Thursday 10 September 2009 was the day of the Michigan Library Association “Rally at the Capitol” where Librarians and other interested parties from across Michigan rallied to express their displeasure at the proposed funding cuts to Libraries in Michigan overall and specifically the plans to dismantle and disperse the collections of the Library of Michigan, which have been being collected for more than 180 years.

The theme of the day was RED – people were encouraged to show their support for Libraries by wearing a red shirt – and there were a LOT of RED shirts. Thanks in no small part to Gale Group of Michigan who were giving out free red shirts that said on the front “Protect Michigan Libraries”. Others were wearing red shirts from the Grand Rapids Public Library that said on the back “I ♥ Grand Rapids Public Library”.

Roger Moffat and Shirley Hodges on the Capitol Steps

Roger Moffat and Shirley Hodges on the Capitol Steps

The emphasis today in particular was to keep State funding for Libraries  at $10,000,000 – at this level there is a matching Federal $5,000,000 which is largely what keeps MEL – the Michigan Electronic Library and MelCAT operating. If the state funding drops to the proposed $7,500,000 then the Federal $5,000,000 will be lost, and MEL is in serious danger.

It was also the day chosen for Michigan Fire Services Awareness Day so there was a large presence of Firemen, and firetrucks present with displays of firefighting and HazMat equipment. I hope they knew we were coming, or else they got a large surprise when a crowd that was about the same size as the “Hands Around the Library” event a month earlier.

Below is a photo gallery of some photos from today with the “Sea of Red” or is that the “See of Read” perhaps?

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