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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – April 2023

I’m taking a pause this month to share that we at MCLS continue to hear loud and clear how hard things are for many in libraries across our region, and that we’re here to help however we can. Book challenges and other intellectual freedom issues, enrollment declines and other things driving budget problems, staff and leadership turnover, and libraries and communities feeling like they need more support, connection, and reinvigoration all have us looking for ways to help and support you. To repeat: we want to serve and support you the best we possibly can. We continue listening as we prepare for our strategic planning process in 2023. In addition to staying connected to each other, please also stay connected with us and give us input and feedback, anytime.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple question for us to find a way to do something. I’ll give a recent example in just a moment. I also want to share a few recent steps we’ve taken to continue providing the high-quality service you expect from MCLS.

  1. We’ve held Community Conversations to ask you about your aspirations for the future, which yielded a lot of information we’re compiling and will share soon.
  2. Our community-driven Virtual Dialogues that connect staff from all types of libraries in our region continue through 2023, and our training program includes a self-paced course on Resilience in the Workplace.
  3. We promoted Megan Dudek to the role of Shared Library Systems Manager at MCLS, following her years of experience supporting the Michigan eLibrary Catalog (MeLCat), MeL eResources, and RIDES.
  4. We hired Susan Bannwart as our Group Purchasing Coordinator in February, who brings years of experience as a public and school librarian in Indiana to her new role.
  5. We hired Sarah Zawacki as MeL Support Specialist effective April 3, who brings years of wide-ranging public library experience to her new role.

Earlier this year, a Michigan colleague asked how the library community could support one another in the face of defamatory language and legal threats toward library staff. I convened a group (including attorneys and several attorney-librarians) on March 23 for what I found to be an excellent, wide-ranging discussion with some short-term and longer-term actions we will take. Let me know if you’d like to join future conversations. In the meantime, I’ll close by mentioning an NPR story published on March 23 about how people are fighting back against book bans in ever-growing numbers (and finding banned books online including through the Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned initiative).

Let’s stay connected. Contact me anytime at with questions, thoughts, ideas, worries, or anything else. Let’s do something.