Executive Director's Desk - July 13, 2017

Good News for Library Funding
A number of developments around library funding has us in an optimistic mood. First the FY 2018 State of Michigan budget is finally on the governor’s desk. Funding for libraries includes a $1 million boost in state aid to libraries. This is great news as we work to gradually rebuild this funding source. Our Senators Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) and Jim Stamas (R- Midland) worked hard to keep that additional funding in the budget.
At the federal level we are cautiously watching the text of the appropriations bill released by the House “Labor H” Subcommittee ahead of its vote tomorrow afternoon. Right now it looks as if there are no changes relative to last year’s appropriation which covers the IMLS funding source. There are still many steps to a final decision.
Insurance Services Opportunity
MLA has partnered with National Insurance Services, Inc. to provide another resource for affordable health care coverage to member library staff. If you have at least one current employee with health benefits you are eligible to join now. Meetings are underway to determine what type of plans will be offered. Once those plans are finalized, rates will be established and all member libraries will be eligible to sign up for benefits. If you wish to sign up with NIS immediately, there is no cost to you and your current plan will not change. Additional participants will allow NIS to command better rates for us. NIS also provides no cost human resources information and services. For information contact Brian Mitchell, National Insurance Services, Inc. at 800.627.3660 x 1310.
Congratulations MLA Librarian of the Year
Lance Werner, director of the Kent District Library, has been selected as the 2017 MLA Librarian of the Year. He will receive the award during the MLA 2017 Annual Conference, October 19, in Lansing. Lance has been serving the west Michigan community since 2011 and his accomplishments are numerous. As part of an ongoing effort to increase student reading skills, KDL initiated its Play Grow Read program which has the library building collaborations among the Literacy Center of West Michigan the Kent Intermediate School District and Steelcase Corporation. This public private partnership is just one way KDL is looking for ways to benefit Michigan’s next generation. Lance is a staunch advocate for statewide library funding working with MLA and legislators to protect the library's right to disseminate information to communities and ensure tax dollars are spent according to the voter's choice. His tireless work on legislative issues including our tax capture success is unmatched. His efforts were critical to the successful passage of that package of bills. 
Congratulations Lance and thank you for your dedicated service to MLA and to the library community.
MLA 2017 Registration is Open
MLA 2017 is at the Lansing Center and registration is open. This year’s keynotes include Manoush Zomorodi, Host & Managing Editor, WNYC’S Note to Self, the tech show about being human and Jack Lessenberry, head of the journalism faculty at Wayne State University. Lessenberry provides commentary and analysis for radio and television. He won a National Emmy award in 1994 for one of two Frontline documentaries he helped report and produce on Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He will be addressing fake news and the media.
This year as you are making your professional development plan, remember to review the MLA scholarship opportunities. Workshops, Academic Libraries Conference, Spring Institute and Leadership Academy all have scholarships available. Visit www.milibraries.org/prof-development-networking/scholarships/
Library of Michigan also offers stipends that can be used for MLA 2017 and other events. www.michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan/0,2351,7-160-18668_63014-359559--,00.html
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