Senate approves Zorn bill allowing schools to form district libraries

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn that would allow a school district to establish a district library.

The law allowing local governments, including school districts, to form new district libraries currently prohibits districts from doing so after Jan. 1, 2015. Zorn’s measure, Senate Bill 108, would remove that provision.

“There are a number of communities that would like to engage in this process and feel that this sunset has tied their hands,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I believe education is paramount to the future of our state. It is fitting that the Senate has approved this bill during National Reading Month, because the formation of district libraries will provide more options for students and our residents to enjoy reading a book and seek the knowledge they need to succeed.”

The issue is a particular concern for the city of Milan, a portion of which is in Zorn’s Senate district. The city straddles the line between Washtenaw and Monroe counties.

Milan Mayor Michael Armitage voiced his support for Zorn’s bill.

“Removing the sunset for a school district joining in the formation of a district library will help ensure that all residents in the Milan area have access to the local library,” Armitage said. “Allowing school districts to participate in these intergovernmental relationships makes sense, especially since library access is so closely connected to education.”

SR 108 now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives, where Monroe County state Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, has also expressed his support of seeing Zorn’s bill become law.