One of the projects I’ve been working on is cultivating an outreach program at my library. With the Michigan Library Privacy Act (1982 PA 455, MCL 397.601), it’s been a slippery slope. Pursuant to the Act, I cannot utilize any of the library’s patron databases to generate mailing lists; however, I can (and so can you) request, via the Freedom of Information Act, the permanent absentee voter rosters of the townships and municipalities residing within my library’s legal and contracted service area.
Further, once I obtain that information, I cannot use my library’s database to custom tailor the list because that would be once again be violating the Act; therefore, each person on the absentee voter roster will receive a letter informing them of the outreach program (and a plethora of other awesome reasons to visit DPL) regardless if they are patrons or not. (It would behoove of me to include a little ditty in these letters explaining as to how I obtained their information, via “FOIA-ing” their township clerk, so that my library is not found culpable of violating the Act, if someone should raise an eyebrow.) Commissioner Faber, who represents District 2 (and is awesome), frequently attends our township board meetings with updates about the happenings in the County and keeps us apprised as to some of the different services being offered — e.g. changes at the recycling center. Knowing this information, I am better able to serve the residents of Watertown Township. With that said, I plan on attending township board meetings in 2015 to briefly talk about the services available to the residents within my library’s service area.