MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
November 27, 2019
Letter from Debbie
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I find joy in sitting back and taking just a few minutes to pause and reflect on the work we do together to help libraries and library professionals succeed. Today, I get to send my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all of you who work in our school, academic, public and special libraries throughout this beautiful state and to say thank you for everything you do to support MLA. But perhaps even more important, I get to say thank you for the work that you are doing locally and within your own environs. Read more
Happy Thanksgiving!
We have so much to be thankful for! We would like to wish the entire library community a joyous Thanksgiving full of happiness and lots of delicious food!

MLA will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29.
Support MLA With Year-end Giving
Through planned giving, a Giving Tuesday donation and even online shopping, you can make an important contribution to support our work and the values we hold dear; uniting Michigan libraries, advocating for ALL libraries and advancing the library profession by supporting library staff in their careers through education and professional development opportunities. With your support, we can empower the library leaders of today and tomorrow, and continue to enrich the lives of the people that we serve. As the year comes to a close, we ask that you consider donating to MLA to support the work we do to protect and serve our libraries. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Join MLA's Legacy Society
Planned giving integrates charitable giving with your overall financial and estate planning, potentially reducing your estate taxes while supporting Michigan libraries. There are a number of ways you can give.

When you establish a bequest or other planned gift, you become part of the select group of community-minded individuals that make up MLA’s Legacy Society. Visit our website to view more information. If you have questions, please contact Executive Director, Deborah E. Mikula at [email protected]
Join the Giving Tuesday Movement
On December 3rd, join us for the global day of giving! This #GivingTuesday consider donating to one of MLA's special funds dedicated to education, advocacy and intellectual freedom. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Support MLA While you Shop
Attention Black Friday shoppers: You can support MLA by shopping online! All you need to do is log in through Amazon Smile and select the Michigan Library Association as the organization you want to support. Then just do your shopping as usual and Amazon will donate .5% of eligible purchases to MLA! Your holiday shopping can give back to the library community by supporting continuing education scholarships and statewide advocacy for libraries. Amazon Smile has the same products, prices and service as Amazon. To make sure your shopping supports MLA, login at:
Mentor Program Relaunches in 2020
One major facet of MLA’s mission to help all library professionals succeed is our commitment to helping create partnerships that educate and inspire. The MLA Mentor Program is a trusted resource for emerging professionals and leaders to foster bidirectional professional development and growth. We are excited to announce a newly redesigned mentorship program for 2020 that will increase the impact and engagement of mentors and mentees throughout the state.

The new program will create structured relationships that last for six months and provide mentors and mentees with a cohort of others at similar places within their careers. Participants will set their own goals and objectives, and MLA will provide resources beneficial to both parties.

Detailed information about the program’s relaunch as well as the application form for mentors and mentees will be available on our website in December. Applications will be open from December 2, 2019 to January 10, 2020 and the program will launch in March 2020. We invite you to be a part of this free benefit to MLA membership. You never know where it might take you. For more information, c ontact MLA Program and Event Director Amber Sheerin at [email protected]
Update on MLA Health Insurance Benefit Through Transcend and BCBSM
MLA is committed to offering an exclusive health insurance benefit to MLA member organizations with National Insurance Services (NIS) through Transcend and BCBSM. As many of you know, MLA has been monitoring the extended delay in the court case which caused this health insurance opportunity to be put on hold. MLA is committed to “stay the course” and we will continue to work with NIS as this moves forward. For those of you already in the pool, Rick Labian, our NIS contact, will be in contact with each of you individually and set up a direct, comparable plan that will go into effect January 1, 2020. To continue to offer the lowest premiums to each of our member organizations who take advantage of our health insurance program, we are hopeful that the court case will conclude by April 2020 and be favorable so we can continue with the pathway of a larger pool of associations in more states. If the court case is not, MLA intends to set up the smaller pool of just libraries in Michigan. MLA is committed to offering this benefit to you and we are committed to continuing our work with NIS – we ask for your patience as this plays out in the court system.
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.
MLA 2019 Open Doors
Check out our photo recap of MLA 2019 Annual Conference by clicking the photo above and view the video below to relive the fun and get excited to join us next year in Kalamazoo!
Strategic Partner Membership
Strategic Partner memberships are now available for organizations that would like to partner with MLA and connect with the Michigan library community. Strategic Partner Members are entities or organizations that are supportive of and have an interest in libraries, library cooperatives, consortiums, or library schools.
This new member option offers a forum for partnerships and collaboration with community organizations, and organizations that provide goods and services to the library community. Non-profit entities can join MLA for $170 annually, and for-profit entities for $300 annually.

Organizations looking for an opportunity to show support for the library community, stay informed on the latest news and trends in the library profession, connect with library staff and build collaborative relationships within the library profession, are invited to join our network of more than 1700 libraries, library professional and supporters from all across Michigan. Membership with MLA provides exclusive benefits, including:

  • Discount for one lead staff on event registration
  • Access to our searchable member directory
  • Listing with your organization’s name and contact information in our partner directory
  • 10% discounts on exhibiting at our annual conference and our Spring Institute for Youth Services conference
  • 10% discount on advertising in our conference program book

If you have any questions about membership with MLA, please contact Rachel Ash, Director of Membership, Communications and Marketing, at [email protected].
Call for Awards Committee Members
We have exciting plans for celebrating excellence in the Michigan Library Community! We are seeking individuals interested in serving on the new MLA Awards Committee. Committee members will be responsible for reviewing and updating award guidelines, encouraging nominations, reviewing nominees and selecting the winners for our MLA professional recognition awards including the Librarian of the Year, Heart of a Champion, Rising Star and Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth. The Awards Committee will also work closely with the annual conference work group on planning our new awards gala. If you are interested in participating please contact Rachel Ash, Director of Membership, Communications and Marketing, at [email protected].
Call for Webinar Proposals
Do you have a great presentation idea that you think would be beneficial to MLA members? Would you like to share your knowledge in a particular subject area? If so, we invite you to submit a webinar proposal.

Perhaps it’s a new service you’re offering at your library that you think others could find helpful. Maybe it’s a program proposal that you have considered giving at annual conference, but timing just hasn’t worked out (or you gave it and people asked for more!). Maybe you won a grant or fought hard for an initiative that you want to tell other libraries about so they can go after it too. We want to hear from you!

Whether you are a veteran webinar presenter or new to this delivery method, MLA staff will work with you to schedule your event and get your message out to a wider statewide audience. Webinars will be scheduled to take place throughout 2020 covering general, intermediate, and advanced level subject matter. Visit our website for more information and submit a webinar proposal using the online form.
Discounts on MIRS Subscriptions
Keep up on legislative and political news at the Capitol with breaking news alerts, weekly podcasts, highlights of the daily legislative results and an in-depth analysis of current issues in the House, Senate and administration with daily updates in an easy to read online format.

For a sample visit the MIRS website and then be sure to contact us at [email protected] to subscribe at a discounted MLA member-only rate.
Change to MLA Office Hours
The MLA office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m. Contact us at [email protected] if you would like to come by for a visit!
Legislation Amending Library Privacy Act Introduced in Senate
On October 29, State Senators Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford), Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) and Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) introduced Senate Bill 611. This bipartisan bill amends the Michigan Library Privacy Act, 1982 PA 455, enabling libraries, if they choose, to work with law enforcement when the library is a victim of a crime, or a crime occurs at the library. Currently, libraries cannot release library records to law enforcement without a court order. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.
While MLA has not taken a formal stance on this bill to date, we will notify the membership once a decision is made. We want to make sure that all libraries who are impacted have had their voices heard. We are still gathering feedback on Senate Bill 611 from deans and directors from libraries across Michigan, but we want to make sure that the full membership and the entire library community also have the following information available to them. MLA’s research continues and we have reached out to ALA to look at Library Privacy Acts across the country that achieve high standards. To the best of our ability, we want to fully understand the implications and not diminish privacy protections. We also want to make sure that any updates to the Library Privacy Act are fully vetted by those of you who are affected on a daily basis.
Before the bill was introduced, the MLA Legislative Committee reviewed a draft of the bill's proposed amendments and sent it to the MLA Board for consideration at the board meeting scheduled for Friday, December 13th. MLA has invited Lance Werner, Executive Director at Kent District Library and Anne Seurynck, Attorney with Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, to join us to discuss how the changes proposed in this bill will affect libraries across Michigan.
The Legislative Committee requested that we offer information on the support and the concerns for these important updates. Lance Werner and Julia Eisenstein, both members of our Legislative Committee offered the following viewpoints: 
From Lance Werner, Executive Director, Kent District Library:  
The amendment to the Library Privacy Act 1982 PA 455, MCL 397.601 et seq., enables libraries to pursue justice more quickly in cases of onsite criminal activity. In situations that involve child pornography, cybercrime, violent crime, and many other types of criminal activity, the speed of engaging law enforcement in an investigation can make or break any resolution, protecting or putting others at risk. Unlike other organizations, libraries must request that law enforcement obtain a court order, such as a search warrant, before sharing any identifying information about individuals. The process of obtaining a warrant delays the investigation by days or weeks. At times, law enforcement may choose to not seek a search warrant because they consider the instance to not be a priority, which means there will be no investigation. Justice is delayed or halted by onerous procedures that are required of libraries, but not by other organizations. Other instances where libraries have provided identifying information to law enforcement, in violation of the Library Privacy law would become legal with this amendment. This bill affords libraries the same rights and options to seek justice and protect others. The amendment will enable libraries the discretion to determine how they want to engage with law enforcement when a crime has occurred at the library or the library is a victim of a crime. The amendment does not impact the original intent of the act, nor does it alter the portions of the act that pertain to computer usage.

From Julia Eisenstein, Associate Librarian, University of Detroit Mercy and MLA President-elect:
The proposed changes to Library Privacy Act 1982 PA 455 , will affect every library described in Section 2 (h), from public to academic to school and in some cases private libraries. Every library has a unique relationship with their police departments. While I have not made up my mind about the proposed amendments, I have heard from some of you already. Please consider with me the following as you review the proposed amendments. Will the proposed changes benefit libraries while working with law enforcement or will it hamper them? Will libraries actually lose their protection under the law? As it stands now, a subpoena, a warrant, or some court order (or consent of the patron) is required to turn over library records to law enforcement. The revision will give library officials a choice about releasing library records without a court order, which could cause conflict between library officials and law enforcement. If law enforcement knows libraries can turn over library records without a court order, they may expect it and that puts library personnel in a difficult position. The revision does not take away the library’s right to refuse, but may make it harder. The proposed legislation does not distinguish between different kinds of crime, from ticketed offenses to felonies. Law enforcement and libraries may differ on what constitutes a serious enough crime to compromise patron privacy. ALA already provides guidance and advocacy in the handling of criminal activity: . As it stands, if a crime is committed and time is of the essence, libraries may preserve evidence until law enforcement officers can obtain the necessary court order.

This revision moves away from ALA’s core value to protect privacy. The revision indicates a crime need only be “alleged,” making it possible to turn over library records for a patron who may not be involved in a crime at all. The ALA’s Rights to Privacy states, “Libraries should never enact policies or practices that abridge users’ right to privacy regardless of their age, ability, housing status, immigration status, involvement with the criminal justice system, religious affiliation, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other forms of identity or status unless explicitly required by law. Even then, libraries should consult with legal counsel before abridging any user’s right to privacy.”
No one can predict the effects these changes will have if enacted. The best we can do is consider our current situations as they relate to law enforcement and consider our core values. Is this a road we want to go down? Is this a road we have to go down? In a time where privacy seems to be a rare commodity, what do we stand for and what stand do we take? If these proposed revisions become law, we can’t turn back.
MLA is interested in hearing from you about how this change to the Michigan Library Privacy Act may impact you and your library. Please feel free to contact Deborah E. Mikula, MLA Executive Director at [email protected] to voice your support or concerns. We have heard from many already, but  hope to hear from more of you by December 12th so your comments can be shared at the MLA Board meeting .
2020 Census Resources
The U.S. Constitution requires a count every 10 years of every person living in the United States and for the first time, the Census Bureau will be encouraging residents to complete the Census questionnaire online. Libraries will play a vital role in the effort to achieve an accurate count by providing access to computers and the internet, assisting patrons with accessing the census questionnaire and by partnering with the Census Bureau to inform their communities. Visit our website for links to resources and information on the census.
Advocacy Day
Join MLA and hundreds of library advocates from around Michigan on April 22, 2020 in Lansing and make your voices heard! Attendees will attend a half-day of   advocacy training in the morning   to learn the latest research and legislative priorities from the experts. The afternoon will be dedicated to “meet and greets” when advocates take their passion, knowledge, and stories to the state Capitol for meetings with their congressional leaders to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased funding for libraries throughout Michigan.

Our Honorary Chair is former State Senator and MLA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jack Brandenburg along with Co-chairs Larry Neal, Director, Clinton-Macomb Public Library and Kathy Lester, Librarian, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.

New to Advocacy?  Don’t Worry! MLA will be there with you every step of the way, the morning training session will give you everything you need to know to speak confidently about your views about the importance and value that libraries bring to our communities. Afterwards attendees will meet with legislators in teams depending on appointment schedules. Our lobby firm, GCSI will take care of arranging meetings for all registrants with those in leadership roles in the House and Senate and those serving on Committees dealing with current legislative priorities.

M ark your calendars – APRIL 22, 2020 – and join us at the Cooley Law School, located just one block from the Capitol. Arrange a carpool with your library colleagues, talk with your co-op about sharing a bus with other libraries in your region. MLA will be putting together the details and will hope for a large turn-out of library supporters to share our message.
Partner With us at Spring Institute for Youth Services: People First
Sponsor and exhibitor registration is open! Download the vendor prospectus or visit us on the web to view details and sign up as a conference sponsor, exhibitor or program book advertiser using the online form. Support our libraries by sharing the invitation to partner with us with your vendors! More than 200 youth services library staff attend Spring Institute every year. Don't miss this great opportunity to network with library professionals from all across Michigan.
Join the 2020 Leadership Academy
March 3-4, 2020 - Auburn Hills
May 11, 2020 - Grand Rapids
August 7, 2020 - Lansing
October 27-28, 2020 - Kalamazoo

Join the ranks of the hundreds of successful graduates of the MLA Leadership Academy that have gone on to lead their libraries into the future. Leadership Academy is one of MLA’s longest-standing and most respected professional development programs with alumni in all corners of the state.

Don’t miss your opportunity to join the 2020 cohort. Registration won’t open again until 2021!
Past graduates agree, Leadership Academy is not to be missed!
"Leadership Academy is an invaluable experience. Not only did I develop practical skills and learn tools to set me in better stead as I grow in my career and lead others, the program also enabled me to form solid relationships with my colleagues throughout the state. The professional networking provided by the Leadership Academy was the best part of a program brimming with priceless experiences."
Brandi Tambasco
Adult Services Librarian
Howell Carnegie District Library

"MLA Leadership Academy provided the opportunity for me to learn more about leadership and the different levels in which you go through and/or experience during your career. After completing the session I was immediately promoted as the Branch Operations Manager of the Genesee District Library. My personal opinion is that these sessions are very determinable in enhancing your career."
Mary Higginbottom-Johnson, MLIS
Branch Operations Manager
Genesee District Library

"One of the best parts about Leadership Academy is meeting my fellow leaders! It is a great network and I was able to reconnect with a few at MLA's Annual Conference 2019."
Linda Lyshol

 "While the Leadership Academy presented a robust and comprehensive coursework, it shone most in making new connections with other librarians across the state. Going through the Leadership Academy with other library professionals provided an opportunity to meet and work with varied professionals throughout Michigan. It's a fantastic step to take if you're interested in advancing your career and skill set."
Matt Church
Library Director 
Berkley Public Library

"MLA Leadership Academy was the perfect way to start getting involved with library work throughout the state. I met so many other leaders that I still serve with today. The program is a great way to formally start your leadership path in Michigan libraries."
Steven Bowers
Associate Dean
Wayne State University Library System
Scholarships and Financial Assistance for Leadership Academy
MLA's Education Fund Scholarships are available to MLA members to support all or part of Leadership Academy registration. Applicants must be an individual member of MLA to qualify. Organizational members may apply for a scholarship on behalf of any staff member, provided that person is an individual member of MLA. Visit our website for more information and submit your application online. MLA Scholarship Fund applications are due December 6, 2019.
The Library of Michigan offers the Library Continuing Education Program to provide continuing education stipends to public, academic and school library staff.
Applicants could receive $900 stipends toward the program, and additional travel support of $150 is available for attendees traveling more than 150 miles to the event.
Applications are due the last day of business in December. Learn more about Library Continuing Education Program and apply online.
Save the Date
Spring Workshops and Spring Institute for Youth Services Registration to Open in January
Volunteer work groups have been planning and prepping since June for 2020 spring events. Visit the MLA website event list and mark your calendar now for these upcoming educational opportunities. Registration will open in January 2020.
March 19-20, 2020 - Ann Arbor

April 3, 2020 - Flint

April 20, 2020 - Jackson

April 22, 2020 - Lansing

May 1, 2020 - Traverse City

May 15, 2020 - Midland

May 29, 2020 - Southfield

October 28-30, 2020 - Kalamazoo
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.

Indiana University IN

Midwest Collaborative for Library Services Lansing, MI

Columbus Metropolitan Library Columbus, OH

Hamilton East Public Library Noblesville, IN