MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
July 22, 2021
Letter From Kelly
With my first official letter as President of the Michigan Library Association (MLA), I want to thank every library worker for their hard work and perseverance during this pandemic. I don’t believe any of us were prepared or trained to deal with a crisis on such a historical scale. In the midst of the fear, loss of life and uncertainty, we managed to come together and support one another. We held local and state-wide Zoom meetings sharing ideas on how to protect staff and patrons and the best way to provide services.

Jennifer Dean, the out-going President, was awesome in the way she led MLA without the ability to meet in person. It appears we are coming out of this and I hope that I can keep Jennifer’s momentum going. Though she is the immediate Past-President, we are fortunate that she will remain on the Board. Read more
New Staff Phone Numbers
MLA staff have new direct phone numbers. Members are welcome to contact staff using their direct lines (you can even text us!) You can also reach us by calling the MLA main phone line at (517) 394-2774. Please note that staff extensions on the main line will be changing effective Monday, July 26.
Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director
(517) 881-1266

Rachel Ash
Membership and Communications Director
(517) 881-6652

Lisa Buttigieg
Administrative Assistant
(517) 881-1683
Elise Penhollow
Database Coordinator
(517) 881-0496

Amber Sheerin, CMP
Program and Event Director
(517) 881-3194
Website Updated to Welcome 2021-2022 Workgroups and Committees
Our volunteers show commitment to their communities, their libraries, their patrons, the library profession, and the Michigan Library Association every day. We are so proud of our volunteers, we had to update our website with a “photo album” so we can show them off! Check out the new MLA workgroups and committees.
Mentor Program Autumn Cohort Accepting Applications Soon
The MLA Mentor Program is a trusted resource for emerging professionals and leaders to foster bidirectional professional development and growth. The Mentor program creates structured relationships that last for six months and provides mentors and mentees with a cohort of others at similar places within their careers. Participants set their own goals and objectives and MLA provides resources beneficial to both parties.

Applications will be accepted August 2, 2021 – September 10, 2021, for the Autumn cohort, and the program will begin in October 2021. 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, contact MLA Program and Event Director Amber Sheerin at [email protected]
MIRS Subscription Discounts
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.
Organizational Member Directory
Search the MLA Organizational Member Directory to view public, academic, K-12 and special library organizational members of MLA.

You can search by library name, address or zip or view all organizational members in alphabetical order. Need to update your library's info? Library directors can log in to their individual member profiles to access and update their library's organizational membership. For assistance, contact Rachel Ash, MLA Membership and Communications Director at [email protected].
State of Michigan Budget Updates
With summer recess in full swing, work on the state of Michigan’s general fund budget continues. The Senate also voted to push back the state’s budget deadline for this year to September 1 (from July 1) so we continue to hope for an increase in state aid to libraries. Both the Governor and House versions of the budget called for a flat budget for state aid. The Senate version called for a $2M increase. Our hope is that the Senate version will be adopted (of course!) and we will continue to advocate for this increase when legislators return to work.

While we wait for consensus-building on the general fund budget, Governor Whitmer has already signed into law the School Aid budget. In early July, House Bill 4411 marked a historical moment for the state by reaching the goal of eliminating the funding gap between districts at the minimum and maximum foundation allowances, as set forth by Proposal A of 1994. The bill finalizes the fiscal year 2022 School Aid budget, which totals $17.1 billion including $85.4 million from the state’s general fund and provides cost adjustments and supplemental funding for the current 2021 year.  Read more
Legislation MLA is Monitoring
While our Michigan Legislators are currently on summer break, we will continue to monitor legislation for any further action when they return. Check out the MLA website to view MLA's advocacy priority areas to view a full list of legislation that our Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching.
MLA Opposes HB 4530 and SB 130: Libraries Need Three Election Dates
House Bill 4530 and Senate Bill 130 would amend different acts to remove the May regular election date and move the date of the primary election in Michigan from August to June, limiting a jurisdiction to holding only two elections in a year. Read more
MLA Opposes House Bill 4536: Penal Fines Should Be Used Exclusively for Libraries
House Bills 4535 and 4536 were recently introduced by Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord. House Bill 4535 would prohibit wheeled vehicles from driving on snowmobile trails between December 1 and April 1. House Bill 4536 would direct the fines from these violations to be deposited into an account for the further maintenance of the snowmobile trails. Read more
Pandemic Watch
We are still actively monitoring legislation and regulations related to COVID-19. Please watch MLA's website for important news and announcements as we keep you informed.
With the rise in COVID cases (especially the Delta variant) in Michigan, MLA continues to watch the guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

As always, we encourage you to remain vigilant to reduce the continued spread of COVID-19. MLA continues to encourage our libraries to promote: hand washing, mask-wearing, physical distancing, getting vaccinated, robust cleaning, improving ventilation systems, and anything else that goes along with keeping staff and patrons safe. 

We continue to receive questions about mask-wearing and have provided the guidance below from the CDC and the AAP for your consideration.
CDC Masking Guidance for Unvaccinated Individuals
On June 29, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance for unvaccinated individuals.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may need to keep taking steps to protect yourself, like wearing a mask. Talk to your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your health and risks.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, see When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.
School Libraries – Masking Updates From the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC
For our school libraries, the American Academy of Pediatrics released updated guidance for schools in July, recommending that all students over 2 years old, along with staff, wear masks, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The new AAP guidance comes less than two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its own recommendations, calling for indoor mask-wearing for unvaccinated students ages 2 and up, as well as staff. (Children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination.) The CDC notes, however, that schools might find universal masking necessary in areas with low vaccination rates, increasing community transmission or a number of other factors.
Letter to Legislators
Check out July's 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 2021 (Virtual) Annual Conference: Connect to the Future
Connect to the Future this October 13 and 14 at the MLA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference.

Registration is open and we've got great individual rates and scholarship opportunities, discounted group packages for organizational members, plus students can attend for free! Check out the schedule at a glancefeatured speaker lineup, review registration options and register today at
MLA 2021 Virtual Keynote Speakers
Thank you to our All Conference Sponsor!
MLA 2021 Lightning Talk Proposals Due Aug. 6
MLA is seeking proposals for Lightning Talks at the MLA 2021 (Virtual) Annual Conference. Visit us on the web for complete details or download the Lightning Talk Proposal Requirements (pdf) to learn more about submitting a proposal. Submissions for Lightning Talks are due Friday, August 6, 2021.
MLA 2021 Virtual Partner Opportunities
Do you offer products and services for libraries? Don't miss the opportunity to connect with hundreds of library staff at the MLA 2021 (Virtual) Annual Conference. Exhibit in the virtual expo hall, or become an event sponsor with one of our virtual sponsorship opportunities!

Check out detailed sponsor and exhibitor information on our website or download the Vendor Prospectus (PDF), and sign up to participate or share this invitation with your vendors!
SAVE THE DATE: 2021 Michigan Library Awards
The Michigan Library Awards are presented annually to celebrate Michigan's libraries and library staff and are co-hosted by the Michigan Library Association, the Library of Michigan, the Library of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), and the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA).

Honorees will be recognized during a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:00 PM as we celebrate the accomplishments, dedication and service of outstanding libraries, library staff, trustees and supporters.
Michigan Library Awards Hosts
SAVE THE DATE: Michigan Library Advocacy Day 2022
Save the date for Michigan Library Advocacy Day. We will be gathering together at the Capitol in Lansing to advocate for all Michigan Libraries on March 1, 2022. We hope you can join us!
SAVE THE DATE: Spring Institute 2022
Spring Institute for Youth Services 2022 is back in person! Save the date and join us March 10-11, 2022 at the Comfort Inn & Suites Conference Center Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University.

Upcoming dates to watch for:
  • Call for Proposals Opens: September 10, 2021
  • Call for Proposals Closes: October 22, 2021
  • Attendee Registration Opens: November 29, 2021
MLA Connect provides virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan! Read on to check out the lineup of upcoming MLA Connect programs. 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.
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
The Bad Axe Area District Library is excited to announce Briynne McCrea as the new library director. Wishing you all the best `Briynne!
The Three Rivers Public Library Board announced that Bobbi Schoon has been promoted from Assistant Director to the Director position. Congratulations to you Bobbi! 
Fife Lake Library is pleased to announce Kendall Spratt as interim director. Congratulations Kendall. 
Brian Freitag is the new director for Tahquamenon Area Library. Welcome, Brian!
Congratulation to Alyssa McCarty, who has joined Brandon Township Public Library as the new Public Services Manager. Welcome, Alyssa!
Kudos and Congratulations
Julie Garrison, Dean of University Libraries at Western Michigan University, has been elected Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) vice-president/president-elect. She will become president-elect in July 2020 and assume the presidency in July 2021 for a one-year term. Congratulations Julie!
Cheryl Shively is retiring from the Manistee County Library after serving for over 19 years. You will be missed by the communities you serve as well as your friends and colleagues. Good luck with your new ventures! 
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.

Iosco-Arenac District Library – East Tawas, MI

Superiorland Library Cooperative – Marquette, MI
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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.