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Notes from the Executive Director – May 2019

My second month on the job at MCLS has been an exhilarating blend of building and strengthening connections with our skilled and talented staff and management team, a variety of members, and representatives from other library consortia around the world, as well as working on strategy and reporting.

I’ve spent time catching up on current movement with the Michigan Shared Print Initiative (MI-SPI), which helps academic libraries in Michigan use a data-driven, collective approach to managing their physical collections. Our management team has refined our vacant staff position (we need a great accountant!), clarified our estimated FY2020 budget, and continued discussing short and longer term strategy for MCLS. I’ve been very busy preparing information for our May Board of Directors meeting, at which we’ll continue ongoing discussion of how MCLS can stay connected to member needs and move forward to serve members in new and innovative ways.

In early April, Group Purchasing Manager Stephanie Davis and I attended our first International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) meeting as MCLS staff. We met people from a diverse group of other consortia in several countries — the common ICOLC wisdom is, “when you’ve met one consortium, you’ve met … one consortium!” — and spent time learning about and considering potential future collaboration. We also learned about issues other consortia are facing, as well as the current state of RA21, coming changes with eBooks, and open access publishing. I participated on a panel with counterparts from the Big Ten Academic Alliance and NCLIVE, to discuss how consortia may remain responsive to their members (who may belong to more than one consortium).

Following ICOLC, I caught up on discussions about digital preservation in Indiana and Michigan, and worked intensively on MCLS’s budget for FY2020. Stephanie and I also spent time in Indiana, visiting staff at the following libraries, to learn about their work and how MCLS may better serve them (* indicates current MCLS Board members):

  • Ball State University (Matthew Shaw)
  • Indiana University Bloomington (Marion Frank Wilson* and Ron Day)
  • Monroe County Public Library (Marilyn Wood and Jane Cronkhite)
  • Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (Kate Linderman*, Heather McNabb, and Katie Reineke)
  • Ivy Tech Evansville (Lenore Engler)
  • University of Southern Indiana (Marna Hostetler and Dianne Grayson)
  • Newburgh Chandler Public Library (Trista Smith)
  • Bartholomew County Public Library (Jason Hatton, Angela Eck, and Denise Wirring)
  • Whiteland High School (Rain Smith*)

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting the members of the Michigan Cooperative Directors Association (currently led by MCLS Board member Kate Pohjola Andrade), and participated in the Library of Michigan Foundation’s 2019 Night for Notables event honoring the 2019 Michigan Notable Book authors. The event featured a performance art piece by an ensemble led by Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box (now a Netflix film). Following a May focused on meetings and work closer to our office in Lansing, I will make a visit to libraries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in early June.

Whether you’d like to discuss an accomplishment or challenge your library may have, have a question about how MCLS might help you, or would simply like to say hello, please don’t hesitate to contact me at or by phone at (800) 530-9019 ext 119. I look forward to hearing from you.

Scott and Stephanie at Newburgh Chandler Public Library