The nationally acclaimed Michigan Libraries for Life program is expanding its statewide participation for the ninth consecutive year. The partnership, led by the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library and Gift of Life Michigan, was recognized by Donate Life America in 2015 as the top organ, tissue and eye donation promotional activity in the country, and since 2014 has been generously funded by the Gift of Life Foundation to reach an even greater number of Michigan residents this year.
This seven-day campaign involves more than 130 libraries across the state, each inspiring local residents to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, and educating them on the facts of organ, tissue and eye donation. The libraries involved in the campaign are located throughout Michigan, from Houghton to Dearborn and from South Haven to Detroit. Volunteers and library staff will answer questions and help library users sign up on the Donor Registry.
Libraries make "great partners"
The Michigan Libraries for Life campaign began in 2010 at the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library and has expanded to include academic, hospital, and public libraries. Each library determines its own donor drive schedule within the designated week and arranges for volunteers to staff an information table. Many of the participating libraries will display the “Memories from Michigan” donor family quilts, which tell the stories of organ, tissue, and eye donors through panels that have been personalized by their families.
Since its inception, Michigan Libraries For Life has inspired over 3900 people to sign up as organ, tissue and eye donors. “This program is successful because libraries are a trusted source for information, and they make it very easy to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry,” explained Kate Saylor, Informationist at the Taubman Health Sciences Library and lead organizer of the event. Saylor is delighted that Michigan Libraries for Life has extended its reach across the state. “People in every community can participate, thanks to local libraries everywhere.”
“Libraries have been great partners in saving and healing lives,” said Dorrie Dils, Gift of Life Michigan’s CEO. “They’ve been enthusiastically educating the public on the facts of organ, tissue and eye donation for the past eight years. Thanks to this strong partnership, Michigan Libraries for Life gives hope to more than 3,200 Michigan patients waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.”
Program receives national recognition
At its 2015 annual meeting, Donate Life America, a national not-for-profit membership alliance of organ, tissue and eye donation and transplant organizations, presented the Michigan Libraries For Life with the Pinnacle Award in the Affinity category, and the Platinum award for best overall program. The Pinnacle Awards recognize top programs from across the country for successfully inspiring more people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and establishing donation as a cultural norm.
Additional information and a state map showing all the participating libraries are available at librariesforlife.org. Michigan residents who join the state’s Donor Registry will receive a red heart donor symbol for the front of their driver’s license or state ID card. Non-residents can also join the Donor Registry. You can sign up at a participating library, at giftoflifemichigan.org or by calling 866-500-5801. You can also join the Donor Registry at any Secretary of State office.