MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
April 28, 2022
Note From Debbie
For the past month, I have been thinking of (and documenting) all the wonderful accomplishments of MLA. The last few years have been extraordinary as evidenced by the increases in our advocacy efforts, our membership numbers and engagement, and attendance at our professional development activities.  We have seen huge growth in meeting our mission and I am so proud to see the changes that make our association so strong and credible.

As we begin the process of orienting, inducting and engaging newly elected board members and officers on July 1 (see election results below), we are excited to include their input, wisdom, time and energy, as we continue to move MLA forward. 
But there are a few that I want to call out and make sure that you know how important they are to the accomplishments of MLA. As I reflect over the course of the past three years, four individuals, who have all served as the organization’s Presidents, have guided me, prodded me, and mentored me every step of the way. They’ve given me space and encouragement to outline a new path. They are at the other end of the line every single time I’ve called. They have shared their values and their insight which has strengthened my own. They were all in the room when I was hired and they have been my “sounding board” and support system since – they are truly special leaders, not only for MLA but in their own communities and organizations as well -- Kristin Shelley, Jennifer Dean, Kelly Richards and Ryan Wieber – I am blessed that they have been there for me (then and now). And as of the close of the MLA election cycle earlier this week, we are adding Scott Duimstra to that group as well. I am one lucky Executive Director.
Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director
Photo Credit: Margaret Duimstra, 4th grade (who accompanied her dad Scott to "Take Your Child to Work Day.")
2022 Board of Directors Election Results
Meet the new directors! The 2022 MLA Board of Directors Election results are in.
Many thanks to all the candidates for demonstrating leadership by agreeing to run and to all our members who voted. We look forward to a great year! Please feel free to welcome and congratulate our new Directors!
Executive Director, Capital Area District Libraries
ALA Councilor
Reference and Outreach Librarian, Washtenaw Community College
Tribal Librarian, Ojibwa Community Library

Serials & Collection Librarian, Grand Rapids Community College; Trustee, Grand Rapids Public Library 
Branch Manager, Detroit Public Library
Last Call! MLA Ambassador Signup Ends Tomorrow
The Call for Ambassador online signup for 2022-2023 workgroups and committees closes tomorrow, April 29, 2022. If you're interested in growing personally or professionally, we have a place for you! Review available volunteer positions and sign up on the web at
The Call for Ambassadors is now open for members interested in serving on MLA workgroups and committees. We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to make a difference in the Michigan library community, develop your leadership skills, grow your professional network, and represent MLA.

All MLA members are eligible to volunteer for workgroups and committees. Nonmembers interested in volunteering are welcome to join MLA by filling out the online membership application or by contacting us at (517) 394-2774 or

Check out available opportunities to get involved on the web and complete the online ambassador application by tomorrow, Friday, April 29, 2022.
2022 MLA Youth Literary Awards Top Ten Titles
Check out the top titles of the 2022 Mitten, YouPer and Thumbs Up! Awards! Flyers, awards seals and award banners are available and free to use. Please use these resources at your library to help us promote MLA Youth Literary Awards and the amazing job our workgroups do in selecting the very best books for youth! Download the Top Ten List Flyers:

The winners and honor books will be announced at the new MLA Youth Literary Awards event: Save the date for Friday, May 27 at 10:00 AM and plan to join us live on Zoom or watch for the announcement from MLA on our social media and website!
Organizational Membership Renewal
Thank you to all of our organizational members for your continued support! Organizational membership renewal information for the 2022-2023 member year was mailed earlier this month. Watch the mail for more information!
Member Profile Tips
Keep your member information up to date in our member’s only portal. Please take a moment to add a work email, and an alternative home email address so you never miss important news and announcements. While you're there, take a moment to update your library affiliation, job title, job function, and interest areas so we can share relevant programs and services.

Need your login credentials? To retrieve your username or reset your password simply click the links on the login page, or those provided below, and input your member record’s primary email address (this will be the email address where you receive MLA newsletters and communications). If you need assistance accessing or updating your member record, please contact us at

Accessing Your Individual Member Record
To access and update your individual member record, navigate to the Member Home page, log in, select "Go to Profile," then scroll down and select edit. Make sure to select “save” to update your changes!

Accessing Your Library's Member Record
Organizational membership includes a free individual membership for the library director, and the library's organizational member record is managed online through the director's individual member profile. Please note login credentials are specific to the individual user and should not be shared and an organization's member record can only be accessed and managed through the director or organizational representative's individual account.

Organizational representatives: To access your library’s member record, visit and log in to the online member portal using your individual login credentials. From the member portal home page navigation menu, select "Go to Profile," then navigate to "My Profile" and select "Your Organization" from the dropdown list. You are now interacting as your library and can add Linked Trustees by navigating to the "Individual Profiles" menu item and selecting the "Create Linked Profile" button.
Equity Fund Grant Application Open
The 2022 MLA Equity Fund Grant application is open through June 3, 2022. Equity Fund Grants aim to reduce financial barriers to professional development opportunities and support individuals currently underrepresented in the library profession. Please help us share this individual grant opportunity by sharing this information with colleagues and staff. Learn more and apply at
MLA affirms its commitment to diversity and inclusion by seeking the broadest participation of racially and ethnically diverse librarians and library support staff who provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services.

The MLA Equity Fund is used to provide individual grants to fund professional development opportunities for individuals currently underrepresented in the library profession. MLA Equity Fund Grants will reduce financial barriers and uplift the professional development of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern individuals by providing resources to be used for memberships, attendance at workshops, educational events, or conferences of the applicants’ choosing, or for other purposes that they believe increase their ability to impact and transform the library profession.

The 2022 MLA Equity Fund Grants will be awarded for activities occurring between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. Requests of up to $1,000 will be considered. Partial funding of a request is possible. Not all applicants will be funded.

The application form will be open through Friday, June 3, 2022, at 5:00 PM. Download the MLA Equity Fund Guidelines for complete details. Submit completed application packets using the online form.
Order MLA Swag
Show your MLA pride by ordering a hoodie or pin! Hoodies are $40 and Pins are $8. Both ship free! Click the button below to fill out the order form online.
ALA State of America's Libraries Report 2022
Read about the national trends and issues impacting libraries and find out which books made the Top Ten Most Challenged Books list in the State of America's Libraries Special Report: Pandemic Year Two (PDF)
MLA Fund Updates
At the MLA March Board meeting, the Board of Directors approved shifting the focus of MLA savings to better serve and respond to the financial challenges of MLA members. Keeping intact the General Fund, Kaiser Fund, and Equity Fund – MLA Board members voted unanimously to merge the Advocacy Fund and the Intellectual Freedom funds (which will now be used to help with legal fees and board training) and to merge two education funds that will be used for scholarships to attend MLA events.

MLA Advocacy Resource Fund
The Advocacy Resource Fund was created to educate and oppose any current or future legislation, regulations, or executive orders that infringe upon first amendment rights and intellectual freedom. Funds may be allocated or requested by MLA members to provide training for a library or school board members and staff on strengthening collection development/diversity and inclusion/other internal policies. Advocacy Resource Funds may also provide funding in response to challenges to intellectual freedom, support ongoing communications with legislators, and/or any activity that heightens public awareness of the value and importance of libraries. View the Advocacy Resource Fund guidelines (pdf)

MLA Educational Scholarship Fund
The MLA Educational Scholarship Fund will be geared toward the continued professional development of individual library workers, who are MLA members, and who have an interest in attending any MLA-sponsored program and event. This fund will reduce financial barriers and uplift professional development and advance career goals by providing resources to be used for attendance at MLA conferences, workshops, or educational events of applicants’ choosing. View the Educational Scholarship guidelines (pdf)
April is School Library Month!
April 2022 was declared "School Library Month" by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Well-deserved recognition to all of our school library friends - especially those at the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME).

WHEREAS, school library programs staffed by certified school librarians and library media specialists are integral to a quality educational program and improve student achievement; and,
WHEREAS, effective school library programs contribute to a well-rounded education and positively affect the climate and culture of schools; and,
WHEREAS, effective school library programs promote and make accessible diverse print and digital resources for all students; and,
WHEREAS, school librarians and library media specialists teach students the skills they need to access, evaluate, and use information throughout their lives; and,
WHEREAS, school librarians and library media specialists are leaders in technology integration and digital learning in their schools; and, 
WHEREAS, school libraries not only are places where information can be found, but also bring enrichment and recreation to students for many years to come; and,
WHEREAS, effective school library programs contribute to an interest in lifelong learning and enhance the learner’s quality of life; and, 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of the State of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2022 as School Library Month in Michigan.
Nominations for MLA Awards Now Accepted Year-Round
Do you know an awesome library professional or library supporter who deserves recognition for their work in Michigan libraries? You can now submit a nomination for any of MLA's awards year-round! If you have someone in mind that you know deserves recognition and celebration, we encourage and welcome your submission now for any of MLA's Awards!

Help us celebrate and encourage our Michigan library community by recognizing excellence and giving credit where credit is due. Submit a nomination (self-nominations are also strongly encouraged) for the 2022 MLA Awards, or read through the criteria so it's top of mind the next time you or someone in your library goes above and beyond. We've also made it simpler than ever to submit a nomination, and you can select to have your nomination kept on file for consideration for the 2023 awards as well. Check out complete details and updated criteria by downloading the guidelines linked below.

The Michigan Library Awards will be celebrated at an evening event, live in Port Huron, Michigan on Wednesday, October 19, during the MLA 2022 Annual Conference: Bridging the Divide. We hope you will join us in celebrating Michigan's libraries and library professionals!

Learn more about the Michigan Library Awards and check out the recording of the 2020 and 2021 shows on our website at
Check out MLA's Bill Tracker to view a full list of legislation that the Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching.
State of Michigan Budget Updates
All three State of Michigan FY2023 draft budgets have been published – from the Governor, the Senate, and from the House. 

These are certainly not the final budgets that will be adopted but it is good to note that while the Governor’s and the House budget remain flat for State Aid to Libraries, the Senate version has proposed an increase of $500,000. As we get closer to summer (or as we have seen in recent years – closer to the end of September), we will begin to see movement to align all of the numbers and finalize a new FY2023 budget. MLA continues to advocate for additional funding for libraries and we will keep you informed as the process unfolds.
MDHHS Expands COVID Test-kit Partnership With Libraries
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has expanded its efforts to provide free, at-home testing kits to underserved areas of the state by providing test kits to additional libraries for a total of more than 150 locations participating in the program.

"This partnership is just one more tool to keep our communities safe," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan's chief medical executive. "Testing has become extremely convenient with many locations and the increased availability of over-the-counter tests."

More than 24,000 kits have been shipped to more than 150 library outlets. Test kits are sent monthly to each location and are available to residents on a first-come, first-served basis. Households are eligible to receive up to five (5) free at-home test kits from participating library partners while supplies last. Click here to view all libraries currently participating in Michigan.

Libraries can still sign up to be distribution sites. If you have an interest in participating, please fill out this form and MDHHS will be in touch to get you started: Interest form (Site Enrollment) for new partners.
Intellectual Freedom Task Force Prepares to Launch "MI Right to Read"
MI Right to Read is a new MLA initiative coordinated through the leadership of the Intellectual Freedom Task Force to oppose attempts to ban books from Michigan libraries, educate the public about their right to read, and oppose any current or future legislation that infringes upon Michigan citizen’s First Amendment rights and intellectual freedom. The new website, launches next month. Watch for more information from MLA and a call to join the coalition!
Letter to Legislators
Check out April'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.
View the Advocacy Hour Recording: April is School Library Month!
As our schools’ staff and students across the state are recovering from the pandemic and are also experiencing challenges affecting our students' right to read, it is even more important that all staff and students have access to the resources, services, and experiences provided by certified school librarians. Click the image below to view the recording of MLA’s April Advocacy Hour about school libraries and some current initiatives in our state.
School Library Pilot Grants
The Michigan Department of Education has announced that application materials are available for section 802 school library pilot grants. Section 802 of Public Act 87 of 2021 (page 47) provides $800,000 in competitive funding to be awarded to local school districts headquartered in four counties. Learn more: 2022 - 033 Section 802 - Library Pilot Program Grants
Save the Date for the MLA 2022 Annual Conference. Attendee registration will open in June. Save the date and plan to join us on October 19-21, in-person in Port Huron, Michigan for MLA 2022 Annual Conference: Bridging the Divide.
Call for Exhibitors and Sponsors
Do you offer products and services for libraries? Don't miss the opportunity to connect with hundreds of library staff and support our upcoming MLA 2022 Annual Conference on October 19-21, 2022 in Port Huron, Michigan!

Contact Amber Sheerin, MLA Program and Event Director at (517) 881-3194 or to learn more about sponsoring or exhibiting at MLA 2022 Annual Conference.

Check out the new MLA Connect On-Demand education platform! MLA Connect offers virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan!
We are pleased to offer a new virtual education platform! MLA members now have access to dozens of virtual programs and sessions on a wide variety of topics, all available to view on-demand. Our new online learning platform lets you learn on your time and gives you access to tons of valuable information and resources - some for free, others for a small fee. You can also purchase access to any of our 2022 MLA Connect virtual programs to view on-demand at your convenience. Attended an MLA virtual event in the past? Attendees will automatically retain access to available recordings of any previously purchased events. Check it out!
New Takes on the Digital Divide
Join us Tuesday, May 10 at 10:00 AM for an MLA Connect virtual exploration: New Takes on the Digital Divide - Connectivity Needs and How to Help. Check out the details below and register today. Don't forget to save the date for upcoming MLA Connect virtual programs!
Tuesday, May 10, 2022 
10:00 - 11:00 AM

In our digital world, access to the internet is a basic human need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we discovered how many people are still under-connected. Learn how to support the under-connected in this dynamic workshop about how to shatter the Digital Divide. Hear from expert Vikki Katz and Michigan-based library professionals about the difficulties that surround providing internet access to everyone. Attendees will gain a more complete perspective on the current challenges preventing Michiganders from fast, reliable access to the internet and acquire new strategies for helping those within your service area from real-life examples of programs instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants will discover who is under-connected – both in Michigan and nationally; learn how libraries can serve the under-connected through library programs and services; and brainstorm ways their library can address inequities in opportunity and provide internet access even when the library is closed.

MLA Connect explorations are only $25 for MLA members!
Welcoming Deaf Patrons to Your Library
Thursday, June 30, 2022 
9:30 – 11:00 AM 

In this interactive session, you’ll learn communication tips for interacting with deaf patrons, information about American Sign Language and Deaf Culture, and even some basic ASL vocabulary to introduce yourself and help patrons navigate the library.

MLA Connect explorations are only $25 for MLA members!
Advocacy Hour: Intellectual Freedom Task Force Update
Thursday, May 19, 2022
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Join MLA on Thursday, May 19 at 10:00 AM to learn more about the work of the Intellectual Freedom Task Force. Dillon Geshel, Task Force Chair and MLA Board Member-at-Large, will update attendees on the Mi Right to Read coalition and new resources available to Michigan libraries to support Intellectual Freedom including new funds that are now available to organizational member libraries for financial assistance for legal fees or paying for training sessions on Intellectual Freedom.

The Intellectual Freedom Task Force serves as a subgroup and coordinates with the Advocacy and Legislative Committee on establishing progressive priorities relating to library collections, censorship and privacy. The purpose of the task force is to support MLA in safeguarding intellectual freedom and first amendment rights, proactively educate and inform the library field of legislation related to intellectual freedom, develop a position and response by MLA in instances of controversy over censorship, and encourage Michigan libraries to develop policies that will support free speech and the freedom to read.

Advocacy Hour conversations are always free to attend!
MLA 2022 Youth Literary Awards
On Friday, May 27 at 10:00, join MLA for the 2022 MLA Youth Literary Awards and find out which titles won the 2022 Mitten, YouPer, and Thumbs Up! Awards! Mark your calendar and plan to join us live on Zoom or watch for the announcement from MLA on our social media and website.
Do you have news you want to share? Contact Lisa Buttigieg at to share news of promotions, new hires, appointments, awards or a tribute in memoriam.
On the Move
Madison Heights Public Library welcomes new Director, Vanessa Verdun-Morris. Wishing you all the best in your new role, Vanessa!
The Leelanau Township Library welcomes Julie Alpers-Preneta as the new library director in Northport. Wishing you well in your new leadership role, Julie!
Ann Arbor District Library has a new captain at the helm, and it didn’t have to look far. Congratulations to new Director Eli Neiburger who has held several roles during his 25 years at the library. Congratulations, Eli!
Congratulations and happy retirement to Ed Burns, Ferndale Public Library’s Head Reference Librarian. You will be missed by many, Ed!
Wishing a happy retirement to Nannette Miller who has been a librarian for 35 years, 25 as a Director at Boyne District Library, Haines Borough Public Library, and Elk Rapids District Library. Wishing you all the best, Nannette!
Advertise on MLA’s Job Board
Members receive deep discounts on job postings through the MLA Career Center job board. Learn more here.
Pontiac Public Library – Pontiac, MI

Bloomfield Township Public Library – Bloomfield Township, MI

View these jobs and more at the MLA Career Center.
2022 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition

Together Again! Join us for top-quality education and best practices; featured thought-leaders; and special programming for library professionals looking to further develop their libraries, communities, and careers! Washington DC | June 23-28,...

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Michigan Arts and Culture Council Grants

The Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) coordinates grants to arts and culture organizations, cities and municipalities, and other nonprofit organizations ensuring that every citizen and community in Michigan enjoys the civic, economic and...

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Fight Censorship
With the severe uptick in local and statewide book challenges, ALA offers this clearinghouse of resources to assist library workers and library advocates in responding to and supporting others facing those challenges. Report challenges to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and let ALA know if you need assistance.
Grants - MSHRAB

We are accepting applications to participate in the 2022 Save Michigan History Program! Please see below for more information on this year's program and how to apply. In 2022, the Save Michigan History program, generously funded by the National...

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Michigan OER Network

The Michigan OER (MI-OER) Network serves as a collective voice for the community to encourage the development and use of OER for educational, instructional, and public information purposes. We are a community of practice among higher education...

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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
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