Letter from Debbie

March 26, 2020

I really don’t even know how to sum up a week like the one we’ve just gone through, nor how to anticipate what we’ll be going through for the next few weeks, let alone months. We’ve seen our daily routines upended, and we are now all isolated from each other in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a week ago. I know you’ll agree with me, we’re living in unprecedented times…so please, take it one day at a time!

The board and staff of MLA hope you are staying safe, keeping distance, washing hands, and remaining healthy during this global health pandemic. MLA continues to work hard (from our homes, of course) to ensure that libraries can weather this storm together. And even though we are physically separated we remain committed to being STRONGER TOGETHER.

As soon as Governor Whitmer closed K-12 schools, MLA knew we needed to step up. In light of the rapid and unprecedented spread of the coronavirus, I’m proud that MLA made a bold and decisive recommendation to close libraries throughout Michigan. A hard decision that in effect cancelled beloved access and programming. We made this recommendation out of an abundance of caution to protect library staff and patrons. Libraries are integral to society and pride themselves on being there during critical times, but not to the detriment of staff and patron safety.

MLA will continue to lead and to advocate on your behalf. We were the first in the nation to recommend statewide closure and library associations in Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin adopted our communication as the basis for their own communications to the libraries in their states. MLA communicated daily with Governor Whitmer’s office making them aware of our position and soon afterward, libraries were included in her Executive Order to close. As you all know, they remain closed now, until at least April 13.

So, what does the future hold? Wow, that’s a hard one, but here are my initial thoughts today: 

  • I’m thinking that our lifeblood right now is the internet – perhaps we need to concentrate more energy to make this a free public utility – giving equal access to all, wherever and whenever they need it. 

  • I’m thinking that we need to prioritize healthcare, sick leave and taking care of those on our staffs.

  • I’m thinking that we need to eliminate the “hustle culture” and sometimes just doing nothing will keep our lives in balance. 

  • I’m thinking that remote work isn’t as bad as I once thought. 

  • And last, I’m thinking I would be rich if I had invented Zoom!

So thank you for your trust in MLA’s efforts to protect our communities, to protect our library staff and patrons. It is now time to take care of yourself and take care of your families.

Be grateful today. You’re not alone. And until further notice…Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives.

Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

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