Sunday, April 19, 2009

Michigan Library Will No Longer Lend Books

The state of Michigan, particularly hard hit by our current Great Recession, is being forced to consider cost-cutting ideas that would have been laughed off the table just a year or so ago. There is definitely room for cost-cutting at all levels of government, despite the fact that politicians always choose to raise taxes rather than to cut wasteful spending, but what one Michigan county has resorted to strikes me as very, very sad.

From the Chicago Tribune comes this story:
Macomb County's library, which is formally known as the Macomb County Reference and Research Center, will close May 1 to be renovated as classroom space for Wayne State University, The Detroit News reported Saturday.

The last day for people to check out materials was April 4, according to the library's Web site.

When it reopens, no materials will be lent. A portion of the building located about 17 miles northeast of Detroit in Clinton Township will be open to the public to use computers and reference materials.
The library's collection will be divided among Harrison Township and Mount Clemens. Harrison Township is getting 130,000 books, CDs and DVDs to start a volunteer-run library at the township hall.
I wholeheartedly applaud the idea of a volunteer-run library system in place of the county library but I have to doubt how long it will last and where the new books will come from when the old ones are worn out, lost, or simply out-of-date. We all know that there is enough waste, even at the county level, that can be cut so that something like this really does not need to happen.

Hang in there, Michigan. Take advantage of the 2010 local and national elections to vote out of office every single career politician you can because that's the only message these weasels understand.


  1. How sad! Especially in these hard times when I imagine people are using the libraries more since they cannot afford to buy their own books.

  2. Good point, Debbie. Just when people are starting to rediscover the pleasures of local libraries, it's a shame to lose one like this.

  3. I feel fortunate to have grown up in Ohio, which consistently places in the top 10, and often the top 3, states for library funding in ALA stats. I don't recall ever seeing Michigan anywhere near the top of those lists.

  4. It's sort of fascinating how neighboring states could approach their public libraries so differently, Jena.

  5. One, I'm ashamed to tell you that I had no idea this was happening because I live about 40 miles north of there. Two, volunteerism is a good thing but not in the running of a library. I work in a school library and much time is involved in cataloging, maintenance, and general upkeep of the library itself. This blows my mind!!