A Message From the Michigan Library Association
October 7, 2021
Check out October's edition of our monthly outreach to Michigan Legislators where we continue to educate them on the value of our libraries and the critical role of library staff. Our monthly letters include information on programs and services that libraries provide, education on library funding, the return on investment for our communities, stats and fun facts about library usage and more.
To make sense of the quote “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” look no further than to the noteworthy work of Michigan’s eleven regional Library Cooperatives who are helping to streamline processes and improve library efficiencies throughout the state.

Established by PA 89 of 1977, Library Cooperatives were created to provide public libraries (along with school, tribal and special libraries) with access to resource sharing, training, communications, and library development services. With over $14M available in state aid to libraries in FY21, the operations of Library Cooperatives were funded by 1/3 of these dollars (based on the population served by the cooperative).  Another 1/3 of state aid is paid to member libraries through the Cooperatives for things like integrated library systems (ILS); cost-sharing and group pricing on electronic resources such as database subscriptions and e-books; grant opportunities; material handling and delivery services; technology assistance; and consultant services.  

The individual work of each of the Library Cooperatives preserves local initiative and control while taking full advantage of the wealth of resources that a larger service area makes possible. The directors of each of the Cooperatives are fondly referred to as the “librarian’s librarian,” and are given the authority to speak for the needs of the member libraries and develop programming and services specific to the needs of their members.  

“We tailor our services to our particular region…what libraries in rural Michigan need differs greatly from the needs of libraries in high populated areas,” states Kate Pohjola Andrade, who is the director of the Woodlands Library Cooperative and also serves as the Chair of the collective. “We work together to maximize our collective impact, and to deliver excellent services to our libraries and our communities in this ever-changing world."

It should also be noted that the eleven regional Library Cooperatives don’t work in isolation from each other or service partners in the state like the Michigan Library Association (MLA), Library of Michigan, and the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS).  While each individual Cooperative is important, the work of the group, as a whole, brings focus to extraordinary and robust values of librarianship. Their work together has produced coordinated programming and educational training events on crucial topics that connect libraries to the issues and challenges in communities across Michigan.  

MLA is always here to provide insight on the libraries throughout Michigan. Please let me know if you would like further information.
Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director
Michigan Library Association
Leading the advancement of all Michigan libraries through advocacy, education and engagement
For more information about any of the eleven regional Library Cooperatives in Michigan, who they serve, what counties they work in, or their services, we have provided a map of their service areas and links to their websites below.
Detroit, MI (serving 1 member in 1 county)

Grand Rapids MI (serving 42 members in 8 counties)

Cadillac, MI (serving 36 members in 15 counties)

Flint, MI (serving 26 members in 10 counties)

Alpena, MI (serving 24 members in 13 counties)

Paw Paw, MI (serving 38 public libraries in 10 counties)

Sterling Heights, MI (serving 21 members in 3 counties)

Marquette, MI (serving 35 public, 14 branches, and 4 Tribal Libraries in 15 counties)

Novi, MI (serving 73 members in 5 counties)

Caro, MI (serving 48 members in 13 counties)

Albion, MI (serving 50 members in 13 counties)