Subscribe rss.gif

Recent News


Notes from the Executive Director – June 2019

One of my roles as Executive Director is to represent MCLS widely throughout Indiana and Michigan, and each month has provided a wealth of opportunities – this past month has certainly been no different.

On May 2, I attended a summit on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at Kent District Library (KDL) in west Michigan, which featured several staff from the Seattle Public Library presenting on how they have intentionally woven EDI into their strategy and practice as an organization. The program also included several other speakers from within and outside libraries (including KDL) who spoke passionately about how they engage communities, paying careful attention to issues including culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Having become aware of various ALA divisions’ efforts regarding EDI, especially around working toward a more diverse and inclusive library workforce, it was very interesting to learn about what public libraries are doing to engage their communities through an EDI lens.

The MCLS Board of Directors met in Kalamazoo on May 6, and discussed a wide range of issues and initiatives. In addition to topics such as the upcoming Board election and meeting planning, and updates on MCLS’s work, Group Purchasing Manager Stephanie Davis presented to the Board about some of the current dynamics in our group purchasing work, including how budget challenges, open access, and changing approaches in working with publishers and vendors impact and influence us. Finally, the Board discussed an MCLS member survey that will go live this summer. The survey will gather data on libraries’ awareness of the many benefits MCLS provides, and which of those benefits libraries use and value most. The survey data will be very useful to help MCLS remain responsive and provide as much value as possible to member libraries, and we encourage you to participate.

On May 15, I participated in Michigan’s Council of Library Directors (now a committee of the Michigan Association of State Universities, or MASU) meeting in Kalamazoo, at which Bob Murphy from MASU provided a wealth of context regarding current developments in higher education in the state that contributed to a rich discussion. Also in May, I participated in an informational meeting about FOLIO, an emerging library services platform, spent time with the management team at our RIDES courier service provider, toured LiquidWeb’s facility where the MeLCat servers are housed, and attended a Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) Board meeting, where I met current MAME President Cynthia Zervos and several of her school library colleagues.

I had two more enlightening conversations with colleagues in Indiana to learn more about the library landscape there. I spoke with Indiana Library Federation (ILF) Executive Director Lucinda Nord about the current state of Indiana library legislation, other dynamics in the state, and how ILF and MCLS could work together going forward. MCLS Board alum Patty Stringfellow, director at the Jasper County Public Library in Rensselaer, IN, hosted me before Memorial Day, and kindly offered many insights on her unique region of northwest Indiana, and some of the Indiana library community’s history during her twenty-plus years working within it.

As many of us are winding down another fiscal year, remember that it’s MCLS membership renewal time. We’ve begun the process of sending renewal notices, so please watch your mailbox if you haven’t received your notice yet. As always, we appreciate your prompt attention to your renewal.

If you have any questions about renewing your MCLS membership, or anything else about MCLS and what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at or (800) 530-9019 ext 119.