Antiquated Law May Force Some Michigan School Libraries To Close
A little regarded law from the 1970s has reemerged and many school districts are worried that it might force them to close their libraries.
The school library was my refuge in high school. Whenever stuff got too real, I could escape into the stack of books and come out with a five page paper on World War I.
But now, many school districts are worried that they may have to shut down their school libraries after a memo regarding a little regarded 1970s law came out.
The memo, which was sent last week from the Michigan Department of Education, reminded school districts that state law requires them to have fully certified librarians on staff, or face shut down.
For small school districts like Brimley in the Upper Peninsula, where the costs to hire a qualified librarian is out of the realm of possibility, that meant shutting down the school library.
“We just said let’s just be proactive and close down what we have going on now, and make sure to have some further direction,” Brimley Superintendent Brian Reattoir told Channel 9 & 10 news.
“In my opinion this is a basic overreach, an unnecessary overreach of the state department,” 107th District State Representative Lee Chatfield told 9 & 10. “This seems like a recent application of a law. Quite frankly we’ve had libraries functioning in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula for decades, where children have been able to learn and this recent application I think is a roadblock to education.”