Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter, May 2018

May 2018

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

In this Issue:

Good News from the Library of Michigan

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian, LM

Several bits of good information from the LM to share. I am excited to announce that Elizabeth (Liz) Breed will begin her position as the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) Consultant starting June 4. Liz has a wealth of library experience and has played key roles at the Capitol Area District Library, Kent District Library, and most recently as Assistant Director for Public Services at the Jackson District Library. Liz will be a valued addition to the Library Development team.

More good news from Washington, DC. Congress voted to fund the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the next fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2019) with an increase of $4.7 million for the grants to states program. The LM will be receiving roughly $113,000 more next year. Each year, as part of the federal appropriations process for executive agencies, the administration proposes a budget for agencies and departments, including IMLS, and then Congress votes on a final version. There has been a push for the elimination of IMLS recently, so we are very pleased that Congress has valued IMLS’s work and library services at the local level by maintaining IMLS’s funding. The Michigan library community’s outreach on this issue, locally and at National Library Legislative Day, has helped people understand the importance of that funding. We are optimistic for the next federal fiscal year (Oct.1, 2019 – Sept. 30, 2020), but the library community should remain diligent. We have learned that support for libraries is not automatic, but only happens through ongoing outreach and relationship-building at all levels. Thanks to all who have worked on this issue and we hope for continued understanding and support for libraries in the future.

Recently the LM hosted the Loleta Fyan Small and Rural Library Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City. More than 500 small and rural library staff and supporters and 40-plus vendors attended this three-day conference. Keynote speakers included Kathleen LaTosch, Patrick Sweeney and Betsy Diamant-Cohen. The LM’s annual Beginning Workshop was also held at Shanty Creek in Bellaire in mid-May. More than 100 participants had the opportunity to take part in formal library coursework aimed at introducing new library staff to a variety of topics and provide practical skills that can be used working in Michigan public libraries. Both events were hugely successful. Thank you to everyone who attended, presented or supported these informative programs.

Manager of Special Collections Tim Gleisner was recently awarded the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship at the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference in Grand Rapids for his stellar work while managing special collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Tim started as Manager of Special Collections at the LM in November, 2017. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. The award was created and first presented at the annual 1999 NGS Family History Conference. The LM is the only library to have had more than one recipient of the award. Carole Callard received the award in 2003 and I was blessed to receive the award in 2010. With Tim’s recognition this year we have a hat trick.

And finally, LM staff will be hitting the road again with the warmer weather to visit libraries across the state. If you would like to host a visit by LM staff, reach out. These visits have no predetermined agenda and are designed to serve as an opportunity for LM staff to observe all the great things happening in libraries of all sizes across the state. I am a firm believer that face to face contact makes a difference.

Advocacy Begins at Home

Gail Madziar

by Gail Madziar, Executive Director, Michigan Library Association

It’s often said that charity begins at home. Well, advocacy, like charity, should begin with those closest to you and for libraries that means in their own community. Recently, the Michigan Library Association (MLA) along with the Cooperative Directors Association cosponsored the American Library Association's (ALA) Advocacy Bootcamp. Fifty participants including library directors, trustees, staff, and friends practiced community outreach with lessons on storytelling, connecting with donors, and listening to patrons and others in the community. The ALA presenters offered practical tips on how to position the library as a respected, effective, and supported choice in the community.

Advocacy is so much more than simply talking to your elected officials, although that is extremely important. ALA defines advocacy as turning passive support into educated action by stakeholders. It emphasizes the importance of building a climate of library support by identifying Reactive Advocacy versus Proactive Advocacy. This is the difference between responding to a crisis versus laying the groundwork for positive support.

The hands-on program covered advocacy basics: messaging, networking and community engagement. Participants practiced the fundamentals of making conversation to storytelling and delivering their key message. Much of the focus was on identifying each library’s stories, learning how to tell the stories, and identifying the audience. It broke down the steps to developing an effective story and outlined the process for outreach and sharing it. The stories were then “workshopped” and attendees learned how to personalize and make them more meaningful.

The community interview process was explained as advocates learned how to listen to determine the big issues and needs rather than assuming to know. It also incorporated ways to identify influential people in the community.

Along with the key messages a great deal of time was spent on building your network and finding champions from business, civic leaders, education, elected leaders, faith based, and nonprofit community partners. 

A final checklist helped with identifying goals, understanding and engaging the community, and being a leader. Tips were shared for helping everyone in the library understand their advocacy role and learn to partner with groups outside the library.

The Bootcamp featured the messages from ALA’s public awareness and advocacy campaign, Libraries Transform:

  • Libraries transform lives.
  • Libraries transform communities.
  • Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong learning.
  • Libraries are a smart investment.

The librarians and library advocates came away with practical and powerful tips on how to be a respected, effective and supported voice in their communities.

Governing Michigan Redesigned

Bernadette Bartlett

by Bernadette Bartlette, Michigan Documents Librarian, LM

The LM invites you to visit the redesigned Governing Michigan at, a digital repository for state government information.  Originally launched in 2010, the new site features free online access to current and historical state government documents from the LM’s collections and supports the information needs of a state-wide audience, including researchers, students, business people, writers, journalists, government employees, and the legal community.

Governing Michigan features digitized materials representing state government information from LM’s print collection, and born digital materials captured from State of Michigan websites.  The site also links to the LM’s web captures of state government websites through the Internet Archive, and HathiTrust digital library, another source of historical Michigan state government documents online.

Through cooperative projects with other state departments, Governing Michigan hosts collections of documents previously not available online, including decisions from the Court of Claims and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, ballot proposals, administrative rules, constitutional convention materials - even a collection of the iconic publication "What every driver must know" dating back to 1938.

To enhance search and browse functionality, LM developed customized metadata that allows users to identify a single document out of thousands through fields such as docket, bill, or public act number.  In addition, a unique "search by agency" function allows browsing of all materials published by a single department. 

LM is committed to growing the repository to maintain its value to the people of our state and is excited to include local Michigan government information as well.  "Michigan Regional, Local and Tribal Government Materials," the most recent collection, offers a collection of historical county, township, municipal and village codes, and charters.

The repository grows every day and we encourage you to check back often to see new additions to the collections. We would love to hear feedback on your experience with the new site or suggestions for content, please contact us at or at 517-373-1300.

The 2018 LSTA Grantees Are Here

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, Library Grants Coordinator, LM

The results are in. We have completed both the 2018 Collaborative Library Services and Public Library Services grant programs. It has been a hectic spring with applications and reviews. We cannot thank our peer reviewers on the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Advisory Council enough for their insight on the applications.

The Collaborative Library Services program is for a community program with strong local roots. The grants can be for one to three years. This year our grantees are the Niles District Library and the Grant Rapids Public Library.

Niles District Library is doing the Social Workers in Rural and Small Libraries project. It is a three-year grant for $200,615 and includes partner libraries in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties as well as Western Michigan University’s School of Social Work. As a group, they are exploring how to improve services to socio-economically disadvantaged populations. The project goals are to 1) improve library staff’s familiarity with and understanding of the social services that are available to patrons, 2) facilitate patrons' effective use of these social services, 3) develop collaborative relationships and programming with social service agencies, and 4) discover, develop, test and disseminate promising and best practices for social workers and social work interns in small and rural libraries.

Grand Rapids Public Library is doing Project FEEDS (Financially Educating Economically Disadvantaged Students). It is a two-year grant for $100,000 and includes Junior Achievement and local businesses as partners. They will be providing robust, hands-on summer educational programs for economically-disadvantaged students in middle and high school. The focus is personal finance, work readiness, and entrepreneurship and will include volunteer instructors from local businesses. The project goals are to provide positive outcomes for participants and help pave the way for those participants’ future personal and professional success.

The Public Library Services grant program provides funds for materials for technology, literacy or children and youth programs that are done over the summer. We have 71 grantees that have been awarded a combined total of $118,295. The applications were for a wide range of programs that were really creative. Projects include summer music classes, Maker Space training, robotics, hot spot linked programs, etc. The individual grantees are listed on the Public Library Services section of the LM's LSTA page –

Thank you to everyone who applied, who reviewed and who helped us work through two grant programs this spring. We look forward to learning what the participating libraries achieve this year. If you have any questions about the LM grant programs, please contact me at or 517-241-0021.

Libraries Read: 1 Book 2018

MCLS logo

by Jan Davidson, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services

Libraries Read: 1 Book is an annual library community read project of Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) focusing on professional development. Library staff from all types of libraries are encouraged to participate by voting on which book should be selected, then participating in the discussion, whether online or in-person. We will join together, across state lines and library types, to read and discuss the same book.

Library staff from throughout Indiana and Michigan submitted 33 titles for consideration for this year’s book, and MCLS staff have narrowed it to four finalists. We need YOUR votes to determine this year’s book. Voting is open now through May 31.

The four finalist titles are below. You can read more about why the titles were submitted on the MCLS event page. You can vote on the poll on our Facebook event or by emailing

  • Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
  • Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin.
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

What you can do to participate:

May: Vote for a title and encourage others in your organization to vote. You can vote on the poll on our Facebook event or by emailing

June/July: Read the book. Discuss the book at your own staff meetings.

August: Participate in a live Twitter chat about the title. Offer to host and lead a discussion for other librarians at your location by sending an email to Michelle Bradley at (discussion questions will be provided).

Questions regarding Libraries Read: 1 Book should be directed to Michelle Bradley, Manager, Member Engagement, at or 800-530-9019 ext. 125.

Michigan County Guides

Tim Gleisner

by Tim Gleisner, Special Collection Manager, LM 

In my very first Dispatch article, I wrote that I wanted to hear what the library community needed from the collections of the LM. The one question I hear that always surprises me is “What does the LM collect?” And to answer that question I bring you the Michigan County Guides of the Michigan Collection.

In several talks I have informed many different librarians of the wonderful collections that are housed within the LM. I have mentioned the Rare Book, Law, Peridocals, and Federal Documents collections. I have also made mention of my favorite collection, the Michigan Collection.

This collection truly is a gem and is one of the largest Local History Collections in the state. In my short time at the LM I have helped one patron find her Polish grandfathers neighborhood photographer; helped to find information of the Clinton County Poor Farm, and identify lost towns in Van Buren County. Every community in the state is represented in the Michigan Collection. Yet, LM staff had no way of showing the wonderful Michigan resources located in our building.

Last winter, an idea was hatched to overcome the lack of visibility. The LM's Special Collections staff decided that it needed to create county guides on what was contained in the Michigan Collection. And this wasn’t five or six guides, the staff decided that all 83 counties should have their own guide. And, this is exactly what the Special Collections staff have done. You can visit the County Guides here

Now there are 83 county guides on the LM's website. Each guide shows samples of what is held here at the LM on every county in the state. Each one lists newspapers, books, atlases, and maps held by the Library. The finished product is truly the answer to the question I hear “What does the LM collect?”.

We collect Michigan.

Tech Corner: Jumping the Content Management System (CMS) Sharks

Jarrod Wilson

by Jarrod Wilson, Head of I.T. Services, Kalamazoo Public Library

In the summer of 2016, the Kalamazoo Public Library undertook a project to migrate our staff intranet away from the Microsoft SharePoint to a new platform and reimagined information design. One of the key considerations for this new platform was that it needed to be more intuitive to add and manage content. Simultaneously with our new intranet initiative, we were also upgrading our library website. IT decided that we could use the WordPress CMS platform for both systems. This unified open source solution posed many benefits to our organization. The first being that staff trained on the use of one CMS system would have the benefit of that knowledge for the new website. This combined approach provides for reduced staff training and saves staff from user fatigue caused by yet another IT system thrust onto its daily workloads.

The WordPress platform has a broad knowledge base and the amount of resources available to us made our development and deployment that much quicker. Our SharePoint Intranet had become something of a dead letter office. The primary User Experience (UX) of the new intranet was designed to foster communication and collaboration in order ensure the use and engagement of users. This was achieved by moving from a file repository static model to a syndicated news style of interface. This approach encourages the users to browse and engage with the information in the same way they would with other online news and information sites. By moving away from SharePoint, we transformed the content that resided in Word docs and PDFs into actual WordPress posts. Each post was assigned metadata related to its content. The addition of metadata combined with a streamlined navigation system, created an overall more efficient design. Ultimately, the searching and retrieval of information was made quicker and easier.

The site migration was an ideal time to revisit and revise the static file structure of SharePoint. These files consisted of such things as key requests, incident and accident reports, programming stat collection and many others. While WordPress does not have the same functionality as SharePoint for the creation of specific tasks and workflows, we were able to adapt third party plugins as well as our own custom coding to recreate and improve these automated tasks. Implementation involved staff training, face-to-face meetings, and surveys. Although the process experienced a few bumps, the IT team achieved the goals of the project.

See the July issue for a follow-up article about obtaining buy-in for a staff Intranet.

Engaging Millennials on Library Boards

Shannon White

by Shannon White, Library Development Manager, LM

How can your library encourage a new generation of board members and friends?  A current project sponsored by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, ALA, is trying to find out.  LM’s Kathy Kosinski, chosen as an ALA Emerging Leader for 2018, is working with United for Libraries and a team of three other Emerging Leaders on the project titled, “Identifying Barriers to Library Board Service.”  The team hopes to learn from current and past library boards and friends to help recruit more multi-generational leaders of library organizations.

The team has been collecting information to help analyze trends of the Millennial generation and its interactions with libraries from use to advocacy. As the generation recording the highest level of public library use, 58% according to Pew Research Center, Millennials are already supporters of their libraries. How can libraries use that support and make the connection to move Millennials from using their library to supporting it by actively serving on boards and friends groups? Through interviews with current and previous trustee and friends members the team is hoping to explore the barriers to engaging multi-generational service in public libraries.

With four different generations in the US workforce, and a fifth graduating from college in 2019, there will be more and more opportunities for multi-generational service. This project is the beginning of work with United for Libraries to develop a toolkit, messaging and strategies United for Libraries can share out to the library community.   

You can hear from the project team at the ALA Annual Meeting in New Orleans where they will present results during a poster session on Friday, June 22, at 3:00 pm as well as the “Engaging Millennials on Library Boards” session Saturday, June 23, at 1:00 pm.

Clarkston Independence District Library Receives Ready to Read Code Grant

Alexa Hirsch Lalejini

by Alexa Hirsch Lalejini, Youth & Teen Services Librarian, Clarkston Independence District Library

Last year, Clarkston Independence District Library (CIDL) received the ALA Libraries Ready to Code Grant sponsored by Google. With this grant, we designed and ran Creative Coding Adventures, a 10-week workshop where 9-17 year olds learned to program a text-based adventure game in the Python programming language. While Python is widely-considered to be a beginner-friendly programming language, it also is used at many modern tech companies such as Facebook and Google. As a result, participants come away from the workshop with skills that are directly applicable to modern tech jobs.

Creative Coding Adventures introduced coding to kids and teens who might not have considered computer science as an avenue for their creativity. We encouraged participants to channel their creative writing skills into their game, tying the computational thinking skills we taught with the creative thinking required to write an adventure story. From November 2017 through February 2018, 13 patrons participated in our first iteration of Creative Coding Adventures. Women are historically underrepresented in computer science, and so we made an attempt to market towards younger girls, and were proud of maintaining a nearly 50:50 ratio of boys to girls.

Our team consisted of CIDL’s teen librarian (myself), IT assistant, children's librarian, adult librarian, teen volunteers from the local high school, and a partnership with Michigan State University's Computer Science Department. Our IT assistant created a guide that outlined each day of the workshop, including lesson-prep and teaching instructions, which we plan to refine and share by the end of the grant.

Overall, our first iteration of Creative Coding Adventures went well; participants learned a lot and enjoyed sharing their creations with their families at the end of the workshop. In April, we started our second iteration of Creative Coding Adventures, incorporating feedback from the workshop and our Ready to Code cohort.

The ALA and Google Ready to Code team is working tirelessly to corral data from all grant recipients with the intention of compiling a toolkit that contains effective activities for teaching computational thinking in a library setting. CIDL is honored to play a role in developing this toolkit. For more information on the Ready to Code program and toolkit, see