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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – July 2021

This month, I’ll share some updates about what’s been happening at MCLS on several levels, from the MCLS Board of Directors, to the staff, and some things our members are doing.

At their May meeting, the MCLS Board discussed issues including MCLS’s FY2021 financial picture, and approved a projected FY2022 budget. Fortunately, we have ended FY2021 in very good shape, with net revenue over expense, or a surplus (learn more at MCLS’s 2021 Annual Meeting in November – watch for the date coming soon). One topic Board members raised and will continue discussing was maintaining a balanced operating budget, while also investing some of MCLS’s reserve funds into innovative projects for libraries, as we’ve done with Project ReShare, our Wiley journal group article processing charge (APC) fund, and more.

The Board also discussed doing qualitative analysis for several sets of data MCLS has gathered from libraries and their staff since late 2019, around member engagement, wellbeing, and from our 2020-2021 virtual dialogues. The analysis is underway now. In addition, the Board has formed a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility (DEIJA) Task Force, to propose future steps MCLS could take on those important fronts. Both the data analysis and the task force’s work will provide useful information for the Board to consider leading into their November retreat, where they will discuss Board policy including MCLS’s purpose statement (see the Board Policy Manual, Section 1, Ends), among other strategic items.

Finally, the Board discussed the 2021 call for nominations for five seats: the Indiana At-Large Representative (currently Trista Smith, in her first term); the Indiana Research Library Representative (currently Marion Frank-Wilson, in her first term); the Indiana School Library Representative (currently Rain Smith, in her first term); the Michigan At-Large Representative (currently Paul Gallagher, completing his final term); and the Michigan Public Library Representative (currently Eva Davis, completing her final term).

A Board committee created a helpful onboarding checklist for new members, including newest member Julia (Julie) Wood from Franciscan Health Indianapolis (in the Indiana Special Library Representative seat). Nominations close Friday, July 9.

The inaugural Michigan Digital Preservation Network (MDPN) Member Summit took place on June 15, with a great lineup of speakers including a keynote from Dr. Trevor Owens, Head of Digital Content Management for Library Services at the Library of Congress, and the driving force behind the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (of which MDPN is a member). Dr. Owens presented points from his years of personal experience, contained in his 2018 book The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation (Johns Hopkins University Press). I was very impressed by how accessible Dr. Owens’ presentation was, built around his straightforward 16 guiding digital preservation axioms, and six “things to start doing today.” Another highlight of the day for me was Thib Guicherd-Callin’s (Stanford University) LOCKSS presentation, in which Thib detailed how LOCKSS works at a high level, and how LOCKSS 2.0 is being rearchitected ahead of a 2022 general release. I also had the privilege of being on a panel with Dr. Sharon Carlson (Historical Society of Michigan Board of Trustees), Jeffrey Daniels (Grand Valley State University), Dr. Chelsea Denault (our very own MDPN Coordinator and Summit organizer), Paul Gallagher (Western Michigan University), and Bryan Whitledge (Central Michigan University) about the costs of inaction regarding digital preservation, and how the MDPN has begun helping a variety of organizations across the state meet challenges as a larger community. Look for many more details about what’s happening with the MDPN in this space in September.

Our Group Purchasing staff recently completed our July order renewal cycle, and are in the process of implementing a new member ordering management system. We anticipate that the new system will streamline operations internally, and provide more direct functionality for libraries. In addition, our Engagement, Consulting, and Training team (including new manager Pam Seabolt) is collaborating with our IT staff to roll out a new workshop and event registration platform which is now in place for our July-December training semester. We hope library staff will find the new platform easier to use.

In other news, several MCLS member libraries have joined the Open Education Network (OEN) or converted memberships from Institutional to Allied. We will continue promoting our consortial OEN membership in the August MCLS newsletter. Our cohort of 16 Indiana libraries pursuing the Certificate in Creating Wellbeing through the Wellbeing Lab is actively moving from the “me” and “we” levels to the “us” level of wellbeing, considering projects they can do to complete the certificate. I have also had productive conversations with a group of Indiana academic and school librarians about offering a stipend program for those interested in creating and reviewing content about how school and academic librarians help Indiana students use INSPIRE databases to gain information literacy skills, especially important for those students transitioning from high school to college. More information to come on that, soon.

If you have questions about the above, or other things MCLS is doing, suggestions for how MCLS could invest in innovation, or other thoughts, I’d be happy to hear from you. Contact me anytime at (800) 530-9019 ext 119, or at