Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter: September, 2018

September, 2018

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

In this Issue:

New Phone Numbers at the LM

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian

A new phone system is being installed at the Library of Michigan (LM) this fall. As a result, many of the phone numbers that you use to contact staff no longer will be active. These include the number I've had since October 1, 1989.

A complete list of the LM staff number changes effective October 16 can be found here.

Also on October 16, the reference desk number and statewide services numbers will change to 517-335-1477 and 517-335-1516, respectively (although the statewide services toll-free Michigan number will not change; it remains 877-479-0021). These numbers remain staffed. Feel free to call them anytime if you have difficulty reaching an individual at the LM.

As a rule, I am not averse to change, but something about switching my phone number after so many years has spooked me. Why and how can a man get so attached to a telephone number? After 29 years have I become the “old guy” in the office yelling at kids to get their ball out of my yard? The natural resistance to change all too often leads to anxiety. But a phone number? We all are creatures of habit and routine. It takes 20 years or more to develop our adult personalities and along the way we also develop routines, habits, and behaviors that stay with us a lifetime. “My” office phone number has for some reason become a comfortable part of my daily work life. This situation brings me back to what my dad would tell me as a child: “change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.” Thanks, Dad.

I can be reached at 517-335-1517 starting Oct. 16.

Tech Corner: Library Security Cameras

Matt Harmon, head of information technology, Marshall District Library

by Matt Harmon, Head of Information Technology, Marshall District Library

This year, Marshall District Library (MDL) was prompted to review its security plans and monitoring systems. We decided it was time to upgrade our video camera system and figure out what the best options were for our facility’s needs. After looking at several security vendors, we elected to install and manage our own video security system.

To begin with, we considered our video coverage goals:

  • The security of our facility and equipment when the library is closed.
  • The monitoring of areas and rooms in the library building that would not have staff supervision.
  • The monitoring of outdoor areas due to traffic incidents around the building.

Our first consideration in the purchase of the system was the number of cameras and the amount of storage.  We wanted full coverage of our 18,000 square foot facility with storage available for two weeks of video recording. We looked at whether systems had the ability to expand storage if we elected to add additional cameras. Our analysis of camera equipment included:

  • Pixel Density
  • Distance the cameras covered
  • Color recording
  • Night vision capability for after closing
  • Weather resistance for outdoor cameras

The second consideration was the operating system. We looked at whether the system came with a built-in graphic user interface for accessing and reviewing footage or whether separate software would need to be installed. We also wanted to make sure that the software would write over previous recordings rather than just stopping when storage space was full. 

We selected a Samsung Wisenet (SDH-C85100-16) 16 Channel Super HD DVR Video Security System, available through This system came with a 2 terabyte hard drive, an operating system that was managed on the DVR box, and slots for added storage.  The color cameras are weather-proof, have night vision capabilities, and have the option to add privacy blocks if we want to block out viewing areas. We also purchased two additional 6-terabyte hard drives to store video and a computer monitor for viewing footage. The total cost of this system was $1,554.93. 

The final consideration was the wiring and installation process in our facility. Our technology staff worked with a local electrician to make sure the cameras would be supported by the ceiling and the wiring. We chose to use coaxial cable rather than power-over-ethernet (POE) cable, which is less expensive and does not require a POE switch. This was a cost savings in terms of equipment and was an easier set-up. We reviewed the county codes with our electrician to ensure we were fire resistance compliant. We also worked with a local contractor to ensure our outdoor cameras were set up properly through the walls of the library. Set-up was completed by teams of at least two technology employees working together and took about 20 hours of staff time over the course of the month. We have been very satisfied with the quality of our security footage and we learned quite a bit during the installation process. If you’re interested in talking about security systems and technology, please email me at

Stay tuned in November for an article about policies around library security cameras. 

Big Changes to MeL Right Around the Corner

Liz Breed

by Liz Breed, MeL Coordinator, LM

We are very excited to announce that the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) will have a completely new look this fall: new logo, new color scheme, new website. Our new logo will replace the purple and green version we've had for 12 years and you will see this update everywhere that MeL can be found including online, in black and white on MeLCat materials, and on promotional giveaways.




The redesign of the MeL logo was an intentional process with three goals: 

  • Update to a more contemporary look and feel
  • Strengthen the visual aspects of the MeL brand
  • Create logo specifications and usage guidelines to establish consistency

MeL's new colors are blue, green, and burgundy and each represent something different. Blue is the base color of the site and ties into the blue used in the Library of Michigan branding, green represents Library Staff, and burgundy represents Educators. The "e" and the "L" are positioned to form a subtle book. There will be versions of this logo in black and white as well as in singular colors, including green and burgundy for use with our two key audiences.

For the entire life of MeL, our emphasis has been to market it broadly to the library community and all 9 million-plus Michigan residents. But we are shifting our focus away from messaging to residents to focus on the library and education communities. The changes you see with the MeL logo and website are helping us visually tailor our educational and marketing materials so they are easy to recognize and fit with the larger family of MeL offerings.

We hope you like this updated MeL logo that will help us to reinforce the message that MeL is dedicated to Supporting Michigan Libraries.

Find more out more on our Get Ready page.


What Goes into a Library of Things?

Jessica Goodrich

by Jessica Goodrich, Library of Things and Business Outreach Librarian, Capital Area District Library

You likely have heard of libraries worldwide joining the growing trend of offering a Library of Things. These collections give patrons access to non-traditional items, from sewing machines, metal detectors, Wi-Fi hotspots, to energy meters, board games, and more.

In 2016, Capital Area District Libraries (CADL) dedicated $5,000 to explore starting a Library of Things. Lots of research was performed before we started. Some selections were Things that circulated well, according to other libraries; others were based on CADL staff ideas. Every item was researched for the best of what we could offer, afford, and circulate. Much of the research was performed internally, but when we could, we contacted local businesses. 

Within the first four months, the Things in the small collection had already circulated more than 500 times. 

The response from patrons was amazing, from shocked surprise to absolute delight. Since that first launch, we have consistently grown our collection.

Things have changed quite a bit in the past two years. Much has been learned, including that apparently everyone wants to borrow a metal detector (CADL has 15 now and in warmer months, there's a wait list). Our selection policy has formed and solidified slowly as the collection grows. Generally, items selected offer some educational benefit, a new experience, or are considered high-cost infrequently used items that benefit patrons. Other items encourage community and family socialization. There are exceptions, as needed, sometimes from patron requests or popularity of items.

The main question about the collection from just about everyone is theft. People are amazed things come back. It helps that we have a different fine structure for our Library of Things collection, but things come back better than expected. In most cases, things are clean, packed well, and include all their parts.  

There have been challenges and mistakes. At first each Thing had a home library, but still was requestable at any branchNow everything is centralized, with each item being cleaned and maintained each time it circulates. Research and referrals have served us well. For some Things, partnerships have been formed with local businesses that help to us maintain certain offerings.

While the collection has been a big hit with current users, the unique assortment also reinforces CADL’s brand slogan of "Everything Right Here." View CADL’s Library of Things collection at

Michigan Legislative Biography Database Now Available

Janice Murphy

by Janice Murphy, Reference Librarian, LM

Maestro, if you please….  Hear that drum roll? That, my friends, is the sound of the Michigan Legislative Biography Database bursting onto the digital stage. Well, maybe I’m the only one who can hear it, after pushing from the wings like a stage mother for some time.

If you have ever had a burning desire to see which representatives lived in your county or district, this should help you identify them. District names and their makeup have changed over time but the name of the home county stands firm. Need to know which committees someone served on? Or who served on a certain committee over time? How many women have served in the legislature and who were they? Who was the first African American in the state House of Representatives? Who served the most terms? Well, finding that information just became easier. The answers to the last three questions are: 191, Rep. William W. Ferguson and Marquette’s Dominic Jacobetti (with 21 sessions, all in the House).

The LM has created a searchable database of biographical information on each person who has served the state of Michigan on the state’s council or in the legislature since 1835. It is freely available to the public. Of course, with more than 5,400 people on the roster, it is an ongoing project to populate each of the 20 plus fields of information. Some legislators were not self-promoters and make it difficult to find basic data, even their party affiliation, but staff, and some dedicated volunteers, are doing their best to fill in the blanks. With the coming elections, the list will grow.

If you have questions or comments, or would like to be a contributor to the process, please contact Janice Murphy at or use the Suggestions/Comments tool in the database. 

Michigan Department of Education’s Support for School Libraries

Kathy Lester

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

In 2016, after months of input from the public and education stakeholders, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) unveiled the Top 10 in 10 Years Goals and Strategies to help Michigan become a top 10 education state in 10 years.  Since that time, MDE has worked to align other educational programs to the Top 10 in 10 initiative.  This includes Michigan’s implementation plan (November 2017) for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Many in the library community know that the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Association for School Librarians (AASL) worked successfully with U.S. legislators to include school libraries/librarians in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act which became the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This law left it up to each state to determine the details of how the new law would be implemented in their state.

Michigan’s ESSA implementation plan includes a measure “K-8 Access to Librarians/Media Specialists” that will be part of a new ESSA accountability indicator of School Quality and Student Success. Each school will have this new measure included as part of the School Index available on MDE’s Parent Dashboard. The librarian measure was introduced to align with the Top 10 in 10 Goal 2.7a to ensure that all students have access to an appropriately staffed school library.

The MDE has published several documents to assist schools in determining how to ‘appropriately staff’ a school library. These include a “quick sheet” on Library Media Placements and two additional memos (1) (2) These emphasize the critical role of school libraries/librarians in education and clarify that school libraries should be staffed with a teacher certified school librarian. The MDE also published a memo to specify that only teachers with Library Media (ND) teacher certification would be part of the calculation for the ESSA indicator "K-8 Access to Librarian/Media Specialist."

Additionally, the MDE Early Literacy initiative has aligned with essential literacy practices that were developed by the General Education Leadership Network (GELN). These practices are intended to be minimum prescribed practices for literacy which are especially important as Michigan’s new Read by Grade Three law begins to be implemented. The Essential School-Wide and Center-Wide Practices in Literacy document includes school librarians/libraries as part of three of the ten school-wide essential practices.

These MDE efforts recognize that effective school library programs staffed by certified school librarians play a vital role in our schools as documented in years of studies. They also align with the State Board of Education’s Statement on School Libraries which calls for all of Michigan’s students to have access to a school library with “resources, programming and certified staff.”  This statement also calls for school districts to use the School Libraries in the 21st Century (SL 21) Program: Qualitative Benchmarks for Michigan School Libraries (which were developed by the LM’s School Library Workgroup) to measure the quality of the library in their schools.

The MDE has, through its many initiatives, affirmed that all of Michigan’s students deserve equitable access to the essential services of an effective school library program.

Tech Corner: Security Information and Event Management System: Alien Vault

Pete Sneathen

by Pete Sneathen, I.T. Manager, Herrick District Library

It is a cold January morning. As I enter into the I.T. offices, I notice a "System Compromise" alert in our logging and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution: AlienVault, conveniently displayed on our 55" wall mounted TV.  I know, I know… this is the point you’re asking yourself, “Why didn’t he get an email alert? Seems kind of silly he would have to go into work to look at a TV display to see this type of alert!” And you would be right. In fact, the solution does email us… but I thought having the reader visualize a alert would read better. 

So, I quickly boot up my laptop, log-in to the network, and log into the AlienVault web portal. In just a few clicks I can identify the compromised system. But hold up, this is strange... AlienVault is telling me that the compromise is due to a "very old" non-malicious malware. So old, my immediate assumption is that it is probably a false positive.

So here is where I should probably pause and tell you a bit about myself and why I'm so skeptical in this situation.  I have been in I.T. Management for more than 25 years, and for five of those years I was in technical sales for logging and SIEM solutions. I am all too familiar with the fact that most logging and SIEM solutions are better at presenting you with false positives than valid data that needs to be acted upon.

Where was I? Oh, yes, "non-malicious malware." One of my co-workers performs a system malware scan using Malwarebytes and I'll be danged. It finds the same malware. In the end AlienVault was able to identify an antiquated malware just by listening to the network traffic and identifying the traffic pattern of this malware software, something that our anti-virus missed. Using Malwarebytes, my co-worker removes the malware from the system. 

Since then AlienVault has identified several non-malicious cookies and innocent tracking browser plugins. Like most I.T. professionals, I put a high priority on network and system security, but I can sleep a little better at night knowing AlienVault is monitoring our network and system activity. So, if you are in the market for an affordable logging and SIEM solution, I highly recommend you consider AlienVault.  

Library Science Collection Available Through the LM

Karren Reish

by Karren Reish, Library Grants Coordinator, LM

The LM is launching a circulating Library Science Collection for Michigan librarians. We are collecting materials for public, academic, and school librarians. We also are collecting on a wide range of library topics. Look here if you need information on: 

  • managing technology in libraries
  • supervising staff or volunteers
  • developing your library collection
  • licensing digital content
  • improving story time
  • fundraising to enhance your budget
  • facilities management
  • serving special populations of patrons
  • standards for school libraries, etc.

Our focus is the range of topics necessary for professional programming, collections and management in libraries.

For example, some new public library titles are The librarian's guide to homelessness: an empathy-driven approach to solving problems, preventing conflict, and serving everyone by Ryan Dowd; Creating and managing the full-service homework center by Cindy Mediavilla. In the school library sphere, we have the new National school library standards for learners, school librarians, and school libraries by American Association of School Librarians and Managing the successful school library: strategic planning and reflective practice by Lesley S.J. Farmer. For academic librarians, take a look at Learner-centered pedagogy: principles and practice by Kevin Michael Klipfel and Dani Brecher Cook and Licensing digital content: a practical guide for librarians by Lesley Ellen Harris.

Anyone can borrow materials through MeLCat or interlibrary loan. To find materials, search ANSWER, the Library of Michigan catalog by topic, or browse the Library Science Collection link (#3).

Use the collection to improve your services, brush up on a topic or learn a new skill. Pass the word about it to your colleagues! If you see something we should have in the collection, send us a suggestion to We will continue to purchase materials for the collection so check back often.

This collection is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Michigan Notable Books Celebration: Kalamazoo – An Evening with Notables

Library of Michigan Foundation logo

Every year, the Library of Michigan selects up to twenty of the most notable books, either written by a Michigan resident or about Michigan or the Great Lakes. Each selected title speaks to our state’s rich cultural, historical, and literary heritage and proves without a doubt that some of the greatest stories are found in the Great Lakes State.

The Library of Michigan Foundation has been raising funds to help support the Michigan Notable Books program for over 25 years. The program has gained enormous respect throughout the state, with readers everywhere excitedly waiting for the publication of this important literary list each year. To date, close to 500 works have been selected and honored as a Michigan Notable Book title.

In addition to the 2018 Michigan Notable Books celebration, Night for Notables, held last spring in Lansing, the Foundation this fall will co-host with the Kalamazoo Public Library a regional, celebratory event for the people of the Kalamazoo area and surrounding communities.

Many current and past Notable Book authors will be there to personally autograph their books while talking with guests about their work. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet these award-winning authors including: Bonnie Jo Campbell, Wade Rouse writing as Viola Shipman, Karen Dionne, William Rapai, Stephen Mack Jones, Joel Stone, Michael G. Smith, Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo, Cindy Hunter Morgan.

Please join the Library of Michigan Foundation at the beautiful Kalamazoo Public Library on Thursday, October 18th at 7 p.m. for an enjoyable evening to celebrate the Michigan Notable Books program with many “Notable” authors and fellow book-lovers. This event is free to the public thanks to Kalamazoo Public Library and many generous donors to the Library of Michigan Foundation.

Hors d’oeuvres and other delicious refreshments will be served. Space is limited so please register today on the Kalamazoo Public Library event website