Libraries throughout Michigan are centers for learning and self-discovery, providing free and open access to information to all residents. Libraries are simultaneously community centers, tourist destinations, places to read, places to gather and socialize, places to study, and places to learn – cultural institutions in the heart of every community, and on every campus, throughout Michigan. Michigan residents love their local and school libraries, as evidenced by over half of the population possessing library cards. For hundreds of years, libraries have provided free access to vital resources for all Michiganders, including our most vulnerable citizens.
We know that our legislative leaders recognize the vital services that libraries provide in our communities and the importance of innovation, expansion and evolution of library services. If you haven’t been to your local library in a few years, you will be surprised that libraries are more than just lenders of books, and provide:
- High-speed internet access and digital literacy training
- Resources to facilitate remote learning for educators and students of all ages
- Employment assistance, from resume writing to job search and career skills training
- Support in applying for government services such as veteran’s benefits, unemployment assistance, and medical coverage
- Programs that foster early literacy, entrepreneurship, and lifelong learning
- “Library of Things” and “Makerspaces” are prominent
- Onsite and remote educational/creative programming for all ages
- And so much more
We want to make sure that the activities that make our communities the thriving and dynamic places our citizens want to live, work and visit, continue to resonate with you, and that you know about the impact that libraries make, both individually and economically, in the communities you represent.
On behalf of the 2000 members of the Michigan Library Association, we want to thank you for your continued and ongoing investment in libraries. With a $2 million increase in the October 2021 state budget bringing state aid to libraries to $15,067,700 (about .50 cents/capita), $100,000 for a poet laureate, $800,000 for a new school/public library partnership pilot program, $1 million to be distributed for a new innovative community library grant, and finally $4.2 million in federal ARPA funds, our libraries will continue to provide access to vital resources for all Michiganders.
Michigan residents love their local libraries. We know you do too.