Libraries get the final say

Anonymous Patron writes "Libraries get the final say: An Oakland County Michigan Circuit Court judge ruled last week that public libraries in the state can decide to whom they offer library cards.

George Goldstone, a longtime Bloomfield Hills resident, had sued the Bloomfield Township Public Library in an attempt to force it to allow him to check out books even though the library does not issue nonresident library cards.

Goldstone argued in his suit that it was his right, under the Michigan Constitution, to be able to check out books from any public library in the state.

In her ruling on Thursday, Judge Denise Langford Morris disagreed, finding that the state's constitution allows public libraries to choose whether or not they offer library cards to nonresidents."

What do you do in your library!? - A.K.

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I'd love to read that decision.

I certainly hope this will be appealed, not simply because I think state taxpayers should be equally entitled to state resources, but because Constitutional questions are best resolved not in local courts but in the supreme courts. The Michigan Supreme Court, and only that court, can render the final opinion.


The Michigan Constitution has an equal protection clause (Art I §2) and it directly addresses libraries (Art VIII §9).

The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment and support of public libraries which shall be available to all residents of the state under regulations adopted by the governing bodies thereof. All fines assessed and collected in the several counties, townships and cities for any breach of the penal laws shall be exclusively applied to the support of such public libraries, and county law libraries as provided by law.

It seems quite clear to me that libraries are to be open to all and that public funds are expended for them. If public funds are spent they should be available to the public. If County funds are used then all of the county libraries should offer reciprocal borrowing or failing that out of town cards.

He doesn't want to pay for inter-library loans!

Well they're not stopping him using the actual facilities are they, so he's getting the benefit of the library as he should as it's a public facility probably funded on a state as well as local level.
He's just not being allowed to remove books from the property and I guess that element of the library service is down to the rules and regulations of that cities libraries. And by the sound of it they don't lend to non-residents.
Fairly simple I would have thought.

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