To the Editor,
The Library of Michigan is more than a building. It is the visionary leader of the library community. It is the visual representation of how libraries have collaborated to become more efficient and cost effective. But these successes are being ignored by the Michigan Senate in their budget and the debate swirling around Governor Jennifer M. Granholm’s Executive Order.
Under the tremendous vision and leadership of the State Library of Michigan, the library community – universities, community colleges, public, private, k-12, special libraries – all joined together to do what government only dreams about. They united to achieve statewide group purchasing and resource sharing, saving millions of dollars for libraries across the state benefitting all Michigan residents. They created the MeLibrary (MeL.org) – rich online research tools for faculty, small business, and job seekers , MeL Tests and Tutorials – filled with online AP, GED, police, fire and nursing certification tests and more, and MeLCat, a statewide interlibrary loan system.
The Senate passed budget calls for slashing library funding to $7.5 million even though state law calls for it to be funded at approximately $15.4 million. If this budget is enacted, the entire statewide resource sharing and interlibrary loan system could collapse, eliminating the savings realized through group purchasing.
This system gives every Michigan resident access to expensive resources from their home, office, school, or library at tremendous cost savings to the taxpayers - $72 million a year. This system enables libraries to share books, CDs, DVDs and more from other communities. This model should be replicated for collaboration, cost savings and efficiencies – not broken up.