MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
October 27, 2022
Note From Debbie
Perhaps we can all agree – change is the only constant in life. And who among us hasn’t seen their share of staff changes or board changes or direction changes or strategic priority changes within their organizations? I sure have. But it is the people who serve as my sounding board, help me set direction, and are always at the other end of the line when I call that I will always miss the most. Over the course of my four decades of work as an Executive Director, I have served with many wonderful individuals who have volunteered their time and energy presiding over some really wonderful and creative nonprofit institutions. And today, yet one more change is on the horizon.

Ryan Wieber, our esteemed MLA President, and current director of the Kalamazoo Public Library is leaving us AND leaving Michigan. He has accepted the position of library director at Lincoln City Libraries in Nebraska and will begin his tenure there in December. While we will miss him, we know that change is inevitable and that this move is exactly what he was seeking.

We asked Ryan to share a few parting words.
“I’m sad to leave KPL and my friends and colleagues in Michigan, but I’m excited to take on this new role and begin a new chapter in my career. I’ll always be grateful for the importance that MLA has played in my development as a librarian in Michigan!” - Ryan Wieber
Ryan stepped up last year during another leadership transition and has led MLA with integrity and inspiring ideas. This year has been challenging to say the least, but Ryan made sure we stayed focused and on-message, and allowed us room to move quickly and strategically in the face of daunting censorship challenges to the field. It is now time for him to turn the page and we wish him well in the next chapter of his life. We have achieved great things with him at the helm and he is sure to inspire a new group of library workers in Nebraska!

The MLA Board will be meeting in early December and at that time will approve yet another leadership change. No matter what…I think we’ll be in good hands!
Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director
Think Space: Holding True to Our Values and Staying Strong
Early Bird Rates
Member: $1,595
Non-member: $3,190
Upcoming Deadlines
Early Bird Registration: November 4, 2022
MLA Scholarship: 
November 4, 2022
Hotel Registration: 
November 7, 2022
Registration Closes: December 1, 2022, or when class is full

December 8-9, 2022
Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids
February 2023
Virtual Checkin
May 11-12, 2023
Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne City
October 19, 2023
Radisson Plaza Hotel, Kalamazoo
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 second iteration of this program will focus on “Holding True to our Values and Staying Strong.” 

We will cover topics such as:

  • First Amendment issues and the values libraries hold
  • Telling your library’s story and demonstrating your value
  • Developing plans to respond to the culture wars
  • Self-care and mental well-being of staff members
  • Instilling confidence as you continue this hard work

The 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 2023 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 and Boyne City.

Visit MLA's website to learn more about Think Space and register today!
Think Space Speakers
Financial assistance is available!! We want to bring together library directors and deans from libraries of all types and sizes throughout Michigan to share their experiences and learn from one another. If you would like to attend Think Space, but need financial assistance, please apply for a Library Continuing Education Stipend and/or an MLA Scholarship!

Continuing education stipends are available through the Library of Michigan's Library Continuing Education Program. View complete program details, eligibility and criteria, and apply. Learn more and apply for an MLA Education Fund Scholarship, applications are due Friday, November 4.
Call for Nominations for the 2023 MLA Board of Directors Election
The Call for Nominations for candidates for the 2023 Board of Directors is open through Monday, November 7. 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 MLA Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (NLDC) is seeking nominations/self-nominations for four member-at-large directors and the President-elect position, with terms beginning in July 2023 and ending in June 2026. The Call for Nominations will be open through Monday, November 7.

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 7, 2022. Submit a nomination by clicking the link belowFor any questions please contact Debbie Mikula, Executive Director at [email protected]

More information about qualifications and criteria is linked below:
October is Michigan Library Appreciation Month
Michigan’s libraries continue to evolve and expand their services and now offer more programs, events, services, resources, and collections than ever to serve and support their communities. MI Library is NOW an art gallery, a concert venue, a community living room and so much more.

Help us highlight just how much of an impact our libraries have made in the lives of Michiganders and how MI Library is NOW...better than ever. Join the celebration to highlight Michigan libraries, librarians, and library workers on social media for the rest of October and beyond!

Helping us celebrate Michigan libraries couldn’t be easier: Just share some of the cool things your library is up to! MI Library is NOW… [fill in the blank].

Celebrate all the good library professionals do in our communities, give a shout-out to your library staff, or your neighboring libraries. Highlight your library and all that it contains – the building, the collection, the staff, and the fun. Remember to tag your posts #MILibraryisNOW #LOVEMILIBRARIES or #MILIBRARYMONTH so we can find and share your posts!
Health Insurance and Healthcare Options for Members
Running a library takes hard work and dedication. We understand that while every library is different, there are common needs – like attracting a great workforce. MLA organizational membership unlocks tools to help libraries attract and retain talent through access to high-quality benefits packages from partners you can trust including:
Blue Cross® and Blue Shield ® of Michigan and Blue Care Network small and large group health plans for full-time staff (available for libraries covering one or more employees) and we are now pleased to offer Healthiest You plans for a simple and cost-effective solution for part-time staff.
MLA is dedicated to saving libraries time, and money, and reducing the hassles of offering employee benefit plans. The affordable and flexible plans allow your library to offer a complete medical, dental, and vision package that will attract and retain the talented employees needed to build a successful team.

Please note: You may recall back in 2019 that MLA took advantage of new federal rules to create a health insurance “pool” where Michigan libraries could access large group pricing, but a court case challenged those rules and the program had to be disbanded.  We do not see a path forward in the foreseeable future. Rates for small businesses (like our libraries) are the same whether you’re direct with the Blues or sponsored through an association or chamber. The rates can’t be discounted but we offer our members a direct connection to a highly trusted licensed insurance agent who not only provides MLA with our own association insurance but who now works with over 30 of our member libraries throughout Michigan.

Rick Labian at National Insurance Services (NIS) knows library needs and will provide details on plan options, run proposals, and provide implementation/enrollment assistance. He is very responsive to the needs of our members and offers good advice and “best fit” options. 

To learn more, please contact Rachel Ash, MLA Membership and Communications Director at [email protected].
“We’ve worked with Rick from the beginning with this process and he knows he will be hearing from me soon about costs for the upcoming year. Our pricing through NIS is still less expensive (savings of over $11,000/year) then what our township has to offer to my library so we’re pleased there is an alternative for us to choose.”
~BillieJo Bluemer, Director, Rauchholz Memorial Library, Hemlock, MI
What is HealthiestYou?
Library Directors: HealthiestYou is a new affordable option to provide your library staff with access to free healthcare. 

What is HealthiestYou?
HealthiestYou is a healthcare service that offers convenient, confidential access to quality doctors and providers by phone, video, or app 24/7/365.

What can you use HealthiestYou for?
HealthiestYou can help you with everyday, non-emergency healthcare issues, including sinus problems, allergies, flu symptoms, and more. By scheduling an online visit with one of their U.S. board-certified and licensed medical doctors, you can be diagnosed, treated, and prescribed medication if necessary and skip the waiting room or the trip to urgent care.

The current rate for MLA Organizational Members that enroll in HealthiestYou is $12.75 per employee per month, paid by the employer, and is guaranteed until 12/1/2023. It renews annually after that. The plan can be offered to full and/or part-time employees and includes access for their dependents. Plan set-up is simple and done all online.

Check out this flyer that explains the program from a member's perspective or click the video link above for a short one-minute video about how the program works.

Interested in learning more? HealthiestYou is available exclusively to MLA Organizational Members. If your library is interested in participating or learning more, please contact Rachel Ash, MLA Membership and Communications Director at [email protected] to verify your eligibility and connect you with Rick Labian at NIS to learn more or enroll.
2022 Michigan Library Awards Rebroadcast on Facebook
The Michigan Library Awards are 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). Congratulations to the 2022 Honorees!
Couldn’t attend the Michigan Library Awards in person this year? Grab some popcorn and watch a replay of the show on MLA's Facebook. The recorded Michigan Library Awards event will be broadcast on MLA’s Facebook page next Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 PM.

But you won't need to wait to find out who won. We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Michigan Library Awards! The 2022 honorees were unveiled on Wednesday, October 19 during the Michigan Library Awards event in Port Huron at an evening of celebration. Each recipient was chosen through peer review for their outstanding achievements:
Dr. Charles (Charlie) Mitchell, Brown City Library, Brown City, Michigan

Rebecca Lowe, Scripps Middle School, Lake Orion, Michigan
Kelly Altman, Presque Isle District Library, Presque Isle, Michigan
Jeff Milo, Ferndale Area District Library, Ferndale, Michigan
Monica Peck, Boyne District Library, Boyne City, Michigan
Amanda Vorce, Capital Area District Libraries, Webberville, Michigan
Jeremy Barney, Hope College Library, Holland, Michigan
Amy Knepp, Oscoda County District Library, Mio, Michigan
LeRoy Public Library, Leroy, Michigan
Lake Odessa Community Library, Lake Odessa, Michigan
Dearborn Public Library, Dearborn, Michigan

State Senator Wayne Schmidt of the 37th District
State Senator Jim Stamas of the 36th District
Annual Conference Fundraiser Update
Thanks to our attendees' generous support we were able to raise a total of $1780, with $1,485 from the Silent Auction and $295 from the Spelling Bee, to benefit the Advocacy Resource Fund and Educational Scholarship Fund. Thank you for your generosity!
MLA Welcomes Conference Intern
You may have seen a new face at the MLA Annual Conference registration desk this year. Megan Peterson is a student at Central Michigan University and joined us as a non-profit event intern. She was so helpful to MLA staff as we prepared for this conference. Thank you for all the hard work, Megan! 
Spring Institute 2023 Call for Proposals Opens November 1
Save the date for Spring Institute for Youth Services 2023 and join us March 30-31, 2023 at the Sheraton Hotel in Ann Arbor, MI.
The 2023 Spring Institute for Youth Services Workgroup is seeking proposals for the in-person event scheduled for March 30-31, 2023 at the Ann Arbor Sheraton Hotel. The 2023 theme is Sustaining Our Future: Working to Protect Communities, Relationships, Books, and Bodies. 
Sessions are 60-minutes in length and may include 1-4 speakers or panelists. Proposals that address the theme will be given preference, but a variety of topics can be addressed including programming, displays, self-care, stress management, sustainability, grants and finance, early literacy, intellectual freedom, censorship and book challenges, equity and accessibility, and more. The Call for Proposals form will open on November 1, watch for more detailed information on submitting a proposal next week!
Holiday Hours
MLA's office will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 25, and Friday, November 26. Watch for November's Primary Source one week early, on November 17!
Check out MLA's Bill Tracker to view a full list of legislation that the Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching. View the MLA 2022-2023 Advocacy Action Plan at
MLA's Leadership and the Intellectual Freedom Task Force Respond to Book Banning
MLA has been busy responding to media inquiries about book banning and the increase in material challenges in Michigan schools and public libraries. Check out some of the media published in the last month.
Opinion | Have we forgotten what a public library is for?

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The strain of censorship on public libraries

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Stateside Podcast: Librarians concerned over uptick in...

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Opinion | Book bans are hurting Michigan and must be...

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We Blame Our Shelves (09/14/22) by ONTV-Local Voice

Read more
Collection Development Part I and II
What is Collection Development? This article was written by MLA Intellectual Freedom Task Force member Mary Grahame Hunter, Ferndale Area District Library. Part I concerns the collection development process and may be helpful when discussing how librarians make selection choices. Part II covers five topics that show up frequently in book challenges and discussions of censorship. Read parts I and II online (pdf).View resources to assist libraries with first amendment challenges at
MLA’s Intellectual Freedom Taskforce has put together a set of presentation slides covering the basics of library governance, the collection development process, what censorship looks like and the importance of free access to information in libraries. Click here to view the presentation. View resources to assist libraries with first amendment challenges at
Views, Values, Voice, VOTE!
You have the ability to make a difference at the polls. There’s too much at stake to take anything, or any person, or any vote for granted. We implore you to put in the work and research, research, research. We need everyone to not only know where the individuals who are running for the top seats in government stand, we need to also know where our county commissioners, city council members, school board members and most importantly, where our library board members stand.
Views and Values. Get to know your candidates, learn about their views and values about libraries, know what they stand for – especially if they support First Amendment rights and will stand up to censorship challenges. What should you pay attention to when evaluating candidates? Ask yourself: Do they understand the role? Can they clearly articulate their goals? And do they share your values? Find out who is on your ballot.

Voice. Use your voice and be vocal. Share your opinion on social media, in op-eds and by standing up and speaking articulately, and with conviction, at school and library board meetings in support of your library. Call out Mis- Dis- and Mal-information when you see it. Make sure that your own views and values are shared and that you encourage others to vote as well.

Vote. It is your right and your obligation to vote. YOUR VOTE MATTERS! You all know what to do here – vote for candidates that prioritize and support the right to read, who will stand strong to support our libraries with diverse, inclusive collections, and will stand up to censorship challenges. Our libraries deserve your attention to this - not just now but in every election! Not registered? Register to vote today.
MI Right to Read is an MLA initiative coordinated through the leadership of the Intellectual Freedom Task Force to protect the right to read in Michigan. Visit today to join the coalition and take the pledge to protect every Michigander's right to read.
MLA 2022 Annual Conference: Bridging the Divide
It was our pleasure to welcome you to Port Huron for MLA 2022 Annual Conference! We hope you enjoyed the conference and were inspired to keep Bridging the Divide.
Please take a moment to complete our event evaluation by clicking this link or copying this URL into your browser window: Your feedback helps us to improve our events and services, and we thank you for taking a few minutes to let us know how we did.

Relive the memories by checking out our event photo album on Google Photos (or click the photo above). You may see some familiar faces! (Feel free to use any of the photos, but please credit the Michigan Library Association.) Available session handouts and slides are linked on the MLA website and in the event app and recordings of our keynotes will be available on MLA Connect On Demand next week.

Save the Date: MLA 2023 Annual Conference 2023 will be held October 17-20 at Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center, in Kalamazoo Michigan. See you there!
Check out the MLA Connect On Demand virtual education platform! MLA members have access to dozens of virtual programs and sessions on a wide variety of topics, all available to view on-demand. To view available programs, visit MLA Connect On Demand, browse the archives, and log in with your MLA individual login credentials.
November Advocacy Hour: The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office 
Thursday, November 17, 2022
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In 2021, Governor Whitmer created the Michigan High-Speed Internet (MIHI) office to help lead the development of necessary infrastructure and investments to bring quality and affordable broadband access to all Michiganders.

At MLA's November Advocacy Hour, join Eric Frederick, Chief Connectivity Officer of the (MIHI). Hear about the work the office is doing, updates to the Michigan Broadband Roadmap, the incoming investments including the ROBIN grant program to provide access to underserved communities, and how libraries can help fulfill these goals. 

Advocacy Hour conversations are always free to attend but registration is required.
MLA Connect: Supporting Trans Staff and Community in Your Library: Trans Allyship 101
Part 1: Wednesday, November 9, 2022 
10:00 - 11:00 AM
Part 2: Tuesday, January 11, 2022
10:00 - 11:00 AM

How can library workers and leaders support trans staff and patrons in our spaces? How can we make our trans employees feel valued and accepted, and our patrons feel safe? This can be daunting if you are not sure what to do, especially in the context of heightened tension around LGBTQ+ inclusive materials and programs. We will discuss barriers faced by many trans folks in the workplace and solutions to overcoming these obstacles to create a safer, more inclusive library where everyone can belong.

MLA is proud to invite Farmington Hills based organization Stand with Trans to join us for a 2-part webinar series on how to be a better ally in your library. The second session will build on the first and each will address issues such as what it means to be transgender, why pronouns are important, understanding the gender spectrum, language dos/don’ts, vocabulary, statistics, and allyship, with plenty of time for discussion and Q&A. 

You may register for one or both of the webinars:
1 webinar: $25 member / $50 non-member
Both webinars: $35 / $70 non-member
Now Available to View On-Demand:
Congratulations to the 2022 cohort on joining the ranks of hundreds of successful graduates of the Michigan Library Association Leadership Academy! MLA Leadership Academy is a biennial leadership development program for library leaders and aspiring leaders. Dating back to its inception in the 1970s, it has been one of MLA’s longest-standing and most respected professional development programs with alumni in all corners of the state. Interested in participating? Registration for the 2024 cohort will open next fall.
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.
On the Move
Congratulations to Sarah Neidert on her new role as director of Cromaine District Library in Hartland, Michigan. Wishing you all the best!
Welcoming Gabrielle Turbyfill Porter as the new director of the Sodus Township Library. Congratulations and all the best Gabby!
Jackson District Library Director Sara Tackett has recently announced her intention to retire this year after serving in various roles at JDL for the last 24 years. Her last day will be Friday, December 16th. Thank you for your many years of service to Jackson communities. 
Advertise on MLA’s Job Board
Members receive deep discounts on job postings through the MLA Career Center job board. Learn more here.
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) – Ann Arbor, MI

Portage District Library – Portage, MI

Pontiac Public Library – Pontiac, MI

Public Libraries of Saginaw – Saginaw, MI

View these jobs and more at the MLA Career Center.
Movers & Shakers 2023 Nominations

The editors of Library Journal need your help in identifying emerging talents in the library world-both great leaders and behind-the-scenes contributors who are providing inspiration and model programs for others. Our 21st annual round of Movers...

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National Endowment for the Arts Big Read

Bringing communities together around the shared activity of reading and discussing a book. Now Accepting Applications! Applications are now being accepted for the 2023-2024 granting cycle, for activities occurring between...

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Cultural and Community Resilience Grants

The Cultural and Community Resilience program supports community-based efforts to mitigate climate change and COVID-19 pandemic impacts, safeguard cultural resources, and foster cultural resilience through identifying, documenting, and/or...

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2022 National Friends of Libraries Week Award application
The 17th annual National Friends of Libraries Week will be held Oct. 16-22, 2022. Two Friends groups will be awarded $250 each in honor of their celebrations during the week. The deadline for applications is Dec. 2, 2022; all applications must be submitted electronically. Apply now
Carnegie-Whitney Award for Guides to Library Resources
The ALA Publishing Committee provides a grant of up to $5,000 for the preparation of print or electronic reading lists, indexes or other guides to library resources that promote reading or the use of library resources at any type of library. Applications are due on November 4. Learn more and apply.
Fight Censorship
With the severe uptick in local and statewide book challenges, ALA offers this clearinghouse of resources to assist library workers and library advocates in responding to and supporting others facing those challenges. Report challenges to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and let ALA know if you need assistance.
 Don't keep this great resource to yourself!
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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.