Detroit Metro: "Odds Stacked Against Libraries as Cities Feel Pinch"
From an Article by Jackie Steele (Detroit News):
The Troy, MI and Romulus, MI Public Libraries will close on May 1, 2011. The doors will be locked and at least at the moment now plans as to if/when things might change.
The May 1 closing of the 40,000-square-foot, 49-year-old Troy Public Library, one of the busiest statewide with a circulation of 1.36 million items and 700,000 annual visits, is a stark reminder of painful budget choices facing communities across Metro Detroit. In Wayne County, the Romulus city library closes the same day, after a February millage vote to save it failed. And throughout the region, many other public libraries have reduced hours and services.
Around Troy, most nearby libraries offer services only to residents or patrons living in communities with reciprocity agreements or contracts. In other cases, nonresidents will be required to pay about $100 to $170 a year for a library card to check out materials and register for adult and children’s programs.
Tax revenues for libraries have dropped 4 percent to 10 percent in the past three years and increasingly are being diverted to development authorities such as downtowns, brownfields and historic neighborhoods, according to a report by the Michigan Library Association.
And Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2012 budget proposal allocates $3.4 million in state aid for public libraries, a 40 percent drop from $5.8 million in 2011 and a decrease of 76 percent from the more than $14 million allocated in 2000, the report shows. The amount of state aid affects the level of federal funding statewide for libraries.
“They’re taking our dedicated, locally voted millages and redirecting and, in fact, diverting them to another form of government, whether it’s park benches or whatever,” said Gretchen Couraud, executive director of the statewide library association.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.