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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – Nov 2022

Each fall, MCLS takes stock of the past year’s accomplishments and also focuses on the year ahead. This month, I’ll cover some strides we’ve made, share some highlights from the MCLS Board of Directors’ recent annual retreat, and preview our 2022 MCLS Annual Meeting on Nov. 29.

First and foremost, we aim to deliver on our Board’s vision for MCLS and the libraries we serve in terms of some main principles:

  • Collaboration between libraries and external partners.
  • Innovation in how libraries serve their communities, including tools they use.
  • Libraries’ alignment with what communities need today and in the future.

Major collaborations we’ve worked on and fostered over the past year include:

  • Completing work on two American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant projects funded by IMLS via the Indiana State Library and the Library of Michigan (for the Libraries Engage Appreciatively for Positive Change [LEAP] Indiana cohort, and a major eBook purchase for publicly-funded Michigan academic libraries).
  • Participating in International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) community work around libraries’ metadata rights, strategies for collaboration, and more.
  • Providing key infrastructure and effort for a variety of organizations, programs, and projects such as the Linked Data User Group, the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA), the Michigan Digital Preservation Network (MDPN), the Michigan eLibrary Catalog (MeLCat) and Regional Interlibrary Delivery Service (RIDES), MeL eResources, the Michigan Shared Print Initiative (MI-SPI), and the national Partnership for Shared Book Collections and international Project ReShare.

MCLS has supported and led innovation this past year, including:

  • Receiving our first-ever IMLS grant to support the MDPN’s work to build what we expect to be the first production LOCKSS 2.0 digital preservation network.
  • Contributing funds and staff effort to support building Project ReShare’s consortial resource sharing software for returnables and Controlled Digital Lending (CDL).
  • Improving the Text and Learn for Kindergarten (TALK) system as we and our partners prepare to expand TALK from Michigan to Indiana and other states.
  • Making advances in MeL eResource authentication and helping MeLCat libraries implement the Direct to INN-Reach API.

We have also helped libraries stay aligned with their communities, including:

  • Facilitating LEAP community engagement cohorts in both Indiana and Michigan.
  • Completing strategic planning and other consulting work with Elk Rapids District Library, Ferndale Area District Library, the Indiana Library Federation, Manistee County Public Library, Monticello-Union Township Public Library, Noble County Public Library, and Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library.
  • Supporting 421 libraries in acquiring 2,165 subscriptions to 470 eContent and other products from 65 vendors (now done via our ConsortiaManager system).
  • Continuing to support 438 libraries who serve millions of citizens in moving nearly one million physical items throughout Michigan, as well as training library staff and educators to explore all that the Michigan eLibrary has to offer.

The MCLS Board of Directors has embraced diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and accessibility (DEIJA) as a major priority. Our work to advance DEIJA this past year includes:

  • Investing in Reveal Digital’s efforts to digitize historical collections on race and civil rights that will include materials documenting Indiana and Michigan history, to be available in open access.
  • Achieving Center for Appreciative Inquiry certification in Intercultural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work.
  • Achieving greater RIDES pricing equity throughout Michigan.
  • Building the MDPN intentionally as an inclusive community.

At their fall retreat, our Board focused heavily on DEIJA, and how to weave it (and other notions such as belonging) throughout their work in the future in terms of their values, vision, expectations of me, MCLS’s staff, and one another and how they will work together. A key question they discussed is what transformation around DEIJA concepts the Board, as the informed voice and agent of the libraries who own MCLS (i.e., our members), wants to see for libraries and their communities, and what impact MCLS can make. The Board also discussed how to engage with MCLS libraries in the coming year, intellectual freedom and other challenges libraries face, and the “move to open” in terms of content, technology, and more. Finally, the Board recognized its outgoing members (John Brock, Joel Scheuher, Denise Shorey, and Edra Waterman), and newly appointed and elected members (Portia Kapraun, Lauren McMullan, Stephen Patton, and Matthew Shaw).

We will host the 2022 MCLS Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29, from 10am to 12pm Eastern (9am to 11am Central) via Zoom. Register here to receive the Zoom link. This year’s Annual Meeting will start with some brief updates from MCLS Board President Marion Frank-Wilson, MCLS Board Treasurer Joel Scheuher, and me, and we will reserve the bulk of the meeting time for dialogue with our members. We want to know what is top of mind for you and explore the future you would like to see for Indiana and Michigan libraries. This dialogue will be a lead-in to community conversations we will host in February to gather member input as we create a new MCLS strategic plan. Also, we’re bringing back the MCLS Virtual Dialogues in January as a way to bring the library community together in conversation every other month around topics of interest to the profession.

We also plan to publish a brief annual report prior to the Annual Meeting, which will include some of the information we have covered in previous years’ annual meetings so you’ll have it ahead of time. I encourage you to contact me anytime at should you have any questions from the annual report, or about anything else MCLS-related. Thank you as always for reading, and I hope you have a restful Thanksgiving weekend with those who mean the most to you. At MCLS, we remain thankful for the opportunity to serve you.