State Rep. Aaron Miller today voted for a bill that paves the way for Michigan to join the Interstate Library Compact and allow local libraries to enter into agreements for full access to libraries across state lines.
Currently, Michigan is not a member and residents who live close to state borders have been denied the use of library facilities in neighboring states.
The Interstate Library Compact saw growth in the 1960s and 1970s when 33 of the 34 involved states entered into the agreement. Indiana and Ohio are both currently members and share a border with Michigan’s southernmost counties.
State law in Indiana prevents libraries from issuing library cards to non-residents whose home state is not a part of the compact. Recently, Indiana border libraries have put an emphasis on adhering to the law.
“This is a matter of practicality for individuals in the district and across southern areas of the state who want to take their child to check out a book or cozy up with a book themselves on the couch during the winter months,” said Miller, of Sturgis. It’s not fair to ask individuals and families to drive an extra 15 or 20 minutes to a library in Michigan because the current setup doesn’t allow for an efficient use of their time.”
Senate Bill 278 was introduced by state Sen. John Proos of St. Joseph. Proos represents three southwest Michigan counties along the Indiana border. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support before the full House and moves to the governor’s desk for review.