News - MLA
Thursday, July 27, 2023 12:00 AM

Note From Debbie

July 27, 2023

Like other places throughout the country, Michigan libraries are facing calls from some parents and conservative groups to ban certain books.

In Ottawa County's Jamestown Township, residents voted down a library millage in the last midterm election, forcing the eventual closure of the only local library after staff refused to remove LGBTQ books from the collection. 

Earlier this year, Michigan libraries were thrown into the political spotlight once more with a party-line vote on a resolution in the state House to honor Librarian and Library Worker Day, with Republicans all opposing.

In Lapeer County, a prosecutor threatened to have the librarian arrested as she stood strong to protect First Amendment Rights and the right to read at her library.

In March 2023, the Michigan Library Association contracted with EPIC-MRA to conduct a statewide survey of 800 Michigan voters on their awareness of, and attitudes toward, the increasingly intense and coordinated efforts to dictate the collection content of local public libraries.

The overall findings indicate that groups and organizations that favor banning books in Michigan are clearly going against an overwhelming majority of public opinion that opposes book banning. 

Now, to address these challenges, the Michigan Library Association has contracted with Martin Waymire*, a PR firm in Lansing, who will help us launch a six-month, strategic public education effort to head off censorship efforts or other restrictive or punitive measures for Michigan public libraries by local, state and federal lawmakers.

Martin Waymire will employ tactics starting in July to change the narrative around parent and family engagement with their local public library. They will implement three important strategies to achieve the objectives outlined in their proposal:

Strategy 1: Earned Media Outreach

Earned media is powerful not because of the impressive reach it achieves — and it still does achieve impressive results —but because of the validation it provides to consumers. Having MLA’s voice included in news articles and in-depth issue coverage is essential to building our reputation, gaining audience trust, and ultimately, achieving our goals and objectives.

  • Mobilize existing MI Right to Read coalition members to submit letters to the editor in local publications by providing templates and how-to explanations for easy execution.
  • Work with regional libraries to identify local champions to pen letters to the editor or opinion pieces for statewide publications.
  • Pitch MLA spokespeople and regional champions (parents) for long-form interviews on targeted radio and television programs.
  • Consider editorial board meetings with key publications throughout the state and include MLA leaders and parents.

Strategy 2: Engage Social Influencers

Social media is a growing and evolving communications vehicle for reaching audiences of all ages. Within these social platforms, influencer marketing is a nuanced, creative and authentic way to reach key audiences.

  • Develop key messages, content angles and a creative scope agreement for influencers to follow.
  • Identify and contract with Michigan-based influencers that reach our target audience demographics.
  • Review and provide edits to influencer content before publication.
  • Repurpose influencer content for social and digital advertising efforts and other messaging opportunities.

Strategy 3: Social Media and Digital Advertising

Digital marketing is more than simply placing advertisements or sponsored content in online publications or on platforms with a wide reach. Martin Waymirewill work with MLA to identify the platforms and digital opportunities that give us the best advantage in reaching our target audiences and communications goals.

  • Based on the target audience demographics, we will work to refine a digital audience so our budget is spent reaching exactly who we want to reach on the right channels.
  • Channels may include social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.), native advertising, video streaming, display advertising, and more.
  • Martin Waymire will design eye-catching graphics and test the visuals and messages to see what content performs best - continually optimizing content to ensure that best results are achieved.

MLA is excited to get started. Watch for more information in the coming weeks as the campaign launches.


Deborah Mikula signature



Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

*Martin Waymire is a majority woman-owned, full-service public relations and digital marketing firm that works with organizations seeking to make Michigan a better place. They are experts on the issues shaping Michigan’s future. Their collective 120+ years of experience includes work on a variety of issues including state and local government, public health, healthcare, nonprofit, environment, transportation and infrastructure, development issues, utilities, K-12 and higher education, and more.


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