You may have heard of an anonymous 27-page document circulating in government circles that gives suggestions on how to cut almost $3 billion from the State of Michigan budget for the Fiscal 2011-2012 year. Among the possibilities floated in this document are:
- Eliminate funding for the Library of Michigan. This would eliminate all staff and make collections inaccessible to the public. Eliminate State Aid to Michigan Libraries. This would result in the loss of $5.6 million in federal matching funds, which are used to support the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) and the Michigan eLibrary Catalog (MeLCat). Privatize Higher Education facilities. Shift much of the State funding for Community Colleges to K-12 School Aid funds. Eliminate Veterans Service Organization funding, to name just a few.
With the Governor-elect Snyder’s transition staff calling the Michigan Library and Historical Center their home base for the transition period before he takes office, it is an opportunity for us to make a positive impact by using the collections available to us as genealogists and historical researches.
Over the past decade, the Library of Michigan was absorbed by the Michigan Department of Education and its appropriation cut by 2/3 or nearly $24.0 million, leaving a total appropriation of $11.0 million in fiscal 2009-10.
Earlier this year, the Michigan Center for Reinvention and Innovation reaffirmed the Michigan Library and Historical Center as the “people’s building” one of very few government buildings that are completely open to the public. Their final report also urged the historical and genealogical collections remain in the building and to be accessible to researchers.
The Michigan Library and Historical Center is a popular destination for Lansing visitors. Next to the Capitol and Michigan State University, it is the third most popular destination in the Greater Lansing Area. We are on the eve of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War beginning next year, and the Bi-centennial of the War of 1812 the following year, the demand for these state and national treasures from the Archives and Library will increase.
Over the next several weeks, please try to make an extra visit to the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan to show by example how important it is to keep these collections available to the public. Please urge the members of your society to do the same. These collections and records are not limited to genealogists, but are used by historical researchers of all types. Write a letter to the new administration and let them know how important these collections are to the citizens of our great State.
Michigan Genealogical Council