MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
September 23, 2021
Letter From Debbie
Over the past 2 years, a tremendous amount of time, energy and input has been shared by the board, staff and members to make sure that MLA’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion were solidified in our strategic plan, in our statement of commitment, and through our training and educational opportunities.

With each passing day, we have become more stalwart in our commitment to equity, diversity, accessibility and belonging, and how each serves individually and collectively as a critical lens to drive MLA’s strategic priorities and measure the magnitude of our impact. As a mission-driven organization that applies best practices to benefit the library community and improves the lives of library workers throughout Michigan, MLA recognizes that the inclusion of diverse people, viewpoints and experiences are key to our success. It is essential that we embed these values in a robust framework that touches and informs all aspects of our work.

This framework continues to bring respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people of all backgrounds, lifestyles, and perspectives into focus - shaping a healthier, more vibrant future for all of us. 

What are we committed to accomplishing? Read more
2021 Statement - Equity, Diversity, Accessibility and Belonging
In 2019, MLA adopted its first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion statement at the Annual Meeting of Members. In September 2021, the MLA Board of Directors reaffirmed our commitment to these values. Through their leadership and sustained effort, MLA will create a culture that recognizes, enhances and promotes equity, diversity and accessibility for Michigan’s library community. At the same time, we remain steadfast in modeling an organization where our board, staff, ambassadors and members feel a strong sense of belonging and acceptance, where voices are heard, acknowledged and acted upon. As we continue to learn and grow, we will outline and implement the right actions that prove our commitment. View the statement.
Call for Nominations for 2022 Board Elections
The call for nominations for candidates for the 2022 Board of Directors opens tomorrow, Friday, September 24. Do you know someone who would be a great addition to the MLA Board of Directors? Submit a nomination! We also encourage you to self-nominate if you are interested in serving on the MLA Board! The call for nominations will close on Monday, November 8.
MLA has seats to fill and the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (NLDC), chaired by Past President Jennifer Dean, is looking for interested candidates to fill four at-large seats plus a President-Elect and ALA Councilor Position on the MLA Board of Directors, with terms beginning in July 2022 and ending in June 2025. 

Each year in September, the call for nominations for the MLA Board opens. This year we invite each and every one of our members to apply – individuals representing any type of library, any staff position within the library (not just directors), any size and budget, and in any geographic region of Michigan. 

Our goal this year is to cultivate new board members who can expand the board’s collective cultural awareness. We are looking for candidates with a variety of professional expertise, cultural backgrounds, spectrum of life experiences, and geographic reach, who can help MLA respond to future needs within the library field.

As we expand our search beyond the customary networks (yes – that includes those of you who have never considered this experience), we want to make sure that you know how dedicated we are in engaging new board members to share their perspectives and opinions – opening the door to different ideas and conversations. Our recruitment process, between September 24 and November 8, will be thoughtful, strategic, and respectful as we begin to look for ways to become a more diverse organization.

Self-nominations are definitely accepted. Throw your hat in the ring, we’d love to hear from each and every one of you.

The submission deadline is 5:00 PM on Monday, November 8, 2021. Submit a nomination by clicking the link below. For any questions please contact Debbie Mikula, Executive Director at

More information about qualifications and criteria is linked below:
Annual Member Meeting Notice
Notice is hereby given to MLA members that the Annual Meeting will take place during MLA 2021 Annual Virtual Conference on Thursday, October 14, 2021, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM via Zoom. MLA 2021 Annual Virtual Conference registration is not required to attend the annual meeting and all members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Members will receive an invitation with the Zoom link to attend the meeting in early October. Watch for more information in our September newsletter.
October is Michigan Library Appreciation Month
Get ready to celebrate Michigan Library Appreciation Month! This October we are celebrating Michigan libraries and library staff and highlighting all the many ways libraries keep our communities connected!

Join us in participating in Michigan Library Appreciation Month and help us highlight just how much of an impact our libraries have made in the lives of Michiganders and how libraries and library staff help keep us connected while we need it most.

Check out our resources for social media ideas, sample press releases, graphics and easy ways to participate and plan to join the celebration to highlight Michigan libraries, librarians, and library workers all October long!
We Need Your Help!
Share quotes or testimonials and photos from your library patrons or staff to help us celebrate Michigan’s libraries this October!

We are collecting quotes or testimonials and corresponding photos from library personnel and Michigan residents about why they love their library, how their library has kept them connected to the community, resources and information, or how a library worker impacted their life during the past year. 

We know many libraries collect quotes and testimonials, will you help us celebrate all Michigan libraries this October by sharing the feedback you are most proud of and a corresponding photograph?
MLA's Strategic Plan
“A good idea is only good if there is a well-thought-out plan to make it a reality.” ~Norma Kamali

In June 2019, the Board of Directors began the process of developing a three-year strategic plan for the Michigan Library Association. The desired goal of the planning process was to clarify and guide MLA in how best to utilize our time and resources in advancing the library community and meeting the future needs of all of our key stakeholders. The plan that was adopted is a “rolling plan” and each year MLA is dedicated to revisiting it, talking through our challenges and successes to remain relevant as we address the needs of the field. In July 2021, MLA gathered a small group of key stakeholders who reviewed the planning document and made updates that addressed achievements and changes for 2021- 2023.
Highlights in our strategic priorities include updating our commitment to Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Belonging, and addressing the health and well-being of our members, knowing how critical it is to promote and expand our work to bring focus to a library’s human capital. We also expanded our priorities to bring focus to the concepts and values of mentorship. As an organization that values those that are shaping the field for the future, we will be investing our time and resources to expand this work throughout each of our goal areas: advocacy, knowledge and community.

Celebrating 130 Years
On September 1, MLA celebrated our 130th anniversary of serving the Michigan library community! MLA is Michigan’s oldest and largest library association spanning more than a century. It has influenced the course of Michigan’s libraries since its inception in 1891, when Mary A. Eddy, the librarian at Coldwater Free Public Library, wrote to Henry M. Utley of the Detroit Public Library about organizing a state library association.

In honor of 130 years of serving Michigan libraries, we’ve made it easy to contribute a small gift or a large gift -- $13.00, $130.00, or $1,300.00. Celebrate the longevity of the Michigan library community by contributing a gift to help grow MLA's educational and equity scholarship funds. If you would like to consider a legacy gift please call us at (517) 394-2774. Contribute online at Here's to another 130 years!
Check out MLA's Bill Tracker, updated monthly by the MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee to inform our members of the Senate and House bills MLA is watching and addressing, our position if any, and actions that we are taking to support or oppose the legislation.
State of Michigan Budget Updates
Last week, legislative leadership and Governor Whitmer’s administration issued a joint announcement that a budget deal had been finalized for the FY22 state budget. On Tuesday, Sept. 21, legislative leaders moved a massive $50 billion spending plan out of a joint House-Senate conference committee that has shaped the FY22 general government omnibus budget. On Wednesday, Sept. 22, the House and Senate, in separate votes, gave quick approval to the spending plan. The Governor has indicated she will sign it in time for it to take effect for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Linked here is the summary of the General Omnibus Conference Report which outlines the updates and changes to the General Fund:

Libraries can expect the following:

  • State Aid will be increasing by $2M this year (Page 23) – for a total in FY22 of $15,067,000
  • $100,000 was added for a Poet Laureate (page 24)
  • $800,000 was added for a new school/public library partnership pilot program (page 24); and 
  • $4.2 M in federal ARPA funding (page 167)

A daunting document, the full budget is outlined in SB82 – concurred bills from the House and Senate:

The Library of Michigan Budget on Page 102 includes 33 Full-time equated classified positions equaling $4,935,600, MeL at 1 FTE at $1,727,700, for a total gross appropriation of $30,345,000. Federal revenues of $5,614,000 and Library fees of $300,000 account for a State general fund/general purpose budget of $24,431,000.

On page 122, the language outlining the new $800,000 Library pilot program is outlined.

This year the budget increase comes largely because of federal COVID funding, and also because state tax revenues exceeded projections earlier in the pandemic. It should be noted that upwards of $10 billion more in federal COVID relief money still remains to be distributed and will be included in supplemental budgets to be approved later in the year. 

Advocacy happens year-round! Your messages to our legislators over the years have resonated and we are thankful every time you contact your legislators by picking up the phone, writing a note, sharing an email, inviting them to read a story, hold their coffee hours at your library, and/or responding to an MLA call to action. 

This year, our voices have been heard! Our advocacy efforts have paid off! We did it! Your membership in MLA helps make this happen!

Take time today – RIGHT THIS MINUTE to thank your Senator, your House Member, and the Governor. You can find your legislators and send an email using the button below. We’ve created a quick thank you template if you need it, but feel free to personalize and share your appreciation.
Intellectual Freedom Statement of Principle
The Advocacy and Legislative Committee continues to refine the MLA Action Plan and make sure that our support and/or our opposition on key topics are defined accurately. In early 2021, MLA began the process to define our statement of principle for the Michigan library community as it relates to Intellectual Freedom. Our world continues to evolve and we continue to uphold our values to protect intellectual freedoms - the rights of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Two key stances are evident in this work: 1) MLA stands in opposition to any type of censorship. 2) MLA is a proponent of the accessibility to materials without prejudice to every member of the community. As the digital world continues to evolve, libraries help ensure that people can access the information they need – regardless of age, education, gender.

MLA 2021 (Virtual) Annual Conference: Connect to the Future
Connect to the Future this October 13 and 14 at the MLA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference. Early Bird Rates and Group Registration end Friday! Visit our website to see the complete lineup of education sessions, including session tracks and learning objectives, review the schedule at a glancefeatured speaker lineup, and registration options and register today. We look forward to seeing you online this October!
MLA 2021 Virtual Registration Options
We're pleased to offer a group pass option for our organizational members at a deep discount in addition to individual registration passes. Our virtual conference group pass packages will allow multiple staff members from different levels, roles, and career stages to attend for a flat fee, regardless of their individual MLA membership status.

Organizational group passes are only available to MLA organizational members. Individual registration rates are dependent on MLA Individual membership status.

Group Pass Packages must be purchased by September 24, 2021. 
Individual Early Bird Rates expire September 24, 2021. 

View detailed information along with guidance to help you select the registration option that works best for you at
MLA 2021 Virtual Keynote Speakers
MLA 2021 Education Sessions
This year we are offering four tracks to help you organize your educational experience: Create, Reimagine, Lead and Connect, but you can attend sessions in one track or mix and match educational programs! And, if you're having a hard time selecting which sessions to attend, don't worry.

Session recordings will be available on the conference platform (Hopin) immediately after the sessions conclude, and attendees can continue to access session recordings on Hopin through Friday, October 15. Attendees will also have exclusive access to recordings of every conference session to review on-demand on MLA's website following the conference.

Check out the complete lineup of education sessions, including session tracks, and learning objectives at
Thank you to our All Conference Sponsor!
Library Continuing Education Program
Continuing education stipends are also available through the Library of Michigan Library Continuing Education Program. (Our thanks to Karren Reish for this info!)

Michigan public, academic and school library staff are eligible to apply for funds to attend MLA 2021 Virtual. Applications are due September 30. 

View complete program details, eligibility and criteria, and apply:,9327,7-381-88855_89737-359559--,00.html
Streaming on Facebook on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 7 PM
The Michigan Library Awards is the Michigan library community's very own version of the Academy Awards, the Emmys, the Grammys, and the Tonys!

On October 13 at 7:00 PM, you're invited to tune in to Facebook Live and join us for the Michigan Library Awards, brought to you by the Michigan Library Association (MLA), the Library of Michigan, the Library of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), and the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA).

Hosted by one of our Lifetime Achievement Award winners, Kevin King, this fun event will feature entertainment and special guest appearances as we unveil the winners of the Rising Star, Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth, Heart of a Champion, Support Staff of the Year, Legislator of the Year, Public Librarian of the Year, Academic Librarian of the Year, School Librarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, the State Librarian’s Citations of Excellence and the State Librarian's Excellence Award.

Please mark your calendar now, follow us on Facebook, and plan to join us as we celebrate the accomplishments, dedication and service of outstanding library staff, trustees and supporters at the can't-miss virtual event for celebrating excellence in the Michigan library community.

You can watch the pre-recorded show on any of the following organizations' Facebook pages:
Michigan Library Awards Hosts
Think Space
Early Bird Rates:
Member: $1,595
Non-member: $3,190

Upcoming Deadlines

Early Bird Registration: October 29, 2021
LOM Continuing Education Stipend Application:
September 30, 2021
MLA Scholarship: 
October 29, 2021
Hotel Registration: 
November 12, 2021
Registration Closes: December 1, 2021, or when class is full
Think Space is an all-inclusive educational and networking experience including four full days of learning, two overnight hotel stays, meals, fun special events, and the opportunity to build deeper, lasting relationships with other directors and deans of libraries throughout Michigan. Join your colleagues for time to THINK deeply in a safe SPACEAttendance is limited so reserve your seat today!

Each year, Think Space will focus on one specific issue of importance to Michigan library leaders. Our inaugural Think Space will focus on equity, diversity, accessibility, and belonging, including:

  • Understanding your starting point in the journey towards equity
  • Hiring practices through the lens of EDI
  • Racial equity-based approaches to workforce development & training
  • Legal aspects that are important to consider when drafting EDI policies
  • Social Justice in America today

The first Think Space cohort will meet in person this December for the first two-day gathering, followed by a virtual check-in session in February, the second gathering in May, and concluding with a breakfast reception during the MLA 2022 Annual Conference that is exclusively for members of the Think Space cohort.

Registration includes all educational sessions, breakfasts, lunches, receptions, special events, parking, and overnight accommodations in Grand Rapids on December 9, 2021, and Boyne City on May 18, 2022.

Space is limited! Visit MLA's website to view complete details and register today!
Spring Institute For Youth Services 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.

At MLA's first in-person conference since 2019, we invite you to LEVEL UP. Whether that means growing professionally within your current role, wanting to communicate your vision better to your team, or aspirations for moving up in the profession, we can't wait to share ideas and energy for leveling up to make positive changes within your organization and the library profession.

Upcoming dates to watch for:
  • Call for Proposals is OPEN see details below!
  • Call for Proposals Closes: October 22, 2021
  • Attendee Registration Opens: December
Call for Proposals: Spring Institute for Youth Services 2022
We invite you to share your ideas and energy for leveling up and making change within your organization and the library profession.

Spring Institute for Youth Services is committed to focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Submissions that highlight these important goals are encouraged, but a wide variety of sessions will be considered for final schedule selection, including leading by example, leadership skills, technology, programming, collection development, avoiding burnout, and more.

Session Proposals are welcome through October 22, 2021. Library Science Fair Proposals are welcome through December 2021. View complete details including an example of an excellent session proposal at
Do you offer products and services for libraries? Don't miss the opportunity to connect with hundreds of library staff and support the premier conference for youth library services in Michigan through a sponsorship, or exhibit booth in our Expo hall!

Download the Spring Institute for Youth Services prospectus and contact Amber Sheerin, MLA Program and Event Director at (517) 881-3194 or to learn more about sponsoring or exhibiting.
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 new Director Brenda Dunseth who will be taking over in October at the Highland Public Library. Wishing you all the best in your new role.
Welcoming new director, Melissa Rohen to the Reed City Area District Library. Wishing you success in your new role!
Welcoming new Director, Sandy Irwin to the Royal Oak Public Library. Wishing you great success in your new role!
Celebrating Frank Boles’ 30 Years of Service as Director of the Clarke Historical Library. Frank retired on August 31, 2021, many colleagues said they will especially miss his stories and his sense of humor. Wishing you all the best Frank!
Joann Rutkowski is retiring from the Miller Canfield law library on Sept. 30, 2021. After a career spanning 24 years at the Law Library of GM, she joined Miller Canfield (Detroit) as a Library Clerk in August 2014 and the following year was promoted to Technical Services Librarian. Congratulations to you Joann!
Jude Halloran began working at Highland Library in 1987 as an adult librarian and became the director in 1991. After 30 years, Jude is retiring Best wishes, Jude!
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

Central Michigan University Libraries – Mount Pleasant, MI

View these jobs and more at the MLA Career Center.
Now Accepting Nominations for 2022 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service
IMLS is now accepting nominations for the 2022 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor awarded to libraries and museums for service to their communities. Learn more
Nominate your favorite librarian for the prestigious I Love My Librarian Award. This national award recognizes librarians working in public, school, college, community college, or university libraries for their outstanding public service contributions. Nominations will be accepted online through September 27, 2021.
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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.