Proos bill would give residents access to more library resources

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

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

“Education is critical to the future of our state, and our local libraries provide excellent options for students and residents to access the knowledge they need to succeed,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This measure is the result of direct feedback from a Southwest Michigan resident. A constituent alerted us that Michigan residents have been told that they will no longer be able to use Indiana library services since we are not currently part of the Interstate Library Compact.

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

Until recently, William Corbett, a longtime Michigan resident, used an Indiana library system because of its close proximity and large inventory.

“For years we have been patrons and customers of the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library System,” Corbett said. “However, we recently received a letter from the library stating that library privileges will only be offered to those states that have entered into the Interstate Library Compact.”

Senate Bill 1095 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 can also share these responsibilities by providing joint and co-operative services in areas that are most effective, as determined by the libraries.

“There are currently 34 states entered into the Interstate Library Compact, including Indiana and Ohio,” Proos said. “By joining the compact, our residents will have greater access to information and educational materials. It could also help Michigan libraries share the cost of providing these necessary services.”

SB 1095 has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee for consideration.

Note: Audio comments by Proos will be available later on this website. Click Audio under the Media Center tab, above.