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There's More Than One Way to Destroy Books
Column published: 03 September 2009
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

    This article is an update to previous articles that outline the Governor of Michigan's plan to close Michigan's state library, and the grass-roots effort to reverse the decision before it is too late.

    To catch up on the news about this topic see:
    Your support is needed to help save the historical collection of the Library of Michigan. If Michigan is able to shut down its state library without public reaction, other state and provincial libraries will be next.
As a species we should learn from our history. Considering the events of the last couple of months I sometimes wonder if we do. With the stroke of her pen, Governor Jennifer Granholm could scatter 180 years of Michigan history into the winds.

I would like to take you back with me to March 8, 1989, the day when the Michigan Library and Historical building was dedicated and share with you just a few of the quotes and feelings of that day. It was a day to remember in the history of our state of Michigan! At the time of its dedication, it was second largest State Library in the United States

Governor James Blanchard
When Governor James Blanchard dedicated this building he said, "Now we have the envy of the nation. It will inform, educate and entertain generation after generation.

Representative Teola Hunter
House of Representatives
Representative Teola Hunter said "Today we celebrate Michigan in all of its rich diversity. Here people can see and touch the story of our magnificent heritage. It is a gift of the people of Michigan to themselves; a gift of love."

Mayor Terry McKane commented that "It is a fitting home for Michigan's collective memory - a home that's good for the city as well as the state." He must have realized how many tourist dollars this would bring into the greater Lansing area.

I don't believe that the current Governor has taken into consideration what closing the library will do to the economy of the Greater Lansing area. Our library draws thousands of people each year who come to do research. Many have traveled great distances to come and use these facilities and to bring tourist dollars into our area. They stay in our hotels, use the restaurants and greatly help the local economy. Many of them have become supporters and donors.

Secretary of State Richard Austin
Secretary of State Richard Austin said, "This is your lasting legacy, your gift to future generations. This is a date in which we can all take pride."

I personally believe that each of these statements are as true today as they were when they were made.

I don't know if you have read the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In short it is a book about a future in which literature is banned and firemen burn books.

There is more than one way to destroy a book. In our case, if these collections are put in places where they are not accessible they will no longer be available for use. We need to make sure that we are protecing our collections from all types of destruction and that they will remain available.

The Library and Historical Center was made in honor of all of us. Help us to save for our children and our children's children not only our own heritage but also the heritage of the Great State of Michigan.

Thank you to all who have written letters to their Senator and Representative. We still need to get this through the State House, so please continue to contact your State Representative and the Governor. In fact, I would encourage you to contact all of them. I understand that they are becoming amazed by all of the e-mails they are getting. Earlier comments referred to a 2/3 majority being necessary were in error. A majority is sufficient to disapprove the Executive Order. Some have remarked that they are not just receiving form letters but people are really sharing their comments and ideas. I am sure that they have been surprised by the out-of-state and out-of-country messages that they have received letting them know how much revenue will be missing. Keep up the good work!!!!

Mark your calendar:
    Sept. 10 Michigan Library Association Rally on Michigan Capitol Steps:
      I hope you are planning on attending the rally. We hope to have the entire lawn covered. It is our last chance to make a large public showing for the people in government who will be making the decision on whether or not to save the Library of Michigan. Start thinking about signs that you could bring. Signs do not have to be elaborate, they can be simple and handmade. Plan on wearing something red that day to show our unity. Click here for details. Please share this information with all your friends.
Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges

To read back issues of Shirley Hodges' articles, visit her biography & archived Articles

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