Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Library of Michigan: Your Help Is Needed

State of Michigan Library by kiddharma
State of Michigan Library
© 2008, Kiddharma

David Rencher contacted me yesterday as chair of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), a joint committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society. Rencher (who is also FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer) expressed concern over the proposed closure of the Library of Michigan and wondered if I would be asking my readers to help.

To address a $2 billion deficit in the state budget, Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued an executive order dissolving the library’s parent department, repurposing the library building, and scattering the library’s important genealogical collection among multiple departments.

“In meetings held during the Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference in Little Rock this past week, Records Preservation and Access Committee representatives initiated a petition drive in support of the Library of Michigan,” stated an RPAC announcement. “This is the first time we have exercised this option since 2006, something of an indicator of the seriousness with which the genealogical community views this situation.”

Please take the following actions:

  • If you would like more information, visit the websites of RPAC and the Michigan Genealogical Council.
  • Whether you are a resident of Michigan or not, please sign an online petition in support of the Library of Michigan at www.PetitionOnline.com/RPAC2009/petition.html .
  • If you are a resident of Michigan or know someone in Michigan who might be willing to help out, check www.mimgc.org/LOM.html for instructions on contacting the appropriate officials in state government. Non-residents might take this step also, if the break-up of the Library of Michigan’s genealogical records makes you less likely to travel to Michigan for research, a fact that you may wish to disclose when you contact officials of the state.

As this closure could set a terrible precedent for all cash-strapped governments, thanks for helping preserve access to the Library of Michigan’s genealogical collection.

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