Executive Director's Desk - May 14, 2015


We had a robust turnout with nearly one-fourth of our membership voting in this year’s election for MLA officers and directors. First I would like to thank the outgoing directors for their service on the board. MLA Past President Cathy Wolford, ALA Counselor Trish Burns and director Kate Pohjala Andrede have proven to be effective leaders and have given generously of their time and expertise to help move MLA forward. MLA and the library community offer our gratitude.

Congratulations to President Elect Kathleen Zaenger, Director, Howell Carnegie Library; returning Treasurer Richard Schneider, Muskegon Area District Library; ALA Councilor: Steven Bower, DALNET; directors at large Jim Pletz, TLN; and Cathy Lancaster, Traverse Area District Library. Mollie Frier, Northern Michigan University, was appointed by the board as ACRL representative. MLA is in good hands as we finalize the strategic plan and embark on a new year of exciting changes. Special recognition and thank you to all those who volunteered to run for a position on the board.

This is also a good time to acknowledge and thank all the MLA volunteers who worked to put together an outstanding line up of workshops and conferences for 2014-15. Securing quality speakers to address the latest trends and library topics takes teamwork and leadership.

The 2015-16 Call for Volunteers was highly successful and next year’s event-based work groups are ready to get started with a work group development program on June 19 in East Lansing. People volunteer for a number of reasons and often find they end up receiving as much or more than they give in these situations. Some are motivated to share a skill, get to know a community, demonstrate commitment to their chosen field, gain leadership skills or recognition. Some volunteers want to make new friends, be part of a team or simply have fun. All of those are great reasons to promote your personal and professional growth while strengthening your library community.

MLA Mentor Program Debuts
We are pleased to unveil the new MLA Mentor Program. Members let us know this was something they would like to have available. While the official roll out is Friday, May 15, dozens of members have expressed interest and mentor/mentee matching is underway.

The goal of MLA’s Mentor Program is to support career development by providing encouragement, support and guidance to library science students, early-career librarians, mid-career staff looking to advance within their field or library staff looking to transition into another position.

The program has been established in order to provide a method of introducing and encouraging librarians and other library professionals to work together and network within the community. Mentors are current members of the association who have agreed to help other members learn about the profession in general and guide mentees with their future goals. Information and material are available on the website under the career development heading. www.milibraries.org/career-development/mentor-program/overview

Save Money on Your Insurance Costs
A year ago, libraries at the Illinois Library Association unveiled an insurance pool as a way to use local tax dollars responsibly and provide libraries an alternative to better control costs and coverage options. 

In order to provide a similar program for Michigan libraries, the MLA Board of Directors made the decision to explore these same options with an insurance broker that knows and understands libraries:  Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is the largest writer of libraries in the United States and is the approved insurance broker of the American Library Association. 

MLA is conducting a member design study to provide an alternative to you for your insurance needs. By taking 10 minutes to complete the attached questionnaire, with your help we will have a better understanding of the potential to start a similar insurance pool in Michigan.

Please be assured that by completing the survey you are under no obligation to purchase or even consider the insurance. This survey is simply a way to provide Gallagher & Co. with the information they need to provide a rate quote to members. It will help those libraries who are indeed interested in reviewing information about the insurance.  

Please take a moment to:

  • Fill out the following short survey (downloadable word doc): MLA Insurance Design Study
  • Request 5 years of loss history from your current agent or insurance carrier

 Please complete and return the requested items to:


   (630) 285-3840



(630) 694-5152

The Illinois Library pool has been well received and very successful, here is what Illinois Libraries have to say about their program:

"Like many libraries, our rates have been going up each year, even with no claims.  We have seen significant savings by joining the LIRA pool."

 - Jeannie Dilger, Library Director, La Grange Public Library

It is important to note that many Michigan libraries are covered under their municipality's insurance program. Although the program may afford coverage, the libraries are often subject to higher deductibles and retentions. As a part of the municipality's insurance program, libraries are also exposed to losses from a variety of exposures including claims related to Police and Fire departments. This can have a dramatic effect on premiums year after year, and cost the library additional premium they otherwise would not experience if they purchased insurance as a part of a library pool. This program is specifically focused on library exposures.

Feel free to contact MLA, Erika Morris or Marcus Henthorn with any questions.


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