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Saturday, March 26, 2011

"We can't take these people on as refugees" -- Southfield library director

from today's Detroit News
Odds stacked against libraries as cities feel pinch
The Detroit News
Troy— Draga Palincas says she may have to start buying books she used to borrow when the city library closes in a few weeks. But she worries about people who don't have that option.
"A lot of people use this library — all different types, from old to young," said Palincas, a 44-year-old mother of three, during a recent trip to the library on Big Beaver Road. "You've got people who can use bookstores, but then there's people who can't necessarily afford to buy a lot of books. And children need to be exposed to new books."
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.
The cutbacks come as polls show public library usage is on the rise in Michigan. So when some communities shut the doors for good, where are patrons supposed to go?
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.
Representatives of the remaining libraries worry about the possibility of overcrowding and resource shortages if outside residents start visiting.
The Southfield Public Library on Evergreen Road, one of the largest in the region at 127,000 square feet, allows nonresidents access to printed material on the premises, but no checkouts are allowed and computer use is limited to two hours.
"We can't take these people on as refugees," said Southfield library director Dave Ewick. "My heart goes out to Troy residents. But I can't give them for free what my people are paying for — they need to realize how valuable a library is and pay for it."
read more here


  1. What the heck is a Coordinator of Continuous Improvements? This is the title of the City Mgr's new Assistant, who's mentioned in the Background Materials packet for March 28 Special Meeting at Automation Alley. Sounds cheerful and Orwellian at the same time!

  2. This makes you stop and be thankful for the free library facilities and services that we use and take for granted.