MLA’s “Primary Source” is an exclusive, first-hand account of the latest news and announcements from the staff of the Michigan Library Association.
April 27, 2023
Note From Debbie
In March 2023, the Michigan Library Association contracted with EPIC-MRA, a full-service survey research firm with expertise in Public Opinion Surveys and Market Research Studies. EPIC-MRA has a proven track record of producing accurate and useful research data based on public perceptions and opinions. While we have been using national studies (like those produced by ALA and EveryLibrary) to prove that book banning and censorship issues are not tolerated by the majority of voters in the country, we felt that we needed solid Michigan data to back this up.

Our work with EPIC-MRA has produced a statistically valid, stratified survey of 847 voters in Michigan regarding awareness of, and attitudes toward, the increasingly intense and coordinated efforts to dictate the collection content of local public libraries. We produced a statewide summary as well as 11 regional summaries based on the Michigan Cooperative Library regions. We will be disseminating the full summary of findings as well as the regional summaries within the next two weeks.

Here are a few of the statewide findings for your perusal. Read more
MLA 2023 Board Election Results
MLA held elections from April 3 – 24. This year MLA members voted for an MLA President-elect and four Member-at-Large Board positions. The 2023 MLA Board of Directors Election results are in. Meet MLA's new Directors!

One of the benefits and responsibilities of membership is the opportunity to vote for the leadership of the association. For the past two years, we have received more and more participation in the election, we received 319 ballots this year. Thank you to all MLA members who voted.

Many thanks to all the candidates for demonstrating leadership by agreeing to run. Our new Directors will serve for three-year terms beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2026. We look forward to a great year. Please feel free to welcome and congratulate our new Directors.
Director, Superiorland Library Cooperative
Associate Director of Operations, Muskegon Area District Library
Director, Traverse Area District Library
Regional Manager II, Kent District Library
Director, Superior District Library
Board Appointment
The MLA Board voted to appoint Kristin Shelley, Director, East Lansing Public Library to a 1-year term to fill the vacant Member-at-Large Board seat held previously by now President-elect Dillon Geshel.
MLA 2023 Call for Ambassadors Closes Tomorrow
The Call for Ambassador online signup for 2023-2024 workgroups and committees closes tomorrow!

Check out the recording of our April 2023 MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Getting Involved with MLA to learn more about getting involved with your state association.
If you're interested in growing personally or professionally, we have a place for you. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a difference in the Michigan library community, develop your leadership skills, grow your network, and represent MLA.

All MLA members are eligible to volunteer for workgroups and committees. Nonmembers interested in volunteering are welcome to join MLA by filling out the online membership application or by contacting us at (517) 394-2774 or

Check out available opportunities to get involved on the web and complete the online ambassador application by Friday, April 28, 2023 at 11:59 PM.
Youth Literary Awards Top Ten Titles
Check out the top titles of the 2023 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 linked below.

The winners and honor books will be announced at the 2023 MLA Youth Literary Awards event: Save the date for Friday, June 16 at 10:00 AM, and plan to watch the announcement on MLA's Facebook page!
2023 MLA Equity Fund Grants
The 2023 MLA Equity Fund Grant application is open through June 2, 2023. Equity Fund Grants aim to reduce financial barriers to professional development opportunities, support individuals currently underrepresented in the library profession, and uplift the professional development of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern individuals. Funds provide resources to be used for memberships, attendance at workshops, educational events, or conferences of the applicants’ choosing, or for other purposes that applicants believe increase their ability to impact and transform the library profession.

The 2023 MLA Equity Fund Grants will be awarded for activities occurring between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024. 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 2, 2023, at 5:00 PM. Download the MLA Equity Fund Guidelines for complete details. Submit completed application packets using the online form. Please help us share this individual grant opportunity by sharing this information with colleagues and staff who are not currently MLA members. Learn more and apply at
Shop the MLA Store
Shop our store for MI Right to Read apparel and MLA swag. We have shirts designed by local artists that promote the right to read, plus MI Right to Read and MLA merch like hoodies, shirts, mugs, and totes! Check out our store, order your gear, and wear your support of libraries and the right to read!
MLA 2023 Annual Conference Call for Proposals
We invite proposals for Breakout Sessions at the MLA 2023 Annual Conference, October 18 - 20, 2023, at the Radisson Hotel in Kalamazoo.

We are seeking Breakout Session proposals from emerging thinkers that relate to our theme, "Connecting the Dots”. We are looking for proposals that elevate the ideas of intellectual freedom, networking, equity, diversity, inclusion, collaboration, programming, management, and more. Submit your proposal and help us connect the dots between all library professionals.

This invitation extends to all library professionals and partners - from first-time to experienced presenters, as well as professional speakers and subject matter experts. Proposals are due Friday, May 12, 2023.
Organizational Membership Renewal
Thank you to all of our organizational members for your continued support! Organizational membership renewal information for the 2023-2024 member year was sent earlier this month. If you have any questions about your membership or renewal please contact Rachel Ash, MLA Membership and Communications Director at
Accessing Your Library's Member Record
Organizational representatives: To access your library’s member record, visit and log in to the online member portal using your individual login credentials. From the member portal home page navigation menu, select "Go to Profile," then navigate to "My Profile" and select "Your Organization" from the dropdown list. You are now interacting as your library!
View the Organizational Member Directory
Search the MLA Organizational Member Directory to view 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.
Upcoming HealthiestYou Informational Session
Library Directors: HealthiestYou is an affordable option for providing your library staff with access to free online healthcare. It's a healthcare service that offers convenient, confidential access to quality doctors and providers by phone, video, or app 24/7/365.

Join MLA on Thursday, May 2 at 10:00 AM on Zoom for a 30-minute informational session to learn more, see a demo of the HealthiestYou app, get your questions answered, and get ready to enroll.

Questions or Ready to Enroll?
HealthiestYou is available exclusively to MLA Organizational Members. Please contact Rachel Ash, MLA Membership and Communications Director at to confirm your library’s eligibility or to join MLA. Rachel will connect you with Corey Cushing to begin the enrollment process.  
ALA State of America's Libraries Report 2023
Read about the national trends and issues impacting libraries and find out which books made the Top Ten (actually 13) Most Challenged Books list in the 2023 State of America's Libraries Report (PDF)
Michigan School Library Month
Governor Whitmer has declared April 2023 as School Library Month here in Michigan. We are proud to celebrate with our friends at the Michigan Association for School Librarians!

Check out MLA's Bill Tracker to view a full list of legislation that the Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching.
Michigan Library Advocacy Day
On Tuesday, April 25 the Michigan Library Association hosted its first in-person Michigan Library Advocacy Day in more than a decade. The sold-out event brought together 125 library advocates representing public, school, academic, tribal, and special libraries from all over Michigan to share the message that Strong Libraries = A Stronger Michigan.
Throughout the day, librarians attended more than 140 visits with Michigan lawmakers to advocate for library services and funding. Bookmobiles from across Michigan were showcased onsite at the Capitol for advocates and legislators to explore, including ten bookmobiles and two book bikes.
The day's activities also included a Read-in on the Capitol Steps with a formal welcome from Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist who proclaimed the value of libraries in our communities and the important role they play in promoting literacy.  
“All the things that reading unlocks are all the things that people should have; imagination, courage, creativity, connection, ambition, wonder,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist as he addressed library advocates. “I'm so thankful to be a guest here of the library association and all of our amazing library systems across every community in the State of Michigan. We all have a role to play to make sure we can strengthen our culture of literacy and of reading, understanding, and growth.”
Guest speakers Senator Sam Singh, ACLU Executive Director Loren Khogali, and Plymouth District Library Board President Yasir Khogali also joined library advocates on the Capitol steps to celebrate and champion libraries.
The Michigan House of Representatives welcomed librarians to Lansing and adopted a resolution declaring April 25 as Michigan Librarian and Library Worker Day, making it an even more significant occasion. The event coincided with National Library Worker Day and National Library Week, which libraries and library workers around the nation are celebrating throughout this week.
"The event proved to be a powerful display of the library community's collective voice in support of all Michigan libraries. Strong libraries truly equal a stronger Michigan," said Deborah E. Mikula, MLA Executive Director.

View the event photo album. More photos will be added in the coming weeks! If you have a great photo from the event that MLA can use in future communications, please share it with us by emailing it to
Michigan Librarian and Library Worker Day
While the call out of librarians and library workers on the House Floor on April 25 was delayed by over two hours during Michigan Library Advocacy Day, we were very proud that the values they hold dear, and the work they perform each and every day was recognized. Ultimately Tuesday, April 25 was designated as Michigan Librarian and Library Worker Day. Thank you so much Representative Veronica Paiz for the “Call Out” and librarian recognition. Read the resolution: 2023-HIR-0081 (pdf).
Take Action to Amplify our Message: STRONG LIBRARIES = A STRONGER MICHIGAN
Add your voice to amplify our message: Strong Libraries = A Stronger Michigan.

Email your legislators and tell them that Michigan libraries need their support! Ask them to prioritize library funding in Michigan by supporting increased and secured funding for State Aid and capital improvements and by reforming Headlee to stabilize library revenues during economic downturns. Ask them to support policy and funding for certified school librarians and that schools in Michigan be required to have a school library. Urge them to protect intellectual freedom. 

We've made it easy to take action:
Step 1:
Click the button below to take action through our contact center. 

Step 2:
Enter your contact information to connect to your State Representative and Senator.

Step 3:
Customize your email! We’ve indicated suggested areas for you to add content to personalize your message.

Add personal details about how your library’s services have impacted you and/or your community; how State Aid is used at your library and how increased funds would enhance your ability to serve your community; capital improvements your library needs; how the Headlee amendment has impacted your library’s budget; or add any stories or information about the importance of intellectual freedom.

We encourage you to customize and personalize your message for greater impact and share your library name and contact information.

Make sure you edit our prewritten template before you hit send! The text of the template email is also copied below. Feel free to customize any part of your message, but please note the draft email will need to be edited in the email contact center before you submit your message!

Step 4:

Step 5:
If your legislator's office responds, make sure you follow up with any information requested! Offer yourself/your organization or MLA as a resource for finding solutions.
Cass County Proposed “Child Protection Ordinance"
Last week, MLA worked on an issue that was taking shape in Cass County that would have had far-reaching ramifications for other counties. It was a proposal, unlike anything MLA has responded to in the fight against book banning and censorship.

The Cass County Board of Commissioners was looking to adopt a “Child Protection Ordinance” which would have required signed legal statements attesting to the “safety” of materials at the three local libraries among other places. While the title of the ordinance is a “bit” misleading – this was an attempt to censor and ban books. They were also proposing a county-wide threat of felony charges and warrantless arrests to operate the libraries and curate the collections if materials didn’t satisfy their definitions.

The good news: the Cass County Board pulled the ordinance from the agenda due to the “heat” of inquiry from librarians and others who were appalled that this was on the agenda.

There are many issues with the ordinance and the three affected library systems have already engaged legal counsel; are opposed (obviously); and will work through the legal systems to ensure they continue to offer library services without censorship. Read more
Intellectual Freedom Resources
Resources for library staff, educators, and board members.
Tips and templates for promoting intellectual freedom in your community.
Request support as you take action to protect First Amendment rights.
Featured Resource: Crisis Communication Plan
In some cases, friction over censorship and intellectual freedom can escalate into a crisis that poses a threat to the operations and reputation of your library. 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. Having a plan for a crisis is an important part of advocating for your library and being prepared to address intellectual freedom issues and challenges. While it is difficult to predict what people will do, your library will be better positioned to meet situations ranging from simple questions to outright threats with a plan in place. This is a sample crisis communication guide (pdf) created specifically for libraries responding to misinformation and inflammatory public challenges to your collections or policies.
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.
Letter to Legislators
Check out April's edition (PDF) 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.
Upcoming MLA Connect Webinars
Check out the 2023 MLA Connect lineup! Visit us on the web to register now or save the date for upcoming programs.
Public Relations: Social Media Strategies for Libraries
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
2:00 - 3:00 PM

Social media provides an opportunity for libraries to engage with people outside of the four walls of the library. Libraries have been using social media since its inception, but have typically relied on it for promotion, not engagement. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to shift from promotion, which is a one-way conversation, to engagement, which is a two-way conversation, as well as strategies such as active listening, trending topics, analytics, social media as a customer service point, and much more. Participants will also explore the pros and cons of centralized and decentralized management of social media, and how governance and policy can be balanced with creativity and flexibility.

MLA Connect webinars are only $25 for MLA members. This webinar will be recorded and available through MLA Connect On Demand.
Cordelia Anderson is the author of the new book Library Marketing and Communications: Strategies to Increase Relevance and Results from ALA Editions.
She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive with 20+ years of experience.

She is based in Charlotte, NC but has clients around the US and is nationally recognized for her innovative, strategic, and results-driven marketing and communications programs. Clients have included public and academic libraries, library associations, local government agencies, and nonprofits.
Now Available On-Demand
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.
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
Congratulations to Lisa Carter who has been appointed to the University of Michigan as University Librarian and Dean of Libraries. Wishing you all the best in your new position! 
Welcome to Elizabeth Nelson who is the new Director of Libraries for the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Wishing you great success in your new role!
Trent Smiley will be leaving Michigan for a new role as the Communications and Engagement Director at the Free Library of Philadelphia. "He is one of the best in the marketing field," said CADL Executive Director Scott Duimstra. Congratulations on your new endeavor!
Wishing Joann Simmons all the best in her retirement from the Hudson District Library. Thank you for your many years of service to your community.
Advertise on MLA’s Job Board
Members receive deep discounts on job postings through the MLA Job Board. Learn more here.
Cass District Library - Cassopolis, MI

Cheboygan Area Public Library - Cheboygan, Michigan

Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library - Zionsville, IN

Lincoln Township Public Library - Stevensville, MI

Henika District Library - Wayland, MI

Northern Michigan University - Marquette, Michigan

View these jobs and more on the MLA Job Board.
Rates and Registration | 2023 ALA Annual Conference &...

If you'd like to register a group, ALA is offering a Register 5 People and get 1 Free Registration option. To register a group, begin by signing in with the first person you'd like to register, then check the "Add Another" button on the Review...

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Bridging Michigan Grants | Michigan Humanities

Bridging Michigan grants provide Michigan nonprofits with up to $2,500 in support of public humanities programming that sparks in-depth thinking and conversation around persistent challenges affecting our communities. We welcome projects that aim ...

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Michigan Arts and Culture Council Grants

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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Series of Comprehensive History Webinars

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) identifies teaching comprehensive history as an important effort supporting Michigan's Top 10 Strategic Education Plan. An essential part of MDE's efforts to improve comprehensive history instruction is...

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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!
Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and networks.
Contact Us
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.