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 28, 2020
Letter from Debbie
Anyone else feel exhausted? Fatigued? I took the advice of one of our MLA Connect Coffee Hour speakers about taking care of yourself with a mental and physical break last week. Even when working from home, with nowhere to go due to the pandemic, it was time to slow the world down. I highly recommend it.

While we have been working remotely since March 13, the MLA staff continues to work hard on your behalf. I honestly believe that in MLA’s 129-year history, we have never needed to pay attention and synthesize so much information coming at us from so many sources, so quickly. The staff cancelled programming plans, made new plans, and are now updating plans to keep our advocacy, communications, education and engagement strong.

Connect on Social Media
We appreciate hearing feedback from our members and others in the library community and value the open dialogue that social media allows but we want to give a reminder that when engaging on social media be on the lookout for comments from fake accounts!

And if you haven't already we urge you to connect with MLA on social media! Like and Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest real-time updates from MLA staff. 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.
Call for Volunteers Closes Soon!
Take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference in the Michigan library community. Develop your leadership skills and grow your professional network by volunteering to serve on a committee or work group.

The Call for Volunteers online signup for 2020-2021 work groups and committees is open through June 1, 2020 . 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
Work Groups
All MLA members are eligible to participate! 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 [email protected] . Complete the online volunteer application by Monday, June 1, 2020.
Last Call for Subscription Discounts
MLA is partnering with LinkedIn to offer to Michigan libraries at a discounted rate. The deadline to sign up has been extended to June 5, 2020 !
We are excited to partner with LinkedIn to offer to Michigan libraries at a discounted rate. Libraries that join our consortium will receive a discount of 7%. To take advantage of discount pricing, new subscribers will need to sign up and return order forms by June 5, 2020, for services beginning in mid-June.

With libraries closed across the state, provides public library patrons with access to 15,500+ online courses. Inspire anyone to learn the latest software, creative and business skills. Give users of any skill level bite-size tutorials, or comprehensive courses, on hundreds of topics and encourage personalized and self-paced learning for those looking to gain new skills in their time at home or to re-skill after a layoff.

For details on the program and to subscribe please contact Sam Steele, Regional Account Executive, State & Local, LinkedIn Learning at [email protected] or call (415) 801-1071.

For questions about MLA membership or member benefits, contact MLA Membership and Communications Director, Rachel Ash at [email protected] .
A Note From Lisa - Please Share Your Library Card Artwork!
I just wanted to reach out to you to let you know that I have been thinking about you and your library staff. Our global situation has been one that we have never experienced before, yet we all have done so “together”.

I do love the word “together” It’s bold, meaningful and so powerful. 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.

I am asking that you email me the artwork for your library cards. I am also asking that you send me a blank library card or two. As I mentioned, 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

Always remember too that I am here to help you in any way I can. Whether it be a login issue or a question about an invoice or membership. Feel free to call (517)394-2774 ext. 227.

Thank you for what you do!
Lisa Buttigieg
Administrative Assistant
MLA Job Board Survey
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 12. The survey should take less than ten minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback!
Update on Executive Orders and COVID-19 Library Closures
During this rapidly changing situation, we are actively monitoring legislation and regulations related to COVID-19. Please watch MLA's website and our social media for important news and announcements as we keep you informed.
The status of Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders continue to happen fast and some days unexpectedly. A special shout out to Clare Membiela from the Library of Michigan for all the work she has done to read and analyze these orders and then publish the analysis on their website, so all of us can gain insight into what we should take into consideration and what we don’t necessarily need to pay attention to.

Right now, we are watching for any further direction from the Governor’s office on four Executive Orders and also waiting for word about the library advisory work group that has been announced but has yet to be put into play. When we know more, we will share this with the Michigan library community.

The four Executive Orders are:

EO 2020-100 which extends the Stay Safe, Stay Home order to June 12, 2020. This is an extension of 2020-96 described below.

Urge Governor Whitmer to Dedicate CARES Act Funding to Libraries
This call to action has now become more important than ever as the Governor has just announced her priorities after the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, and without Federal help, budgets are sure to be slashed due to the state's estimated $6.3 billion dollar deficit over the next 18 months. On May 28, the Governor laid out her budget priorities – which she noted “were a statement of Michigan’s values,” and first on her list are schools and literacy. Libraries have an opportunity to be at the table with our schools. In addition, her policy priorities to help Michigan families include:

  • Access to Healthcare
  • High-Quality Child Care
  • Workers Retraining
  • Return to School Plan
  • Supporting Small Business
  • Enhanced Consumer Protections
As we heard at the MLA Coffee Hour on May 28 with Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League and Neil Sheridan, Executive Director of the Michigan Township Association, they encouraged us to be involved in workers retraining and supporting small business and entrepreneurs as well.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan has received $89.4 million in federal aid through the CARES Act that will help K-12 schools, colleges and universities and other educational organizations. MLA has contacted Governor Whitmer requesting that a portion of these funds be used for libraries.

The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund under section 18002 of the CARES Act allows Governors to allocate funds to educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and any “education-related entity” deemed essential for carrying out emergency educational services. Note that “education-related entity” includes libraries.

Access to digital resources has become critically important to all Americans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and libraries have stepped up to successfully deliver these resources to communities in need throughout Michigan. However, libraries, like other public and private institutions, are fulfilling community needs while anticipating lost revenue.

We urge you to contact Governor Whitmer and request that a portion of CARES Act funding is dedicated to libraries. By allocating CARES Act funding to support our libraries, they will be able to maintain the staffing and services necessary to scale up relief efforts already underway and, equally important, to foster community resilience as we emerge from this crisis.

A draft of MLA's letter is posted here. Please feel free to use this letter as an example when drafting your note to the Governor.

To contact Governor Whitmer now, visit our Call to Action webpage by clicking the button below. If your letter exceeds the space on the Governor’s website for correspondence, we suggest you send it snail mail to: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, PO Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909.
Curbside Service Call to Action Update
On April 30, MLA received 331 responses from public library directors - 71% indicated they would provide curbside in the first phase of their reopening plans, 23% were not sure and 6% will not offer it at all.

Of those, 266 responded when they would be ready to institute curbside, 15% - immediately, 55% - after EO 2020-59 was lifted on May 15 (now EO 2020-100 on June 12) and 30% - at a later date (responses in the last category - 2 days to a month after the EO is lifted).

When asked what they needed to feel safe to institute curbside, the majority (46%) stated when PPE and other protections were secured, 16% stated when the guidance and protocols from government agencies were delivered, another 16% stated the need to incorporate social distancing and limiting patron access/occupancy, 5% stated that they already felt safe, 2% stated when testing and contact tracing could be implemented, 15% were misc. comments or no response.

Based on those findings, the MLA Legislative Committee recommended advocating to the Governor to allow libraries to offer curbside services. MLA will continue to actively support the Governor’s timeline to reopen the state and regions based on the data she is privy to. Her Executive Orders are still being generated and we have seen a lifting of restrictions, not a tightening.

We hope that those that want to provide curbside will be able to do so when the Governor lifts her restrictions in the regions that have lower cases and deaths per capita due to COVID-19. We will be able to monitor progress in those regions and make sure that when the time comes and restrictions are lifted in additional regions, that this choice will be available to any library, if, and only if, PPE and a robust preparedness and response plan are in place.

We know that not everyone will be ready for this at the same time. We know you are all working diligently on your phased in reopening plans, your preparedness and response plans, making sure that protections are in place for staff and patrons, and taking the most conservative approach to quarantining materials until further definitive guidance is available for the eventual reopening of your facilities and services like curbside.

MLA is here to help our libraries be totally prepared for the eventual phased-in reopening of their facilities and their services. Libraries across Michigan are now preparing individualized phased-in reopening plans and library administrators are being very careful and thoughtful, taking into consideration staff and patron protections from the continued spread and/or a resurgence of the coronavirus. Many libraries are ready to begin implementing curbside services. We are now asking the Governor to allow libraries to offer curbside and no-contact pickup services.

Phased-in reopening plans take into account the many considerations libraries must evaluate to safely reopen and serve their communities. In many of these reopening plans, curbside service is one of the first services to be offered. With the proper PPE and quarantining processes in place for returned items, libraries are able to begin implementing curbside services.

To date, MLA’s action center has generated more than 470 letters to Governor Whitmer. We know more are being sent directly to her through social media. Please contact her today and tell her you will be ready to begin implementing curbside services at your library as one of the first phases of your reopening plans . Use the message we prepared or add details about how your library is ready to serve your community with curbside and no-contact pickup services.

Email Governor Whitmer using the form available on the Governor's website or visit to send your email through our action center. We also encourage you to share a message on social media:

Twitter: @GovWhitmer
Facebook: @GovGretchenWhitmer
Please Continue to Reach Out to Legislators
MLA continues to reach out to all of our Senators and House members to remind them of the importance of libraries throughout Michigan. Last month we contacted every State Representative and Senator to remind them that while libraries' doors are closed, libraries continue to offer many valuable digital services online. We shared that even though library buildings are closed to the public, many have taken this opportunity to expand access to digital resources and online services, launch virtual programs, and coordinate services with local government agencies. We reminded them that library patrons can access eBooks, audiobooks, online learning and tutoring help. We shared that libraries are engaging readers of all ages by streaming book discussions, author visits and storytimes, offering access to skill-building activities and resume development for those who have been recently unemployed, as well as offering telehealth resources and trustworthy public health information.

We invited our legislators to include information in their own newsletters to constituents and provided the sample write up below. We had several positive responses, thanking us for the information and letting us know they are happy to share the information with their constituents.

We encourage you to reach out to them as well and make sure that in these difficult times they are hearing from you too. Since we cannot visit with legislators in person or invite them to hold their coffee hours at our libraries right now, we suggest you email them and let them know what your library is doing now, even with the physical doors closed.
Sample Write-up Shared With Legislators:

While our local libraries are temporarily closed due to the current public health crisis, it's a great time to explore the many digital resources they provide. Check out your local library online! You can find trusted health information and community resources; access online services to learn a new language, brush up on job skills, get homework help or explore your family history; stream movies and music; take advantage of fun and educational virtual events and digital programs like storytimes, escape rooms, author talks and book clubs. Plus, access audiobooks, eBooks, newspapers, magazines and more - all for free and all accessible online from anywhere.

Don’t have a library card? Visit your library’s website, or give them a call! It’s easy to sign up for a library card and your card grants you access to all of the free and helpful digital services and resources your library provides.
Our state legislators need to know that access to digital resources , delivered by our libraries, has become critically important to our citizens in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. L ibraries have stepped up to successfully deliver these resources to our communities.

Today…call them or write them. We must stay in front of them and amplify our voices about the importance and relevance of our libraries. We must continue to advocate for library resources that will go elsewhere if we do not.

You can find your legislators and their contact information using these links: Find your Representative | Find your Senator
Libraries Must Develop a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan
In accordance with Executive Order 2020-97 - Rescission of Executive Order 2020-91 all libraries must develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

By June 1, 2020, or within two weeks of resuming in-person activities, whichever is later, a business’s or operation’s plan must be made readily available to employees, labor unions, and customers, whether via the website, internal network or by hard copy. 

For a sample preparedness plan, check out this plan shared by Carol Stone, SPHR, Director of Human Resources & Labor Relations from the City of Midland during the MLA’s Coffee Hour: Human Resources in the Time of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Impacts on State of Michigan Budget
Staggering revenue declines for the State of Michigan were announced at the May 15 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC). Officials agreed that for the current fiscal year, the state’s General Fund will see a $1.98 billion decrease in revenue, while the School Aid Fund will see a $1.25 billion hit.

Furthermore, current estimates show a total decrease of $6.3 billion for both funds combined in the current and upcoming fiscal years. State Budget Director Chris Kolb noted that given the unprecedented health crisis the state of Michigan is facing right now, flexibility and additional funding from the federal government are crucial to ensure Michigan and states across the country can continue working on behalf of the people.

When asked what programs would be impacted by these declines, Governor Whitmer stated that she believes that Congress needs to take immediate action to address this revenue deficiency and help all states across the nation with relief. Whitmer , along with other governors, is advocating to use the $3.8 billion from our federal government for COVID-19 related challenges to help mitigate the loss of revenues that states and local units of government are sure to feel, but to date, this has not been approved. There is also conversation of utilizing the $1.2 billion in Michigan’s “Rainy Day Fund” to shore up the state budget during this fiscal year and next. It is important to note that only 25% of these funds can be used in any given year and accordingly will only be used as a last resort to the budget challenges.
Event Planning in the Time of COVID-19
The MLA 2020 Annual Conference theme is Charting a New Course, Together, a nd charting a new course we are! MLA 2020 Annual Conference is scheduled for October 28-30, 2020 in Kalamazoo. Fall Institute for Youth Services Pre-conference and will be held on October 27, 2020.
The MLA Annual Conference work group met via Zoom recently to debate and decide the educational content of breakout sessions for our October conference, and one question loomed over the discussion that hasn’t been present in previous years. Will this event actually happen?
MLA is committed to the health and safety of members, vendors, and guests before all else. That may mean making some hard decisions, but for now we are moving forward with our event and including important changes to reflect the reality of our times.
We have been discussing plans with our host venues, reviewing room configurations that allow for adequate social distancing, planning for lots of hand sanitizer stations, drafting menus that help eliminate the risk of cross-contamination, and rethinking some of our sponsor and vendor opportunities. Spring Institute for Youth Services that was originally scheduled for March 19-20, is now the Fall Institute for Youth Services Pre-conference and will be held on October 27, 2020 leading into Annual Conference which begins officially on October 28. All speakers and attendees have been notified of their options for transferring registration to this new event or receiving a full refund.
We understand this year will look different, and we are researching the best ways to provide a virtual or hybrid component for those unable or feeling unsure about traveling to Kalamazoo. Details and registration will be coming soon as the conference work group 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].
And the Winner Is...
Everyone registered for Spring Institute 2020 that chose to transfer their registration to either Annual Conference or Spring Institute 2021 were entered to win a prize.

Spring Institute T-shirt winners:

  • Sarah Davignon, Milan Public Library
  • Jodi Krahnke, Ypsilanti Public Library
  • Kathleen Mitchell, Kent District Library

The winner of a Free Night Stay at Spring Institute 2021:

  • Natalie Johnston, East Lansing Public Library

Congratulations to our prize winners. Amber Sheerin, MLA Program and Event Director, will contact you with instructions on claiming your prize.
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
We are excited to announce our 2021 Spring workshops! Registration will open in December 2020. Want to be involved in planning one of these great events? There's still time to sign up to volunteer on a work group by filling out the 2020 Call for Volunteers!
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
Congratulations to Katie Zuidema, librarian at the Grandville Branch of Kent District Library for being elected to the 2022 Newberry Award Selection Committee.
Leslie Warren from Northern Michigan University has accepted a 2-year appointment to ALA's Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee. Her term starts in July.
Wishing Fran Allen a happy retirement after almost 30 years at the Kent District Library Comstock Park Branch. Congratulations Fran!
Sharon Sherinski recently retired from her position as Circulation Assistant at the Kent District Library Plainfield Branch after working for over 19 years! Congratulations Sharon!
In Memoriam
Judith A. Doublestein passed away after a short battle with cancer on Sunday, May 10, 2020. She will be missed at Oxford Public Library.
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.

Millington Arbela District Library Millington, MI, United States

Kalamazoo Public Library Kalamazoo, 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.