for Libraries! Our Board has been using the website’s resources and watching the Short Takes for Trustees for a couple years now and were inspired to act. Accordingly, at its annual retreat last December, our Board pledged itself to “A Year of Advocacy” with the goal of improving our performance as Trustees. We decided to focus on four basic areas: Continuing Education, Communication, Appreciation, and Philanthropy. 

We felt we were already performing well but that there was room for improvement. Many boards have individually strong trustees. We wanted all our trustees to be strong. We challenged ourselves to attend more seminars, workshops, and conferences. We added more webinars and training videos (thank you United for Libraries!). We read library-related journals and newsletters; and those who hadn’t done so already, subscribed to District Dispatch. Representing the board, we attended more community group meetings and library programs. We went to meetings with our community leaders and elected officials and wrote letters and emails when appropriate. We provided information and awareness to our supporters, such as the Friends group, so they could do the same. We increased our appreciation of those who support us daily: our staff, our Friends group, and our donors. All our donors now receive a personal thank you note from a trustee. Trustees recently hosted a reception for the Friends group to thank them for all the work they do on behalf of the library. Our director began including individual staff accomplishments in her monthly report so that trustees could thank them for their efforts. Lastly, the Board focused on fund development: trustees, working with the Fund Development Committee, are planning a year end person-to-person direct appeal campaign. They made in-kind donations of time or resources and made personal financial donations to the library.

Our ongoing progress was tracked using Survey Monkey and the results of our year long progress will be discussed at our upcoming retreat. I believe we met our goal of improving our performance. I can tell you, personally, that the experience has made me a stronger and more knowledgeable trustee. I experience more engagement at our meetings and there is a real positive energy. A strong board = a strong library = a happy library community.


Michigan’s Five-Year Plan for 2017-2022 for LSTA Funds Approved

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, Grants Coordinator, LM

The LM's new Five-Year Plan has been accepted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). As part of managing the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding that Michigan receives, the library is required to have a Five-Year plan for the use of the funds. The plan explains how the LM and Michigan libraries use the funds to achieve the goals of the LSTA legislation.

We received many comments through the surveys to library staff last fall about MeL and other statewide services. Other people participated in focus groups throughout the state. We appreciate all the time and insights offered by everyone, as those helped us develop a new plan we feel will help move Michigan libraries forward in the next five years. The members of the LSTA Advisory Council helped review and refine the plan before submission to IMLS as well.

The plan includes four goals linked to LSTA priorities and purposes.

  • Goal 1: Michigan residents will have equal access to information resources in various formats for lifelong learning.
  • Goal 2: Michigan residents will have access to current services and training support through their libraries.
  • Goal 3: Michigan libraries will continue to support their communities through collective impact initiatives and community engagement.
  • Goal 4: Michigan residents will be able to use Michigan’s historical and cultural collections for lifelong learning.

The goals correspond to community needs along with objectives to meet those needs. Finally, we discuss the projects and initiatives the Michigan library community is using to fulfill those objectives. These activities include the Library’s statewide services, the Michigan eLibrary and the projects done through the LSTA grant programs.

We hope you’ll take a look at the new plan and let us know what you think. You can also find it on the LSTA web page –

Saundusky District Library School Delivery Service

Sandusky book bin

by Gail Nartker, Director, Sandusky District Library

Twelve years ago staff members at the Sandusky District Library created an exciting collaborative opportunity to help maintain library services in our local school system. As was happening in many small school systems in Michigan, when library professionals retired from school service they were not being replaced with new trained professionals. As a past school librarian, I felt strongly about trying to provide professional services within schools while advocating for the importance of school libraries and staff to run them.

So began a long-term effort to assist our community schools with collection development and cataloging, professional staff development in library services, while providing library experiences to school-aged children. I admit that I did have a serious ulterior motive in making all of this available free of charge to school (they do purchase materials and supplies and employ one library aide who functions between two school buildings). Our circulation to school-age children was taking a hit at our own facility and so we decided that if we couldn’t bring that audience to us, we would take materials and services to them.

The staff member in charge of our School Delivery Service began communicating with classroom teachers, encouraging them to take part in this program and to let us know how we could enhance kids’ classroom experiences. We purchased a colorful crate for each teacher’s room and labeled the crate with the teacher’s name and grade level. The crate was decorative and fun-looking and soon both students and teachers looked forward to each week’s delivery. Our staff member scheduled regular weekly visits and took not only requests from teachers but listened carefully to what students were hoping to see in next week’s selection. She also volunteered to read in any classroom that was interested, introducing students to the beautiful materials that we were constantly adding to our children’s collections.

This program has been an absolutely wonderful outreach experience for all of us here at the Sandusky District Library. Of course, I continue to advocate that schools employ their own professional librarian. But until I see that happen, we will concentrate on providing library experiences to as many children and school staff members as possible.

Public Libraries of Saginaw Receives 2017 State History Award for Institutions

Stacy McNally and Kim White, Public Libraries of Saginaw, accepting award

by Jennifer Harden, Librarian, Public Libraries of Saginaw

The Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) presents the State History Awards every year to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation, and promotion of state and local history. The awards are the highest recognition presented by the HSM, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization.

On September 22, Stacy McNally, Local History and Genealogy Librarian, and Kim White, head of Hoyt Library, attended the awards ceremony in Holland, Mich., to accept the 2017 State History Award for Institutions. This award was presented to the Local History and Genealogy Collection at Hoyt Library.

The Hoyt Library has served the Saginaw Community for nearly 127 years since it first opened its doors in November of 1890.  The library is a part of Saginaw History, and, as such, makes it a priority to preserve that history. Preservation, however, is not enough. In the true fashion of public libraries, the Hoyt Library holds as its main goal to share resources with the community, and in this modern era, with the world. 

The Local History and Genealogy (LHG) Department at the Hoyt Library was created as a central repository and Saginaw local history library in 1960. Since that time, it has become one of the premier local history collections in the Midwest. Our history librarians assist roughly 75-100 users per week in the library and over the phone by answering a variety of questions about Saginaw and Michigan history. Dozens more users access our freely available online resources each week.  The LHG Department at Hoyt Library serves students, specialists, and amateur historians and genealogists with an array of materials in the fields of genealogy, Saginaw history, and the history of Michigan.

Collections feature many unique and valuable resources on the history of Saginaw, the Saginaw Valley, and the people and families who settled the region. This includes original source materials, census records, plat books, diaries, scrapbooks, business ledgers, photographs, as well as more than 20,000 books, microforms, and periodicals. The LHG Collection also includes extensive genealogical resources for those researching their family history.

For a listing of collections and resources available, visit: or call the Public Libraries of Saginaw at 989-755-9827.

National Genealogical Society Conference

Matt Pacer

by Matt Pacer, Reference Librarian, LM

Next year will be an exciting one for the LM. The National Genealogical Society’s (NGS) annual conference will be held in Grand Rapids from May 2-5. The title for 2018 conference is Paths to Your Past and was inspired by migration patterns. Conference goers can attend many different sessions covering topics such as: ethnicity, economics, military, and religion. Whether you are a seasoned researcher or new to family research, there are sessions for you. This is a great opportunity for your LM to really show what great research collections we have that can help with family history. This is the first time this annual conference is being held in Michigan and library staff are looking forward to a successful conference for the NGS. For more information, please see the website:

On Tuesday May 1, 2018, a bus tour to the Michigan Library and Historical Center (MLHC) is scheduled. Conference attendees can sign up for this pre-conference tour. Those on the tour will have about seven hours of research time before the bus departs to Grand Rapids. Our Michigan newspapers, city directories, vital records, and county histories are a few parts of the collections that should see a lot of use. But, your library patrons needn't attend the conference to take advantage of our collections. We are open weekdays 10 until 5. On Saturdays, we are open from 10 - 4. Our contact information is: 517-373-1300 or

Many other good things afoot at the LM. The library recently purchased more than 500 reels of microfilm of Michigan newspapers. These new to us additions augment our Michigan newspaper collection on microfilm. Some of the titles are: Cassapolis Vigilant 1995-2016, Pinckney Dispatch 1883-1965, and the Troy Somerset Gazette 1980-1995. There are more than 30 other newspaper titles that the library added to the collection.

Events at LM

Library of Michigan Logo

by Edwina Murphy, Reference Librarian, LM

The LM has had the great privilege to host an assortment of diverse and lively presenters this fall that includes authors, playwrights, artists, and conservationists.

On November 11th, the Library welcomed the author and librarian, Frank Boles, to speak about his new book, Sailing into History: Great Lakes Bulk Carriers of the Twentieth Century and the Crews Who Sailed Them. Mr. Boles, Director of Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library, masterfully infused his characteristic gentle and respectful humor when approaching a topic near and dear to many hearts.  While the shipping industry literally surrounds the state, as a researcher, Mr. Boles explained that the details of the industry were little known by most citizens beyond headline-grabbing shipwrecks.

Equally exciting were the joining of forces of the Michigan playwright Joseph Zattelmaier and the troupe of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival in the production of Mr. Zattelmaler’s play, Ichabod.  Mr. Zattelmaier created this sequel to the well-known Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  It is filled with suspense but also with just enough humor to keep the audience laughing.  Not to worry, there is still a headless Hessian.

To dovetail with the MLHC's exhibit, The River that Changed the World, conservationist and former president of the Anglers of the Au Sable, Tim Baird, presented about the history of the river, its former uses and present-day conservation concerns in the region. His talk corresponded with an exhibit opening at the Martha W. Griffiths Michigan Rare Book Room, Angling and Conservation in Michigan, the Inheritance from the English Leisure Societwhich was created out of the historical Bower-Averbach Angling Collection at the library.

Also on exhibit from Dec. 9 - Jan. 31, 2018 will be the colorful artwork of Catherine McClung. Ms. McClung’s art has been featured by the Lenox China Company where she created the Winter and Summer Greetings designs featuring both whimsical and realistic art. The artist will discuss her career and work, December 9th in the Martha W. Griffiths Michigan Rare Book Room at 1:00 p.m.  All are welcome to attend. 


Tips, Thoughts & Trends from YALSA Symposium 2017

Cathy Lancaster

by Cathy Lancaster, Youth Librarian, LM

Hundreds of Young Adult Services staff from all over the US gathered in Louisville, KY in early November for the annual Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Symposium. The theme was “Libraries: Helping All Teens Build a Better Future,” appropriately titled, as YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell put it, “Libraries are in a unique position to support the needs of the over 40 million teens in our communities, as they take their first steps towards their future.”

Teen mental health, violence prevention and transgender topics stood out among the many session options. The Green Dot initiative is a good example on how libraries can participate in violence prevention; the session was presented by Loren Droege with the Women's Crisis Center in Northern KY, who coordinates Green Dot in public schools. Loren shared how libraries are beginning to model prevention methods for bullying, physical and sexual  violence in their communities, using Delegation, Distraction and Direct interactions.

Linda Smith, Teen Services Coordinator from Traverse Area District Library, observed, “There were a lot of great ideas for bringing programming and presenting materials that celebrate the cultural, economic, physical and mental diversity of our teens, and bringing a better understanding of diversity to our teens.” 

Some facts shared with attendees:

Up to 1.6 million young people experience homelessness nationwide every year. 

  • 40% of them identify as LGBT
  • 46% of homeless LGBT youths ran away because of family rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • 43% were forced out by parents, and 
  • 32% faced physical, emotional or sexual abuse at home

(Williams Institute, 2012)

Slides from the sessions can be found on the YALSA Symposium website.

YALSA 2017 was very beneficial, as Clinton Macomb Public Library’s Young Adult Services Librarian Sarah Jones said, "to spend a weekend with other people who appreciate the curiosity and energy of teens. 

Beyond the great info from the sessions, which tackled some tough topics this year, the sharing of ideas that happens over meals and between sessions is invaluable. So many teen librarians work solo that the relationships built at conferences are key to keeping up with what's happening in the teen library world.”