We did it! Governor Rick Snyder signed the FY 2012 budget and the library community can claim victory. Not only did we fight off the massive 40 percent cut in funding, we secured a special line item for the Michigan eLibrary totaling $950,000. This alone is a significant victory.

We all owe Senator Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) our sincere gratitude for his tireless efforts on our behalf. Sen. Walker told the Education Conference Committee “There isn’t much good news, but one of the few highlights is library funding. The committee saw the importance of funding libraries and made it a priority. We also recognized the importance of the Michigan eLibrary as an important resource for the citizens of our state.” It can’t possibly be put more plainly – or accurately – than Sen. Walker did. Take the time to send him an email and let him know how appreciative we are as a community. He can be reached at senhwalker@senate.mi.gov.

The FY 2012 budget includes:

  • State Aid to Libraries                                      $5,445,700
  • School Aid Fund                                                $1,304,300
  • Michigan eLibrary                                                $950,000
                                                     Total $7,700,000

The proposed funding for libraries was reduced by 39 percent from the 2010-2011 FY, but the final product – as signed by Gov. Snyder – included a 6.2 percent increase in overall funding. The successes we realized in this budget cycle were achieved only through the efforts of our entire library community. Working together we once again were successful in our efforts to keep our doors open and provide information for everyone.

What You Can Do

Now is the time to thank our lawmakers and show them what they protected. During the summer break, and even into the fall months, invite your lawmakers to your library. Show each of them how MeL operates, its usefulness and the nearly limitless opportunities they have provided.

Encourage your friends and family to join our community in saying “thank you” to our lawmakers as well. Knowing we will have this battle to wage again in the future, showing our gratitude now is a reminder of just how much our libraries and the community count on them to do what’s right for Michigan’s future.

For regular updates, visit MLA’s website at: http://www.mla.lib.mi.us/advocacy.