Library of Michigan—RPAC Petition Drive Closes

The RPAC petition drive in support of the library of Michigan garnered nearly 7000 signatures before we closed it on the 1st of October. We may yet arrange a brief ceremony to deliver a printed version of the petition to the Governor’s office, even though her representatives have been made aware of its progress and had access to the online version for some time. Thoughtful and impassioned comments from signers may be reviewed at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/RPAC2009/petition.html.

In addressing a $2 Billion deficit in the Michigan budget, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued an executive order in July which would abolish the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. Executive Order 2009-36. Among the proposals then on the table was one that contemplated that the collections of the Library of Michigan would be scattered and the building built and designed to house the state library would be renovated to house a new function.

To her credit, the Governor has acknowledged the value of these collections. Subsequent directives and executive orders (Executive Directive No. 2009-5 & Executive Order 2009-43) have taken steps toward preserving the integrity of these treasured records in the building designed to house them for generations to come but one overwhelming issue remains.

Revenues must yet be found sufficient to fund the operations of the Library of Michigan and associated activities in that facility. This process will require agonizing decisions on the part of the governor and every member of the legislature. Although a temporary appropriations bill preserves a semblance of normal operations through the end of October, the ultimate outcome is still uncertain. Across the board, painful cuts may yet be required. Students and scholars, genealogists, historians and archivists anxiously await the results.

The latest developments can be found on the website of the Michigan Genealogical Council at www.mimgc.org/LOM.html.

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