Michigan Creates New $800,000 School Library / Public Library Ecosystem Builder Grant Program
Michigan students and their families stand to benefit from a new $800,000 grant program focused on ecosystem building between certified school librarians and their public library colleagues.
A new pilot grant program provides grants to fund collections-focused projects between public libraries and school districts with certified school librarians on staff. Grants to a school district may not exceed $10,000 per library facility and a school district must employ a certified school librarian (also called media specialists in Michigan) to be eligible for a grant. The four eligible counties are Berrien, Genesee, Kent, and Mackinac.
“This innovative grant program shows that the role of a certified school librarian is core to the educational and community-building mission of all libraries,” said John Chrastka, Executive Director at EveryLibrary, a political action committee dedicated to building voter support for libraries. "When the legislature looked at ways to connect public libraries more closely to their neighboring school districts they knew that a certified school librarian needed to be there for the program to succeed.” This grant program is a recognition of the need for strong collaboration between every type of library.
"This pilot program is a step forward in supporting smart and effective collaborations between libraries focused on students during school and out of school time," said Kathy Lester, Advocacy Chair for the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME). "We're very pleased that this grant program has received the support of the legislature, and we hope to see support for school libraries continue into the future." MAME continues to call on the state legislature to invest in the future of education by returning school librarians to every school and district in the state. Right now, fewer than 10% of all schools have a full-time certified school librarian and literacy rates in Michigan are suffering. MAME is sponsoring three bills to address this critical academic shortfall this session.
About the Library Pilot Program
The Michigan state budget for 2021-2022 includes this new grant program in order to help build better collections at school libraries and foster stronger collaboration between certified school librarians and public librarians. It also includes a $2M increase in state aid to libraries, authorizes spending $4.2 M in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, and includes a $1M in the School Aid budget for "Community Library" grants for public libraries.
EveryLibrary is a 501c4 political action committee dedicated to building voter support for libraries. Since 2012, EveryLibrary has provided donor-supported pro-bono advising and consulting to public library campaigns helping to win over $320 million in stable tax funding. Beginning in 2016, EveryLibrary has provided strategic and tactical support to school library communities on education and tax policy, along with supporting dozens of challenges to school library budgets and school librarian positions in schools and districts across the country through our digital campaign platform at SaveSchoolLibrarians.org.
MAME is focused on increasing student achievement by supporting high quality school libraries in schools across Michigan. AME is dedicated to help, inspire, collaborate with, and provide professional support for school librarians across the state of Michigan.