Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter: November, 2018

November, 2018

library of michigan dispatch newsletter

In this Issue:

COSLA Seeks to Increase IMLS Funding: "$1 Per Capita"

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian, Library of Michigan (LM)

$1 Per Capita is a developing effort by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) to substantially increase the Grants to States portion of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). One dollar per capita represents a doubling of current funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Grants to States program. The current funding for Grants to States is $164 million. COSLA proposes an increase to $325 million. Funding for Grants to States has remained essentially flat for more than 20 years despite rising costs to state library agencies and local libraries.

All increases in IMLS funding will go directly to improving libraries in each state. COSLA asserts that increased federal investment in libraries supports lifelong learning, early literacy, economic growth, workforce development, services to veterans, community sustainability, and many other programs that grow communities and enrich the lives of persons of all ages.

According to data compiled by IMLS, each year more than 1,500 projects funded through the Grants to States program support a wide variety of initiatives, including funding for such programs:

  • Michigan eLibrary;
  • Computer instruction;
  • Homework centers
  • Summer reading programs
  • Digitization of special collections
  • Access to e-books;
  • Adaptive technology;
  • Mobile library services; and
  • Outreach programs to underserved populations.

Additional funding would be subject to the formula for allocating LSTA Grants to States funds as specified in the Museum and Library Services Act. The formula is a combination of a base grant and per capita funding. While all states would see substantive increases, the funds would not be distributed on a strict $1 per capita basis.

COSLA members informally affirmed their support for this effort at its October meeting in Bismarck, ND. Official COSLA Board approval is expected in December. Resolutions of support will be very helpful as COSLA moves forward with this initiative. Getting Congress to approve $1 Per Capita for library funding will be a long process and we are just at the beginning. The Michigan library community can help build momentum for the effort by speaking to library and community groups and seeking allies and partners in the effort as we move forward.

Legacy "Support a Shelf" Markers at the Forsyth Township Library

Forsyth Township Bookshelf Marker

by Leslie Makela, Director, Forsyth Township Library

In late 2014, as the staff and Board of Trustees prepared to move the Forsyth Township Public Library from its “Hobbit hole” (as its been affectionately referred to) to its brand new 4,112 square foot building just two doors down, many fundraising ideas were being explored. Patrons had the opportunity to donate towards their new facility on a leveled-giving plan. Those who donated $100 or more could have their names featured on a beautifully designed donors wall piece that would hang in the new library for years to come. But what about those patrons who weren’t able to give to that extent and still wanted to be a part of the project? Enter patron Brian Rice, who now is a Library Board Trustee.

Inspired by other fundraising opportunities, Brian wondered about allowing patrons to sponsor a bookshelf in the new building. Then library director Pamela Withrow and the Board of Trustees loved the idea. Support a Shelf was born and became an extremely popular way to generate funds.

For $20, each donor would get a brass nameplate engraved with up to 35 characters mounted on a bookshelf in the library. The response was overwhelming. Most donors wanted their shelf to be in memory or in honor of a loved one. Some quoted their favorite books and a few even dedicated their shelf to the staff at the library. A local business provided the brass nameplates at a cost of $6 each. To date the project has raised almost $3,000.

Support A Shelf is an easy way to garner financial support for library projects. Through this we discovered how much our community loves their library, and we have enjoyed seeing everyone come in to find their shelf. I recently had a student from our local elementary school ask me why his step-sister’s name was on one of our shelves. After reading the name he was referring to, I chuckled and told him that his step-sister is also my granddaughter, and the shelf was purchased in honor of her birth. The nameplates are conversation starters that also give patrons an affordable opportunity to leave a legacy in their community.

The State Law Library Resumes Circulation of Books

Kim Koscielniak

by Kim Koscielniak, Law Librarian, LM

After an almost decade-long hiatus, the State Law Library is circulating books from its collection once more, expanding service to anyone with an LM library card. In addition, local public libraries throughout Michigan can put MeLCat to work for them to bring more specialized legal titles to their patrons.

As of mid-October, we’ve added new editions of popular titles in the Nolo and West Nutshell series as well as circulating copies of in-demand books like Michigan construction codes. We also are working on converting popular titles from our Michigan and general legal collections to “Law Circ” to give library users around the state the opportunity to access resources generally available only in research libraries.

More than 5,000 volumes have been placed into the circulating collection since we started in the summer, and we are continuing to comb our stacks for other titles that will provide greater access to legal information.

Newly-purchased titles cover court procedure, civil rights, child custody, divorce, dog law, estate planning, landlord/tenant matters, neighbor law, criminal procedure, and wills and probate. These are subjects about which libraries regularly receive questions from patrons who have a legal concern and who may even be representing themselves in court. Where possible, the Law Library has sought to include extra copies of books that focus on Michigan law. These should help patrons identify specific statutes or otherwise summarize the law that bears on their situation. Other titles of perennial interest include explanations of consumer questions like debt collection, bankruptcy, mortgages, and student loans. We’re covering some specialized areas, too: aspiring writers and artists can find material on copyright law, government officials can learn about municipal law, gaming law, election law, marijuana law, and issues in water and land use, and parents can learn about some of the educational regulations that impact their families.

To start exploring all that is available, point your browser to the LM’s ANSWER catalog. If you have any questions or can’t find what you want, contact us at 517-335-1480 or by email at Also, for libraries with legal collections, please help us to make the Directory of Michigan Libraries with Legal Collections a more robust resource by forwarding your information to

Flint Public Library Wins Historical Society of Michigan Institution Award

Kay Schwartz, Director, Flint Public Library

by Kay Schwartz, Director, Flint Public Library

Each year, the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) presents State History Awards to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation and understanding of Michigan history.  Flint Public Library is honored and thrilled to have received the 2018 State History Award for Institutions.

Local history has been a focal point of the Library for more than 100 years. Our Local History & Genealogy collection is a treasure trove of unique and irreplaceable documents. It is award-worthy for the depth of its collection, the unique and diverse content, and an innovative public-private partnership with the local Genealogical Society.

This vast collection embraces Flint history, the lives of its local citizens, and historical context from around the state. Flint Public Library is pleased to offer more than 2,300 newspaper microfilm rolls, 10,000 items of local Genesee County history, 11,000 Michigan historical documents, and 12,000 items in its genealogy collection.

Flint Public Library's local history collection includes several one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable treasures, including:

  • The Genesee County Biography File, featuring a broad and diverse cross-section of Flint residents
  • A virtually complete run of the Flint City Directory (missing only one year)
  • A fully indexed listing of obituaries from the Flint Journal going back to 1920
  • The largest collection of remediation reports for factories that were closed in the city
  • A collection of Michigan county histories, some on film and some in book form
  • A collection of yearbooks from every Flint high school
  • Notebooks about local schools, churches and historic homes
  • A more recent curated collection of articles and resources on the Flint water crisis, potentially of great value to future researchers

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Flint Genealogical Society’s partnership with Flint Public Library. Through this unique partnership, experienced genealogy volunteers spend 20 to 25 hours each week assisting patrons who wish to journey through the past.

The library is a critical resource for the people of Flint, equalizing access to information and online services that many families cannot afford. It is also one of the few institutions that has curated and maintained unique local history items that otherwise would be lost to the ravages of time and economic downturn.

Ready to Read Michigan 2019

Touch the Brightest Star

by Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Coordinator, LM

This past spring LM’s Youth Service Advisory Council (YSAC) selected Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson for 2019’s Ready to Read Michigan (RTRM) book program. The goal of RTRM is to equip public library staff with the tools and resources they need to model early literacy practices to families, caregivers, and children ages 5 and under. A central resource is a toolkit designed specifically around the selected book. Touch the Brightest Star features beautiful watercolor and cut-paper collage spreads, which guide readers through an interactive bedtime story. The rhyming text and artwork make for an interactive read-aloud.   

Included in the toolkit for public libraries will be a link to the RTRM programming guide, which is based on the five practices of the Public Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read (Talk, Read, Play, Write, and Sing).  The guide is an important part of the toolkit, especially for public library staff pressed for program development time, those new to youth services, and for those with limited resources at their library. Our guide writer, Meagan K. Shedd, PhD, is the author of numerous articles on young children for educators, as well as several of our former Michigan Reads! programming materials. Members of YSAC also provided input, brainstormed ideas, and contributed to the guide. The guide for Touch the Brightest Star includes reproducible templates such as finger puppets, coloring pages, action cards, rhymes, and read-a-like booklists.

Public libraries will find a flannel board story cut-out in 2019’s toolkit. Library staff may use this cut-out in storytimes and outreach to their local daycares and early childhood centers. So, to further help public libraries engage with these audiences, the RTRM toolkit also contains multiple copies of Touch the Brightest Star to leave with child-care providers or at early childhood centers.

For the 2018 RTRM program, public libraries reported that 24,892 children and their families attended 1,048 events statewide. The LM hopes to help public libraries reach even more during the 2019 RTRM program.


"Not Just a Bookclub" by Manistique Area Tweens

Mary Hook

by Mary Hook, Director of Technology, Library, and Media, Manistique Area Schools

As librarians, we work very hard to develop meaningful programming for all age groups. Here at Manistique School & Public Library we have always had great success in finding meaningful activities for the young and old, but those darn “Tweens” are a difficult bunch! My staff and I have been having the “Tween” programming discussion for years and occasionally we hit on a topic that works for them but we really needed something more. 

At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, my Assistant Librarian, started a conversation with a couple of “go getter” 6th graders and asked them about possibly starting a book club. The students ran with the idea. We felt that if we had students who could help coordinate this, they would be able to help pick topics of interest for their own age group.

Initially, the students came up with a plan for recruitment and advertising. They didn’t want it to be just another book club, so they named it "Not Just Another Book Club." Once they started getting interest they scheduled their initial meeting. During this meeting, they created a list of everything they wanted to explore. They decided they wanted to take advantage of everything our library had to offer, from books and games to the use of everything in our MakerSpace.

Their list included:

  • Reading books/book discussion and watching the movie (if available) in our MakerSpace
  • 3D printing and pen
  • 3D glasses
  • LittleBits Kits
  • BreakoutEDU boxes
  • Green screen movie making
  • Board Games

They then met at the end of the school year and a couple of times over the summer. Now their plan is to meet once a month after lunch of school, as needed. Library staff provides guidance, instruction and support all their activities.

We believe it is important that students play a major role in ongoing planning of activities.

For more information about Manistique School & Public library events, check out our website at or email the Library Director at

Tech Corner: Balanced Policies: Surveillance Cameras in the Library

Clare Membiela

by Clare Membiela, Library Law Consultant, LM

Libraries constantly balance access and privacy concerns against the practicalities of day to day operation in the modern world. They strive to strike a balance between open stores of information staffed by intellectual freedom warriors protecting patron rights, and friendly havens of community warmth and security

Once a library decides to draft (or revise) surveillance policies and procedures, it should first review the applicable laws. In Michigan, these include the Library Privacy Act, and The Michigan Penal Code. The First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution can play a role, but for this discussion, we will concentrate on the Michigan laws.

Michigan Penal Code MCL 750.539(d) and, MCL 750.539a(1) support the placement of surveillance cameras in a public library because the library is a space open to, and frequented by, the public.

The Library Privacy Act (1972 PA 455, MCL 397.601, et.seq.), makes it illegal for staff or agents of the library to divulge patron information without written permission from the person responsible for costs and fines on the account. The definition of “library record” for purposes of disclosure is broad and would likely include surveillance footage that depicts patrons in an identifiable way.

Surveillance camera policies should include:

  • Notices posted in the library informing visitors that cameras are in use for purposes of library security. Libraries considering the placement of cameras in staff work areas that are outside of public areas should consult their attorneys before installing.
  • Written descriptions of who has access to the footage, how long (and where) the footage is retained.
  • Staff procedures (and training) for handling law enforcement requests, and, for compliance with warrants and/or subpoenas.
  • If the library is a school or school/public library, there may be FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) implications, so school administration and an attorney should be consulted.

The American Library Association has some good privacy resources, including some discussion of surveillance cameras as part of their Privacy Toolkit:

The ALA also has policy suggestions included within their Privacy Q&A located on the ALA website. Q. 30 is particularly useful

Additional examples of surveillance policies:

Please note that individual situations can affect appropriate application and compliance with the law. Please consult your attorney on any policy creation and change to be sure that the finished product is legal, enforceable, and, accomplishes the library’s goals.

LSTA Grant Success: Code Camp: Creating Young Entrepreneurs by Building Apps

Code Camp at the Grand Rapids Public Library

by Marla Ehlers, Assistant Director, Grand Rapids Public Library

Groups of teens huddle over computers and sprawl on the floor of the Madison Square Branch Library. Phrases like “business plan,” “marketing report,” and “app usability” float through the air. Code Camp 2018 is in full swing.

For 10 weeks this summer, more than 40 middle and high school students participated in Code Camp: Build a Business with Junior Achievement (JA) at two branches of the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL). This partnership-first brought JA’s Company Program® to library patrons, teaching students the fundamentals of entrepreneurship while also building their coding skills. Community experts in software development guided students as they created apps using MIT’s App Inventor. Charged with encouraging reading among their peers, students wrote code for a variety of apps. One app recommends books by mediating between reviews, GRPL’s catalog, and Amazon. Another app connects readers to ebooks in exchange for viewing advertisements. Code Camp culminated in an evening celebration where students presented their marketing plans side by side with their apps.

Through this project GRPL now offers Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) programming for youth of all ages. STEAM Ahead Storytimes and CHAOS Labs engage Grand Rapids’ youngest scientists. Mindstorm Saturdays introduce robotics to upper elementary students. And now Code Camp bridges the transition from school to work as middle and high school students gain skills for careers in the tech industry.

Code Camp is funded by a two-year, $100,000 LSTA grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the LM. Conceived by Jessica Anne Bratt, GRPL’s Youth Services Manager, and Missy Summers, Greg King, and Greg Hampshire of Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes, Code Camp leverages for the first time on behalf of library patrons JA’s expertise in educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. During this initial project year, all involved in this partnership have learned much about translating an academic program into a public library setting, and plans for improving and expanding 2019 Code Camp are well under way. Ultimately, this library/JA partnership could serve as a model for similar programs nationwide.

In the meantime, Grand Rapids’ teens will continue to experience the transforming power of knowledge at their public library, building one app at a time.