Over the last several weeks we have heard several times that the proposed funding of $7,500,000 for Michigan libraries is only 50% of what is required by law.
And if it’s a law, why is not complying with it subject of legal action by someone – there’s no shortage of lawyers that’s for sure!!!!
So I set out to try and find out just where this “requirement” is. It turns out that this was laid down in Act 89 of 1977 – State Aid to Public Libraries, which contains a list of the requirements that must be met by libraries in Michigan, categorises them based on the population they serve and lays out the amount of state aid that they must receive. See here, here and here for several presentations of Act 89.
From State Aid Guidelines on page 3 we see this list of the funding categories required in Act 89.
PA89, §13 Public library cooperatives shall receive 50¢ per capita for their served population.
PA89, §16(2) Public libraries shall receive 50¢ per capita for their served population if minimum standards are met.
PA89, §16(4) Public libraries that meet minimum standards and are members of a cooperative library shall receive 50¢ per capita to pay for services provided by the cooperative.
All or part of this amount shall be used to purchase these services.
PA89, §16(4) A cooperative shall receive $10 per square mile for the area it serves if the area has less than 75 persons per square mile.
PA89, §16(5) County public libraries serving a population of 50,000 or less with a director who meets educational requirements can receive a maximum of $400 per month or $4,800 annually for salary reimbursement. A form must be filed quarterly by the county library to claim the reimbursement.
So while I’m certainly no lawyer, one has to wonder why if there’s a law, then this law can’t be enforced?!?!
The main thing I got out of the Rally at the Capitol was just how important it is that Michigan Libraries receive $10,000,000 in funding – “only” 2/3rds of the required $15,000,000 – so that they then receive the $5,000,000 in Federal money which is what by and large seems to pay forMeL and MelCat. The Governor is proposing $7,500,000, while the Senate is proposing $10,000,000.
How hard is to to realise that for a further measly $2,500,000 they would be able to treble their money, since that last $2,500,000 would trigger the Federal $5,000,000. That’s a return on investment that it ought to be criminal to turn down.
This page MHAL – Significant Dates in Michigan Library History should be required reading for all decision makers before they decide to underfund the Libraries of Michigan, so that they might get even a small grasp of what they’re about to undo before they go and undo it!!!!
And finally (maybe) this from writer Anne Herbert
“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”