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Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Every homeowner at least occasionally needs some tools. But they can be expensive and inaccessible for some people, especially in low-income communities.

man in white shirt and blue tie puts hand over stomach and has a holster with a gun on it on his left side
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, do federal protections against sex discrimination extend to transgender people? A federal appeals court ruled that yes, they do. We'll talk with the lawyer who's asking the U.S. Supreme Court to come to the opposite conclusion. Plus, we’ll talk about Detroit country music ahead of a new Ken Burns documentary about this "uniquely American art form.”

The Lansing capitol dome with a blue sky behind it and trees in front of it
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


Today on Stateside, we get a preview of the top priorities for Michigan lawmakers as they return to Lansing Tuesday for the fall legislative session. Plus, why the number of full-time librarians in Michigan schools is shrinking, and what that means for students. 

Corner of a library with bookshelves and a study table
Blue Mountains Library / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This school year, districts in Michigan will start holding back third-graders who are more than one grade level behind in reading.

Michigan students have been sliding down the national rankings of test scores for reading.

Person preparing to throw a football
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, how should Congress respond in the aftermath of two mass shootings this weekend that left more than 30 people dead in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio? Plus, with the controversy surrounding CTE and other brain damage in professional football players, should parents be worried about their kid's safety in the sport? 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Lansing public library branches will be offering curbside pickup starting Monday.

Scott Duimstra is the executive director of the Capitol Area District Library.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Legislation allowing libraries to stock and administer opioid overdose drugs is on pace to reach the governor’s desk by June. The state Senate Health Policy committee approved four bills Thursday.

ford field
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Today on Stateside, a Michigan official responds to the controversy surrounding Wisconsin’s quiet approval of a 2010 request to divert nearly 11 million gallons of Great Lakes water per day. Plus, a comic book that explores the repatriation of Native American remains and the relationship between indigenous tribes and museums.

narcan kit
zamboni-man / FLICKR - https://flic.kr/p/mjCzqS

The opioid epidemic reaches every corner of life in our state.

That includes libraries, where administrators and staff are figuring out the best response if a patron appears to be under the influence of drugs, or potentially experiencing an opioid overdose.

Kalamazoo Ladies Library reading room
Courtesy of the Kalamazoo Ladies Library

The nation's oldest documented structure built for women, by women, was a lending library right here in Michigan. 

The Kalamazoo Ladies Library Association (LLA), loosely formed in 1852, has been holding meetings in its historic red brick Venetian Gothic style building since 1879.

Marge Kars, a former president of the organization, joined Stateside to talk about its history as the city’s first lending library.

Corner of a library with bookshelves and a study table
Blue Mountains Library / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

The National Endowment for the Arts came up with its Big Read program to draw communities together. 

 

The idea is to choose a book and get people reading, talking, and sharing ideas. 

Flatiron Books, 2017

Librarian Annie Spence knows what it’s like to love a book so much she has to write it a love letter. She also knows what it’s like for a break-up letter to be in order.

Her letters to books fill the pages of her own new book Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks.

Libraries Without Borders-US

The Next Idea

Pretend it’s Saturday. 

You and the kids are running errands, including a several-hour stop at the laundromat. They are bored, you are bored.... What if you could use that washer time for something like education? What if your laundromat had the services of a library? 

Well, over the summer, this started happening in Detroit. 

Otis, an English Bulldog, is the library dog at the Ypsilanti District Library, reading a book in his dog bed.
Courtesy of Ypsilanti District Library

Children reading books to dogs.

It sounds too cute to be true. But it’s a real thing. Throughout the country, libraries are turning to canines to help children who may be struggling with their reading.

The Connect-ED partnership gives public school students in several Macomb County districts access to Ebooks and media online.
Let Ideas Compete / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A partnership between some Macomb County schools and public libraries is giving students access to library services online. Students with school ID numbers can automatically access Ebooks and other resources online, unless a parent objects.

Three Macomb County school districts, Clintondale, L'anse Creuse and Chippewa Valley schools, currently participate in the program, called Connect-ED, alongside four Macomb libraries.

PAULA FRIEDRICH / Michigan Radio

Librarians are finding themselves face to face with the heroin and opioid epidemic as drug users take advantage of free access to quiet areas where people often keep to themselves.

The library director in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says the open-access environment can make public libraries susceptible to misuse.

In the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, a man fatally overdosed in a locked library restroom in April. Officials say his body might have been there for days, overlooked by a now-fired security contractor.

Coloring books help adults find their happy place

May 27, 2016

Adult coloring books are everywhere and they're filled with images of just about anything. There are adult coloring books that feature owls, butterflies, secret gardens, dream doodles, lighthouses, mandalas, kaleidoscopes and fantastic cities.

Adult coloring clubs are also popping up throughout the state. They’re often affiliated with a local library. The basic idea is that for an hour or two adults can drop in and spend some time coloring, using coloring books and markers and pencils that the library provides.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

The Macomb Library for the Blind looks more like a combination of a post office and library than just a library. Plastic bins stamped with “US Postal Service” are stacked in the backroom where administrative assistant Kathy Nuss and librarian Anne Mandel run through lists of patron orders. The library ships audiobooks, braille books and descriptive DVDs (films where the action is narrated) to Macomb County residents that can’t make it into the library due to a visual or physical impairment. 

Traverse Area District Library

At the Woodmere branch of the Traverse Area District Library in Traverse City, storytelling doesn’t just mean picture books and reading aloud. It means singing, crafts and sometimes, tackling difficult topics: like sexual abuse.

In April, children’s librarian Catherine Lancaster planned a story time based on Jill Starishevsky’s children’s book “My Body Belongs to Me”, which tells the story of a child inappropriately touched by an uncle’s friend. The child tells on the adult and is met with praise for being brave.  

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Dozens of flyers in the front hallway of the newly renovated Pinckney Community Public Library advertise programs: puzzle hour, knitting group, kids yoga, adult Zumba, after-hours movie nights and, of course, book discussion groups. Director Hope Siasoco flits among all of them, calling patrons by name, pointing out the local artwork hanging on the wall and joking that the movie nights are the “cheapest date in town.”

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

There’s a bright blue bus that rumbles through Ypsilanti streets. The words “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” are painted on the outside. On the inside there are shelves of books, two computers, a reading nook and a checkout station.

“We function as a moving block party,” said Mary Garboden, who runs the bookmobile as Ypsilanti District Library’s outreach librarian. At every stop kids run onto the bus, returning DVDs, checking out books or making use of the bus’ internet equipped computers.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

On a recent Thursday, the Cascade Branch of the Kent District Library in Cascade Township, just outside of Grand Rapids, was bustling – but not just with patrons checking out books.

Toddlers played in KDLville, a learning center that engages kids and their parents through writing, talking, playing, singing, and reading, which all promote literacy. The branch even offers events where patrons can learn how to hula hoop, watch movies on the big screen and get answers to their technology questions without going to the Apple Store.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Although Walton Erickson Memorial Library in Morley is one of only six libraries left in the state that uses a physical card catalog instead of an automated one, that doesn't mean it's technology deficient.

The library has six computers, often occupied by patrons who come to file their taxes, book bus and plane tickets, or do homework.

Morley is a rural town an hour north of Grand Rapids, dotted with cornfields and farm stands full of fresh produce. The library serves an area of 9,800 people, including a sizeable Amish population.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

You check out rent the giant chess set that’s in the lobby of the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. Production librarian Jody Harnish said since it takes about about a dozen human-sized bags to transport, they haven’t found a good way to coordinate it. But that’s about the only thing that’s off limits. There are electric guitars, models of the human brain, sewing machines, Frisbee golf sets and energy meters, all ready to be checked out, just like a book.  

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

  Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia.

Pre-Google there was the reference desk.

  

In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library?

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia.

Pre-Google there was the reference desk.

In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library?

We drove across the state and visited several local libraries to see for ourselves. We found libraries that serve their communities in different ways.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

A few decades ago, if you wanted to know how far Port Huron is from Grand Rapids, you'd have had to look it up in a book. And that book would have probably come from the library. Today, Google will tell you the answer (180.9 miles) in less than a second.

So where does that leave libraries, with their stores of atlases, story books, encyclopedias and dictionaries?

That's what we're exploring when we hit the road on tomorrow to do some reporting for an upcoming online feature.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People heading to the library to pick up paper copies of federal tax forms are disappointed to find many of them aren’t there this year.

The IRS is saving money by sending libraries only the most common forms on paper. You can find tax forms online and e-file or print them at the library. But the instruction book is more than 100 pages long.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Take a book. Leave a book.

This is the simple idea behind the Little Free Library movement.

It was launched in 2009 in Madison, Wisconsin. In just a few short years, the movement spread to the point where today there are thousands and thousands of Little Free Libraries all over the world.

Now the Little Free Library movement is taking root in Detroit.

Yuba College Public Space / Flickr

Think back to the last time you visited your local library. Did you check out a new best-selling book? Borrow a DVD? Meet your study group? Look something up in the reference section?

Since the early 20th Century, libraries have been a fundamental piece of the services people expect from their cities or counties.

But the library we grew up with is changing. The way we interact with the library and the services it offers is also changing.

With new technologies changing the way we access information, we wondered: what does the future hold for libraries?

Joseph Janes, the Chair of Library and Information Science at the University of Washington and the Founding Director of the Internet Public Library joined us along with David Votta, the Community Engagement Library at Midwest Collaborative for Library Services to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

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