Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter :: September 2020

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Library of Michigan Dispatch Newsletter  -  September 2020

In this Issue:

From the Desk of the State Librarian

Randy Riley, State Librarian

by Randy Riley, State Librarian, LM

A decision has been made to cancel the 2020 State Librarian's Excellence Award (SLEA) due to the effects of the pandemic on Michigan Libraries. Preparation for the annual award begins in March, which this year coincided with the COVID crisis. Asking libraries to complete the application process mid-pandemic was a huge task knowing the challenges Michigan libraries have been facing daily. Officially recognizing only three libraries in a time when all libraries are doing amazing and important work would be a non-starter. Every one of you, and your libraries, deserve recognition and praise.

SLEA and the two Citations of Excellence, sponsored by the Roger and June B. Mendel Fund and Martin Gibbs through the Library of Michigan Foundation, are awarded annually to highlight the importance of and to officially recognize the great services provided by our libraries.   

LM is planning to resume the award in 2021, with the application period opening in May or early June. The LM continues to support libraries through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic (CARES) Act and Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants. For more information, please go to

As your State Librarian, I continue to be humbled and inspired by the outstanding work Michigan’s libraries are doing during the COVID-19 crisis. The commitment to community in providing the highest level of service has grown and been clearly demonstrated at a time when libraries are needed more than ever. Stay safe.

CARES Act and Improving Access to Information Grants 2020


by Karren Reish, Library Grants Coordinator, LM

This year has been extraordinary in many ways, including how Michigan’s libraries stepped up to provide services to their communities. As part of providing safe and improved services during the pandemic, 294 public libraries applied for the LM CARES Act grants and 23 academic and public libraries applied for the Improving Access to Information grants.

For the CARES Act grant program, LM was pleased to approve all 294 applications. The grants, totaling $750,925, will help public libraries provide safe and digitally inclusive services. The LM CARES Act grant program is designed to assist public libraries in providing improved access to the Internet for their community while maintaining a safe environment for staff and patrons. The grants fund one-year projects that increase libraries’ supply of personal protective equipment and facilities supplies as well as increase community Internet connectivity through the purchase of Internet capable devices, hotspots or other materials and supplies for public use.

Participating libraries are from all areas of the state, including 77 of Michigan’s counties, and are working to find creative and accessible ways to continue to provide quality services. The grant funding will help as library staff diligently work to set up safe services to help library users with various needs. A focus is Internet access for children doing schoolwork from home, workers assigned to work from home, and community members who need to apply for benefits or services online. You can find a full list of libraries receiving the grant on the LSTA web site 

For the Improving Access to Information grant, LM was able to approve 10 of the 23 applications. The grant program is intended to help Michigan’s public and academic libraries provide improved access to collections in one of three areas; literacy, local history or special collections, and services to community users with limited online access, e.g. improving equity through digital inclusion.

Receiving grants for local history or special collections digitization or support are:

  • Alpena County Library,
  • Central Michigan University
  • Ferris State University
  • Presque Isle District Library

Receiving grant for digital inclusion or digital literacy are:

  • Capital Area District Library
  • Menominee County Library
  • Taylor Community Library
  • Warren Public Library

Additionally, Traverse Area District Library received an award for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)  education collection support and Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration received an award for Open Educational Resources.

If you would like more information about LM grant programs, please go to and see the grant programs sections for program descriptions and documentation. A full list of current grants with brief descriptions is posted on the main LSTA page.

The LM grant programs are made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Genesee District Library Finds Silver Lining in Cancelled Programs

Genesee District Library Digital Services Librarian, Ryan Tackabury, records a video tutorial for schools using LSTA-funded live streaming equipment

by Kelly Flynn, Community Relations Manager, Genesee District Library

We’ll all take whatever silver linings we can get during the pandemic.  For the Genesee District Library (GDL), a silver lining came in the form of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant that we applied for early in March. We had no idea how significant the request would be.

As with all libraries, we have loyal patrons, computer users, and families who come to every program.  We cherish them and strive constantly to reach new patrons.  But a world-wide pandemic isn’t exactly how we imagined it would happen. 

At GDL we have strategically and methodically used social media to engage our community, even becoming proficient in paid Facebook advertising. The original intent of this LSTA grant was to try streaming selected in-house programs on Facebook with the goal of tapping into a different audience. Already owning a Mevo camera, GDL wrote the grant to secure additional video streaming equipment.

We have a fabulous Digital Services Librarian in Ryan Tackabury. Receiving notice in mid-April that the grant had been approved, Ryan suggested that we order the streaming equipment immediately and begin using it for virtual programing.  Anticipating a June reopening, we ordered an Apple iPad Pro, a Mevo Start camera and Boost add-on, a Background Support System with green screen, an Umbrellas Softbox Lighting Kit, and a Blue Yeti Microphone with stand.

Although not yet able to have the in-person programs that we proposed in the grant, we have been using the equipment nearly every day.  We streamed many of our regular program performers, announced Summer Reading Challenge updates and created digital services video tutorials for Genesee County students to promote our National Library Card Signup Month project.

Aware that we are competing with the entire internet, we know a virtual experience might not measure up.  At an in-house program, patrons experience the thrill of touching the skink, or petting a skunk.  Will anyone stop to watch a small animal program when they can tune in to the live PandaCam at the Smithsonian National Zoo?  As it turns out, yes.

In July of 2019, we ran 123 programs with 2,413 physically attending. In July of 2020, we ran 15 virtual programs with 3,914 viewers.  Even in the largest of our 19 libraries, the most we can host comfortably is 150 patrons.  So, when the pandemic is over and live programming resumes, virtual programming at GDL will continue as well.  And that’s a SHINY silver lining.

The Library of Michigan Foundation Welcomes Patricia Headley, Chief Development Officer

Foundation logo

by Patricia Klausing Headley, Chief Development Officer, LM Foundation


Patricia Headley (Tricia) joined the LM Foundation as Chief Development Officer in February and eagerly looks forward to guiding the Foundation’s development efforts on a statewide basis to support the LM goals.

The Foundation, established 1985, raises funds in support of enhanced programs across Michigan for increased literacy and resource sharing programs. Dan Arbour, President of the Library of Michigan Foundation, stated “We are delighted to have Tricia join our organization after conducting a national search for this position. Her vast experience and knowledge of working across the State of Michigan, most recently with the Michigan Children’s Trust Fund in Lansing, has given her a tremendous network of support and experience coming to her new role to help build stronger programs for literacy and library support.”

Randy Riley, State Librarian of Michigan, noted: “Tricia has been an outstanding leader within the state for developing innovative programs, engaging stakeholders, and seeking and gathering contributions. We look forward to her engaging with the library community statewide to further our efforts to support lifelong learning. The Foundation enhances our educational and resource sharing initiatives, and Tricia will provide a critical engagement role in working with the community we serve.”

With a love for children’s books and an expansive collection of those with positive messages and stories that encourage readers to be all that they can be, Tricia delights when a children’s book is complete with creative and meaningful illustrations. It’s the icing on the cake and a recipe for pure joy! Tricia’s passion for children’s books began when her son was born. She admits she has slowed down some, now that Joshua is 29, but she continues to gravitate to the children’s section of libraries and bookstores. “While I genuinely enjoy gifting and introducing others to some of my favorite children’s books, I realize the real gift is for me, for the little girl in me who did not have books growing up or parents who were able to carve out time to read to the six of us. Having had teenage parents who worked extremely hard to keep a roof over our heads, both books and reading-time were luxuries.” For the past two decades Tricia raised funds to support child abuse prevention programs statewide and is honored to now have the opportunity to raise funds to support literacy and library services statewide.

As Chief Development officer, Tricia will seek partnerships with Friends of Libraries groups, stakeholders, and local development organizations to enhance state and local community-service programs. Looking forward to the time she can meet you face-to-face and resume interacting safely, she would like to encourage you to reach out and introduce yourself, share stories of the great work that you are doing throughout your local communities and make her day by sharing your favorite children’s book! Tricia has many favorites but if she had to pick just one, it would be “Old Turtle” by Douglas Wood, a beautiful story of oneness.

You can reach Tricia at or at 517-303-3085. To learn more about the mission and the work of the Library of Michigan Foundation, visit

Everett High School Library Media Center is 2020-21 Model 21st Century School Library


by Karren Reish, Library Grants Coordinator, LM

An exciting part of working with school libraries is announcing the Model 21st Century School library each year. For 2020-21, LM has selected Everett High School Library Media Center with school Librarian Joy Currie. The Everett High School Library Media Center, part of Lansing Public Schools, is a place where students enjoy a wide range of life experiences through community engagement programs.

The library won the Model SL 21 honor for Currie’s focus on bringing life experiences to Lansing students as well as providing academic support. Currie has reached out to a variety of community groups to help students achieve in their academic and personal lives. Programs have included local landlords explaining how to rent a place to live, Michigan State University resident advisors presenting on campus life, cooking and nutrition classes and more. Learning is about academics, but also community life. Everett High School administration and the school library are striving to provide that high-level experience for their students.

The Model SL 21 program recognizes high-quality school libraries and library media specialists while promoting the development of similar initiatives in other schools. The program is based on the LM’s School Library 21st Century benchmarks ( Everett High School Library Media Center holds Exemplary status in the SL 21 program through June 2022.

LM staff select a Model SL 21 Library after reviewing applications from school librarians across the state. Applicants provide information such as curriculum, co-teaching activities, community collaboration, and participation in educational associations.

Everett High School Library Media Center staff is available for consultation with other school librarians and educators who want to learn more about the successful program. Interested persons may contact Joy Currie at or Karren Reish at

Michigan Notable Books Program Goes Virtual

Notable Book Authors collage

by Tim Gleisner, Special Collections Manager, LM

Michigan’s Notable Books (MNB) program has added a new chapter in the form of a video series of conversations with its authors. Viewers of the series can explore backgrounds of those on the 2020 MNB List, as well as uncover their creative processes.

“This innovative new series makes for a great expansion of our annual Notable Books List,” State Librarian Randy Riley said. “The series gives more exposure to the books on our list and at the same time helps promote literacy and learning.”

He said the series will become a fixture of future years’ programs.

Featured 2020 Author Conversations titles include: The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down by Abigail Pesta; Shades: Detroit Love Stories by Esperanza Cintrón; We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels; and All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner.

The videos are available on YouTube.

Tim Gleisner, head of LM Special Collections, interviewed several of the authors. Authors read passages from their works; some opted to give their own presentations; and Riley interviewed Dean Kuipers, who wrote The Deer Camp. “The authors were so engaging,” Gleisner said. “What I found amazing was that several of them are educators from Universities to High Schools.” The series includes 17 authors with videos; the three remaining authors could not be reached in time.

Each year, the LM selects up to 20 books either written by a Michigan resident or about Michigan or the Great Lakes. Selected titles are honored in the year after their publication or copyright date.

For more information on the MNB, visit

TADL Gives Library Cards to Almost 10,000 TCAPS Students

Traverse Area District Library logo

by Michele P Howard, Director, TADL, and Scott Morey, Assistant Director for Technology, TADL

One month prior to the closing of our library due to COVID19, Traverse Area District Library (TADL) accomplished an exciting victory for student access and literacy through a pact with Traverse City Area Public School (TCAPS) providing library access to almost 10,000 TCAPS students. Modeling the plan used by Kalamazoo Public Library, the process took eight years for various reasons including changes of leadership in both organizations. But the pandemic helped push both organizations to move forward as teachers, parents, and students struggled to find adequate online resources.

TADL was able to meet in person with TCAPS prior to the closure to work out a number of details.  An area of concern was privacy and the sharing of student data. While schools are held to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) standards, public libraries are not. Sharing information about the Library Privacy Act was helpful in assuaging TCAPS worries that student information would not be available via FOIA. Schools are allowed to share directory information which was exactly what we input into our Integrated Library System (ILS), Evergreen. Since Evergreen is open source software, our technology team was able to develop a method to automatically import student information into ILS and ensure that data stayed current.

All students were given full access cards (TADL doesn't have juvenile cards). The original plan was to provide library cards, however, with schools closed, TADL worked with TCAPS to provide an email to students that contained login information with links to all of the library's digital resources. By the end of August, more than 340 students logged into their account to use digital resources and 300-plus renewed or checked out an item.  While the numbers weren’t staggering, they were the equivalent of a whole elementary school joining the library. It shows our community that TADL is its partner in learning, even and especially - during a pandemic.

LEAP 2020 Coming This November to Your Computer


by Jan Davidson, Project Manager, MCLS

As a continuation of our partnership with the LM,and our shared Michigan Libraries Engage project, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) is excited to announce and invite all staff of Michigan libraries to participate in a special virtual event on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The program, called LEAP (Libraries Engage Appreciatively for Positive Change), will provide an opportunity to learn methods and techniques for using Appreciative Inquiry to engage with participants' local communities and initiate positive change to ensure successful community engagement projects. Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to community engagement that focuses on positive aspects of change by drawing out and building on existing strengths, highlighting the importance of collaborative conversations, dialogue, and stories.

Held on Zoom, library staff from all over Michigan will be able to take advantage of this special opportunity. The LM, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is financially supporting the event, and the cost is just $40 per person!

Maureen McKenna of Return on Energy Consulting, an internationally respected and highly sought-out expert in the field of Appreciative Inquiry, will facilitate the program along with the Engagement, Consulting, & Training team of MCLS. Skills and knowledge gained will support library staff members in both developing new community engagement initiatives and strengthening initiatives already in progress. It will help previously-trained Harwood Public Innovators expand their dialogues with new conversation methods, and help those untrained in Harwood methods begin those conversations. This day is not just for those with Community Engagement titles, but for staffers of all levels and roles who recognize the importance of libraries engaging their communities for many purposes and around many topics. Attendees also will receive six months of facilitated learning and coaching via Zoom meetings.

More details about LEAP can be found on the MCLS website. Discover today about how this event could help you in your work engaging your community. Now open, Registration will be limited to the first 100 people. 

Questions? Email Jan Davidson at We hope to see you online in November.

Poetry Walk: a Partnership Between the Clinton-Macomb Public Library and Clinton Township’s Tomlinson Arboretum

Poetry Walk

by Meghan Mott, Outreach Librarian, CMPL

In a year when public gatherings were declared unsafe, with recreation options limited, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library (CMPL) created a free outdoor poetry walk.

A poetry walk is similar to a storywalk. However, a storywalk is linear, read in one direction over a short walk.  A poetry walk can be approached from all angles and appeals to all ages. 

CMPL partnered with Tomlinson Arboretum, a 24-acre public greenspace filled with native trees and plants headed by a volunteer committee. An entrance to the Arboretum lay near CMPL’s Main Library.

Librarians presented the program as a partnership to the committee in the fall of 2019. Seventeen poems ranging from Where the Sidewalk Ends to Edna St Vincent Millay’s Afternoon on a Hill eventually were selected.

Each poem was laid out on a specially designed background, printed and laminated. The laminated poems were completed just before the Library closed due to the pandemic.  Arboretum volunteers then took over, cutting a large plywood sheet into 9” x 15” boards, attaching the boards to wooden stakes, then attaching the laminated poems with tacks. Despite rainy weather and restrictions on gatherings, poems were placed throughout the park by volunteers during the annual planting day in May.

A map created of poem locations was placed at entrances to the park and on the CMPL website. CMPL also listed the Poetry Walk in the library newsletter and calendar, promoted it via the library’s social media accounts, and filmed a piece on the Poetry Walk partnership for the local cable station.

After spring’s intense rains, the poems appeared a bit wet inside the lamination, but they dried without discoloration. The poems are scheduled to be up until the end of September. Boards and stands will be saved for use in following years.

While impossible to say how many people experienced the poetry walk as it is part of a public park, both the Library and the Arboretum have benefited from increased visibility.

Test Your Knowledge with MichiGame

MichiGame logo

by Emma Kukuk, Communications Representative, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Many Michiganders have a strong sense of pride in living in the Great Lakes State. And for many people, that translates to knowing a lot about our Michigan. What better way to test those smarts, or learn new facts, than trivia?

This May, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)  announced MichiGame, a new videoconferencing trivia game.

“We wanted people to learn about Michigan’s great outdoors and celebrate our state,” said Maia Turek, Resource Development Specialist with the DNR. “We know people love trivia. We wanted MichiGame to be convenient for them, and to be a tool for groups where isolation is a challenge.”

To play, the “MichiGame Master” tests players’ knowledge of the Great Lakes State, such as wildlife, history, trees and more. Players work individually or with a team competing to claim the title of “The Ultimate Michigander.” An educational tool and social opportunity, it’s a great way to virtually engage people – an especially important resource for libraries during COVID.

“We were in the middle of a stressful, unknown situation with the pandemic and were missing our families, our kids in our libraries,” said Catherine Ricard, Youth Services Librarian with the Grosse Pointe Public Library, an early MichiGame user. “It was nice to be able to reconnect with families you’re used to seeing regularly, even meeting new ones.”

Libraries have always been vital to connecting communities. With MichiGame, libraries can provide fun learning for people who are looking for something new to do, who want to learn more about our state or who just love trivia.

“Having a ready-made tool from the ‘pros’ was really nice,” said Ricard. “It provided an educational aspect, family bonding and a positive librarian-patron experience. Everyone is experiencing the pandemic in a different way; it felt good to offer them something that was fun and a great family bonding opportunity. They were having such a great time. It was really cool to share that experience with them. That sense of pride when they got a question right, especially the kids, is really important.”

Ready for the MichiGame challenge? It’s easy to sign up for the game and get the rules, questions and answer key. Happy gaming!

For more information, contact Maia Turek, 989-225-8573.

Michigan public libraries have access to resources and training from United for Libraries a division of the American Library Association. Contact LM or your library cooperative for details on accessing members only resources.  This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and LM.