MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
January 23, 2020
Letter from Debbie
My, how time flies! Having just passed my six month anniversary at MLA, I was reflecting on what has given me the greatest satisfaction. Like all of you, some days the work feels calm and stable and other days…like we are spinning a dozen plates that have been set on fire.

Many of you won’t be surprised to learn that I like both kinds of days. When it is quiet, I can contemplate and reflect on the challenges you have shared with me on how you envision the library community changing. When it is busy/noisy and chaotic, I can feel the energy and passion for impactful changes. No easy task to keep those plates spinning, but I am helped and surrounded by many talented and passionate individuals and organizations, and without them, those plates would come crashing down.

Help us celebrate and honor people first practices in all we do! Share your story with us and you could win a free full conference registration pass to Spring Institute 2020: People First, March 19-20 in Ann Arbor.
Tell us about what "People First" means to you, or share an anecdote about how you put people first at your library. We will be sharing your stories on social media and feature your stories at Spring Institute, March 19-20, in Ann Arbor. All you need to do is send a short statement (max 100 words) and a photo of you at your library (selfies are fine!) to Rachel Ash, MLA Membership and Communications Director, at One winner will be randomly selected to win a free full registration pass to Spring Institute: People First.
MLA on the Road
MLA staff have been on the road in Michigan, visiting libraries and hearing about the amazing work library staff are doing for our communities. View pictures of our library travels in our On the Road slideshow by clicking the photo below.
Lisa Visits Detroit Libraries
by Lisa Buttigieg, MLA Administrative Assistant
Last week I had the opportunity to visit a few of the Detroit Public Libraries.

My gracious hosts were Alma Simmons, Assistant to the Executive Director of the Main Library downtown, Charlene Hyland, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian of the Conley Branch and Crystal Jolly, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian from the Parkland Branch.
They each took time out of their busy days to show me why their libraries are the heart of the communities they serve. As they showed me around and spoke of the many services each branch offered, I could hear and see the pride they have for their library.

2020 Michigan Author Award Call for Nominations
The nomination period for the annual Michigan Author Award is open through February 28, 2020.
Help us recognize an author who has made a significant contribution to Michigan's literary heritage. Submit a nomination for the 2020 Michigan Author Award!

Established with the intention of recognizing significant Michigan authors with a lifetime achievement award, the Michigan Author Award has been given to a diverse collection of writers working in a variety of genres and styles. A panel of judges representing MLA, Library of Michigan and Center for the Book determine the recipient on overall literary merit.
The nomination deadline is February 28, 2020 . Visit the MLA website or download the criteria and guidelines (pdf) for more information. Anyone is eligible to submit a nomination. Submit your nomination and supporting materials through the MLA website using the online form.

Questions? Please contact Rachel Ash, Membership and Communications Director at or (517) 394-2774 ext. 225.
Call for MLA Annual 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 Annual 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, Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth and Legislator of the Year.

If you are interested in participating please contact Rachel Ash, Membership and Communications Director at
Webinar Proposals Due Jan 31
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. 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. Proposals are due by January 31, 2020. Visit our website for more information and submit a webinar proposal using the online form.
Update Your Member Profile
Keep your member information up-to-date in our member’s only portal. Update your library affiliation, work or home address and primary email to make sure you don’t miss out on any important MLA communications and let us know your job title, job function and interest areas so we can share relevant programs and services.
To access and update your individual member record, navigate to the Member Home page , log in, select "Go to Profile," then scroll down and select edit. Make sure to select “save” to update your changes.
Need your login credentials? To retrieve your username or reset your password simply click the links on the login page, or those provided below, and input your member record’s primary email address (this will be the email address where you receive MLA newsletters and communications). If you need assistance accessing or updating your member record, please contact us at .

Michigan Library Privacy Act Update
First and foremost, we are grateful for all input that we have received from statewide librarians on SB611. The bill to amend 1982 PA 455, introduced by Senator MacGregor on October 29, was introduced without MLA input. MLA agrees that if these changes are to be implemented, it should be done when all voices (pro and con) have been heard, and all input has been taken into consideration. Through a very thorough vetting process beginning in November 2019, we believe that we have gained statewide and national insight into the support and the concerns that this update brings. The MLA Board will be voting on our position at the end of January, and we will communicate that with you quickly.
The true intent of the proposed revisions is to remove obstacles and barriers libraries face when dealing with crimes. We are in agreement that revisions to this Act must provide continued protections to patron privacy while removing the legal barriers we sometimes face when dealing with crimes that have occurred at our libraries.
Above all else, privacy is a core foundational value of libraries across the country. At all costs, we must protect the privacy rights of Michigan library patrons in their reading histories, materials borrowed, resources reviewed, or services used at the library. The current law’s protection of user privacy, by requiring a court order for the disclosure of circulation records and computer usage logs in the event of a crime, must remain unaltered, and it is our position that this is not negotiable.
Good News and Bad News for Michigan’s Budget
GOOD NEWS! While estimates set at the May 2019 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference predicted a very flat revenue scenario this year, some good news was presented to the legislative and executive branch by fiscal experts in early January. According to new estimates, Michigan expects to see an additional $235.2 million in General Fund revenue and $85.7 million more in School Aid Fund support for the current Fiscal Year 2020. For the upcoming budget, which begins October 1, 2020, officials are expecting additional revenues of $274 million in the General Fund and $138 million in the School Aid Fund for a combined $412 million in additional revenue.

BAD NEWS! Despite the adjustments, net general fund revenue – the amount available to be spent – is expected to remain mostly flat through 2021. Revenue growth is slowing. This is in direct correlation to the commitment to reimburse local governments for the loss of personal property tax revenue, formerly paid by manufacturers, and because of up to $600M a year from the general fund allocated for road and bridge repairs.

Advocacy and Legislative Priorities Survey
We want to hear from you! Share your input on your library's biggest challenges and highest priorities by Friday, February 14.
The Michigan Library Association has made advocacy one of its highest priorities. It has never been more important for librarians, staff members, trustees, and others with a vested interest in their libraries, to convey and address their challenges and successes. We hope you will take time out of your busy day to help us pinpoint the highest priorities that face our field.
Meeting the challenges in 2020 and, more importantly, making real progress for Michigan’s libraries in the long term requires fresh approaches and a pro-active agenda . The following survey (linked below) will be used by the MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee to prioritize our agenda and will address what you want us to work on in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but one that has been compil ed from concerns that have been shared with us in the last six months. if there are other priorities that you deem worthy, please add them to the list.
By completing the survey you will also be giving MLA valuable information to use at our April 22 Advocacy Day in Lansing . (Don’t forget to mark your calendars and register – see additional article in this newsletter.)
The survey is quick and simple – it will take no more than 10 minutes to fill out and submit. W e welcome your feedback and hope to have all responses in hand by Friday, February 14.
Top 10 in 10 Years MDE Strategic Plan Survey
The Top 10 in 10 strategic education plan is the state’s plan to drive improvement in the education system for Michigan’s children. The current plan has been in place since February 2016.

Over the past few months, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Top 10 review team has been working to review and update the current plan. Based on recent interviews with State Board of Education members, education stakeholders and partners, tribal partners, and MDE staff, MDE has developed a statewide survey to receive additional feedback on education issues and potential goals and metrics. 

Anyone interested in Michigan’s public schools and public school children are encouraged to add their thoughts to a review and updating of the state’s strategic plan to make Michigan a Top 10 education state.

What goals do you believe should be part of Michigan's education strategic plan? Click here to share your feedback by February 7, 2020. The survey is also available on the MDE website at
MLA Advocacy Day Registration Now Open
Registration for MLA Advocacy Day is now open! J oin MLA and hundreds of library advocates from around Michigan on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at the Cooley Law School in Lansing, located just one block from the Capitol.
On April 22, 2020 library advocates from all over Michigan will meet in Lansing to meet with legislators to thank them for the work they have done in support of libraries and ensure they are continuing champions of the importance of libraries in Michigan communities.

By participating in MLA’s Advocacy Day you will help establish a stronger voice for the library community in Lansing, develop important relationships with your local legislative leaders, and garner a greater understanding of the processes related to policy-making from individuals involved in the work on a day-to-day basis. Advocacy Day will also give you the chance to network with other MLA members and create opportunities for future collaborations.   
Advocacy Day is FREE to attend but registration is required and don't forget to order your t-shirt! Visit us on the web to view complete details and register today!

The deadline to register for legislator appointments and t-shirts is Friday, March 20, 2020. The deadline to register for the morning rally event: Friday, April 10, 2020
Spring Institute for Youth Services Registration Now Open!
Registration for MLA's Spring Institute for Youth Services is now open! Check out details at and register today!
Michigan Library Association's
Spring Institute for Youth Services
People First

March 19-20, 2020
Sheraton Hotel, Ann Arbor
This year the conference theme is People First, where we will aim to educate and honor library staff and patrons through people-first practices in hiring, advocacy, displays, programs and collections.

Vendor and Sponsor Opportunities 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.
Spring Workshops Registration Now Open
Registration for MLA Spring Workshops is open! From enhancing organizational culture to career advancement, Spring workshops offer educational opportunities to help you succeed. Choose one workshop or attend all five! Visit the MLA website to learn more and register today!
Library Human Resources: Coaching and Evaluating Staff
Friday, April 3, 2020
Mott Community College Regional Technology Center
1401 E Court St
Flint, MI 48503
Community Collaborations: The Library as a Social Service Nexus

Monday, April 20, 2020
Jackson District Library
Carnegie Branch
244 W Michigan Ave
Jackson, MI 49201
How to Advance Your Career: Tips, Tricks and Skills to Get Ahead

Friday, May 1, 2020
Traverse Area District Library
Main Branch
610 Woodmere Ave
Traverse City, MI 49686
Deconstructing Institutional Racism

Friday, May 15, 2020
Grace A. Dow Memorial Library
1710 W St Andrews Rd
Midland, MI 48640
Executive Summit: Healthy Organizational Culture Through Transformational Leadership

Friday, May 29, 2020
Southfield Public Library
26300 Evergreen Rd
Southfield, MI 48076
Scholarships Available for Spring Institute 2020 and Spring Workshops
MLA's Education Fund Scholarships are available to MLA members to support all or part of event 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 for Spring Institute 2020 are due Friday, February 7, 2020.
Spring Workshops scholarship applications are due Friday, March 6, 2020.
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.
New Directors
Rudy Wright is the new Director of the Indian River Area Library in Indian River.  
Riti Grover is new Director of the Farmington Community Library.
Carrie Ralston will take over as the Director of the Walled Lake City Library in Walled Lake on February 17.
Alyson Lobert will assume the position of Director of the Commerce Township Community Library in Commerce Twp. beginning in February.
Eric Palmer is the Director of the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative.
Cathy Lucas (pictured on left) was appointed as the new Director of Willard Library in Battle Creek, effective January 1. She most recently served as the Assistant Director at Willard. She succeeds Leah Dodd who has accepted a position at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Tracie D. Hall has been named the new American Library Association (ALA) Executive Director. Read the press release at

Kudos and Awards
Congratulations to Amber Sheerin, CMP, MLA Program and Event Director, on passing the CMP exam and receiving word from the Events Industry Council that she is the first to obtain their CMP in the year 2020 and the new decade!
Kevin King, Head of Community Engagement at Kalamazoo Public Library has been nominated for a Director-at-Large seat on the Public Library Association Board. Read the news release.
Cecilia Ann Marlow is set to retire from Cromaine District Library on January 20th, Congratulations Ceci!           
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.

Lapeer District Library Lapeer, MI
Connect on Social Media
Connect with MLA on social media! Like and Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest real-time updates from MLA staff, library news, inspirational and educational posts and more! We also ask that you share this invitation with friends and help us extend our reach so important advocacy updates and calls to action are heard by library supporters throughout the state.
Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.