We received notice that the MCIR Board’s final recommendation adopted June 25th has been acknowledged by Governor Granholm’s office. That June 25th document appears to have been posted yesterday or over the weekend.  

A press release dated July 19th was posted on the Governor’s website. Some have commented this is good news. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, I need to point out what this means – or what it doesn’t mean – and why we must remain diligent!

The troubling reality is the Governor’s news release doesn’t indicate at all what the Governor’s office might do (if anything) about the recommendation. We’ll have to continue to wait and see. The other problem is not what the report says, but what it doesn’t address.

We are cognizant of the activities already underway to move the Library of Michigan’s core collections from the second floor of the Michigan Library and Historical Center building upstairs to the fourth & fifth floors of the west wing. Apparently the time table is August through Labor Day weekend as the following notice about clearing the space on the upper floors is currently on the Library of Michigan’s website (bold text is mine):

Temporary Reduction in Hours

Beginning August 2 through September 3, 2010, the Library of Michigan’s public hours will be 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. This action is part of the Library’s response to budget cuts and reduced staffing and will allow us to complete distribution of materials from the Dewey and Main collections to other Michigan libraries. Regular hours will resume on September 7, 2010.

• Circulation Change Notice
Items from the general collections (4th floor Dewey and 3rd floor Main) of the Library of Michigan are no longer available for checkout. This will allow us to prepare to offer those materials to other Michigan libraries.

The Library of Michigan’s special collections (Michigan, Michigan Documents, Law, Rare, Genealogy, and Federal Documents) are still available as usual.

Simultaneously, the “non-Michigan” genealogical materials (not mentioned in the above notice) are being separated out and prepared for a move to the Archives on the second floor of the east side of the building.

So when all this activity is completed, here is how you will conduct your research at the Michigan Library and Historical Center:

You are settled in at the Library of Michigan on the fourth or fifth floor. You come across a reference to your subject having come from a county in New York state, or ____ (fill in the blank for your family). In order to view that “non-Michigan” material you will have to pack up your bags, go down the elevator to the first floor (or second floor if the weather is nice and the access is open across the outdoor second level walkway), walk across the atrium to the east wing of the building, go up the elevator to the second floor, sign-in at the Archives desk… etc.  The Archives is limited in space for reading room facilities and open shelves – an undetermined portion of the “non-Michigan” materials will be stored in the closed stacks – and you’ll need to request titles from the staff when needed.

On the plus side of things, the leadership at the Michigan Archives are passionately interested in protecting any materials from leaving the‘building. And more researchers will realize the benefits of using the Michigan Archives materials – not just the Library’s – when they find they must visit the Archives to complete their research trip.

I applaud the constructive efforts and the positive attitudes of the MCIR board and the professional staff of both the Archives and the Library. I also realize they were given a practically impossible task by the governor last year when the the MCIR Board was created and the Executive Orders were handed down. It’s hard to sit back and “wait and see” and we still have to be diligent with what’s going on in Lansing. Hopefully there will be a good long term answer after genealogy voters and their families give their final recommendations in November.