It was a great year for CADL, but more is still to come!

As we close out the last year of the decade—has anyone decided what we are calling this decade, by the way?—it seems appropriate to reflect on some of the 2019 highlights for Capital Area District Libraries.

We’re certainly ending the year on a high note. In October I was privileged to announce that CADL had won the 2019 State Librarian's Excellence Award, an honor bestowed by The Library of Michigan Foundation and Library of Michigan. The selection was based on how CADL “impacts Ingham County communities daily, and consistently finds new and inventive ways to bring their resources to the people.”

Scott accepts the 2019 State Librarian's Excellence Award on behalf of CADL.

In her congratulatory message, Governor Gretchen Whitmer pointed to those same qualities:

“I'm impressed that your efforts go so far beyond the traditional notion of what a library can be, reaching out to people who need your services and removing the barriers that keep them away.”

Among the innovative efforts cited for the award was our Student Success Initiative, a partnership with the Ingham Intermediate School District that allows area students to use CADL services simply by using a code provided by their school. Ultimately almost 30,000 students will be impacted by this initiative.

A partnership with the Capital Area Transit Authority is also having major impact. Now CADL members can check out a free bus pass, good for unlimited rides on 31 consecutive days.

Two kids play with Botley, one of CADL's LoT Jr. items.

Bus passes are part of our large and growing Library of Things collection, which we just expanded to include a “junior” edition. It’s filled with fun and educational items kids can check out on their own cards—STEM kits, robots, cameras and much more. It really expands the role that a library can play during the critical learning years.

Membership Rewards are another innovative way we are connecting with members and demonstrating the value of a library card. Members can get discounted admissions to theatres and other events, attend member meetups like movie screenings, get free tickets to local expos and more.  

Two kids craft together at our last Member Meetup event.

Looking toward the next decade of service, one of our goals is to develop CADL as a place of inclusion, diversity and social equity. This means adding more diversity to our collection as well as developing more user-friendly services, such as special sensory-friendly hours. Another focus will be to improve our membership numbers, so that everyone who needs our services can get them. We will also work with Ingham ISD and area schools to support Michigan’s new Read by Grade 3 guidelines.

To put these plans into action will take all the dedication and skills of our staff, Board members, administrators and community partners. We know we can do it, though. After all, CADL is already doing impactful, empowering and amazing things that bring our tagline to life—"everything, right here.”  

Scott Duimstra, Executive Director of CADL