Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter July 2019

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Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter  -  July 2019

In this Issue:

PebbleGo: MeL's New Early Literacy Resource

Pebble go screenshot of gorillas

When finalizing the contract for new Michigan eLibrary (MeL) databases last year we were unable to find an early literacy product that met the needs of our communities and was priced for our budget. Early in 2019, we released a new Request for Proposal (RFP) designed to strengthen MeL’s early literacy content in support of young readers, especially those in Pre-K-3.  

The Library of Michigan (LM) carefully evaluated the vendor proposals as well as library community feedback, pricing, and our available budget. Based on the best cost, evaluation scores, library community input, and product demonstrations, a selection has been made. We have contracted with Coughlin Capstone for a subscription to the animal and social studies modules of their PebbleGo product and access is slated for August 1, 2019. 

Details about the animal and social studies modules of PebbleGo will be available in the coming weeks. MeL team members are partnering with Coughlin Capstone to develop more enhanced training and support for more effectively using PebbleGo. Be on the lookout for upcoming training sessions this summer and early fall. Like many MeL resources, adding the PebbleGo content was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional funding is provided by the State of Michigan and the Library of Michigan Foundation.  

You can stay up to date about the new early literacy addition to MeL and related training opportunities by subscribing to the following lists or visiting the LM's MeL website: 

Now is a good time to begin planning to make any necessary changes to your website, printed materials, and statistical collection methods. 

Thank you to the many members from the Michigan library and education communities who took time to participate in the product demonstrations and provide evaluations of the resources through the survey. Additionally, thanks to the staff from LM and the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) for their work behind the scenes to enable the Michigan eLibrary program to serve our libraries and patrons across Michigan. For questions about the 2019 early literacy RFP please contact Liz Breed, Michigan eLibrary Coordinator, at

A Very Successful School-Library Partnership in Zeeland

Fun on the Run book display

By Heather Wood Gramza, Director, Howard Miller Library and Community Center

A literate society is just one of the many shared goals of public libraries and schools.  Unfortunately, I have heard colleagues lament trying to connect with schools with little to no success. Complicating things further, public libraries tend to avoid anything perceived as supplanting the role of a media specialist. The Read by Grade Three (RBG3) law presents an apt opportunity for public libraries and schools to unite in the shared goal of helping all students achieve reading proficiency. Howard Miller Public Library (HMPL) seized the chance to partner with Zeeland Public Schools (ZPS) in a way that complements what educators currently are doing without undermining the necessity of having media specialists and school libraries. These approaches are not novel, but we are seeing some initial success in our quest to partner with area schools.

Connect with Literacy Coaches

Most school districts have at least one literacy coach working to ensure K-3 students are gaining the necessary reading skills.  We met with ZPS literacy coach Julie Paterick to learn about their strategy and to share our interest in working together. We offered our idea of circulating “Fun on the Run” packs to provide families with a convenient way of building literacy skills at home. Julie thought this idea would support classroom efforts, and a partnership was born.

Use Common Language

In all of our early literacy programming and messaging within the library we are using Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) terminology: talk, write, read, play, and sing. Likewise, schools are using common language for literacy skills. In designing our “Fun on the Run” packs, we used the same language.

Employ Unified Communications

ZPS created a tri-fold brochure for parents outlining how to read with students and provided information on all of the literacy skills. It also included information on HMPL, our “Fun on the Run” packs and a brief message from me as library director. They were distributed during spring parent-teacher conferences and now are available at the library.  Additionally, parents were given literacy skill bookmarks based on what their child needed to learn with strategies to help them secure those skills.

Use a Complimentary Approach

Our “Fun on the Run” packs don’t seek to replace what is occurring at school. Instead, they are a free resource for students and families. HMPL launched its “Fun on the Run” collection in April.  Each themed pack contains an assortment of books and a family game targeting one or more literacy skills.  Packs display a guide on the front displaying targeted literacy skills. 

Keep Connecting

The “Fun on the Run” packs are just the beginning of what I anticipate will be an expanding collaboration. I plan on sharing circulation data with ZPS and seeking additional ways to work together. It’s exciting to imagine what we can do together.

Howell Carnegie District Library Fights the Summer Slide by Taking Books to Underserved Populations in a Renovated School Bus

Howell Bookmobile

By Holly Ward Lamb, Director, Howell Carnegie District Library 

How does a public library support the local school district in addressing low reading scores and summer slide? It’s simple: get library staff seats on the bus, the Highlander Reading Express. Summer 2019 is off to a great start with more than 800 books checked out in the first three weeks, which should easily surpass the 1,000-book total for the summer of 2018.

I am “on board” the Highlander Reading Express. In fact, the Howell Carnegie Library secured two Public Library Services Grants from the Library of Michigan/ Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) to help stock the bus with books and other educational materials. I also got a chance to check off one of my “bucket list” items by actually driving the bus to its appointed stops on June 27th. I was formerly the Head of Youth Services at the HCDL and had lots of fun reading, playing games and just hanging out with some of the most underserved young people in the library district.

When the Highlander Reading Express made the rounds to the local elementary schools right before the end of school, HCDL Youth Services staff were there to promote summer reading at the library. And, in the spirit of collaboration, the book bus is stopping select events at the library this summer.

The Highlander Reading Express is a decommissioned school bus transformed into a literacy bus. The goal of the literacy bus is to build excitement for and promote summer reading while combating the loss of academic skills over the summer months. The district compared data from spring and summer of 2018, when the bus was active, to data from spring and summer of 2017, when there was no bus. 52% of students who checked out materials maintained or increased their reading levels this year - 4% more than in 2017. 

Funding for the Highlander Reading Express was achieved entirely through donations from the school district's community partners, including the HCDL. Students at Howell High School helped design the interior of the bus, and the shelves were built as an Eagle Scout project, making the Highlander Reading Express a true community project.

For more information and pictures, see


"Caffe Sospeso" at the Superior District Library: A Pay-It-Forward Coffee Bar

Cup of coffee

by Lisa Waskin, Director, Superior District Library

It’s amazing how serendipity can spark creativity at the most unexpected moments. While scrolling through Facebook one day, I came across an article about a coffee shop in Naples, Italy that is bringing back the tradition of “Suspended Coffee” or “caffe sospeso,” which began there about 100 years ago.

According to the article the Neapolitan writer, Luciano de Crescenzo, used the tradition as the title of one of his books, Caffè sospeso: Saggezza quotidiana in piccoli sorsi ("Suspended coffee: Daily wisdom in small sips"). "It was a beautiful custom," he recalls. "When a person who had a break of good luck entered a cafe and ordered a cup of coffee, he didn't pay just for one, but for two cups, allowing someone less fortunate who entered later to have a cup of coffee for free." The barista would keep a log, and when someone popped his head in the doorway of the cafe and asked, "Is there anything suspended?" the barista would nod and serve him a cup of coffee ... for free.

The day after reading this article, I happened to be out at the front desk, and witnessed one of our homeless patrons filling a cup with hot water from our Friends of the Library Brew and Browse coffee machine, and then dumping several packets of cream and sugar into it. It was obvious that she couldn’t afford the $1.25 for the coffee pod that the Friends charge. And I thought: “Why don’t we do something like a Suspended Coffee in the library?”

At about the same time, the government shut-down was creating problems for many local Coast Guard and Border Patrol families. The community responded by offering free staple food at grocery stores, and several restaurants implemented a Feed-It-Forward program for free meals for those in need. This was the perfect time to launch our program at the library. 

Patrons may purchase as many pre-paid cups as they want, and for each one, we have a tag with the program guidelines printed on it hung up by the coffee machine. Patrons are allowed to take one tag per day for a free cup. They bring the tag up to the desk, where we hand out the cups and pods. Since we hand them out there to both people purchasing and people presenting tags, there is no stigma attached to getting the cups. The benefits to this program are: the donor feels good about helping out someone in need; those who can’t afford a cup get a nice, hot beverage; and the Friends of the Library make funds to support programs, materials, and more coffee. It’s a Win-Win-Win situation!

Ploud Workshop Registration Now Open

View the schedule for the 2019 hands-on, regional training series for this website template and hosting solution for small & rural libraries #IMLSGrant

Model SL 21 School Library 2018-19 Highlights

Lakeview High School

By Karren Reish, Library Grants Coordinator, LM

As we wrap up the school year, it’s time to look back at our Model School Library of the Year. The Lakeview High School (LHS) Library and District Librarian Margaret Lincoln had an eventful year. LHS students participating in identifying historical newspaper articles on the Holocaust for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum visited the Michigan State University Library and toured its virtual reality lab. LHS is a part of the Lakeview School District.

Dr. Lincoln was also one of 30 school librarians nationwide selected to participate in a study on open education resources (OER) and the role of school librarians. The participating school librarians assisted in drafting the study document “The Role of School Librarians in OER Curation: A Framework to Guide Practice.”

As part of a professional development training for LHS staff on Moving Beyond Cultural and Racial Blindness, Dr. Lincoln curated a collection of online resources, articles, self-assessments and instructional materials available at As a companion piece, there is also a booklist from the Lakeview High School Library on race and culture at

The LHS Library received a Focus on STEM grant from the Binda Foundation this year as well. The grant allows them to set up the first ever virtual reality (VR) lab for the school district. Staff are learning about VR technology and pedagogy in virtual settings, while students have the opportunity to engage in enriched problem-solving activities within their coursework.

School librarians interested in in learning about Dr. Lincoln’s activities and her school library program may contact her at

New Michigan Narcan Laws & Libraries

Law texts

By Clare Membiela, Library Law Consultant, LM

In June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two new laws: 2019 PA 36, (amending sections of the Public Health Code) and 2019 PA 39, “The Administration of Opioid Antagonists Act.” Together these laws enable Michigan public and government entities, including Public Libraries, to obtain, and administer opioid antagonists such as Naloxone (Narcan) without criminal or civil liability as long as two factors are satisfied:

  • Individual administrating the opioid antagonist must be trained in proper administration of the opioid antagonist.
  • Person administering must have reason to believe that victim is suffering from an opioid-related overdose.

The reason for these new laws is that the previous “Good Samaritan” opioid antagonist laws often specifically excluded government entities from liability protection. Over the past few years public schools, first responders and law enforcement obtained separate legislation to carry and administer opioid antagonists. When public libraries advocated for similar treatment, legislators determined that a law encompassing all government entities would be more efficient than a potpourri of separate laws. The two acts discussed here are the result.

With regards to libraries, here is what these laws mean:

  • Public Libraries (including State College and University Libraries)* can purchase/obtain and distribute opioid antagonists such as Narcan to their employees and agents for administration.
  • Public Libraries electing to obtain and distribute Narcan must ensure that any employee, volunteer**, board member, or contractor (such as a security company) intending to administer an opioid antagonist as part of the library’s program are trained in the signs of an overdose, and the proper administration of an opioid antagonist.
  • Public libraries are not required to implement an opioid antagonist program. As with any policy, the library should make a decision based on the needs and culture of their community.
  • If a public library does implement an opioid antagonist program, it can do so using employee volunteers (libraries can permit employees to opt-out). As with any policy, it is up to the library to determine the policies and procedures best for them.

Libraries considering a Narcan program are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement and first responders to gain information on the scope of the opioid problem in their community. The number of times local law enforcement has administered Narcan in the community during the past year, as well as the average response times for EMT/Police or Paramedics to respond to a call for help from the library are factors a library can consider in determining the scope of their own opioid antagonist policy.  

In addition, municipal libraries should check with their municipalities to see if any opioid antagonist policies are in place that might affect a library policy.

*Private Colleges and Universities (and their libraries) are not government entities and already are covered for Narcan administration under existing “good Samaritan” legislation.

**Library Friend’s groups that are registered non-profit corporations would already be covered separately under existing “good Samaritan” legislation.

REMC Device Purchasing Available to Libraries

Hand touching an iPad

By Sonya Schryer Norris, Library Consultant, LM

Are you looking to buy desktops, laptops, tablets, or other related devices? Did you know you could get a great price through the group purchasing arrangements made by the Regional Educational Media Center (REMC)? The 2019 Device Purchasing Window is open until 11:59 PM on September 30, 2019. 

Libraries are eligible to purchase off any of the REMC bids. REMC SAVE, the group that manages all of the bids, updated their website to Library staff members who used to visit, automatically are redirected to the new website. 

Most of the REMC bids are ongoing for multiple years, so a library just needs to search the REMC catalog and contact the vendor directly. 

All purchases must be made through SPOT, and SPOT has been updated and simplified this year. Frequently Asked Questions about the bid and SPOT and a document with all of the awarded devices and related options can be found in the Help section on the REMC SAVE website

Several of the vendors also are offering the opportunity to purchase the awarded devices for personal use.

If you have any questions, email Karen Hairston, Project Manager - REMC Device Purchasing, at

Will Carlton, Michigan’s Unofficial Poet Laureate

Will Carleton

By Adam Oster, Outreach Librarian, LM

Discussions in Michigan’s legislature have recently emerged about the possible creation of an official poet laureate position. Michigan is one of five states currently without a state poet laureate. House Bill No. 4805 was introduced in June with the intention of developing a state poet laureate office housed in the LM under the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Michigan briefly designated Edgar A. Guest as Michigan’s first and only Poet Laureate, a title he held from 1952 until his death in 1959. An attempt in 2005 was made to establish a Michigan State Poet Laureate position. However, the bill never made it out of the state legislature.

Although a state poet laureate was never named before or after Guest’s tenure, it’s important to highlight the literary contributions of Michigan poet Will Carleton. Born in Hudson, Lenawee County on October 21, 1845, Carleton graduated from Hillsdale College in 1869. While in Hillsdale, Carleton crafted many ballads with a down-home voice that quickly caught the popular ear. His 1872 work "Over the Hill to the Poor House" thrust him into the national spotlight, even providing inspiration for several motion pictures. Carleton lectured throughout the United States and his works were read by millions. Following his death in 1912, Carleton was viewed as Michigan’s Unofficial Poet Laureate. Public Act 51 of 1919 designated October 21st in Michigan as “Carleton Day,” which remained in state law until 1995.

As Michigan’s legislature continues discussions of a state poet laureate position, the LM has on display numerous items and information highlighting Will Carleton. We encourage you to come to the library’s 2nd floor to see selections of his works as well as a timeline showcasing the evolution of “Carleton Day.”

Need to learn more about a library service?

Try our new Library Science Collection materials at the Library of Michigan available via MeLCat or Interlibrary Loan

library of michigan foundation

Established in 1985, the Library of Michigan Foundation is a 501 c (3) nonprofit charity governed by an independent Board of Directors. The Foundation provides opportunities for charitable giving to support Library of Michigan programs, collections and services otherwise not provided through state or federal funding. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $6 million in private and corporate donations for programs to boost adult literacy, youth and early childhood literacy, special services for the blind and physically handicapped, statewide support for libraries, librarians, library staff and trustees and construction of the Martha W. Griffiths Michigan Rare Book Room.