MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
June 24, 2021
Letter From Debbie
Why do some places exude a spirit of community more than other places? Why do some places become focal points and anchors in their community and others do not? Why do we feel such a strong sense of belonging in some places over others?

I have discovered that most of us are drawn to places that are unique and creative, to places that exude a sense of community, to places that are lively and inviting, to places that are diverse and inclusive, to places that promote people’s happiness and well-being. Our libraries are these places. Our libraries are “third spaces” to many, and over the course of the past 15 months, you have been missed. Greatly missed! Read more
Independence Day
The MLA office will be closed in observance of Independence Day on Monday, July 5, 2021.
Thank You to MLA Board Members
The time-honored tradition of passing the gavel took on a new twist at the virtual June board meeting! MLA President Jennifer Dean passed the gavel to incoming President Kelly Richards. Kelly takes the helm, beginning July 1. We look forward to a great year!

The MLA Board is also saying goodbye to a few amazing, dedicated, and passionate leaders and we want to send a special thank you acknowledging all of the work they have done to support MLA and the Michigan library community.

Thank you to outgoing Past-President Kristin Shelley for your outstanding leadership throughout the past four years. In 2019, Kristin graciously agreed to stay on the Board for another year in the President role when the incoming President-elect stepped down to take a job out of state. Kristin has brought stability, insight, wisdom and collaboration throughout her tenure at MLA, leading MLA through a transitional time for the association. Kristin has been MLA’s most ardent advocate and spokesperson for diversity, equity and inclusion and her leadership has strengthened our DEI policies and advocacy efforts.

Kristin will officially finish her four-year Board term on June 30, having served in 2017-18 as President-elect, 2018-20 for a two-year term as President and 2010-21 as Past-President. Thank you for giving of your time and passion for libraries and thank you for going above and beyond for MLA.

We also want to say thank you to Amber Alexander, whose Member-at-Large Director term is expiring at the end of June, and Karen Knox, who has resigned from her seat on the Board as a Member-at-Large director because she will be moving out of state. Thank you both for your leadership, kindness, wisdom, and for giving generously of your time and expertise to help move MLA forward.

Please feel free to reach out to our past and current board members to send a note of gratitude for the amazing work they contribute to the library community. If you are considering Board service, we welcome your involvement. Watch for the call for nominations this fall.
Amber Alexander
Library Director
Presque Isle District Library
Karen Knox
Orion Township Public Library
MLA Welcomes New Board Member
Dillon Geshel, Library Director, Portage Lake District Library has been appointed to serve the remaining year of the Member-at-Large director seat vacated by Karen Knox. Welcome Dillon!
MLA Member Group Life and Long-Term Disability Insurance Survey
RESPONSE REQUESTED FROM DIRECTORS - Please let us know if your library would be interested in purchasing Group Life and Long Term Disability Insurance for your library's staff. Responses are needed by Friday, June 25, 2021, at 5:00 PM. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback.
MLA is considering creating a consortium or buying pool through National Insurance Services, for member libraries to purchase employer-paid group life and long-term disability (LTD) insurance.

To accomplish this, we would need interest and commitment from enough libraries to meet a minimum number of covered employee lives. This survey is to gauge interest amongst our member libraries to decide if we should take any next steps.

If established, this group life and LTD consortium would have the following advantages:
  • Part of a consortium with thousands of other public sector employers across the country
  • Rate stability as part of that large purchasing group – year after year, over 95% of groups get no increase or a decrease in rates
  • Benefit flexibility to match existing policies, or design a new program to meet your needs and budget
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) included at no additional cost
  • ID theft assistance and restoration services at no additional cost
  • Anticipated initial savings of 15% over in-force rates, and large group discounted pricing for libraries with no current coverage in-force
  • Available to employees working as little as 20 hours/week
  • Three-year initial rate guarantees

Please complete the survey to share if your library would be interested and able to commit to participating by Friday, June 25.

MLA Equity Fund Grant Awardees Announced
MLA Equity Fund Grants aim to reduce financial barriers to professional development opportunities and support individuals currently underrepresented in the library profession
It is our pleasure to announce the recipients of MLA's Equity Fund Grants! We are pleased to announce that Madelynne Brown, Children’s Librarian, Ypsilanti District Library, Brianna Jackson, Teen Librarian, Kalamazoo Public Library and Marlene Marion, Library Assistant – Adult Services, Pontiac Public Library, have been awarded grant funds.

Congratulations to Madelynne, Brianna, and Marlene for submitting exceptional individual proposals and being granted these funds. We are proud to support their funded programs and professional development endeavors. The awardees' projects begin on July 1, 2021.
Madelynne Brown
Ypsilanti District Library
Brianna Jackson
Kalamazoo Public Library
Marlene Marion
Pontiac Public Library
Michigan Library Awards Nominations Due Tomorrow
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
Help us celebrate and honor the good work and achievements of our library community! Nominate a deserving library, librarian, support staff worker, trustee, or supporter for one of the Michigan Library Awards.

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 Library of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), and the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA). Honorees will be recognized during a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

Details and links to application materials and nomination forms for the Michigan Library Awards are available at

Submit completed nomination packets 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 Award for Excellence in Service to Youth by Friday, June 25, 2021, using the web form on MLA's website.
Michigan Library Awards Hosts
2021-2022 Organizational Renewals Due Soon
We know you are hard at work, implementing new plans and working with your staff and communities to reopen and relaunch in-person services so we wanted to share another quick reminder that 2020-21 organizational membership will expire on June 30, 2021, and that your renewal for the 2021-22 member year can be done online! Plus, don't forget your organizational membership includes individual membership for the library director and also includes the NEW Linked Trustees member benefit!

If you have already renewed, your renewal payment is on the way, or you have already contacted us to let us know about payment delays, or the need to delay payment to July 1 so it falls in your libraries’ next fiscal year, we thank you!
Image from the MLA 1966 Annual Meeting program.
MLA Opposes HB 4530 and SB 130: Libraries Need Three Election Dates
MLA stands in opposition to House Bill 4530 and Senate Bill 130 and ANY legislation limiting election dates. Read MLA's Statement in Opposition to Any Restrictions to Millage Dates by the Michigan Legislature.
House Bill 4530 and Senate Bill 130 would amend different acts to remove the May regular election date and move the date of the primary election in Michigan from August to June, limiting a jurisdiction to holding only two elections in a year.

Libraries rely on locally dedicated millages for funding. A millage loss could very well close the doors permanently for a library, so alternative dates to re-present their proposal to their community during the calendar year are essential. Additional restrictions to the number of times each year that a millage can be brought before voters are detrimental to libraries.

Our legislators need to hear from us about why it is important to keep three election dates to allow libraries more flexibility in seeking millages. Please contact your legislators to tell them that libraries need three millage election dates. Ask them to oppose HB 4530 and SB 130 and ANY legislation that limits election dates and hurts a library's ability to seek funding.

Click Take Action to visit our website and contact your legislators. We’ve created a template email for you that you can modify to share your concerns or send as-is. Thank you for taking action to support libraries.
MLA Opposes House Bill 4536
House Bills 4535 and 4536 were recently introduced by Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord. House Bill 4535 (HB 4535) would prohibit wheeled vehicles from driving on snowmobile trails between December 1 and April 1. House Bill 4536 (HB 4536) would direct the fines from these violations to be deposited into an account for the further maintenance of the snowmobile trails.

On Thursday, June 17, both bills passed out of the Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation on a unanimous vote, despite MLA testimony in opposition.

Penal and civil fines, which are variable across each of our counties, along with state aid to libraries, are the only legislatively directed sources of revenue for libraries. Between 2016 and 2020, in counties in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula where snowmobiling is most prevalent, per capita penal fine rates have dropped by as much as 100% (Arenac, Bay, Kalkaska, Montmorency, Schoolcraft) with a median loss of 26.6%.

As fines are eliminated (i.e. legalization of recreational marijuana), or have changed drastically based on local enforcement (as we saw in 2019 in Mackinaw County), the identification and enforcement of new civil fines should be used to support the operational costs of public libraries as provided in the Michigan Constitution. We also know that the libraries in these areas are already inadequately funded, with many depending on penal fines as their main source of funding.

The Michigan Constitution directs fines imposed on people for breaking the law to go to support public libraries and MLA opposes HB 4536 because it diverts civil fines, even if they are new civil fines, away from local libraries.

Article VIII, sec. 9 of the Michigan Constitution states:
“The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment and support of public libraries which shall be available to all residents of the state under regulations adopted by the governing bodies thereof. All fines assessed and collected in the several counties, townships and cities for any breach of the penal laws shall be exclusively applied to the support of such public libraries, and county law libraries as provided by law.”
The passage of HB 4536 would hurt libraries, would ignore the intent of the Michigan Constitution, and would be opposed to the will of the people who enacted that Constitution.

We encourage you to make a personal phone call to your Michigan House member to voice your opposition to HB 4536, remind them of the importance of penal fine revenue to libraries, and that the Michigan Constitution states that penal fines should be used exclusively for libraries, and ask them to oppose HB 4536. We will have a template email communication available next week, but for now, we encourage you to call your Representatives. You can use our web tool to find your Representative's phone number. 
2021-2022 Advocacy and Legislative Priorities Survey Results
Thank you to those that provided their input to MLA’s Advocacy and Legislative Priorities Survey for 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. Meeting the challenges in 2021-2022 and, more importantly, making real progress for Michigan’s libraries in the long term requires fresh approaches and a proactive agenda.

We thought you’d like to look at the raw findings of the Advocacy and Legislative Priorities Survey for 2021-2022 and read through the comments that will help to shape MLA’s goals for next year and beyond. The survey results linked here represent over 175 opinions from library personnel throughout Michigan and will be used by the MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee to prioritize our agenda and address what you want us to work on in the coming year.

Check out the MLA website to view MLA's advocacy priority areas including a list of legislation that our Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching, and learn more about the issues that are important to Michigan libraries.
Latest Updates on Coronavirus Orders, OMA and Workplace Protocols
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.
Ending of COVID-19 Epidemic Orders on Gatherings and Masking
Since March 2020, MLA has kept up on all of the mandatory guidelines coming from the Governor’s office, from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, from the Center for Disease Control, and so many others, that deal directly with keeping staff and patrons safe from the spread of COVID-19. Day by day, we are getting closer to closing out MLA’s reporting, but for now, updates continue.

On Tuesday, June 22, Governor Gretchen Whitmer accelerated the end of all COVID-19 epidemic orders on gatherings and masking. Capacity limits in both indoor and outdoor settings are now back to 100% and the state no longer requires residents to wear a face mask. FINAL_MDHHS_Recission_of_Emergency_Orders.pdf

“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” said Governor Whitmer. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving. Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule. Our top priority going forward is utilizing the federal relief funding in a smart, sustainable way as we put Michigan back to work and jumpstart our economy. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before.” 
As case rates, percent positivity and hospitalizations have plummeted over the past several weeks, it is important to note that nearly five million Michiganders ages 16 and older have received their first vaccine dose, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data. According to data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, half of Michigan residents have completed their vaccination and over 60% have gotten their first shots. 
It is important to note that public health measures will continue for reporting requirements and COVID testing to make sure areas where community spread is high are identified, kids are safe in school and free COVID-19 tests are available. MDHHS will continue to provide recommendations to keep Michiganders safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in higher-risk settings and places where vulnerable populations or populations with large numbers of individuals are not yet fully vaccinated. 
New MIOSHA Rules Took Effect on June 22
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) filed COVID-19 emergency rules to align with Federal OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on June 22, with the updated rules taking effect immediately and expiring on December 22, 2021.

The updated MIOSHA emergency rules adopt the Federal OSHA ETS and focus on health care settings where known or suspected COVID-19 patients may be present. These workplaces may have a higher exposure risk for employees and need continued protections to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Non-healthcare settings (like libraries) should align policies with the CDC guidelines to ensure they help contain the spread of COVID-19. Federal OSHA has updated guidance for non-healthcare employers as well.

Dialing back workplace rules for non-healthcare settings allows employers to use their best judgment in determining whether to maintain:
  • Daily health screenings;
  • Face covering requirements; and
  • Social distancing requirements.

For more information about MIOSHA's safety and health guidelines to protect Michigan's workforce, visit

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the COVID-19 hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).
Updated Research Briefing From the REALM Project
View the updated briefing, prepared by Battelle, that reviews research on COVID-19 vaccination, variant strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and ventilation that may affect building operations, policies, and procedures. Download the research briefing. Read more at
Letter to Legislators
Check out June'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 6, 2021. Save the date and visit us on the web to view the schedule at a glance, registration rates and featured speakers and watch your email for more information when registration opens!
MLA 2021 Virtual Keynote Speakers
Thank you to our All Conference Sponsor!
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 (Virtual) Annual Conference. Exhibit in the virtual expo hall, or become an event sponsor with one of our virtual sponsorship opportunities!

Exhibit Early Bird Rates Expire June 30, 2021!

Check out detailed sponsor and exhibitor information on our website or download the Vendor Prospectus (PDF), and sign up to participate or share this invitation with your vendors!
SAVE THE DATE: Michigan Library Advocacy Day 2022
Save the date for Michigan Library Advocacy Day. We will be gathering together at the Capitol in Lansing to advocate for all Michigan Libraries on March 1, 2022. We hope you can join us!
SAVE THE DATE: Spring Institute 2022
Spring Institute for Youth Services 2022 is back in person! Save the date and join us March 10-11, 2022 at the Comfort Inn & Suites Conference Center Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University.

Upcoming dates to watch for:
  • Call for Proposals Opens: September 10, 2021
  • Call for Proposals Closes: October 22, 2021
  • Attendee Registration Opens: November 29, 2021
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 to share news of promotions, new hires, appointments, awards or a tribute in memoriam.
On the Move
Congratulations to Shauna Anderson who has been appointed as the new director for Plymouth District Library. Wishing you all the best!
The Flat River Community Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Stefanie Reed as the new library director. All the best in your new venture Stefanie!
Kudos and Congratulations
On a personal note, the MLA staff are so excited to congratulate our colleague Elise Penhollow on the birth of her twin baby girls! Congratulations Elise and welcome to the two cutest and newest additions to MLA!
The 2020 Humanities Award was presented to Ann Marie Smith for her tireless work in the humanities at the Pickford Community Library. We appreciate you and thank you for all you give to our communities!
Plymouth District Library director Carol Souchock will be retiring this spring after serving the Plymouth Library for the last eight years and a 25- year-long library career. All the best Carol!
Wishing all the best to Mimi Herrington who retired at the end of May from Bad Axe Area District Library. Enjoy your retirement Mimi!
In Memoriam
It is with great sadness that we share that the former director of Hudson Library, Kathy Hepker, has passed away. Kathy was the director for 35 years, from 1977-2012. Kathy was very supportive of all things Rural Library and she is the reason the library is looked to in the Hudson community for reference, resource and all things information. Kathy will be sadly missed by all who knew her. 
Library staff and board members at Howell Carnegie Library are mourning the loss of volunteer Joyce Fisher, who passed away on May 30, 2021. Joyce was the heart and soul of the Howell Area Archives, a committee of the Howell Carnegie Library. She was a dedicated volunteer and passionate about creating a space in the library where all could access the rich history of Howell.
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.

Huntington Woods Library Huntington Woods, MI

Salem-South Lyon District Library South Lyon, MI
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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
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