Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter January 2020

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Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter  -  January 2020

In this Issue:

Michigan Notable Books Announced

Michigan Notable Books logo

by Randy Riley, State Librarian, LM

The 2020 Michigan Notable Books (MNB) list has been released. The celebrated books encompass the entire Great Lakes basin from the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula to stories about Detroit, and even cookery from the west side of Michigan.

Each year, the MNB list features 20 books, published during the previous calendar year, which are about, or set in Michigan, or written by a Michigan author. Selections include a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, that appeal to many audiences and explore topics and issues close to the hearts of Michigan residents. The 2020 list includes titles exploring: the Red Scare of the 1950’s, the bankruptcy of Detroit, the life of Aretha Franklin, and the Anishinaabe Sharpshooters of the Civil War.

MNB is a statewide program that began as part of the 1991 Michigan Week celebration, designed to pay tribute and draw attention to the many people, places and things that make Michigan life unique and vibrant.

The MNB selections clearly demonstrate the rich subject matter Michigan offers to writers. Everyone will find something of interest that speaks to their lives or experiences in our great state.

This year’s MNB selection committee includes representatives from the Library of Michigan (LM); the Library of Michigan Foundation; Detroit Public Library; Howard Miller Public Library; Clinton-Macomb District Library; Capital Area District Libraries; Salem-South Lyon District Library; Cooley Law School; Lansing City Pulse newspaper; Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office; Wayne State University; Michigan Department of Education; Michigan Center for the Book; and Michigan Humanities.

See the complete 2020 MNB list and other previous Notable books by visiting:

Coffee and Conversation at Kalamazoo Public Library

Coffee and donuts

by Kevin King, Head of Community Engagement, KPL

“Good morning. There is free coffee and donuts in the community room. Enjoy." -  is the greeting to patrons every second Monday of the month at the Central location of the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL). The project, generously funded by KPL’s Friends of the Library, is part of our renewed effort to build community. Like most public libraries, many of the people who are waiting for the library to open in the morning are doing their best to manage personal trauma. The goal of the program is to interact with patrons who may be unhoused, dealing with mental illness, or battling substance use disorder in a less formal setting. We believe that safely lowering some personal barriers leads to a removal of the institutional barriers that limit service to a segment of our users.

Each month a library work group is charged with serving coffee, donuts, and fruit while interacting with patrons in a “café style” room. Staffers randomly sit at tables and begin friendly conversations with the patrons who attend. Other volunteers help serve the donuts and topping off coffee cups. Meanwhile, KPL’s peer navigators help patrons connect to social services in Kalamazoo. The space eventually is filled with laughter and great conversation. Food has always been an ice-breaker.

The success of the program has been immeasurable. Although attendance has fluctuated between 30-90 people each month, the most important measurement has been the strengthening of patron/staff relationships. Staff has reported meaningful interactions with patrons who have been coming in for years. The simple act of moving out from behind a desk and “breaking bread” with someone is a very simple, yet extremely effective way to build strong relationships with our most-important stakeholders: patrons.

Our customer service statement is “KPL Builds Community.” Once a month, we build community by providing sustenance, listening, laughing, and being vulnerable. This is an important step in removing all barriers to access and filling the donut sized hole in everyone’s heart.

2020 Library Law Resolutions for Public Libraries


by Clare Membiela, Library Law Consultant, LM

New Year's resolutions inspire change and help start the year with a new outlook. Generally, resolutions are aimed at personal behaviors, but who says that we can’t make resolutions to accomplish work goals? Since it is the beginning of a New Year, I thought I would provide a list of possible Library Law Resolutions for Michigan Libraries that incorporates some common Library Law Issues:

  • Library Policy Review and Update: Libraries should review their policies on a regular basis to ensure those policies remain current and in compliance with state and federal laws, and to determine if any additional policies are needed. Review also presents a good opportunity to provide policy refreshers to staffs and boards. MLA’s advocacy page, the Michigan Legislature, and are sites where Librarians and Board members can check for amendments that may affect library laws.
  • Board Bylaw Review and Update: Like library policies, board bylaws should be regularly reviewed and updated. Bylaws regulate the activities of the Board and are how the Board polices itself. The following also should be regularly reviewed: 
    • meeting protocol;
    • officer duties and authority; 
    • officer election protocol;
    • minutes, consequences for violation of bylaws; and
    • member appointment or election process, including for replacement members 
  • United for Libraries, FOML, Roberts Rules of Order, and the Public Library Trustee Manual can be helpful for the reviews.
  • Review Library Service Contracts your library has with other municipalities or school districts: Many contracts are self-renewing, which means you may have contracts that haven’t changed in years – and which no longer accurately reflect the value of services rendered. There also are areas in Michigan that are unserved by libraries and which could be available for a new contract. To get information on unserved areas or information regarding your contracted areas and copies of contracts, contact Kathy Webb
  • Review establishment documents: Know what law your library is established under. Make sure your Board configuration and governance complies with your establishment. If you have a District Library Agreement, read it.

Need assistance with any of these areas? Don’t hesitate to contact us here at the LM Library Development department.

Here’s to a great 2020 for Michigan Libraries!

Registration is now open for Rural Libraries Conference

Deadline: April 1, 2020 but spots are filling fast! Register for SRLC here.

Carside Hold Pickup Service Now Available at Delta Township District Library

Curbside pickup sign

by Rebecca Campbell, Community Relations, DTDL

Sometimes, just getting out of the car is a hassle. Whether it’s sleeping kids or a mobility issue, we want to help. In June 2019, Carside Hold Pickup Service started as a new program for our patrons. Anyone notified that a hold is available can use the service.

How it works

Before coming to the library, a patron calls the circulation desk and lets it know they are on their way. Their holds are pulled from the shelf to wait for their arrival. When the patron gets to the library, they pull into a designated parking spot and call circulation to let it know they have arrived. Circulation brings the holds to the vehicle, where the patron is required to show their library card or driver’s license. The materials then are checked out and the patron is off without ever exiting the vehicle.

“We wanted to expand our customer service and help anyone who, for whatever reason, has a hard time coming into the building,” explained Rebecca Campbell, DTDL Community Relations Coordinator. “The response on Social Media has been very positive – lots of people are excited about the new service.”

Modeled after grocery store pick-up in the area, DTDL is excited to give users an additional way to use the library. And with the uncertainty of our Michigan winter, the service surely see an increase in use.

For more information on this or any of our other services, visit

Ready to Read Michigan: A Parade of Elephants, Marching

A Parade of Elephants

by Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Coordinator, LM

This March, a parade of elephants will march through your library. Well, more like a herd of toddlers having a lot of fun while engaging in early literacy. How will this happen? The explanation starts back in May of 2019 when LM's Youth Services Advisory Council (YSAC) met to select the Ready to Read Michigan (RTRM) book for “March is Reading Month,” 2020. The RTRM program is designed for public librarians to model early literacy skill development directly to families, and to assist libraries in engaging in outreach to early childhood centers and child cares  communitywide. Every year, YSAC selects a book title for March that encapsulates the five practices of early literacy from Every Child Ready to Read®, a parent education initiative from the Public Library Association (PLA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 

Since RTRM began in 2018, LM’s YSAC group has selected a picture book targeted for young children, ages 0-5, that public library staff can use to demonstrate the early literacy practices of Talk, Read, Sing, Write, and Play to caregivers and parents. This is where the parade through your library comes in, as the 2020 selection is nationally award-winning author and illustrator Kevin Henkes’ A Parade of Elephants. In this story, readers follow five colorful elephants and explore counting; are introduced to prepositions, such as “up” and “down;” and act out the motions of the elephants. In storytime, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can play around with the story; create crafts; sing themed tunes such as “If You’re Marching on Parade, Swish Your Tail!;" and learn to read more as a family, -- thanks to this year’s engaging selection.

Welcome Home: Library as Safe Space and Refuge at Superior District Library

Colorful hands

by Megan Kinney, Manager, Bayliss Library

This article was originally published in Intersections Blog.  American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and is republished with permission. Part two will be in May's issue of the Dispatch.

Names changed to protect privacy.

Me: [huge smile and open demeanor, sits down at the same level] Hi, I’m Megan. I have noticed you seem new to town and I have seen you hanging out here at the library...I want you to know you are welcome here and we are happy to have you. What’s your name?

Patron: [no smile, a bit guarded] I’m Lynn.

Me: Hey Lynn. How are things going for you and your partner?...

[cracks a smile, whole body relaxes] She tells me her partner is Peter. He has severe social anxiety, never diagnosed nor documented. Peter is a native of our small, isolated town. His family is not in a position to help, due to addiction, unemployment, and mental health issues. They can sleep there sometimes, but it is not entirely safe.

Lynn is from “down-state.” The “Mitten” of Michigan. The Lower Peninsula. She was fleeing a bad family situation, but wrapping up an online high school certificate in Culinary Arts.

From that point on, we had a rapport. Well, more than just a rapport. Trust and mutual respect. Both of which are hard to come by when you are experiencing homelessness.

As a “local,” Peter had exhausted his resources here. Lynn is considered a “relocation,” who did not qualify for services.

Let’s take a step back. Many, if not most of us, live in states with one large metropolitan area and a huge swath of rural land, filled with communities struggling to survive. The isolated, rural communities are typically divided by geo-socio-economical divides that seem insurmountable. The UP of Michigan is often described as isolated. The town of Sault Ste. Marie has about 13,000 people, and our district’s two-county service area is a mere 35,000.

The public library is the equalizer. The one place that anyone, absolutely anyone, can enter and be welcomed and accommodated.

  • Need to check your email or social media, but do not qualify for a library card? Have no fear, we have guest passes.
  • Want to peruse classifieds in the local paper? Come right in.
  • Exhausted from sleeping hard? Snoozing in our cozy reading areas is an option.
  • Need a smile and some support? We have that in droves. In fact, that is what Lynn said she recognized immediately when we met. She knew my smile and affect meant that she would feel supported, without judgment.

Lynn and Peter began frequenting the library eight months ago. In that time, the library has become a refuge for them, a place where they feel welcome and empowered to make it their own space - whether reading a book, using the computers, charging their phones, or relaxing in one of our comfy chairs. In part two of this series on serving library patrons experiencing homelessness, we look at the community connections and referrals needed to support all of our patrons, in whatever difficult circumstances they may find themselves.                          


Using Michigan eLibrary (MeL) eResource Content in Library Programming

MeL Logo


by Liz Breed, MeL Coordinator, LM

Anyone visiting or working at a library today knows programming has become an integral part of what public libraries offer their communities. In Michigan last year, libraries offered almost 170,000 library programs with total attendance of almost 4 million. Today libraries offer all sorts of programs ranging from traditional story times to newer programs like coding.

Filled with a wide range of eResources, the Michigan eLibrary is a great tool to support program planners with endless ideas. Here are a few programming suggestions to get the juices flowing.

Career, College, and Job Readiness Programming Tips:

Job search workshops

  • Use LearningExpress Library’s Skills and Interests Matchers to help searchers find jobs that match their abilities and interest.
  • Explore different careers using LearningExpress Library’s Career Tool. This tool includes occupation profiles, average salaries, and connections to search for jobs.
  • Teach good interviewing skills by sharing "how-to" videos from AtoZDatabases and Job & Career Accelerator with patrons.

Citizenship classes

  • Schedule open learning time for English Language Learners (ELLs) to make use of LearningExpress Library’s Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) practice tests. Math and Reading practice tests also are available for ELLs. 

Share with tutors

  • LearningExpress Library offers tutorials and practices tests for students in grades 4 through 12. Practice tests include math, reading, science, social studies, and more.

Reader’s Advisory, Displays, Author Visits, and Book Discussion Groups:

  • Support Book Discussion groups with NoveList Plus’ Book Club Resources (found under Quick Links). Save time with book reviews and summaries, discussion questions, lists of related reading material, read-alike lists, author profiles, and more.
  • Create or refresh your book displays using the Book Display Ideas (found under Quick Links in NoveList Plus). Use persistent links and QR codes to help browsing patrons easily interact with displays and shelf talkers. Add NoveList Plus’ appeal terms to displays to help patrons find something they really connect to.
  • Create a physical book/digital book display paired with appeal information from NoveList Plus. Use physical books to build the display and add QR codes using the eBook permalinks. MeL’s eBook collection for public libraries has more than 44,000 titles.

Do-It-Yourself Programs:

  • Partner with a local handyman to offer a basic DIY small engine repair program. Using Small Engine Repair Reference Center, access repair manuals for ATVs, boats, lawnmowers, and more.
  • Support your local crafter groups with a connection to Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. Crafters will have access to “how-tos," project ideas, videos, and spotlighted craft projects.

Save time planning programs with help from MeL’s eResources.

Library Staff can find more information about using MeL eResources on our Library Staff web page. Everything from downloadable flyers and logo files to web buttons and URLs are available to help libraries customize their offering of MeL’s eResources.

Loleta Fyan Small & Rural Libraries Conference 2020: A Sneak Peek at What's Coming

Women at a conference

by Evette Atkin, CE Coordinator, LM

Join us at Michigan’s premier conference for small and rural libraries throughout the state. Spring is quickly approaching and here at the LM, we are in full swing preparing for the 2020 Loleta Fyan Small & Rural Libraries Conference (SRLC). This year we’re returning to the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa outside of Traverse City April 13-15. The theme for this year is Leadership. This popular and valuable professional development event will include general sessions, author talks, and a wide assortment of sessions in a variety of tracks including: Leadership; Patron Services; Administration and Management; Programming; Youth Services; Information Technology "Behind the Scenes;" Show and Tell; and Trustees and Friends. 

Need information to supply to your board and/or other stakeholders as to why you should attend? The conference will:

  • provide new perspectives and encourage you to return to your library with new ideas and new ways of solving problems;
  • allow you to gain information on how other libraries of similar size, situation, and budget handle the same problems you are facing – and maybe give you new ways to address old issues;
  • encourage a sense of community and collaboration that can benefit your library long after the conference is over;
  • introduce you to new ideas for fundraising, programming, and building community support.

Registration is now open. For more information, visit

The LMF generously supports the SRLC through administration of Loleta Fyan funds. This project also is supported by the LM with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

Our theme for 2020 is Community Engagement

Do you have a library story to share about community engagement? We're interested in the work of libraries of all sizes. Contact Sonya Schryer Norris at

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.