Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter March, 2018

March, 2018

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

In this Issue:

IMLS Funding for Michigan Libraries

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian, Library of Michigan

The White House’s recent proposed FY 2019 budget again eliminates all funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (LSTA). Last year we faced a similar situation, but the outcry of libraries and library supporters across the country convinced the Congress to restore IMLS funding. My concern is that this annual “dance” about the potential elimination of IMLS is creating a “boy who cried wolf” scenario. If the library community starts to take funding for granted someday Congress may not be there to save library funding. Libraries and librarians need to commit to being part of this discussion for the long haul.

IMLS through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) provides more than $183 million to libraries annually. These funds allow the LM to offer essential programs, services and resources to the public and libraries of all types throughout the state.  Michigan receives roughly $4.3 million to fund MeLCat, statewide MeL database contracts, continuing education stipends, the Collaborative Library Services Grant program and the Public Library Services Grant Program. Without funds from IMLS all these programs would be greatly curtailed or eliminated. For the LM, LSTA funds allow us to coordinate programs that in some way touch every library in the state. The potential loss of this funding is a big deal.

Michigan again will be sending a delegation to National Library Legislative Day on May 7-8. This educational event brings hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters and patrons to Washington, D.C. to talk with their representatives about the importance of library funding. If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please contact Clare Membiela (

The good news? This discussion is far from over and Congress will have the final say over the budget. That means nothing is set in stone regarding IMLS, LSTA grants or the budget. For more information visit ALA’s and sites.

Chance En"counters:" What's in a Number?

Tom Burosky

by Tom Burnosky, Director, Reed City Area District Library

As a new director, I never felt confident when presenting our traffic and visits. I could explain how we estimated our numbers based on lending and other data points, but not everyone who enters our doors borrows a book or attends a program. I knew we had to be more precise.

It turns out that there are a lot of people-counting devices out there. All of them have various levels of accuracy with their bars and beams. I deferred my search, knowing that ALA Annual was approaching and Chicago was an easy drive. As a veteran attendee, map in hand, I embarked to the massive vendor floor. As the hours passed, my stamina waning, the people counter remained elusive. I decided to take one last lap.

Tucked down a long row, in the way back area of McCormick Place, was a booth with a banner that read, “3 Reasons Why People Counting is Essential for Libraries.” Bingo!

The device, no bigger than a standard smoke detector, mounted right above our entrance door. It is barely detectable. The power over ethernet (POE) capability makes installation easy. One simple bracket with an ethernet cable connection to the router.

The technology that drives the counter is highly advanced. An embedded thermal sensor detects the heat from your head, accurately scoring a visit every time. Counting is undetectable and inescapable.

Since we installed the counter, our statistics are eye opening. We saw enough trends in traffic to confidently modify our service hours for the benefit of our patrons. The decision support from the counter is immeasurable when we consider programs. Staff does not miss counting attendance. The software allows you to label program times where numbers can be highlighted, then easily referenced during any day, month or year. The security benefit was unexpected, only Spiderman could evade detection.

When I cite our visits, the WOW factor is a frequent reaction. We are changing perceptions about our library with numbers that rival many of the busiest destinations in our community. Our new focus on visits for an expense on par with a mid-level laptop computer has been tremendous. The future is bright at Reed City Area District Library.

 Please visit for more information.

Women's History Month and Women's Defense Unit Cards

Tim Gleisner, Head of Special Collections

by Tim Gleisner, Special Collections Manager, LM

When I started at the LM, I knew that the collections of the library were vast and there were items people had never heard of. Little did I know that I would come across things that had an impact on collections I once managed. Previously, I was the Head of Special Collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library. During my time there I oversaw a project to digitize the Women's Defense Unit Cards.

These cards were compiled during World War I and cataloged 23,000 women in Grand Rapids. They collected information so women could be matched with work to help in the war effort. The people who had done the collecting were part of Women’s Committee of the Michigan Division for Council of Defense. Every community in the country had participated in this endeavor. Grand Rapids was one of the only places to save their cards, and they were stored at the public library.

In my position at LM, I started to create an exhibit honoring the First World War. While looking through the catalog, I came across an item whose author was Women’s Committee of the Michigan Division for Council of Defense. There was little information on the background of this effort. In Grand Rapids we knew this was a national effort and it was planned at a higher level. Immediately I went to find this work in the Rare Book Room of the LM.

Here there were the newsletters of the statewide committee of the Women's Committee of the Michigan Division for Council of Defense. In the first newsletter I found an entry describing the efforts of the women of Grand Rapids in compiling the Women's Defense Unit Cards. I was looking at the very committee responsible for the creation of the cards.

I immediately started emailing colleagues in Grand Rapids to see if they had ever heard of these newsletters at LM, and no one had. From this discovery a group of Grand Rapids historians are driving to Lansing to study these newsletters.

Why is this all important? If each of us look in our collections, we might just make a discovery that transcends our libraries. We might make connections that help grow our knowledge of our communities and Michigan. What we have collected is important and might just be more relevant than ever.

A Programming Success Story: White Lake Community Library Welcomes a Kangaroo

Exotic Zoo

by Virginia DeMumbrum, Youth Services Librarian, White Lake Community Library

When’s the last time you had a live kangaroo at your library? The White Lake Community Library in Whitehall first hosted one in 2008, and more than 300 parents and children came to meet him that night. They were awed and amazed, and we really wanted to do it again. Sadly, that kangaroo stopped doing shows. It took a decade of searching before I found another traveling kangaroo, but it was worth the wait.

Javon Stacks of Exotic Zoo was at the 2017 Spring Institute in Frankenmuth. He and his staff were swarmed by children’s librarians snapping selfies with a kangaroo, a giant rabbit, a lemur, and more. I was eager to book them, but their prices, while reasonable for such a high-quality show, were about 50 percent higher than our small library typically paid for a children’s event. Luckily, I was able to find a local business willing to sponsor the show. I admit it was my husband’s firm in this case, but many business owners are happy to help pay for programs in exchange for a little publicity; you just need to ask. 

The program, held last fall, was a huge success.  Attendance was nearly triple what we get for a typical kids’ program, and even significantly higher than for a magician. Javon and his staff were excellent presenters, able to keep the enthusiastic, wiggly crowd under control, and also impart some information about each of the dozen or so creatures they displayed. Darwin the kangaroo was a huge hit, of course, and everyone got to touch – or in some cases carry on their shoulders - nearly every animal. You should have heard the gasps when the peacock flew over everyone’s heads. 

For more information about Exotic Zoo, visit  It's based in metro Detroit, but travel throughout Michigan. If you’d like your patrons to meet Darwin this year, then book soon. I just learned he’s being joined on the road this summer by his six-month-old sister Madeline, who’s still in her pouch.

Another option for exotic animals is Nelson’s Wildlife Safari, based in Canton – we had a great experience with them in 2016.  For smaller budgets, be sure to check with your local zoo, nature center, pet store or service animal organization. They might not have kangaroos, but the kids are sure to love whatever animals are available.

Questions about this program? Feel free to contact Virginia M. DeMumbrun.

Do you have a programming success story to share with other libraries in a future issue of the Dispatch? Contact Sonya Schryer Norris at LM at

Small Grant Applications Through LM

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, Library Grants Coordinator, LM

We are excited to announce the second year of the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) summer quick grant program for public libraries. Last year we gave 67 libraries grant funds for a wide range of programs. We took some of those ideas and put together sample programs, which are posted on the LSTA web site.

If you aren’t familiar with it, this grant provides funding for public libraries to develop a summer program and purchase materials and supplies for that program. There are three selected program topics – technology, children & teens and literacy. Funding is intended to supplement local services. We are looking for small projects that improve community services and are aligned with the LSTA priorities. The LSTA priorities include targeting library services to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to individuals with disabilities, individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills and expanding services for learning and access to information.

The grant period is from June to August 2018. Grants range from $500 to $2,000. Funding is by reimbursement. Eligible applicants are Michigan public libraries that are legally established and currently eligible for state aid. Branch libraries may apply individually. Detailed information on the grant program, is available at in the Public Library Services grant section. The application deadline is Monday, March 26th at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Please consider applying. For more information, read the Program Application Information on the web site before applying.

Tech Corner: Spiceworks to Inventory, Monitor and Troubleshoot Your Library Network Plus a Support Ticketing System

Orion township library logo

by Eric Hayes, Network and Systems Administrator, Orion Township Public Library

I love free stuff, especially if it makes my job easier. That is why I love Spiceworks. It offers three easy-to-use tools to inventory, monitor, and troubleshoot your network, while supporting users via a ticket system. These free tools can be installed on any PC on your network or you can use the free cloud based but significantly limited service from Spiceworks. I’ll speak of those limitations towards the end of this article.

Before we started using Spiceworks at Orion Township Public Library, we kept an inventory of computers, printers, servers, and switches on a few Excel spreadsheets. These had to be updated manually whenever we added or removed a device. With Spiceworks INVENTORY and NETWORK MONITOR, not only are our inventory of devices updated automatically, we can also monitor the health of the devices, view status of warranties, and see what software versions are installed on them.

Our handling of tech support requests has greatly improved as well with Spiceworks HELP DESK. Previously staff filled out a web-based form which was sent to all staff in the IT department. There was no way to efficiently assign, manage, and search the requests. Now, requests are still sent to all IT staff, but we can do all of the previously mentioned tasks and more, such as:

  • Set due dates;
  • Assign devices to tickets to track incidents per device;
  • Create sub-tickets for overlapping requests; and
  • Track when tickets were opened and closed.

If you try the cloud-based version, know that currently it only offer HELP DESK. This version will not sync with the locally installed INVENTORY to track incidents on your devices. Spiceworks developers mentioned several months ago that they were no longer providing updates to the locally installed NETWORK MONITOR and will provide a cloud-based version at a future date. There has been no talk about a cloud-based INVENTORY but I believe Spiceworks has one in the works.

I highly recommend using, at a minimum, Spiceworks HELP DESK. It has greatly improved the efficiency of our four person IT department. It would work well for any size library since it needn't be used solely for tech support requests.

Feel free to contact me with questions about Spiceworks at

Stay tuned in 2018 for future Tech Corner articles from Michigan library practitioners.

MeLCat Milestone

Michigan eLibrary logo

by the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) Team

MeLCat is Michigan's preeminent resource sharing, or inter-library loan, program. It allows 430 libraries to ship patron-requested materials among each other. And MeLCat recently reached a milestone. On January 17, MeLCat filled its 10 millionth request. The title was: “A gift of glory : Edsel Ford and the Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts : a play” by Karim Alrawi.

That success is thanks to the very hardworking men and women in the Michigan library community. It is truly a group effort. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents who have benefitted from MeLCat since its inception 13 years ago, we'd like to give a well-deserved shout out to the library workers in every corner of Michigan who participate in processing MeLCat materials and getting them into the hands of patrons. Thank you.

And to bolster your own personal knowledge base of MeLCat lore, I'd like to share the following that Sean Cwiek of the Midwest Collaborative of Library Services dug up for us:

  • The first book request on MeLCat was made on January 10, 2005. The title was: “The Celtic collection : twenty-five knitwear designs for men and women” by Alice Starmore. For those of you who are not knitters, Celtic patterns are very cool.
  • The most popular book in 2016 was: "All the Light We Cannot See"
  • Circulation varies, but statewide we average 90,000 every month.
  • How does participation break down by library type?
  • Public – 354 (out of 398 public library systems)
  • Academic – 52 (out of almost 100 academic libraries)
  • K12 – 11
  • Combined Public/School – 9
  • Special - 3
  • How many items are in the system? When U of M joined we got a tremendous boost. As of December, there were 49,346,993 items in MeLCat. That's books, DVDs, CDs and audiobooks.

And what about the practical part of shipping materials from one library to another? MeLCat uses a system called RIDES (Regional Interlibrary DElivery Service) to provide service across the state. The company that handles that contract is called ProMed and it subcontracts to a company called Waltco Inc. in the UP. Average shipping time is 4-6 days but with the processing needed on either end of the delivery, a patron typically sees their item about a week after placing the request. There are more than 65,000 RIDES stops every year in Michigan and individual libraries can choose between one and five delivery days per week to suit patron demand.

That's a little bit about the internal workings of one of Michigan's most popular library services. 

April Is School Library Month

Kathy Lester

by Kathy Lester, School Librarian, East Middle School, Plymouth-Canton Schools

Every year, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) sponsors School Library Month ( April is the time to celebrate school librarians and their programs.  The 2018 theme is “Making Connections at Your School Library” and this year's national spokesperson is Jason Reynolds.

“It’s impossible for me to talk about the importance of the school library without talking about the school librarian,” Jason says.  

School librarians curate collections and promote access to books and information, teach information literacy and digital literacy skills, and support technology integration and innovation. They also build connections with school community members. 

Michigan school librarians will celebrate with their students in a variety of ways including special events in their libraries, and makerspaces. Follow the hashtag #MISchoolLibrary to glimpse some of the activity in school libraries across the state. In addition, watch for a proclamation by Governor Snyder recognizing April as School Library Month in Michigan.

ALA President, Jim Neal’s column in the March/April issue of American Libraries magazine ( points out that student success depends on school libraries. Yes, multiple studies confirm this fact.

What can community members do to help celebrate School Library Month? If your local school district supports effective school libraries by employing certified school librarians, reach out to the superintendent or the school board to thank them. If not, ask the superintendent or the school board to consider strengthening their commitment to student achievement by employing certified school librarians.

School districts can use the “School Libraries for the 21st Century Measurement Benchmarks (SL 21)” ( created by LM's School Library Workgroup to help them create a quality school library program. In addition, you can invite them to visit the 2017-2018 SL21 Model School Library, East Middle School in Plymouth, Michigan.

School Libraries transform our students' lives.  Let’s celebrate this April.

3rd Annual Michigan Academic Library Association Conference Is May 16-18

Shannon White

by Shannon White, Library Development Manager, LM

Spring is just around the corner and that brings us the 3rd annual Michigan Academic Library Association Conference. The theme for this year’s event is Sustainability in Academic Libraries. The event runs May 16-18 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing and the Michigan State University (MSU) Library. MSU and LM are co-sponsoring this year’s conference. The program includes a pre-conference, 1.5-days of breakout sessions, keynote, interest group meetings, poster sessions, reception and more. There will be plenty of time for networking and learning during the week with a pre-conference, dine-arounds, reception and tour of the new Digital and Multimedia Center at MSU Libraries.

This year’s event starts on Wednesday with the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Planning, Assessing, and Communicating Library Impact: Putting the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education into Action pre-conference. This ACRL Standards Workshop will be held at the MSU Library. The workshop will focus on the framework for library planning and assessment that can be used for a variety of circumstances, such as annual planning, program review, and accreditation self-study.

The main conference program kicks off Thursday morning with Data Driven Detroit (D3) a non-profit that aims to make reliable data and analysis available to improve decision-making for groups working on issues such as the environment, civic engagement, community sustainability. Over the next day and a half attendees will have nearly 30 sessions to choose from on topics such as information literacy and fake news; appreciative inquiry; the Lean philosophy of quality and continuous improvement; project management; historical collections; and sustainability and green library projects.

We can’t wait to see you in East Lansing. For more information about the conference visit the MiALA website.

Therapy Chickens, Emotional Support Hamsters, and Service Horses: Understand the Differences and Craft a Policy That Works for Your Community

Clare Membiela

by Clare Membiela, Library Law Consultant, LM

It is well established that Service Animals (defined under Federal and Michigan law as a dog or miniature horse "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability…" 28 CFR 36.104) are specific animals with specific training.

Service Animals have strong protections for accommodations under Federal and Michigan law and generally must be permitted entry into public libraries.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has an excellent sheet explaining Service Animal requirements and how library staff can tell if an animal is a service animal under the law. This sheet makes a great patron handout.

By contrast, although Emotional Service Animals (ESAs) and Therapy Animals (TAs) often are used to assist people with illnesses, most current laws on disability rights do not include these animals within their protections.

This means that public libraries are not required to accommodate ESAs, or TAs, however, if desired, a library CAN accommodate ESAs and TAs.

Whether the library desires to limit accommodations to Service Animals, or expand to ESAs and TAs, the key factor for success is to have clear, neutral, and consistent policies.

These policies should include staff training in how to verify the status of an animal in the library. This is often the most difficult part of this type of policy, especially when it comes to differentiating assistive animals from pets.

If a library is interested in creating policies to accommodate ESA and TAs, there is an informative site by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. It defines ESAs and TAs and provides information on policies used by the Housing and Travel industries (ESAs and TAs are accommodated under Fair Housing and Air Carrier laws and regulations) to identify these animals and distinguish them from pets. A library’s attorney can review this information and determine if any of the procedures would be appropriate for the library.

As with any policy, libraries considering ESA and TA policies are strongly encouraged to consult their attorney.

There are multiple laws that affect this issue- including local animal laws and liability considerations. An attorney can craft a neutral, consistent, enforceable policy that will make this issue much easier for a library to manage.

Hart Area Public Library Cards for Migrants

Hart Area Public Library logo

by Kay Williams, Director, Hart Area Public Library

Oceana County is a second home to many migrant families who travel here from other states in the warmer months to harvest the fruits and vegetables for which our county is famous. Some of these families requested temporary library cards during their stay here. Our normal procedure for issuing these special cards was to request proof of employment from the local farmer or company for whom they were working. We would issue the request form and instructions for filling it out, but frequently these people would never return for their cards. We learned that the migrant workers were hesitant to ask the farmers for this information and, with the language barrier that often exists, the process for obtaining a library card seemed overwhelming.

The issue was especially vexing because in our beautiful region, close to Lake Michigan, we draw many seasonal tourists and regularly issue temporary cards to them when they are able to provide leasing information, or they are able to use their local library cards through the LM's Visiting Patron Program. Many of the migrant families are avid library users in their other states of residence, so they are very frustrated by their inability to use local services. It seemed unfair to give access to tourists yet deny access to migrant farmworkers.  We realized that  we had to find a solution.

The solution came through our relationships with other nonprofit organizations in the area. One of our staff members is a bi-lingual children’s librarian who was already going weekly to the Migrant Head Start Programs in our county and presenting a story time program for children and their caregivers. The older migrant children are in our local public schools and have a special social worker who knows them and their families, and can vouch for their work status and location. Many adults with no children in school receive assistance from the Oceana Hispanic Center and are well known to center staff. Using all three of these resources, we verified the identities and work locations of these migrant families and gave seasonal cards to them. Our efforts paid dividends in not only having additional patrons, but also in the good will that was engendered by serving an oft-overlooked group.