Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Randy Riley with NGS Presidient Jan Alpert

On Friday evening, April 30, Library of Michigan Special Collections Manager Randy Riley was awarded the prestigious Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City.

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March 28, 2010

Dear Fellow Genealogists:

There is a supplemental Department of Education Appropriations bill that has gone to the Governor for her signature.  In that bill there is language that would prevent the library from disposing of the collections.  This wording is also in the Department of Education’s budget bill for the next fiscal year.  However, there is wording about which we as a community need to be very cautious.  It states that the collections need not be made available to the public.

While we are encouraged by the legislators’ reaction to the plight of the Library of Michigan, we would like to remind everyone of a word of warning.  There is a saying that says, “Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.”   While this wording would keep the collection together at the library, there is nothing in the bill that says when the economy gets better, it would then be available to the public.  This language, as currently written, would allow the library to mothball its entire collection.  The genealogists would then have another battle on its hands when the economy gets better to open the collections back up to the public.

The MGC wants to inform the community that negotiations are being actively pursued to develop better options including the possibility of moving the collection from the Library over to the State Archives.  This would keep the collection available to the public during the hours that the Archives operate.  If the collections remained open to the public, then seminars could still take place and bring Michigan those much needed tourism dollars.  Private funding could provide additional flexibility.

As Curt Witcher testified on March 15 to the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board, Michigan could ride the increase in genealogy and heritage tourism due to the enthusiasm the “Who Do You Think You Are?” television series generates.  If the collections are mothballed, then those tourism dollars would instead go elsewhere.

We do not object to this language being in the supplemental appropriations bill for this fiscal year.  We consider it premature, however, for the community to endorse specific language for the next fiscal year’s appropriations bills that might have the effect of limiting available options.

Rather, we would suggest that any representations of community endorsement should be limited to urging solutions that would keep the collections in one building, open to the public, and bringing in tourism dollars.

We may be able to recommend more specific measures in a few weeks.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at president@mimgc.org.

Thank you.

Cynthia Grostick, President

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March 5, 2010

Dear MGC Society Presidents & Delegates:

First I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the genealogy community for all their words of support.  They are very welcome during this time.

Many of you have asked what we can do to help.  Now is your chance.

As you are aware, the Governor has appointed her Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board (MCIR).  While our representative, Dr. Frank Boles from Central Michigan University, was not appointed, Dr. Boles has been asked to participate in public comment at both the February and March meetings.

The focus of the March 15 meeting is to learn about the various collections at the Library of Michigan.  This is our opportunity to educate the board on the importance of what is being called the “non-Michigan” genealogy collection and to explain that this is a misnomer and that it is all Michigan.  While the time for public comment is 3 minutes per person, if testimony lasts for quite a while because everyone is testifying, then we genealogists will lose the Board’s attention.

Therefore, so as not to overwhelm the board and so that we speak as one cohesive voice, MGC is asking for six volunteers to represent genealogists/Council and speak regarding a specific aspect of the collection.

For example, someone would speak on family histories, another on the importance of census records from other states, etc.  Dr. Boles would end the public comment by tying it all together.  We estimate this will take roughly 21 minutes.

We would like to have various parts of our state represented.  So if you would be willing to drive to Lansing that day, and if you are interested in representing Council and testifying at this meeting, please contact Mr. Tom Koselka by Wednesday, March 10 at tom@mimgc.org.  If you would like to submit written comments that pertain to the Library of Michigan collection you may send them to the same address.  Please place ‘MCIR” in the subject line.  We will print them out and pass them on to the MCIR Board.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you that were able to go to the library and use the collection during the February MCIR meeting.  I received praise regarding everyone’s professionalism.  Therefore, if you are able to again be at the library during the March meeting, that would be great.  It is so important to show how much the collection is valued, and the best way to do that is to show that the library is packed and the collection is being used. Therefore, we would like to encourage you to come and again spend the day using the library and archives.

Again I would like to thank the community for their support of Council during this time.  We are still working towards a solution to this problem.  While we cannot give many details at this time, please know that we are working hard and hopefully we may be able to say more at our March delegate meeting.

Best wishes,

Cynthia S. Grostick, President
Michigan Genealogical Council

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February 21, 2010

Dear Fellow Genealogists:

As you may be aware, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) issued a letter on Friday, February 12, 2010, regarding the status of the Library of Michigan and it’s various collections.

On Wednesday, February 17, 2010, I met with Michigan’s State Librarian, Nancy Robertson.  The reality is grim.  The library is facing a 23 percent cut in funding.  This cut has forced MDE to examine what collections and services the library provides, and what the core functions of a state library are as stated in Michigan law.  Based on that, MDE has determined what collections/services currently housed in the library fit the identified core services and which do not.  It was a difficult and painful choice for them to make.  Unfortunately, it was decided that while the non-Michigan genealogical collection and the Federal Documents collection are valuable, they do not fit into the core functions of a state library, nor is it mentioned in the state’s constitution that the state must provide those collections/services.  The Library is also facing a 13-person reduction in staff.  They will have gone from 100 staff at its height, to 30 as of October 1, 2010.

Ms. Robertson also informed me that the library will become a non-circulating library.  This means that they no longer need the second copy of items from the Michigan collection.  Therefore, the second copies will go with the Genealogical collection.  The items that do remain in the library’s possession will be consolidated to the 4th and 5th floors.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) has invited Council to send a representative to the meetings of the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board (MCIR) as an observer, and we have been informed that we will be allowed to have limited time for comment.  Dr. Frank Boles, Director of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University, a respected professional in the librarian and historical communities, has agreed to represent Council and the genealogy community as our spokesperson.

During times of crises, a process needs to be followed.  The first step is information gathering, the second is evaluation, the third is negotiations, and the fourth is action.  The MGC is currently working on gathering and evaluating information.  While we understand that the community is outraged, we ask that everyone remain calm and let our spokesperson, Dr. Frank Boles communicate with the MCIR Board that is involved in the potential uses of the Historical Center.

Many alternative scenarios have been mentioned; however, MGC’s goals are that the collections remain under one roof and under state control.   If you have any ideas or suggestions, please contact MGC at migencouncil@att.net.

Thank you for your patience during this time of turmoil.  We will continue to keep you updated as events unfold.


Cynthia Grostick, President
Michigan Genealogical Council

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Library of Michigan Plan

Februray 12, 2010

Today I was sent the attached letter (from the Michigan Department of Education) by Nancy Robertson, State Librarian.

On a positive note, on Monday of this week, the MGC was invited by Director Humphries’ office (Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment) to send a representative to the MCIR board meetings as an observer.  Dr. Frank Boles, from Central Michigan University, has graciously agreed to attend on Council’s behalf.  Dr. Boles is a respected librarian and historian.

While the news coming out of the Department of Education is not good, please note that they are not closing the door on the Genealogical collection remaining in the current building altogether.

Please know that we are hopeful that we can work together with other groups and the current administration towards a positive resolution. The MGC will keep you informed as we are able.

Best wishes,

Cynthia Grostick, President
Michigan Genealogical Council

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The Library of Michigan and Archives of Michigan are now pleased to offer wireless internet access to patrons.

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The Governor named her appointments for to the Board authorized in her Executive Order. While our nominee did not make the cut we are continuing to monitor the situation and further info will be presented to the membership as it becomes available. The following announcement may be found on the Governor’s webpage.

Governor Granholm Announces Appointments to Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board

January 27, 2010

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the following appointments to the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board:

Ron Boji of Orchard Lake, president of the Boji Group, is appointed to represent individuals nominated by the president of Michigan State University for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Gregory Eaton of Lansing, partner with Karoub Associates, is appointed to represent individuals nominated by the president of Michigan State University for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Michael Flanagan of Lansing, state superintendent of public instruction, is appointed for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Rebecca Humphries of Lowell, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, is appointed for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Michael D. Moore of Lansing, president of Moore and Associates, chair of the Delta Township District Library Board, and member of the Historical Society of Michigan, is appointed to represent the governor for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Nancy Skowronski of Detroit, former director of the Detroit Public Library and member of the Michigan Library Association, is appointed to represent the governor for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Michael O. Smith of Farmington, director of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University, is appointed to represent the governor for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Bob Trezise of Lansing, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corporation, is appointed to represent individuals nominated by the mayor of the city of Lansing for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

Kate Pew Wolters of Grand Rapids, president of the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation and chairperson of the Steelcase Foundation Board, is appointed to represent individuals nominated by the president of Michigan State University for a term expiring June 1, 2010.

The Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board was created to act in an advisory capacity to the governor to evaluate the potential for the creation of a Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention in partnership with Michigan State University and the city of Lansing or other public or private partners. The board is to consider potential ideas to preserve and maximize the benefits to the public of the existing Michigan Library and Historical Center, including public input and scrutiny regarding the most effective delivery of state library and historical services and facilities; and to recognize the importance of preserving unique historical assets and collections. The board is to complete its work and submit a final report to the governor by June 1, 2010.

These appointments are not subject to disapproval by the Michigan Senate.

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For those with Detroit ancestors, this is exciting news from the Library of Michigan website.

Library of Michigan

Detroit Free Press Online Archive Now Available at Library of Michigan
The Library of Michigan is pleased to offer the Detroit Free Press online archive. Covering 1831 to 1922, ProQuest Historical Newspapers Detroit Free Press is a subscription database that is keyword searchable and features digitized images of the newspaper. This is a wonderful resource for family historians and anyone researching Michigan’s history! This database is available for use at the Library, so plan a visit!

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The Archives of Michigan have made the following announcement regarding their hours:
“Effective February 1st, the Archives of Michigan reading room hours will be:
Mon.-Fri. 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.”

The Library of Michigan hours remain Monday thru Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. The Library of Michigan will be closed on Saturdays preceding a holiday which falls on a Monday. The 2010 list of holidays is found at

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The following statement was issued Friday, November 13, by State Librarian, Nancy Robertson.

Hi everyone,

The budget process has indeed been a long and winding trail, but I think it has settled out at least for now. So here is how things look:

State Aid to Public Libraries at $6,000,000. This works out to $.1963 per capita, which is unfortunately quite a plunge from last year’s $.3141 per capita. Still, it was worth fighting for from our end and through MLA and coming out with at least that.

Book Distribution Centers at $200,000 total to be shared equally between the two operations.

Library of Michigan GF operations at $4,601,400, again quite a drop from our last year’s $5,327,900 final GF operations numbers. This allows us to continue salaries and benefits for the currently filled staff positions and leaves about 15% of the operations money to operate with beyond the salaries and benefits. Although things will undoubtedly be worse next year, for now we are at least holding our own in some fashion.

As for LSTA and MeL, since we did receive a waiver from IMLS for the reduced maintenance of effort we had to report, we will receive our full allotment for the FY10 LSTA dollars. So, with the caveat that things can change and that future budgets may certainly result in adverse effects on expenditures in coming years, our LSTA-funded activities, including all of the components of the Michigan eLibrary and the currently underway “Modeling the Future” subgrants are not in any immediate jeopardy.

Perseverence is the current motto for all of us, and may we all continue to do so!


Nancy R. Robertson
State Librarian

Library of Michigan
P.O. Box 30007
702 West Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48909-7507

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