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Mar 10

Budget Cuts at the Library of Michigan — How Damaging?

The Michigan State Senate Appropriations committee will meet Thursday, March 12, 2009. The agenda calls for discussions regarding budget appropriations for the Department of History Arts and Libraries, which is apparently will be dissolved and the functions split among other departments.

A current, partly substantiated, rumor has the Library of Michigan being closed completely, with the collection being parceled out to a “local University”, if they are interested.

While it may not be possible to save the Department [HAL] in the face of the serious budget shortfalls, the Library of Michigan and Archives of Michigan are jewels and deserve our support. The Abrams Foundation has made donations totaling nearly $2,000,000 for the genealogy collection over past years. The people of Michigan should have access to the entire collection, at a central location, with sufficient parking. In times of budget crises, severely reducing hours is certainly an alternative to be considered.

I consider dismantling the collection to be a short-sighted solution to a temporary, although severe problem. Many Michigan citizens benefit from the internet services of the Library and local libraries. This funding through HAL provides internet service for unemployed and disadvantaged persons.

Interested genealogists, citizens and users of the library and archives should call and e-mail their State senators and representatives now. Please do so to express your support for continuing a centralized collection, even if the hours must be severely reduced.

You may also contact Senator Thomas George, chairman of the Michigan Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for History Arts and Libraries by phone at 517-373-2768 to express your support for the Library. You may visit his web page for more contact options.

Do it now, please.

Thank you.