It has been suggested that the Troy Public Library should sell library service via library cards to Troy residents who use the library. There are legal issues regarding this suggestion.
Governmental entities (like public libraries) can only do what they have been authorized to do under the law. There is no express legal authority authorizing public libraries to sell library service to residents of the community the library serves. Troy residents have already paid for library service through taxes, regardless of whether or not everyone uses it.
Charging residents of a community for library service, outside of legally authorized avenues, could even be considered an illegal fee or tax, because once again, there is no express legal authority to do so. In fact, since residents are supporting the library with their tax money, the library would not just be charging, it would be double charging.
A fair comparison can be made with use of the public school system. Residents pay a portion of their taxes for support of their local school district, regardless of whether or not they have a child in school. For the school district to then impose an additional fee for each student who is attending the public school would constitute an illegal usage fee or tax, because there is no express legal authority to do so.
That is why the Troy Public Library is not legally able to sell library cards and service to Troy residents.
Over the past several weeks, I have received many inquiries from Troy residents, asking if the State of Michigan will prevent the Troy Public Library from closing.
I asked State Librarian Nancy Robertson if she would explain what, if any, involvement, the State of Michigan has in the event a public library is closed. Here is her response:
"As the State Librarian of Michigan, I generally support local funding of public libraries in Michigan. Yet, I generally do not weigh in on local ballot issues related to libraries. However, I have heard that there is misinformation being circulated in the Troy area relative to the upcoming ballot issue for a millage to support the operations of the Troy Public Library.
While the state legislature continues to appropriate state general fund dollars annually for state aid to public libraries, that is the only direct funding that comes from the state level for public libraries. The bulk of the funding that supports public community libraries in Michigan is provided locally. If a local community votes not to support library service, the state has no authority and no funding available to step in and make up for lost or reduced local funding. In fact, if the local community does not contribute to funding its own local public library, according to state law (State Aid to Public Libraries Act, PA 89 of 1977, MCL 387.551 et seq.), the local public library will not receive any state aid to public libraries.
Nancy R. Robertson
Library of Michigan"
On Thursday, October 14, at 7:30 pm, the League of Women Voters Troy Area will sponsor Troy Library: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? a forum on the future of the Troy Public Library.
There is much confusion in Troy regarding proposals that will appear on the November 2 ballot to establish an independent library board. Residents are asking: Is the Library really going to close next year? What can we do to save our Library? What is an independent library board? How does it operate? Is an independent library board feasible in Troy? What proposals will appear on the November ballot?
Addressing these issues will be Rhonda Hendrickson, Citizens to Save Troy Public Library; Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library; and Lori Grigg Bluhm, Attorney, City of Troy.
This event will be in Room 304, of the Troy Community Center. For more information, contact Karen Fabian, Voter Service Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-828-3470.
Beginning on July 1, the Troy Public Library will reduce its hours and close on Saturdays.
The Library's new hours will be
Monday-Thursday, 10 am - 9 pm
Friday, 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday, 1 - 5 pm
For more information about the new hours, see this press release, issued by the City of Troy.
For more information about the Library's status, see our Frequently Asked Questions.
I am pleased to announce that Hennen's American Public Library Ratings has ranked the Troy Public Library the 10th best library in the United States for our population category in 2009.
The Troy Public Library is also the 2nd highest ranked library in Michigan for our population size (tied with West Bloomfield Public Library, after Canton Public Library), and tied for 4th place overall in the state.
The HAPLR ratings are based on many factors, including circulation, staffing, materials, reference service, and funding levels. Data is based on statistics collected in the 2006/2007 reporting year.
The complete rankings can be found at Hennen's American Public Library Ratings.
The Troy Public Library is always looking for quality volunteers to help us provide excellent service to our patrons.
We are looking for enthusiastic, self-motivated people with good organizational skills and an excellent knowledge of the alphabetic and number sequences. We want to find a volunteer position that will be rewarding to you!
Now, when you want to volunteer, you can submit your application online. Just click on Volunteer Form found in the Library Links, on the left side of the Library's website. Once you complete your form, you can submit it directly to the Liibrary for review. If we find you are a match for our needs, we will contact you for an interview. Please read our Volunteer Policy after you submit your application.
If you have any questions, please contact Phillip Kwik.