Michigan could become part of Interstate Library Compact

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

Indiana and Ohio libraries are not welcoming Michigan border residents

LANSING, Mich. — Residents of Michigan and Indiana border communities would be able to use library services across state lines, under legislation being introduced by Sen. John Proos.

“Getting a quality education is still the most important step toward a rewarding future, and local libraries provide excellent options for students and residents to access the knowledge they need to succeed,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This bill is the result of direct feedback from a Southwest Michigan resident who alerted me that Michigan residents were being told they could no longer use Indiana library services since our state is not part of the Interstate Library Compact.

“My legislation would fix that problem and open up library services to thousands of families on both sides of the border.”

William Corbett, a longtime Michigan resident, used to use the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library System in Indiana because of its close proximity and its large inventory. However, he received a letter last year from the library stating that library privileges will only be offered to those states that have entered into the Interstate Library Compact.

Senate Bill 278 would enter Michigan into the Interstate Library Compact and allow residents of border communities to utilize services offered by libraries of other states that have also entered into the compact. These services would include the use of facilities, personnel, equipment and other materials. Libraries in the compact can also share these responsibilities by providing joint and co-operative services in areas that are most effective, as determined by the libraries.

“A majority of U.S. states have already entered into the Interstate Library Compact, including Indiana and Ohio,” Proos said. “By joining the compact, our residents will have increased access to information and educational materials and Michigan libraries could share the cost of providing these necessary services.”

SB 278 has been turned in to the Senate and will be officially referred on Tuesday.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/audio.