There has been some confusion and some misinterpretation about the MCIR Board report released by Governor Granholm. With so much uncertainty surrounding the collections and the Library of Michigan this past year, rumors and misinterpretations increase exponentially each time they are repeated.
The MCIR Board was appointed to serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor. We are pleased with their conclusions and recommendations regarding the genealogical collections at the Library of Michigan (LM); however, the recommendations are just that; advisory recommendations. The Governor will decide if she wishes to follow those recommendations.
Also, this is only one piece in the puzzle in the future of the collections at the Library of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE), is the department responsible for the administration of the Library. They do this following the mandates and budget guidelines given them by the Governor and any legislation passed and signed into law by the Governor.
Unfortunately, with a projected 23 percent cut in funding proposed for fiscal year 2010-2011 (beginning October 1, 2010), MDE and the Library of Michigan have difficult choices to make. These were spelled out in their February 12 memo that detailed how MDE and LM were going to comply with the cost saving measures dictated by the two Executive Orders issued last year, and still maintain a high-level of service and accessibility with their core collections.
Randy Riley, Special Collections Manager for the Library of Michigan issued the following statement recently to clarify several misunderstandings and faulty conclusions:
“The state’s current budget situation has required the Library of Michigan focus more closely on our core missions of collecting/documenting the history and heritage of Michigan and maintaining materials that assist state government agencies in doing their work. Facing a 23% reduction in the budget for the next fiscal year, the Library has been forced to re-examine every program and service. The Library’s staff will be “weeding” the Dewey and Main Collections in an effort to keep items that “fit” the core mission. After staff have thoroughly gone through the Dewey (4th floor) and Main (3rd floor) Collections and pulled items that align with our primary mission, Michigan libraries will be invited in to claim the remaining parts of those collections. The change of hours is temporary. It will allow staff to have the necessary time to work with the collections and evaluate the materials in question.
NO PLANS ARE IN PLACE AT THIS TIME TO MOVE THE NON-MICHIGAN FAMILY HISTORY COLLECTION TO THE ARCHIVES OR ANY OTHER INSTITUTION. Staff will only be working with the Dewey and Main Collections during the reduced hours. The family history collection will be accessible 1-5 (M-F) and 10-5 on Saturdays until September 7. Regular hours will resume on the 7th. If you have questions contact the Library of Michigan at (517) 373-1300 or email@example.com.
Thanks for your support and kind wishes.”
As Randy has stated, currently nothing has changed as far as the availability of the genealogy collections at the Library of Michigan. Hours of operation will be TEMPORARILY reduced from Aug 2 thru September 3 to permit staff to prepare the Main (third floor) and Dewey (fourth floor) collections to be distributed to other Michigan Libraries. Items of genealogical and historical significance are being separated by staff to be added to the Michigan and Genealogy—both Michigan and non-Michigan – collections.
Nothing will be resolved until a new budget passes. When this happens, final decisions will be made by the Library administration on the future hours, staffing, and services offered by the Library of Michigan. Anything offered up before that is only speculation.
For the latest factual information about Library of Michigan operations, collections and services, visit http://michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan. You may also contact them by phone (517) 373-1300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to update you as the situation necessitates.
Tom Koselka, Legislative Liaison
Michigan Genealogical Council