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 27, 2022
Note From Ryan
Well, here we go again Michigan library professionals, trustees, and advocates. Nearly one month into 2022 and it’s more of the same ol’ pandemic (thanks a lot, Omicron), and yet at the same time, a constantly shifting library service and life-on-earth landscape remind everyone how important Michigan libraries are for our local communities.

We have learned to adapt on the fly now for nearly two years, can you believe that! The way that all libraries, both big and small, have pivoted to virtual programming and services, to curbside delivery and by whatever means necessary — meet the needs of patrons and students all while taking the steps on a weekly basis to protect the health and wellbeing of patrons and staff, is frankly INCREDIBLE. You know it has not been easy, and we’re all aware of the mental and emotional roller coaster we face every week. Yet we cannot help but remain optimistic, and as a profession, stronger together!

The staff and membership of MLA are pulling together on many fronts to keep us aware and connected, to provide learning and professional development opportunities, and to keep our voices and stories known at the legislative level. Examples include those who are working hard advocating for possible changes to the Open Meetings Act and virtual board meeting attendance, and the many folks involved in planning and executing top-quality professional learning opportunities like the upcoming Spring Institute and this fall’s Annual Conference. 

If you haven’t yet, please register for the all-virtual March 1, 2022, Michigan Library Advocacy Day where we’ll hear from ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall, and get updated on current calls to action and legislative priorities. The Advocacy and Legislative Committee, together with MLA staff, have created a power-packed afternoon I know you will find worthwhile!
Ryan Wieber
MLA President
MLA Welcomes New Staff
The MLA staff are welcoming some new individuals to our team this month! We are pleased to announce that Keeley Briggs will be joining us beginning Monday, January 31 as our new Database Coordinator! Earlier this month, we also welcomed our winter semester Social Media Strategist Intern, Sophie Techentin.
Keeley Briggs Joins the MLA Team as Database Coordinator
Born and raised in southwestern Michigan, Keeley originally specialized in informal education in a museum environment. She joined the library world in 2017 as part of the newly-formed Teen Services Department at the Branch District Library (BDL) in Branch County. Her proudest achievement in the years since is the expansion of BDL’s World Languages collection. Keeley is excited to join the team at MLA because, as a member, she experienced the benefits of the organization’s advocacy and educational opportunities first-hand. She enjoys reading and gaming and is unusually passionate about spreadsheets.
Winter Semester Social Media Strategist Intern
Sophie Techentin is our new Social Media Intern here at MLA! She is a student at Oakland University. Sophie is currently a Public Relations and Strategic Communication major with an Interactive and Social Media minor. In her spare time, she can be found flying high in the air on her aerial silks, recording VoiceOver projects, and experimenting with new recipes. She’s a big video gamer and can often be found at her local library looking for manga and cookbooks.
Update Your Profile
Keep your member information up to date in our member’s only portal. Please take a moment to add a work email, and an alternative home email address so you never miss important news and announcements. While you're there take a moment to update your library affiliation, job title, job function and interest areas so we can share relevant programs and services. Plus, make sure to add a home address! This helps us target our advocacy efforts in case we need to contact only members within a specific legislative district.

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

MLA 2020-2021 Annual Report
The Michigan Library Association 2020-2021 Annual Report is now available. Check out highlights. Download MLA's annual report for the 2020-21 FY (pdf)
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
We want to share all the awesome things your library is doing on MLA's social media. Help us highlight the amazing things happening in Michigan Libraries by sharing news releases and newsletters with us at!
Legislation Update
Check out MLA's Bill Tracker to view a full list of legislation that the Advocacy and Legislative Committee is watching.
Open Meetings Act Changes for Libraries Introduced in the Michigan House as HB 5689
Allowing library boards to meet remotely has taken on a new purpose with increased engagement/attendance of the public in remote meetings, and recognizing the extreme geographic distances traveled by many board members to participate at in-person meetings.

The Michigan Library Association is pleased to inform you that yesterday, Representative John Damoose (District 107) introduced House Bill 5689 which will update Section 3a (MCL 15.263a) as amended by 2021 PA 54 of the Open Meetings Act to allow cooperative library boards and local library boards to meet virtually if they choose. The bill was referred to the Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee.

The MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee, led by Jessica Keyser, director at the Grosse Pointe Public Library; and our lobbyist at GCSI, Bob DeVries; have put an extraordinary amount of thoughtful time and energy into the development of this legislation with Representative Damoose.

There is a political reality to the passage of this legislation, however. It should be noted that there have been a number of proposed revisions introduced to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) during the past year. None have moved past the introduction since mid-2021 with the political divisions we now see. (Some of these bills are documented in the MLA Bill Tracker on the MLA website.) Read more
2022 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference
In mid-January, state budget officials met at the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. "Higher than anticipated growth in income tax and sales tax revenues means the state probably has about $600 million a year in ongoing general fund revenues beyond what it anticipated earlier," stated Budget Director Christopher Harkins.

The state has $5.8 billion in anticipated surplus state revenues and about $15 billion in still unspent federal stimulus and infrastructure funds that it can spend over the next several years. Much of this is for “one-time expenditures” and not to begin new programs or to sustain programs already a part of state government.  

An economic forecast is based on the best information available at the time the forecast is prepared. Because information and foresight are not perfect, risks and uncertainties are inherent in any forecast, and variations in the underlying factors can exert either optimistic or pessimistic influences on the forecast. Words used by state officials to describe the amount of state and federal dollar influx were “unprecedented”, “historic”, and “uncharted” which left many legislators cautioning that while revenue projections continue to exceed previous expectations, it does not eliminate the need to be smart about how the state invests taxpayer money.

In addition, 2022 revenues are now expected to exceed May projections by an additional $1.7 billion, and revenues for 2023 — the budget year now being worked on — are expected to exceed May projections by $1.4 billion. In February, Governor Whitmer will submit her proposed budget to the legislature. MLA will provide an overview of her budget once it has been submitted.

GCSI Redistricting Analysis 
In late December, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission completed their work and voted to adopt new district lines for Michigan’s Congressional, State Senate, and State House. These districts are a dramatic departure from the current seats and will change the landscape for the 2022 election.
This analysis provided by MLA's Lobby Firm GCSI will look towards the Primary and General Elections later this year. If you want to read more about how the Commission operated and what criteria they used, please click here to see the analysis published in November

MDHHS COVID Test Pilot Program
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. To learn more and order test kits visit
On January 14, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced a pilot program in partnership with 18 libraries across the state to offer free, at-home testing kits for Michiganders.

Why Libraries? MDHHS was thinking outside the box to find community organizations that people trust to give them access to the kits besides health care agencies. Other partners of MDHHS include schools, community action agencies, local Departments of Health.

The initial distribution of COVID-19 tests to select library branches will inform MDHHS’ approach to formalizing and sustaining the program in partnership with Michigan libraries. After this first phase/trial, MDHHS will consider input from the participating libraries and add additional sites based on the availability of test kits.

The Library of Michigan and the Michigan Library Association are working with MDHHS to help with support, communication and fielding media requests. We will share more details as they are available!

Letter to Legislators
Check out January'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.
Spring Institute For Youth Services 2022: LEVEL UP
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. Attendee registration is open!

Spring Institute 2022 is all about sharing ideas and energy to help youth services library workers LEVEL UP and make positive changes within their library and the library profession. Full conference early-bird registration is only $250 for members and includes all meals and events. Check out details on our website and register today for the win!
COVID-19 Safety Precautions for MLA Events
We are moving forward with our plans to host Spring Institute for Youth Services in person in Mt. Pleasant with additional safety precautions in place. We are continuing to monitor and follow all current requirements related to COVID-19 from the CDC, State of Michigan, and the hotel venue in order to provide the safest environment for our attendees and will adjust our plans and health protocols as necessary.

Please note that all attendees, exhibitors, partners and staff will be required to show either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid test result within 72 hours of the first day of the event and everyone will be required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. Review the Spring Insitute COVID-19 information here to learn more about current safety measures and requirements. If you have questions or concerns, contact MLA at
Leadership Academy 2022
Registration for the 2022 Leadership Academy is open! Are you looking for the skills that will take you to that next level of leadership?

The Michigan Library Association’s Leadership Academy has a strong history of providing leadership training to librarians across the state and offers the kind of information you wish you could have learned in library school.
Michigan Library Advocacy Day 2022 Moves to All Virtual Training
*UPDATE* The 2022 Michigan Library Advocacy Day is now completely virtual. It's still free to attend and open to everyone interested in supporting libraries! Register today and join us on Zoom on Tuesday, March 1, from 12:00 – 3:20 PM.
On Tuesday, March 1, the Michigan library community will unite to amplify our collective voice in support of ALL Michigan libraries at our second annual Michigan Library Advocacy Day! At this virtual advocacy training event, attendees will learn about the issues of importance to libraries, how to be a good advocate, current advocacy and legislative challenges and priorities, and how to connect with legislators.

Join us from the comfort of your home, office, or library, as we gather together on Zoom for an inspirational keynote followed by educational sessions about our current legislative priorities and topics important to the field. Please note, we will not be scheduling virtual meetings with legislators on Advocacy Day this year. Instead, we will provide templates and talking points for attendees, and throughout the day advocates will use their passion, knowledge, and stories to advocate for libraries with emails, calls, and tweets to Michigan legislators.

Mark your calendars now, register today, and invite your colleagues, trustees, friends groups, and library supporters from your community to join us!
MLA Connect offers virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan! Archived recordings of webinars, coffee hours, and advocacy hour conversations are available on the MLA website. Please note recordings are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. We are excited to share the 2022 offerings through MLA Connect that the MLA Professional Development and Leadership Committee have worked hard to identify. Presented below are the workshops and webinar topics and dates to mark on your calendars.
MLA Connect 2022 Virtual Programs
Registration is open for our first MLA Connect virtual event of the year! Check out the details below and save the date for upcoming programs!
Becoming a Self-Help Navigation Center with Michigan Legal Help
Michigan Legal Help is for people who are handling their legal problems without a lawyer. It can help you learn about your legal problems and get ready for court. There are many Do-It-Yourself tools to help you create court forms. Learn how Self-Help Navigation Centers have access to additional webinars and support from Michigan Legal Help lawyers to understand court processes and procedures. See the list of current Self-Help Centers here.

Jackson District Library is a Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center and with that additional partnership has helped patrons navigate expungement of criminal records to gain better housing and employment without the expense of a lawyer.  

Register today to learn more about how public libraries can partner with Michigan Legal Help to become Self-Help Navigation Centers to serve their communities and understand what a Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Navigation Center is and how your library can sign up to be a Self-Help Navigation Center.  
Nora Mahlberg
Staff Attorney, Michigan Legal Help Program
Calvin Battles 
Adult Services Coordinator, Jackson District Library
MLA Connect Advocacy Hour: Understanding Headlee
We are pleased to welcome representatives from the Michigan Township Association, the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Association of Counties to February's MLA Connect Advocacy Hour all about the Headlee Amendment.
On Thursday, February 17 at 10:00 AM, we are excited to welcome representatives from three statewide local government organizations to discuss the Headlee Amendment. MLA Advocacy and Legislative Chair Jessica Keyser will moderate a panel discussion with special guests Deena Bosworth, Director of Governmental Affairs, Michigan Association of Counties; Chris Hackbarth, Director, State & Federal Affairs, Michigan Municipal League; and Judy Allen, Director of Government Relations, Michigan Townships Association.

The effect of Headlee and Proposal A together means that millage rates are permanently reduced (or “rolled back”) during periods of economic growth, which achieves the desired outcome of protecting taxpayers from taxes that are too high. However, during periods of economic recession, when property values decline, there is currently no mechanism to restore millage rates to the amount voters originally.

It is the position of MLA that in an economic downturn when values are decreasing, millage rates should be allowed to go up at the same rate of inflation. MLA supports legislation to reform Headlee and help to stabilize library revenues during an economic downturn.

With the majority of funding for public libraries (approximately 80% overall) coming from property tax revenues in the form of dedicated millages, we invite you to come and hear how MLA will work in partnership with MML, MTA and MAC in defense of proposed legislation that will create sustainable funding for libraries.

Mark your calendars now and click the button below to register for upcoming MLA Advocacy Hours! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Vendor and Supporter Opportunities
Do you offer products and services for libraries? Don't miss the opportunity to connect with hundreds of library staff and support our upcoming Spring Institute for Youth Services 2022 happening March 10-11 in Mt. Pleasant and our MLA 2022 Annual Conference on October 19-21, 2022 in Port Huron, Michigan!

If you are looking for an opportunity to show support for the library community, stay informed on the latest news and trends in the library profession, connect with library staff and build collaborative relationships within the library profession, then we invite you to join our network of hundreds of libraries, library professional and supporters from all across Michigan. Strategic Partner membership with MLA provides exclusive benefits, including:

  • Discount for one lead staff on event registration
  • Access to our searchable member directory
  • Listing with your organization’s name and contact information in our partner directory
  • 10% discounts on exhibiting at our annual conference and our Spring Institute for Youth Services conference
  • 10% discount on advertising in our conference program book

If you have any questions about membership with MLA, please contact Rachel Ash, Membership and Communications Director at

Contact Amber Sheerin, MLA Program and Event Director at (517) 881-3194 or to learn more about sponsoring or exhibiting at Spring Institute for Youth Services 2022 or MLA 2022 Annual Conference!
Save the Date!
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
Darlene Hellenberg joined the Grosse Pointe Public Library as the Assistant Director. Wishing you the best, Darlene! 
Carrie L. Marsh has been named the Director of the Clarke Historical Library of Central Michigan University. She will begin her duties in mid-February. Congratulations to you, Carrie!
The Brandon Township Public Library is pleased to welcome Laura Fromilller as their new Library Director. All the best in your new role, Laura!
Congratulations to Janelle Danyko, who will be taking over Head of Circulation at Romeo District Library. Wishing you great success, Janelle!
Jaema Berman will be joining the staff of Oxford Public Library as Head of Adult Services. Wishing you all the best in your new venture!
Hillsdale Community Library welcomed Bryonna Barton as their new Library Director. Congratulations on your new role with best wishes for great success!
The Orion Township Public Library Board has hired Chase McMunn as the new Director. Welcome Chase, and all the best in your new role!
Congratulations to Dennis Hillers on your new role as Director of Addison Township Library. All the best in your new role!
Kudos and Congratulations
KDL Executive Director Lance Werner has been selected to serve as a delegate on the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) Americas Regional Council.
Dawn Lewis has worked at the East Grand Rapids Branch for over 25 years and was recently recognized by the City of East Grand Rapids for her outstanding dedication and service to the community.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointment of Marian J. Matyn, Archivist at the Clarke Historical Library and Associate Professor at Central Michigan University to the State Historical Records Advisory Board.  
Congratulations to Rebecca Higgerson who will be retiring from the Brandon Township Public Library this month. We thank you for your dedication to libraries and appreciate all your contributions. Wishing you all the best!
Wishing all the best to Maureen Swanwick who retired from the Romeo District Library on December 31. Congratulations to you and Happy 2022!
Congratulations Mary Ellen Mulcrone, Director for Saline District Library on your recent retirement. Thank you for your service to the library world and we wish you all the best!
Advertise on MLA’s Job Board
Members receive deep discounts on job postings through the MLA Career Center job board. Learn more here.
Muskegon Area District Library Muskegon, MI

Saline District Library – Saline, MI

CDW – Ann Arbor, MI

View these jobs and more at the MLA Career Center.
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.
Arts & Humanities Touring Grants

The Touring Grant Application is now closed. Funding Cycle 1 has concluded. All funds are committed. Next funding cycle will open February 1st. Please see the page below for the new changes to the program for the 2022 grant period.

Read more
Humanities Grants

Humanities Grants emphasize collaboration among cultural, educational and community-based organizations and institutions in order to serve Michigan's people with public humanities programming. These grants play a vital role in defining our...

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DigMich Newspaper Grant | Clarke Historical Library |...

Central Michigan University's Clarke Historical Library is pleased to offer an award to improve access to a Michigan newspaper. The funds will be used for: ​Scanning and placing online of a previously microfilmed Michigan newspaper ​Microfilming, ...

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2021-22 Great Michigan Read Title Announcement

The 2021-22 Great Michigan Read - chosen by regional selection committees representing all corners of Michigan - is The Women of the Copper Country, by Mary Doria Russell!

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Bridging Michigan Grants

Bridging Michigan grants provide Michigan nonprofits with up to $2,500 that can be used to spark in-depth thinking and conversation around the persistent social, economic, and cultural issues of systemic inequity that divide our communities. This ...

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Mask Up, Michigan

Residents who need masks can pick one up from partner sites across the state.

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35g – Innovative Community Library Grants

The Michigan Department of Education is announcing a grant to eligible school districts that have established innovative community libraries.

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GIG Fund

What is the GIG Fund? Arts Midwest's Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund provides financial support to arts...

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Uniting the Michigan Library Community
MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.