On Friday, July 20, Janet and I took a road trip to visit Library Director Angela Semifero at Marshall District Library in downtown beautiful historic Marshall, Michigan.

MDL serves the City of Marshall as well as the following townships: Eckford, Marengo, Marshall, and Fredonia —  a population of around 15,000 thus giving the agency a Class 4 designation from the Library of Michigan which is comprised of libraries serving populations of 12,000 to 25,999. The library operates with a budget of about $940,000 and houses a collection of about 71,000 items in a 19,000-square-foot former grocery store that has been renovated in 1997 to suit the agency’s needs.

Mission: “…to serve its community by providing diverse informational, educational and recreational materials in a supportive and accessible environment.”

Motto / Tagline: Explore, Discover, Grow. (love this!)

To provide a stimulating environment and supportive staff;
To encourage the public’s use and support of library services and facilities;
To stimulate children’s interest and appreciation for reading and learning while supporting patrons of all ages;
To provide access to electronic resources including the internet;
To provide materials on diverse interests upholding democratic and intellectual freedoms (my favorite);
To provide guidance in the use of references, electronic and loan materials.

About the Director
Angela Semifero graduated from Wayne State University with her MLIS in 2004. She’s been with MDL, in various capacities including Deputy Director, since 2006 and became Library Director in 2011. Semifero’s resume is impressive and I was tickled to learn that she was an adjunct instructor for the School of Library and Information Science (Wayne State University) in 2009, teaching Young Adult Literature (LIS 6530) and Access to Information (LIS 6120)…and a member of ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table — Feminist Task Force — which is responsible for the Amelia Bloomer Project! Semifero is co-chairing the project and has been a part of the committee for 5 years now. (Yes, she is that awesome!)

From My Notebook…

  • We met with Angela at 1:00p on a Friday and the library was BUSY! (She considered it to be slow.) Let me just say: it was a challenge taking photos due to patrons utilizing specific areas of the library.
  • Always tries to have a manager in the building during public service hours.
  • Very well-lit and with ample (and comfortable) seating for patrons. There was lots of tables for working on projects, as well.
  • Excellent signage breaks down and simplifies the various Dewey classes for patrons!
  • Oversized non-fiction books were shelved together and easy to access — no worries about one falling on your head or having to crawl around on the floor to in order to browse the bottom shelf.
  • MDL participates in local parades! They’re already getting ready for this year’s Christmas parade. Semifero said, “We are super involved in the community we serve, such as being a part of service groups, and already planning our float for the holiday parade.”
  • Uses Gmail and Googledocs for staff communication / collaboration.
  • Interesting fact: the City of Marshall actually owns the parking lot.
  • The library has a drive-up book drop!
  • Space between the stacks allowed for multiple patrons to easily browse without giving feelings of  claustrophobia or bumping into each other people.
  • Very big on grant writing — especially collaborative grants. It’s how many of the library’s programs and events get funded.
  • Uses Millenium ILS.
  • Security cameras due to a break-in.
  • MDL wrote a $15k grant for an after-school program which is highly utilized by area youth.
  • The library provides “ideas” for tweens to teens to help them keep busy (and out of trouble.)
  • I was super geeked to see that the library offered a number of a games and puzzles as well as paper, scissors, markers, crayons, and pencils for those feeling creative.
  • MDL has a large graphic collection: Anime, Manga, comic books, and graphic novels!
  • MDL hosts gaming nights with popular consoles. (Love this idea!)
  • Policy and procedure manuals are available at every desk for staff’s use.
  • A grant from the community foundation has faciliatated the library with digitizing newspapers.
  • Study rooms and the reference room — 1 person must be over 18.
  • Mobile laptop lab!
  • The collection is shelf-read weekly!
  • MDL hosts a volunteer / donor reception to say ‘thanks.’
  • The library has an artwork collection that circulates for 3 weeks.
  • Regular circulation is for 2 weeks and the library offers a 1 week grace period — very unique!
  • Utilizes PC Reservation by EnvisionWare.
  • Internet for adults: not filtered; internet for juveniles: filtered.
  • Carries court forms.
  • A small display cases features “MDL in the News” — clippings of library happenings collected from the media.
  • The library responds to every patron suggestion.