President's Update - March 8, 2018

MLA President Steven Bowers
Special libraries, public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries. Those of us working in libraries tend to classify library types into divisions. I guess it's in our nature to organize information. But an interesting thing to note is that most of the general public, including most legislators, don't see those divides. They are pro-libraries (hopefully) and they see us all as one. That's good news, I think, and that is part of why the MLA mission is to support all libraries in Michigan.
Last month in my MLA ALA Chapter Councilor's report I noted that there are national and state efforts to support school libraries, in part bolstered by the recently released new National School Library Standards. MAME (Michigan Association for Media in Education), the statewide association for school library media specialists, is working to rebuild the presence of school librarians in Michigan. The Library of Michigan and MDE (Michigan Dept. of Education) are working to support school libraries and on making sure libraries have a voice in the state's implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind. The Board of MiALA (Michigan Academic Library Association) recently approved a statement supporting school libraries. You can read more on their take on the connectedness of libraries in support of schools here.
ALA President, Jim Neal, has recently called for support of school libraries. He has put out a Fight for School Libraries, asking us all to join in. In his call to action of support, Jim notes the connectedness of all libraries: "Libraries constitute an ecology of educational, research, and community services. In this environment of inter­dependency, we, as a family of libraries, must embrace advocacy for school libraries as foundational to the success of our collective work for students who love to read, as we prepare them for college, career, and life." I hope we will all take the call to action and that MLA will take a unified position of support.
I would like to see a future where all libraries in Michigan, and all of our associations, are working together. What should our priorities be within MLA? What partnerships should we make? What support should our association provide and to which efforts? I am asking these questions to MLA as a whole and to each MLA member that wants to respond to me directly. The Board of MLA values input from our membership and we have to make tough decisions on how to use MLA resources so we need to hear from you!
Lost Without Each Other,
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