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Notes from the Executive Director – July 2019

During June, I continued having a variety of enlightening conversations with colleagues near and far, about the present and future for libraries and the organizations with whom they work, including consortia such as MCLS. Though our members face significant challenges, there are remarkable opportunities to continue collaborating to serve our communities in impactful ways.

Randy Riley, Michigan’s State Librarian, joined me for a series of visits in the upper peninsula (UP) early in the month. While there, we talked with librarians at academic, public, school public (i.e. one library based in a school that serves both the school, and the public), and a library cooperative (of which we have eleven in Michigan, each of which serves member libraries in different ways). Topics we discussed during these visits include:
• Interlibrary cooperation and collaboration in the UP, including between types, via the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation, the Superiorland Library Cooperative, and other groups (on efforts to digitize at-risk local materials, plan programs, and much more)
• Technology issues such as a lack of broadband Internet service in some areas
• Demographic trends
MeL’s move to EBSCO for databases, and how many find MeL easier to use
Grant opportunities through the Library of Michigan (LM)
• Community relationships, and how UP libraries foster local economic development and extend library services into local government offices
• The dynamics of the school public library
• RIDES and how it functions in the UP
• The positive impact that MCLS’s and LM’s training has, and interest in more face-to-face training (including for staff without a library degree)

Our thanks to Alycia McKowen (St. Ignace Public Library), Lisa Cromell (Munising School Public Library), Josh Olson (Michigan Technological University), Dillon Geshel (Portage Lake District Library), Leslie Warren (Northern Michigan University), Shawn Andary (Superiorland Library Cooperative), Andrea Ingmire (Peter White Public Library), Marc Boucher (Lake Superior State University), Lisa Waskin (Superior District Library), and their staff for hosting us!

On Friday, June 7, I had the pleasure of observing Ann Kaskinen, our MeL K-12 Engagement Specialist, present to Wexford-Missaukee Schools staff in Cadillac. I learned about MeL content from a whole new perspective, and even got a sneak preview to the fact that MeL will soon add the popular PebbleGo early literacy tool! The following week, Ann and I visited current MAME president Cynthia Zervos at Bloomfield Hills Schools, and learned how she incorporates early information literacy instruction into her work with elementary school students.

The Michigan Cooperative Directors Association’s June meeting featured a presentation from Friends of Michigan Libraries, and a lively discussion about the services coops offer, and how they make decisions in doing their work.

ALA 2019 in Washington, DC provided a wealth of learning and networking opportunities, as usual. Several MCLS staff participated in discussions on shared print projects nationwide, new developments in library management systems and resource sharing, the current state of open access scholarship including transformative agreements, MCLS’s own and others’ successes in library staff training programs, potential new products MCLS could offer for group purchasing, consortium management and potential collaboration, and the state of the art with regard to linked data, among many other topics.

To round out the month of June, I participated in a meeting about digital preservation in Michigan that followed from a March symposium at Grand Valley State University that included guest speakers from InDiPres in Indiana. The group of academic and public libraries, archives, museums, and art galleries represented had a rich discussion about the possibilities for creating digital preservation infrastructure for our state, as others have done elsewhere.

As always, we want to hear your thoughts and questions, needs you may have, and what MCLS could do for your library. Please connect with us at your convenience – I’m at, or (800) 530-9019 ext 119.