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 26, 2022
Note From Ryan
Michigan library friends,

This time of year is about refreshment, regrowth, and renewal. After two-plus years of a pandemic, signs of encouragement grow stronger with each return of a familiar library program or activity, and with each return to our spaces by a patron. MLA is leading the charge to both welcome back and introduce anew to our communities, the value of recent additions to our spaces and collections through the MI-83 project where libraries, courtesy of ARPA funding, received new technology and digital content. The MI Library is Now marketing campaign can be utilized by all of us as another tool to welcome back folks to Michigan libraries. Take advantage of these resources and modify the message uniquely for your community.

I also challenge you to visit, created and coordinated by MLA and join the coalition to ensure intellectual freedom and access to library materials are better understood and supported as we continue to face friction in upholding the rights of readers. Encourage that your colleagues, volunteers, and library supporters are aware of current issues, and how MLA and the library profession in Michigan are ready to lend a hand when needed.

Just this week, we have been hit again with the god-awful news of yet another mass school shooting. That, in addition to the racist and hate-motivated killing of innocent lives at a Buffalo supermarket last week, reminds us with blunt, searing forcefulness, of the broken state of our laws, politics, and priorities. Things have to change. The lives of children, students, friends, and families have to be given value over perceived rights and political blindness. Enough is enough.

In times like this, may we all exhibit courage like the children’s librarian yesterday at the Uvalde, Texas Public Library who somehow had the ability to stand before 10 children, singing and reading, and encouraging joy, and hope. Things can change, and librarians can be part of it.
Ryan Wieber
MLA President
MLA Ambassador Orientation
MLA Ambassadors: watch your email! You will receive workgroup and committee placement and orientation information next week!
MLA Ambassadors will receive notification of their workgroup and committee placement on June 1. Thank you to all of those who have volunteered to be ambassadors of MLA and share their experience and expertise with the entire library community.

We will be holding a virtual ambassador orientation on Zoom on Wednesday, June 15, from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM to go over the basics of your work with us. Ambassadors will also receive training on MLA's Code of Conduct. Mark your calendars – we hope to see you all there!
MI Library Is Now... Underway! 
For more promotional materials, including printable and digital graphics, visit: and use the password: Mi832022! 
We are excited to share that our statewide campaign promoting the two MI-83 Grant Projects is off to a great start. Please continue to share your library's new tools and resources with your patrons and communities as we progress into the summer, and tag the Michigan Library Association whenever you are posting on social media! 

If you have not already, please feel free to place the lawn sign in front of your library, hang the posters, and share the bookmarks with patrons. We also encourage you to utilize the press release on our resources page to personalize announcements for the new content and tools at your library.

We hope you are as excited about your library's new tools and eContent as we are! For any questions regarding the ongoing campaign, website updates or marketing materials, please contact Debbie Mikula, MLA Executive Director at 

If you have questions regarding the eContent, please contact Carol Dawe at Or if you have any questions regarding the new equipment, please contact Steve Bowers at
Equity Fund Grant Applications Due June 3
The 2022 MLA Equity Fund Grant application is open through June 3, 2022. Please share this individual grant opportunity with colleagues and staff. Learn more and apply at
The MLA Equity Fund is used to provide individual grants to fund professional development opportunities for individuals currently underrepresented in the library profession. MLA Equity Fund Grants aim to reduce financial barriers and uplift the professional development of 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 the applicants’ choosing, or for other purposes that they believe increase their ability to impact and transform the library profession.

The 2022 MLA Equity Fund Grants will be awarded for activities occurring between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. Requests of up to $1,000 will be considered. Partial funding of a request is possible. Not all applicants will be funded.

The application form will be open through Friday, June 3, 2022, at 5:00 PM. Download the MLA Equity Fund Guidelines for complete details. Submit completed application packets using the online form.
Order an MLA Hoodie or Pin
Show your MLA pride by ordering a hoodie or pin! Hoodies are $40 and Pins are $8. Both ship free! Click the button below to fill out the order form online.
Welcome to MLA's New Social Media Strategist Intern
Earlier this month, the MLA staff welcomed Kara MacKenzie, our Summer Semester 2022 Social Media Strategist Intern. Kara is a technical writing specialist, and avid plant mom from Battle Creek, Michigan. She is currently a junior at Michigan State University, where she majors in Professional & Public Writing and Women’s & Gender Studies. Kara is interested in the intersections between rhetoric and social justice and hopes to one day use her writing skills to benefit a nonprofit organization or work in the publishing industry. When she isn’t working, she can usually be found drawing, watering her plants, or reading books with strong queer representation and feminist or social justice themes. Kara is a strong supporter of local libraries and is excited to celebrate and showcase the amazing things that Michigan libraries are doing!
MLA Awards Call for Nominations
Do you know someone who deserves recognition and celebration for their work in Michigan libraries? We encourage and welcome your nomination for any of MLA's Awards for recognition at the 2022 Michigan Library Awards on Wednesday, October 19 in Port Huron Michigan.

We've made it simple, self-nominations are strongly encouraged, and you can choose to have your nomination considered for the 2023 awards as well. Check out complete details and criteria for MLA Awards by downloading the guidelines linked below and submit a nomination for the 2022 Michigan Library Awards today!

Learn more about the Michigan Library Awards and submit a nomination at
Library Support Staff of the Year
The Library Support Staff of the Year Award honors an exceptional library assistant or support staff member who goes above and beyond at their library and has advanced and strengthened the image of support staff.
Rising Star
The Rising Star Award recognizes a librarian who shows leadership early in their career. While new to the profession, winners of this award are forward-thinking, expanding the role of librarians and moving libraries into the future.
Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth
The Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth is given annually to a Michigan library staff person who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of library service to youth throughout their career.
Heart of a Champion
The Heart of a Champion Award recognizes a library supporter who has shown an exceptional commitment to libraries or the library profession through continued advocacy and supporting or providing funding for their local library.  
Public Librarian of the Year
The Public Librarian of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding library professional that inspires people, provides innovative library service to their community, promotes collaboration among libraries, and shows evidence of personal and professional achievement as well as initiative and creativity.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a deserving librarian for their distinguished service to the library profession over the course of their career. Throughout their career, they have sustained a strong and consistent body of work and demonstrated leadership in their community and in the profession by mentoring and empowering library staff, providing innovative service to their community, and enhancing the image and visibility of the library. They promote collaboration among libraries and librarians and have been a catalyst in special areas such as intellectual freedom, library innovation, outreach, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Check out MLA's Bill Tracker to view a full list of legislation that the Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching.
State of Michigan Budget Updates
There is still a lot of uncertainty on how the State of Michigan budget will play out overall, but there is definitely a lot of conversation about how to spend the additional dollars that are coming into play. Last week, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference revised revenues for the current and upcoming fiscal years upward by $5 billion. For the current fiscal year, revenues were increased by $1.7 billion General Fund and $1.3 billion School Aid Fund. For the upcoming fiscal year, revenues were increased by $1.1 billion for the General Fund and $948.7 million for the School Aid Fund. It should be noted that there is still some reluctance to spend these dollars freely and add more programs or increase the budgets of departments not knowing what the future holds. 

We continue to hear that the legislators are hoping for a budget to be in final form by the end of June (state law), but in actuality, they continue to reference the first week in July. They are also hoping that budget targets will be announced as early as next week. While many in the legislature will be in attendance at the Mackinaw Island Policy Conference next week, there is still a lot of work to be done to build consensus on the budget. On the heels of news that state revenues were increasing, the House of Representatives, Senate, and Governor Whitmer each moved on separate proposals for a tax cut for Michiganders. Currently, there is no consensus on what is the best road forward which is part of the reticence to spend.  

As budget targets near, MLA continues to advocate for the version of the budget proposed by the Senate to include an additional $500,000 for State Aid to Libraries. We are also advocating for the Governor’s version of the budget ($50M) to make libraries eligible in the boilerplate language for the Out of School programming grants.

Learn more and view documents and reports from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference at
Michigan Afterschool Partnership
MLA is partnering with the Michigan Afterschool Partnership (MASP) to increase funding for afterschool and summer reading programs throughout libraries.
Where are today’s children and youth spending the hours between 3:00 and 6:00 PM? And more importantly, why does it matter? Because safety, learning, and growth are top priorities. And because communities are stronger when they include our young people. 

Our libraries know this first-hand!

The Governor’s FY2023 budget includes a $50 million investment for afterschool
and summer programming. With the support of these dollars, more than a quarter-million more youth will be able to access the learning and development opportunities they need to keep growing into the successful adults of tomorrow.  

As we all know, these learning opportunities include the programs that are offered at our public libraries – they are game-changers for our state – supporting academic, physical, social and emotional growth!

Unfortunately, there are too many communities in which these programs are less
available then they should be.

  • The statewide youth/provider ratio is 376:1, representing a staggering undersupply of programs to meet current demand. The problem is even more significant in southeast Michigan, where the ratio is a whopping 531:1. More than 751,000 Michigan children would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them.

  • For every youth participating/enrolled in a Michigan afterschool program, another four are waiting to get in.

  • Worst of all, the youth who miss out on these opportunities are too often Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. Often, they’re struggling with low income at home—and that’s a cycle that is likely to continue without the infusion of strong out-of-school time supports.

Out-of-school time (OST) programs are necessary to support Michigan’s talent pipeline and economic future.

  • Sufficient funding must be specifically appropriated through a dedicated line item that specifically names community-based programs and libraries as recipients and/or district partners.

  • Failure to invest properly today will result in a generation of learners that have been inadequately supported as they seek to achieve their personal and professional ambitions. It is our responsibility to ensure the youth of today has adequate preparation and timely access to the opportunities they most wish to pursue. OST delivers strong results on both counts.

Robust state financial support is needed to keep afterschool and summer reading programs strong and growing. We hope you will join MLA to advocate for this initiative with our wonderful partners at Michigan After School Partnership.

We need you to step up today. Check out the MASP Take Action toolkit and help us advocate – use the stories and images from your library to help tell the story of the need and investment that will come with additional resources. Learn more and get involved at
MI Right to Read and New Resources for Libraries
MI Right to Read is a new MLA initiative coordinated through the leadership of the Intellectual Freedom Task Force to protect the right to read in Michigan. Read on to learn more about MI Right to Read and new resources available for libraries to assist with first amendment challenges and join the coalition today.
MLA actively advocates and educates in defense of intellectual freedom – the rights of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Intellectual freedom is a core value of the library profession and a basic right in our democratic society. MLA opposes censorship of materials and is a proponent of the accessibility to materials without prejudice to every member of the community.

For the past few months, the Intellectual Freedom Task Force has been preparing to launch MI Right to Read and has created a toolkit of resources to assist libraries with first amendment challenges.

MI Right to Read is a grassroots coalition of librarians and concerned Michigan residents. The coalition opposes any attempts to ban books from Michigan libraries based on content subjectively deemed inappropriate. Its purpose is to educate the public and oppose any current or future legislation that infringes upon First Amendment rights and intellectual freedom. The goal of the coalition is to protect Michiganders' right to read and ensure that librarians across Michigan are entrusted to continue to do their jobs and serve the needs of all students and communities.

Visit today and join the coalition.

View resources to assist libraries with first amendment challenges at
View the Archived Advocacy Hour: Intellectual Freedom Task Force Update
Click below to view the recording of our May Advocacy Hour where you can learn all about MI Right to Read and MLA's Intellectual Freedom Toolkit. Plus, hear representatives from Free to Read Rochester share insights and tips on building a localized coalition to fight book banning.
Letter to Legislators
Check out the May edition of our monthly outreach to Michigan Legislators where we continue to educate them on the value of our libraries and the critical role of library staff. Our monthly letters include information on programs and services that libraries provide, education on library funding, the return on investment for our communities, stats and fun facts about library usage and more.
MLA 2023 Annual Conference: Bridging the Divide
Save the Date for the MLA 2022 Annual Conference! Attendee registration will open in June. Save the date and plan to join us October 19-21, in person in Port Huron, Michigan for MLA 2022 Annual Conference: Bridging the Divide.
We are excited to announce the MLA 2022 Annual Conference opening keynote and Thursday All-Conference General Session speakers! Watch for more details including our closing keynote announcement when we open registration next month and plan to join us on October 19-21 in Port Huron at our first in-person annual conference since 2019. Attendee registration will officially open on June 23.
Opening Keynote with The Civility Project
Bridging the Divide: Civility in a Time of Unrest
Celebrated journalists Nolan Finley and Stephen Henderson have been longtime friends, despite their different perspectives on pretty much everything. The one thing they agree on is the importance of their friendship—which includes a healthy dose of disagreement and mutual respect.

“It never occurred to us that we couldn’t be friends because we disagree,” says Nolan. “We’ve never avoided conversation, we never pulled punches, we sort of enjoyed the mix-up.”

Americans used to engage in civil conversation with people of opposing viewpoints – enjoying the banter and debate. Today, many Americans believe they can’t be friends with people whose politics are different. The Civility Project seeks to bring people of opposing viewpoints together for healthy disagreement, personal interactions and constructive conversations.

“If we reach the point where we dehumanize the people we disagree with, anything is possible,” Stephen says. “We must step back and learn to talk to people as people, rather than political adversaries."
Nolan Finley began his newspaper career as a copy boy at The Detroit News while a senior in college. After a brief stint with the Jackson Citizen Patriot, he returned to The News as a reporter, covering the administration of Mayor Coleman A. Young. He’s been the newspaper’s City Editor, Business Editor, Politics Editor and Deputy Managing Editor. In 2000, he was named Editorial Page Editor, where he directs the expression of the newspaper’s editorial position on various national and local issues and writes a column in the Sunday newspaper. He graduated from both Schoolcraft College and Wayne State University and in 2012 was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. Finley is co-host of One Detroit on Detroit Public Television.
Stephen Henderson is an American journalist who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and the 2014 National Association of Black Journalists Journalist of the Year Award while writing for the Detroit Free Press. A native of Detroit, Stephen is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and the University of Michigan. Since 2015, he has been the host of “Detroit Today” on WDET. In 2020, he founded BridgeDetroit, where he serves as Executive Editor. He has worked for the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, the Lexington Herald-Leader and Knight Ridder. Henderson is co-host of One Detroit and host of American Black Journal on Detroit Public Television.
Thursday All-Conference Session with Angela Hursh: How Will They Know? Make Sure Your Library’s Efforts to Bridge the Divide Get Noticed!
The work that your library does to make information, services, and technology accessible to everyone is extraordinary. But all that work is for naught if your community doesn’t know they can take advantage of it! This talk is packed with practical tips to successfully promote your library’s collection, services, and programs, even when you face staff and budget shortfalls. You’ll learn how to maximize digital platforms and reach community members who don’t have (or don’t want) internet access. And you’ll leave with a plan to work smarter by putting your time and available resources to the best use.
Angela Hursh’s background includes more than six years as the Content Team Leader for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and more than 20 years as an Emmy-award-winning broadcast television news journalist. Angela is passionate about library marketing and has expertise in collection marketing, strategy, public relations, email, and social media. She started this blog in 2015 with the goal of strengthening the library marketing industry through shared information. She currently works as a Senior Engagement Consultant for NoveList, a company dedicated to helping libraries reach readers with the books they want and need. In that role, she helps libraries create effective and engaging marketing, within budget and with a personalized approach.
Call for Exhibitors and Sponsors
Do you offer products and services for libraries? Don't miss the opportunity to connect with hundreds of library staff and support our upcoming MLA 2022 Annual Conference on October 19-21, 2022 in Port Huron, Michigan!

Contact Amber Sheerin, MLA Program and Event Director at (517) 881-3194 or to learn more about sponsoring or exhibiting at MLA 2022 Annual Conference.

Check out the new MLA Connect On-Demand virtual education platform! MLA Connect offers virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan, and now the new MLA Connect On-Demand platform lets you access education at any time!
MLA members now 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. You can watch recorded sessions and view chat logs from the live sessions as well as slides and handouts when available, save your progress as you complete a course, save your favorite sessions, and you can even type and save notes right within your profile.

Visit MLA Connect On-Demand to take advantage of this new member benefit today!
June Advocacy Hour: Creating a Crisis Communication Plan
Thursday, June 23, 2022
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Part of the work of advocating for your library is ensuring the library responds appropriately to a crisis.

Restrictions to access and barriers to the privacy of information constitute intellectual freedom issues that have the potential to turn into a crisis. A crisis is defined as an event that happens suddenly and unexpectedly that poses a significant threat to the operations and reputation of your library. Issues of intellectual freedom and censorship may spark reactions that may be easily diffused or addressed, or could escalate to include threats or collective action by community members.

Join MLA on Thursday, June 23 at 11:00 AM for an advocacy hour about creating a crisis communications plan so your library is prepared to respond to a book-banning or censorship crisis. A crisis communication plan provides a framework for how and what to communicate to intentionally address crises to minimize impact and is a critical part of crisis management.

The Intellectual Freedom Task Force has been developing resources to support libraries dealing with the controversy and misinformation surrounding book challenges. One of these resources is a sample crisis communication guide created specifically for libraries to respond to misinformation and inflammatory public challenges to your collections or policies.

Lisa Assenmacher Director of Brand Strategy for Piper & Gold Public Relations will join us to talk about what goes into a crisis communication plan and answer questions attendees might have about the Crisis Communication Guide provided in MLA's Intellectual Freedom Toolkit.

Advocacy Hour conversations are always free to attend! Register today to join us:
Lisa Assenmacher thrives on too much coffee and creative problem solving to develop strong marketing and branding solutions. As Director of Brand Strategy for Piper & Gold Public Relations, she leans on her diverse background in communications and design to look at projects holistically and support clients and try to change the world for the better.
MLA 2022 Youth Literary Awards
Join MLA tomorrow, Friday, May 27 at 10:00 AM for the 2022 MLA Youth Literary Awards and find out which titles won the 2022 Mitten, YouPer, and Thumbs Up! Awards! Join us live on Zoom or watch for the announcement from MLA on our social media and website after the event. Attend on Zoom for a chance to win one of the winning titles!
Check out the top titles of the 2022 Mitten, YouPer and Thumbs Up! Awards! Flyers, awards seals and award banners are available and free to use. Please use these resources at your library to help us promote MLA Youth Literary Awards and the amazing job our workgroups do in selecting the very best books for youth! Download the Top Ten List Flyers by clicking the links below.
Think Space Reflections
Last week, the Think Space cohort of more than 40 library directors across Michigan, gathered for their second in-person session to continue to learn from experts about furthering equity, diversity, accessibility and belonging in their libraries and communities, all while strengthening their relationships with colleagues across the state. Watch for information about joining the next Think Space cohort later this summer.
“Boyne Mountain Resort was a great setting and space for the workshop and the weather was perfect. I loved the opportunity to connect with the other participants while sitting outside on the patio. Driving home I reflected on the good conversations and the wisdom the speakers shared with us. While I have been on this journey nearly my entire life, I am still learning and growing. I crafted, in my head, some of the necessary conversations I need to lead and to generate with staff, colleagues, and friends, while I drove through the pines of northern Michigan.”

~ Kristin Shelley, East Lansing Public Library
Do you have news you want to share? Contact Lisa Buttigieg at to share news of promotions, new hires, appointments, awards or a tribute in memoriam.
On the Move
Matt Lawrence will serve as the interim Library Director at Patmos Library in Hudsonville. All the best in your new role, Matt!
All the best to Joseph Salem who will be joining Duke University Libraries as the next Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs. Congratulations, Joe!
Mallorie DeVilbiss, previously the Director at Cromaine District Library is the new Director of the Suburban Library Cooperative. Congratulations, Mallorie.

Eric Kennedy has been selected as the newest Law Reference Librarian at the Library of Michigan. Welcome, Eric and congratulations.
Congratulations to Ron L. Suszek II, who will serve as the new Director for the Muskegon Area District Library! Best wishes for a successful start.
Congratulations to Calvin Battles, Adult Services Coordinator at  for being named one of 41 “Movers & Shakers” by the Library Journal! Well deserved recognition for his work to help Jackson area residents expunge criminal convictions from their records.
Congrats to Amy Hermon, High School Librarian in Royal Oak, MI, for being named a Community Builder Mover and Shaker by the Library Journal!
Cathy Lucas, Director of Willard Library in Battle Creek, announced she will be retiring at the end of June. Wishing you all the best in this next chapter, Cathy! 
Congratulations to Judy Cross and Mary Clute, who are leaving the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library after a combined 55 years! Both have shown great dedication to the library, and we wish them a happy retirement. Pictured from left, Judy Cross and Mary Clute.
Advertise on MLA’s Job Board
Members receive deep discounts on job postings through the MLA Career Center job board. Learn more here.
Pontiac Public Library – Pontiac, MI

Addison Township Public Library – Leonard, MI

Bloomfield Township Public Library – Bloomfield Township, MI

View these jobs and more at the MLA Career Center.
MI Library is Now!

MI Library is NOW Better than ever. Now a workspace, now a tech hub, now a health information center. You can develop new skills, take a job interview, learn more about health and wellness, and more - all from your local library. What's ...

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MLA Intellectual Freedom Toolkit
Start preparing for challenges to intellectual freedom with this quick guide. The research, resources and discussion included here are only for purposes of information and research and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Libraries should contact their attorneys for advice with respect to a particular issue or problem.
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.
SL 21 Model Library Nomination

The Library of Michigan is looking for quality school library programs to serve as models for the Michigan K-12 school library community. Each year, a school library program is highlighted as the Model School Library Program of the Year. Michigan...

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Michigan Arts and Culture Council Grants –June 1 Deadline

The Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) coordinates grants to arts and culture organizations, cities and municipalities, and other nonprofit organizations ensuring that every citizen and community in Michigan enjoys the civic, economic and...

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2022 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition

Together Again! Join us for top-quality education and best practices; featured thought-leaders; and special programming for library professionals looking to further develop their libraries, communities, and careers! Washington DC | June 23-28,...

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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
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