Library of Michigan in fight for its life
Each day we hear more about the key to reviving Michigan is to transform our state from a manufacturing economy to one driven by knowledge industries. Michigan can only attract these new industries with a well-educated, literate workforce.
Despite Michigan’s desperate need for access to knowledge and education, the Library of Michigan, a cornerstone resource for virtually every library in Michigan, is in a fight for its life. On Sept. 11, the Michigan House of Representatives will vote on a new budget for the Library of Michigan that, if passed, will cut $2.5 million in funding and put essential research and educational resources in jeopardy. These cuts are compounded by a history of poor funding to Michigan’s library system: in the 2007-08 budget state aid to libraries was cut by 17 percent and overall, state library funding has not been increased since 1998.
Twenty-first century economies rely on a broad base of skilled, knowledgeable workers and savvy governments across the country are investing in their libraries as key pieces of their economic development strategies. Michigan must be among these forward-thinking governments. Our desperate economic times call for careful, thoughtful measures if we are to emerge from this crisis as a powerful, competitive state - one that can lead in a knowledge economy and move beyond its manufacturing past.
As a partner to libraries around the world, ProQuest has seen first-hand the impact strong libraries have on their communities. We stand arm-in-arm with the Michigan Library Association and so many of our industry colleagues in opposing the proposed cuts to funding.
ProQuest will join other supporters of the Library of Michigan at a rally being held on the Capitol steps Sept. 10 in Lansing to raise awareness. We urge all Michigan citizens who believe in libraries to join us there to show your support. Visit www.MiLibrariesForTheFuture.org to learn more about this topic and what these cuts mean to our entire state.
Lynda James-Gilboe Senior Vice President, Marketing & Customer Care ProQuest, Ann Arbor