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 25, 2020
Letter from Debbie
We knew that by the end of June, MLA would need to make a firm decision concerning how we were going to move forward with MLA’s 2020 Annual Conference. It is now that time!

After thoughtful consideration, we are ready to announce that the 2020 Annual Conference that was planned for Kalamazoo October 28-30 will not be held as an in-person event. Instead, we are transforming it into a first-class virtual event, with the same educational and inspirational programming that MLA members have enjoyed and taken part in for the last 129 years - keynote addresses, breakout sessions, virtual exhibits, an awards ceremony, MLA’s annual meeting, gamification features, and networking opportunities.

Necessary Conversations on Institutional Racism
Let it be known that Michigan Library Association (MLA) stands in solidarity with the American Library Association (ALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), our library workers, our library patrons, our community leaders, and our community members, in condemning violence and racism towards Black Americans and People of Color. We hear and support everyone in our communities who have experienced feeling threatened, marginalized, and discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity.

We remain committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment that fully supports and promotes our commitment to modeling diversity and inclusion for the entire library community, and to maintaining an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all. MLA will strive for racial equity and equality in our work to educate, mentor and develop all library workers.

MLA and its Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in all forms and we stand firm in condemning the systemic and systematic social injustices endured by Black people and People of Color.

Read our message from MLA President Kristin Shelley: Necessary Conversations on Institutional Racism
NEW MLA Equity Fund Grants
MLA has many restricted funds that have been donated to us over the years – most with specific use attached. As we looked for ways to recognize the needs of underrepresented individuals within the library community, the MLA Board approved a change to a fund that didn’t have any restrictions or ties. With the dollars already within the fund, and a commitment to fundraise each year to keep it a healthy resource, we proudly unveil the MLA Equity Fund Grants.

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 new MLA Equity Fund will be used as an individual grant geared toward the professional development of individuals currently underrepresented in the library profession. This fund 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, July 31, 2020 by 5:00 pm. Download the MLA Equity Fund Guidelines for complete details .

Applications should be submitted using the online form:
Thank You to Our Outgoing Board Members
The MLA Board is saying goodbye to many 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 Past-president Steven K. Bowers for your outstanding leadership throughout the past four years. In 2019, Steven graciously agreed to stay on the Board for another year in the Past-president role when the incoming President-elect stepped down to take a job out of state. Throughout Steven's tenure at MLA, he has brought stability, insight, creativity and collaboration. He was instrumental in the process of finding a new Executive Director, a transitional time for the association that made his leadership even more important. Steven has been an outspoken advocate for collaborating among library types, and emphasizing the importance of strengthening the entire library ecosystem, from cradle to grave.

Thank you for giving of your time and passion for libraries.
In June 2018, 2017-18 President Steven K. Bowers passes the gavel to 2018-20 President Kristin Shelley. Steven will officially finish his four-year Board term on June 30, having served in 2016-17 as President-elect, 2017-18 as President and 2018-20 for a two-year term as Past President.
Kristin Shelley also took on another year as Board President. We have one more year with Kristin as Past-president, but want to include a special thank you for going above and beyond for MLA.

We also want to say thank you to Richard Schneider who has served as MLA’s Secretary and Treasurer. Richard has faithfully served MLA for many years, making sure our finances are in order and providing leadership and guidance to make sure MLA is a financially viable and sustainable organization.

And thank you to our member-at-large Directors whose terms are expiring at the end of June, Jessica Anne Bratt, Pamela Christensen and Cathy Russ. Thank you 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.
Jessica Anne Bratt
Youth Services Manager
Grand Rapids Public Library
Pamela Christensen
Foundation Manager
West End Health Foundation
Cathleen Russ
Library Director
Troy Public Library
Richard Schneider
Thank You 2019-2020 Work Groups and Committees
Our volunteers show commitment to their communities, their libraries, their patrons, the library profession and the Michigan Library Association every day.

Thank you to the 2019-2020 work groups and committees for a great year, and thank you to our new volunteers whose terms begin next month! If you missed the call for volunteers this year, there's still time to participate! For those interested in serving on one of our literary awards work groups, contact Rachel Ash at [email protected] . If you would like to serve on a workshop or conference group, contact Amber Sheerin at [email protected] . If you are interested in serving on the Advocacy and Legislative Committee, the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (NLDC)
or the Trustee or ACRL work groups, contact Debbie Mikula at [email protected] .
2020-2021 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 Wednesday, July 29 from 9:00 – 10:30am using zoom to go over the basics of your work with us and then adding dates immediately afterwards identifying the first meetings for each work group. Mark your calendars – we hope to see you all there.
Michigan Library Awards Call for Nominations
The Call for Nominations for the Michigan Library Awards is open through Friday, July 17, 2020. Help us celebrate! Nominate a deserving colleague, employee or supporter at
It’s that time of the year—MLA award season! It’s our 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, Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) and other organizations serving libraries. Honorees will be recognized during a special virtual ceremony on Thursday, October 29.

Help us celebrate the accomplishments, dedication and service of an outstanding library staff member, trustee or library supporter.

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, July 17, 2020.

Submit completed nomination packets using the web form on the MLA website. Questions? Contact us at (517) 394-2774 or [email protected].
2020 Youth Literary Award Winners and Honor Books to be Announced During the Virtual Fall Institute for Youth Services
The 2020 Mitten, YouPer and Thumbs Up! Award winners and honor books will be announced during the new virtual preconference: Fall Institute for Youth Services on October 27, 2020. Watch for details later this summer!
MLA Job Board Survey
Please take this short survey to help us better serve you! The MLA Job Board Survey is fifteen questions and should take less than ten minutes to complete. Take the survey at . The deadline to share your feedback is Friday, June 26 .
Our goal is to provide valuable programs and services that benefit the library community. We are interested in your feedback so we can make improvements to our job board. If you are responsible for making job posting decisions for your organization, please take this brief survey and let us know your thoughts by Friday, June 26, 2020.

The survey should take less than ten minutes to complete and includes questions about your job posting needs in an average year as well as your organization's job posting budget and pricing expectations. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback to help us create a job board with job posting price points that will help attract more job postings, more job seekers and make the MLA Job Board the go-to place to connect your organization with talented candidates in the library community. Questions? Contact MLA Membership and Communications Director Rachel Ash at (517) 394-2774 ext. 225 or [email protected].
Share Your Library Card Artwork!
You and your library staff are bold and powerful and are an integral part of MLA, so… we are seeking out cool ideas of how to showcase just that. This is where you come in.

Please share the artwork for your library cards! We are also asking that you send a blank library card or two. We are looking for new and innovative ways to highlight those who band “together” to make up the Michigan Library Association.

You can send an image of the front of your library card as a jpg, png or pdf file to [email protected]. Mail actual cards to: MLA, 3410 Belle Chase Way, Suite 100, Lansing, MI 48911
MLA Education Fund Scholarship 2020-2021 Application Deadlines
Don't let financial issues stand between you and an enriching educational opportunity. MLA has a scholarship fund to assist individual members with the cost of attending association sponsored education events.
Application Deadlines
Annual Conference 2020:
September 25, 2020

New Director’s Academy 2021: 
January 22, 2021

Spring Institute for Youth Services 2021:
February 12, 2021

Workshops 2021:
March 12, 2021
Organizational Renewal Due Soon!
We know you are hard at work, implementing new plans and working with your staff and communities to safely reopen, so we wanted to share another quick reminder that 2019-20 organizational membership will expire on June 30, 2020 and that your renewal for the 2020-21 member year can be done online!

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!
Happy Fourth of July!
MLA will be closed next Friday, July 3rd in observance of Independence Day.
REALM Project Round 1 Test Results Available
The first findings of the REALM Project (conducted and funded by Battelle, OCLC, and IMLS) to produce science-based information to help mitigate exposure shows that COVID-19 is undetectable on five highly circulated library materials after three (3) days.
Those materials include: the cover of hardcover books (buckram cloth), the cover of softback books, plain paper pages inside a closed book, mylar protective book cover jackets, and plastic DVD cases.

Battelle tests found the virus undetectable after one day on the covers of hardback and softback books as well as the DVD case. The virus was undetectable on the paper inside of a book and mylar book jackets after three days.

The output of the REALM Project, both the systematic literature review and the lab test results, give library workers the information they need to make practical, informed decisions as they reopen their spaces and resume their services.

Battelle will be initiating lab testing on an additional five materials this month, with results expected by the end of July. Project updates are posted at as they become available.
ALA Advocacy Alert: Tell Your Senators How Vital Libraries Are
The HEROES Act may have slowed in the Senate , but leadership is still working behind the scenes on the next recovery package which may be announced in the next few weeks. 
America's libraries need support, and we can't let our Senators leave them out - they need to understand how vital you are to your communities. Can you share a library impact story to show your Senators how important libraries are to your community?

Libraries across the country are facing historic budget shortfalls, many are announcing furloughs, and all are concerned with how to open safely. It is time for Congress to provide support so we can keep our communities connected and informed. That's why ALA is advocating for $2 billion in additional funding in the next package.

Libraries are centers of community and civic life. Help convey this message to the Senate by sharing your story.

Thanks to your emails and calls, Congress included $50 million in the CARES Act for libraries to address the digital divide. IMLS has distributed the majority of these funds to all U.S. states and territories and its impact has been extremely positive. Make sure the Senate understands that libraries are poised to support their communities in the recovery and they are swiftly putting the funds to good use-if you can keep your doors open! Email your Senators today.
Reopening Michigan School Libraries
The Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) has been working on a document with guidance for reopening Michigan school libraries. Linked below is their first draft with plans on further updates as needed after Governor Whitmer's Return to Learn Advisory Council publishes their recommendations (which is anticipated for June 30th).

You can find the Reopening Michigan School Libraries draft document here:
National Voter Registration Day
Voter registration is more important than ever as states shift policies to respond to COVID-19. At the same time, social distancing prevents many voters from getting registered in their communities. Partner with National Voter Registration day! Organizations of all stripes and sizes can join in and help get voters registered this September 22.

Check out this webinar from ALA for more information:
Ready to Vote: Hosting National Voter Registration Day at Your Library

Libraries are centers of civic engagement in communities, schools, and academic institutions. By providing information, resources, and programming to foster full participation in the democratic process, libraries are valuable partners to government agencies, community leaders, and elected officials. Ensuring that eligible voters are registered and ready for election is an important part of that engagement.

Join ALA, National Voter Registration Day, and librarian colleagues to discuss past participation in the event and how the current moment will inform activities, resources, and plans for participation in this year's National Voter Registration Day.

Learn more and sign on to be a partner:
Most of State Remains at Phase 4 of Reopening Plan
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.
The rest of Michigan will not be moving into phase five of the MI Safe Start reopening plan this week as anticipated.

Governor Whitmer lifted the stay-home order on June 1 and Michigan entered phase four of the MI Safe Start plan in early June. Most of Michigan's regions are still in phase four of the plan, meaning their COVID-19 outbreaks are "improving" but have yet to be "contained." Currently, the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City region, are the only two regions to move into phase five.

We're "Charting a New Course, Together" and Going Virtual!
The MLA 2020 Annual Conference theme is Charting a New Course, Together, a nd charting a new course we are! The new virtual MLA 2020 Annual Conference is scheduled for October 28 & 29 2020 . Fall Institute for Youth Services Virtual Preconference and will be held on October 27, 2020.
Spring Institute for Youth Services, originally scheduled for March 19-20, is now the Fall Institute for Youth Services Virtual Preconference and will be held on October 27, 2020, leading into the MLA 2020 Virtual Conference on October 28 and 29.

Details and registration for MLA 2020 Virtual Conference and the Fall Institute for Youth Services preconference will be coming soon as the conference work groups and MLA staff chart this new course, together.

Questions? Contact Amber Sheerin, MLA Program and Event Director at (517) 394-2774 ext. 223 or [email protected].
Creating Inclusive Libraries Gender and Sexuality Awareness
Please join the Michigan Collaborating Partners for a three-part webinar series dedicated to creating inclusive libraries and supporting LGBTQIA+ patrons and staff. The program is only $25 for all three sessions!

The Collaborating Partners organizations will host Creating Inclusive Libraries: Gender and Sexuality Awareness, a series on Tuesdays from 12:00–1:30pm on July 7, July 14, and July 21.

The session on July 7th will feature a keynote on being an ally, inclusive leadership, and more, by Graci Harkema, an experienced diversity and inclusion consultant with graci, LLC. Ms. Harkema specializes in equity and inclusive leadership training within beverage, technology, and Fortune 100 industries. She is currently writing a book on her story, including her experience as a person of color and as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in Michigan.

The session on July 14th will feature a presentation by Kelly Boston on basic information and terminology regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as how intersectionality with race, disability and more shapes the identities of library patrons, and more. Ms. Boston is a certified school media library specialist in Michigan, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The session on July 21st will feature a presentation by Dr. Jessica Garcia on building more inclusive libraries, including the business case for diversity and inclusion in libraries, the concept of implicit bias and how it manifests, and actionable steps to reduce bias in our encounters. Dr. Garcia is the founder and CEO of Hummingbird Solutions, LLC, a diversity and inclusion firm. She has consulted with and trained thousands of participants from the public and private sectors on topics such as best business practices, implicit bias, and microaggressions. She also serves as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager for the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

The Michigan Collaborating Partners
Save the Date for MLA Advocacy Day 2021: April 20, 2021
Join MLA and hundreds of library advocates from around Michigan next year on April 20!

MLA represents the needs of all libraries throughout the state by advocating on their behalf in the Michigan legislature. By participating in MLA’s Advocacy Day you will help establish a stronger voice for the library community in Lansing, develop important relationships with your local legislative leaders, and garner a greater understanding of the processes related to policy-making from individuals involved in the work on a day-to-day basis. Advocacy Day will also give you the chance to network with other MLA members and create opportunities for future collaborations.

Mark your calendars – APRIL 20, 2021 – and join MLA and hundreds of library advocates from around Michigan in Lansing. Start planning now! Arrange a carpool with your library colleagues, talk with your coop about sharing a bus with other libraries in your region. We are excited to meet together in person next year!
MLA Connect provides virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan! 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.
Save the Date for 2021 Spring Workshops
Community Collaborations: Healthy Community Initiatives

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Library Human Resources: Drafting Policies That Work

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The Business of Libraries: Small Business Development

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Cultural Intelligence: Unconscious Bias Affects Everyone

Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Technology: Safety and Security Made Simple

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Executive Summit: Economic Forecasting with Census Data

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
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.
Kudos and Awards
Brian Mortimore, Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development at Kent District Library, has been named a “Mover and Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication, Library Journal.
In May, Cassidy Gould, Online Content and Social Media Coordinator of the Marketing Department received the Capital Area District Libraries' Director's Award.
After 23 years working at the Wyoming Branch, Loretta Downer, a Circulation Assistant, will be retiring from Kent District Library on July 2.
Congratulations to Maureen Derenzy on her retirement from Otsego County Library !
In Memoriam
CADL Executive Director Scott Duimstra said, "We're so saddened to hear about Toni Granse's passing. Before retiring, her work in our Outreach Department touched many lives. She was such a wonderful and caring member of CADL's family."
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.

Lapeer District Library Lapeer, MI

Clermont County Public Library Milford, MI

The Library Network Novi, MI
Connect on Social Media
Connect with MLA on social media! Like and Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest real-time updates from MLA staff, library news, inspirational and educational posts and more! We also ask that you share this invitation with friends and help us extend our reach so important advocacy updates and calls to action are heard by library supporters throughout the state.
Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.