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Update: Michigan Library Crisis
Column updated: 15 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:
  • article 1    22 July 2009
  • article 2    30 July 2009
  • article 3    07 August 2009
  • article 4    14 August 2009
  • article 5    20 August 2009
  • article 6    24 August 2009
  • article 7    03 September 2009
  • article 8    14 September 2009

    Your support is needed to ensure the future of 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.
The eyes of the nation, and indeed people in some other countries, are on Michigan to see how the Governor, Representatives, and Senators will take care of the issue of support for the Library of Michigan.

Barbara J. Brown, President of the Talbert and Leota Abrams Foundation.
The Library of Michigan's genealogy collection is known as the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection. The Abrams Collection provides a variety of resources for researchers to explore their family history. I have had the opportunity to interview Barbara J. Brown who is the President of the Talbert and Leota Abrams Foundation which was created in 1962 by Ted Abrams Abrams, her uncle, who was an aviation pioneer and businessman in Lansing. He brought national acclaim and favorable publicity to Lansing and the state. They are a family foundation and have made grants to the library even before it moved to its present location. Over the years, they have provided over 2 million dollars for the genealogical collection which is named for the Abrams'. It is considered to be in the top 10 for genealogical research. Because Barbara is also a passionate genealogist she understands the importance of the genealogical collection which has taken 180 years to acquire. There are census records, both American and Canadian, birth, death, marriage and divorce records, passenger lists, city directories, maps, county records, old newspapers on microfilm, cemetery records, microfilm readers and printers, plus Internet connections for research or job-hunting.

Governor Granholm amended her Executive Order 9 September 2009. We do need to thank her for that. HOWEVER, we also need to reminder her and ALL OF THE REPRESENTATIVES and SENATORS that there are still 3 things that we are very concerned about.
  1. First and foremost, they must make sure that the funding is in place to protect the library.

  2. We must stress that we want to ensure that the ENTIRE collection is kept intact. This includes Federal documents, the Main and Dewey collections in addition to the Michigan, Genealogy and Rare books collections.

  3. We want to make sure that the collection is kept in the building that was built for that purpose. A great deal of planning went into the design of the building to make sure that it would house the collection in a manner that would preserve it for generations to come.
Ask for your friends' support
Please contact all your friends and ask them to help. The final budget has to be approved by Sept. 30.

Sign online petition
Don't forget about the Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society online petition. Signatures will be collected through October 1.

Keep up pressure on Governor Granholm
Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm

Michigan Governor
Jennifer M. Granholm
Governor Jennifer Granholm is in Japan currently. Ironically her e-mail function on her web page has been disabled. Please keep the blitz going so that her aides, contemporaries, and others will have lots to talk with her about when she returns. We need to make sure that they understand that we are not going away.

Contact Governor Granholm at:
    Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
    P.O. Box 30013
    Lansing, Michigan 48909
    PHONE: (517) 373-3400
    FAX:(517) 335-6863
Michigan Library Association's Sept 10 Rally Widely Supported
The Michigan Library Association organized an excellent Rally on the Lansing Capitol steps on Thursday, September 10. Thank you to Gale and Proquest for the red T-Shirts and the posters.

Above: Members of the Genealogists of Clinton County Historical Society

Eaton County Genealogical Society showing their support for the Michigan Library Association
at the September 10th rally. Photo by Bill Atkinson

Protestors of the Governor's planned move to close the Michigan state library and use the
building for an "Innovation" center. Yes indeed, libraries are an essential resource for innovation.
Photo by Bill Atkinson

A portion of the crowd assembled at the Capitol
Photo by Bill Atkinson

Library supporters gather in front of the Michigan state capitol building
Photo by Bill Atkinson

Michigan library supporters who attended the September 10th Michigan Library Association Rally, file into
the spectators' seating in the State Senate Chamber. Photo by Irene Church

Genealogists from all over Michigan came out in support of the Michigan Library Association Rally. We went, not only to support the library of Michigan, but also to show support for the librarians in our own communities. I know that when I walk into the libraries that I use, such as the Marshall, Albion and Charlotte libraries that I will be greeted by a friendly and knowledge staff. We need to make sure that all of the libraries can remain open and offer all the services that they currently do.

I would like to thank Bill Atkinson of Lansing for his photography. The photograph taken in the senate gallery was from Irene Church.

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges

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

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