MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
May 27, 2021
Letter From Debbie
Our world is changing and the library profession must address challenges that a few short years ago were nowhere on our radar. What was important yesterday, may now be irrelevant. Challenges that once were thought solved…back on the plate. Values of equity, diversity and inclusion, justice, accessibility are being brought to the forefront.

Last year, the MLA Board adopted a new mission, a new vision, and a three-year strategic plan. We affirmed that it is a “rolling” plan -- updated annually to make sure we remain relevant, continue to address the needs of the field, and address the achievements of MLA. 

At the same time MLA developed a strong mission and vision to guide our work, we also took time to develop a robust and deep-rooted set of guiding principles and beliefs. We began by surveying our membership, diving deep into our conversations with our stakeholders, and writing down a set of commonly-held “truths” that define our culture and beliefs. Our way of working is equally important as what we do. If we are to be effective, we must project and advocate for these guiding principles in all that we undertake – and right now, our world demands it of us. Read more
Memorial Day
The MLA office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 31, 2021.
MLA Equity Fund Grant Application Deadline Extended
The 2021 MLA Equity Fund Grant application is now open through Friday, June 11, 2021. 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 who are not currently MLA members. 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 for 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 applicants’ choosing, or for other purposes that they believe increase their ability to impact and transform the library profession.

All application materials are due to MLA on Friday, June 11, 2021, by 5:00 PM. Download the MLA Equity Fund Guidelines for complete details

Submit completed application packets using the online form.
Michigan Library Awards Call for Nominations
The Call for Nominations for the Michigan Library Awards is open through Friday, June 25. Help us celebrate! Nominate a deserving colleague, employee or supporter at
It’s that time of the year—award season! It’s the Michigan library community's own version of the Academy Awards, the Emmys, the Grammys and the Tonys!

The Michigan Library Awards are presented annually to celebrate Michigan's libraries and library staff and are co-hosted by the Michigan Library Association, the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA), and other organizations serving libraries. Honorees will be recognized during a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, as we celebrate the accomplishments, dedication and service of outstanding libraries, library staff, trustees and supporters.

Do you have a colleague who deserves recognition? Help us celebrate! Nominate a deserving librarian, support staff worker, trustee or supporter and save the date for the can't-miss virtual event for celebrating excellence in the Michigan library community.

Submit a nomination for the Michigan Library Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, Public Librarian of the Year, Heart of a Champion, Rising Star, Support Staff of the Year, or Frances H. Pletz for Excellence in Service to Youth by Friday, June 25, 2021.

Submit completed nomination packets using the web form on MLA's website.

Questions? Contact us at (517) 394-2774 or [email protected].
2021-2022 Volunteer Placement Confirmation
Volunteers will receive notification of their work group and committee placement early next month. Thank you to all of those who have volunteered to share their experience and expertise with the entire library community.

We will be holding an all-volunteer virtual orientation on Tuesday, June 15, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Zoom to go over the basics of your work with us. Mark your calendars – we hope to see you all there.
Advocacy and Legislative Priorities Survey 2021-2022
The Michigan Library Association has made advocacy one of its highest priorities. It has never been more important for librarians, staff members, trustees, and others with a vested interest in their libraries, to convey and address their challenges and successes. We hope you will take time out of your busy day to help us pinpoint the highest priorities that face our field.

Meeting the challenges in 2021 and, more importantly, making real progress for Michigan’s libraries in the long term requires fresh approaches and a proactive agenda. The survey results will be used by the MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee to prioritize our agenda and will address what you want us to work on in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but one that has been compiled from concerns that have been shared with us over the past few years. If there are other priorities that you deem worthy, please add them to the list.

By completing the survey you will also be giving MLA valuable information to use when we speak to our legislators. The survey is quick and simple – it will take no more than 10 minutes to fill out and submit.

We welcome your feedback and hope to have all responses in hand by Sunday, June 6, 2021, so we can share results the next day with our Advocacy and Legislative Committee members.
Intellectual Freedom Is Being Challenged Across the Country
In the Michigan Library Association’s current strategic plan, we state: “We believe in equal and free access to information and knowledge while protecting an individual’s right to privacy.” Intellectual freedom is a core value of the library profession and a basic right in our democratic society. Our guiding principle expresses the importance of protecting the rights of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

According to an Education Week article published on May 17, 2021, “four states have now passed legislation that would limit how teachers can discuss racism, sexism and other controversial issues…In total, lawmakers in at least 15 states have introduced bills that seek to restrict how teachers can discuss racism, sexism, and other social issues.”
Michigan was added to the mix a few days after this article was published.

On May 20, Senate Bill 460 was introduced by Senator Lana Theis and co-sponsored by Senators Kevin Daley, Jim Runestad, Tom Barrett, Roger Victory, Dale Zorn, Rick Outman, and Curtis VanderWall. This bill would amend the Revised School Code by adding a new section that precludes coverage of critical race theory, the 1619 project, and other anti-American and racist theories.

MLA will be watching this bill closely and keeping our members informed if there is any movement.
State of Michigan Economic Forecast
Great news for the State of Michigan's FY21 and FY22 budget was delivered at the May 21, 2021 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference.

An economic forecast is based on the best information available at the time the forecast is prepared. Because information and foresight are not perfect, risks and uncertainties are inherent in any forecast, and variations in the underlying factors can exert either optimistic or pessimistic influences on the forecast. That said, the COVID-19 global pandemic is still considered the primary source of uncertainty in the underlying risk factors.

However, the Senate Fiscal Agency sees $3b more than expected for FY 21, FY 22. Read more
Latest Updates on Coronavirus Orders, OMA and Workplace Protocols
During this rapidly changing situation, we are actively monitoring legislation and regulations related to COVID-19. Please watch MLA's website for important news and announcements as we keep you informed.
June 1, 2021 Gatherings and Face Mask Order
– In Effect Through July 1, 2021
On May 24, Governor Whitmer announced an updated Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order, eliminating outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings to 50% capacity. This order takes effect on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at 12:01 AM. At that time, the order entitled "Gatherings and Face Mask Order" issued on May 14, 2021, is rescinded. This order remains in effect through July 1, 2021, at 11:59 PM.

MI VACC to Normal
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an updated 'Vacc to Normal' plan, which outlines steps Michiganders can take to emerge from this pandemic. As of June 1, capacity limits will lift for outdoor events. Additionally, indoor capacity limits will increase to 50%, allowing indoor social gatherings such as weddings and funerals to move closer to normalcy. As of July 1, the state will no longer limit capacity at indoor or outdoor gatherings.  
"As Michiganders have stepped up to get vaccinated and the CDC has released new guidance on masks, we are adapting the MI Vacc to Normal challenge to keep up," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "Starting June 1st, we will be moving forward, faster than excepted, towards a return to normalcy. Soon, Michiganders will be able to celebrate together, have summer weddings and even enjoy a 4th of July barbeque with family and friends. This is what we have all been working so hard towards, and I am so grateful to every Michigander who continues to go above and beyond to keep themselves, their family, and our communities safe. Thanks to them, we can take these final steps towards a return to the normalcy and build our economy back stronger than ever." Read more
Updates to MIOSHA Emergency Rules
On Monday, May 24, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced updates to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Rules as many employers return to in-person work. Changes to the rules include:

  • Allowing fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance if there is a policy in place to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow masking and distancing requirements.
  • Elimination of industry-specific requirements
  • Definition updates to reflect changes in close contact and quarantining requirements for fully vaccinated employees to match CDC guidance
  • Updated cleaning requirements to match CDC guidance

The COVID- 19 Emergency Rules remain effective until October 14, 2021. 
Recently, Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan hosted a live webinar to discuss the updated MIOSHA Emergency Rules which included workplace requirements to establish safe and healthy work environments.

Visit for additional resources.
REALM Project Research Briefing: Vaccines, Variants and Ventilation
This briefing, prepared by researchers at Battelle, is intended to provide timely information about SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and variants to libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs), and their stakeholders. This is a review of scientific literature published through April 26, 2021. Download the research briefing. Read more at
$15 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Grants Now Available for Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced a new funding opportunity for museums, libraries, and Native American and Native Hawaiian communities.

The $15 million federal investment will provide direct support to address community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and in assisting with recovery. The American Rescue Plan Act allocated funding to IMLS to enable libraries, museums, federally recognized tribes, and nonprofit organizations serving Native Hawaiians by supporting the vital programs and services they provide to their communities.

Proposals to this grant program may continue, enhance, or expand existing programs and services, or they may launch new ones to address emergent needs and unexpected hardships.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 28, 2021, with award announcements anticipated in October 2021. A free informational webinar will be made available on-demand on the IMLS website.

For more information and to apply for this grant, as well as other available IMLS funding opportunities, please visit the IMLS website.
Townhall With Rep. Andy Levin
On May 25, MLA, the Library of Michigan, The Library Network, and the Suburban Library Cooperative came together with library directors in Michigan District 9 for a meet and greet with our nation’s greatest library champion, Congressman Andy Levin!

Congressman Levin was kind enough to reserve an hour of his time to meet with us in a very informal Zoom setting. No agenda, no speeches, just a time for him to get to know each of the library directors who represent his district, to share their challenges and successes during the pandemic, and to answer any questions they had on the Build America’s Libraries Act (H.R. 1581) that he introduced in the House on March 3, 2021.
A special thanks to Congressman Levin’s staff, Courtney Laudick and Eleanor Gamalski, for helping us set this up, and to all that attended from his district: Adrienne Breznau, Royal Oak Public Library; Jenny Marr, Ferndale Area District Library; Tammy Turgeon, Sterling Heights Public Library; Tim Gleisner, Library of Michigan; Weslyann Johnson, Center Line Public Library; Tera Moon, Bloomfield Township Library; Brandon Bowman, Mount Clements Public Library; Matt Church, Berkley Public Library; Rosemary Orlando, St. Clair Shores Public Library; Larry Neal, Clinton Macomb Public Library; and Roslyn Yerman, Madison Heights Public Library.
Letter to Legislators
Check out May'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.
MLA 2021 (Virtual) Annual Conference: Connect to the Future
Connect to the Future at MLA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference on Wednesday, October 13, and Thursday, October 14. Attendee registration will open on July 5, 2021. Save the date and watch MLA's Primary Source for more information in the coming month!
MLA 2021 Virtual Keynote Speakers
MLA 2021 Virtual Partner Opportunities
Do you offer products and services for libraries? Don't miss the opportunity to connect with hundreds of library staff at the MLA 2021 Annual Conference. Exhibit in the virtual expo hall, or become an event sponsor with one of our virtual sponsorship opportunities!

Please support MLA by sharing the invitation with your vendors!

So You Want to Be a Library Director?
Join MLA and Cathy Russ, Library Director at the West Bloomfield Township Public Library for part two of the virtual program all about becoming a library director! Learn more and register.
Get ready to move forward in your career with tips and tricks to help you prepare for an interview for a director job.

Session 2: Interview Tips for Future Library Directors
Tuesday, June 1, 2021, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Cathy Russ is the director of the West Bloomfield Township Public Library. Prior to that, she was Director of the Troy Public Library from 2007-2020. From 2010-2014, she was an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University, teaching Library Administration and Management. Honored as the MLA 2019 Librarian of the Year, Russ has been an MLA member since 2000. She has mentored many professionals through MLA’s Mentor program and is passionate about growing the next generation of library directors.
MLA Connect provides virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan! Read on to check out the lineup of upcoming MLA Connect programs. Missed an MLA Connect event? Check out archived webinars and coffee hours on the MLA website. Please note recordings are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.
Do you have news you want to share? Contact Lisa Buttigieg at [email protected] to share news of promotions, new hires, appointments, awards or a tribute in memoriam.
On the Move
Warm Welcome to Merri Jo Tuinstra, the new Director of the Sparta Carnegie Township Library. Welcome Merri Jo!
Lisa Vande Bunte is the new Director at Salem Township Library. Welcome Lisa!
Stephanie Swanberg, MSI, AHIP, has been appointed to the position of Academic User Services Librarian at the Michigan School of Psychology. All the best Stephanie!
Autumn Smith joined the Schultz-Holmes Memorial Library as Assistant Director on April 27, 2020. Congratulations Autumn!
Michelle Bradley, Manager of Engagement, Consulting, and Training at MCLS, has announced that she will be the new Director of Consulting at OhioNet. Michelle’s last day at MCLS was May 7, 2021.
Wishing all the best to Susan Harmes, Assistant Director who retired after 35 years at the Schultz-Holmes Memorial Library in Blissfield, MI. All the best to you Susan!
Salem Township Library would like to congratulate Sharon Engelsman who retired April 15, 2021 after 44 years of service, wow! Sharon wanted to give a Great Big Thank You to all the Cooperative libraries and staff as well as a big thank you to the Lakeland staff. You will be greatly missed Sharon! 
Lois Lovell was at Sparta Carnegie Township Library for 29 years. Happy Retirement Lois! Enjoy your new job as a full-time Grandmother!
View these jobs and more at the MLA Career Center. Have a job to post? Members receive deep discounts on job postings through the MLA Career Center job board Learn more here.

University of Michigan Law Library – Ann Arbor, MI

Hackley Public Library ­– Muskegon, MI

Wisconsin Library Association Virtual/Remote, NA
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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.