Bloomfield Hills, MI is considering a library millage; residents have been without library services since 2003.
On its website, the city of Bloomfield Hills touts itself as the nation's fourth wealthiest city, with 39 percent of its "stately homes" worth more than $1 million and an outstanding public school system.
What it fails to mention is that its elite, well-educated residents won't pay for an amenity enjoyed by 99.5 percent of Michigan residents: a neighborhood public library.
Why don't they have a library? A dispute over costs with the township. From an account of a public meeting on the millage, as noted by the local newspaper "The Eccentric":
For years, the township library was the library for Bloomfield Hills residents, but several years ago, the library and city parted ways over what residents would pay to have full access privileges. That led to a lawsuit which went all the way to the state Supreme Court and a decision that essentially sided with the library. Some Bloomfield Hills residents have turned to the neighboring Troy Public Library, but that library is facing possible closure and has undergone service cuts. And it's farther away than the township library, which is at Lone Pine and Telegraph.
The case was Goldstone v. BLOOMFIELD TP. PUBLIC LIBRARY, 737 NW 2d 476 - Mich: Supreme Court 2007; it includes an account of a particularly nasty bit of professional librarianship, as expressed in one of the dissenting opinions.
*495 Moreover, it is the majority who now gives the green "incentivization" light for library boards to politicize their accessibility by creating regulations that reach far further than merely preventing nonresident book borrowing onsite. For example, when Bloomfield Township and the city of Bloomfield Hills could not agree on a price for the renewal of their library service agreement, which failure resulted in city of Bloomfield Hills residents' loss of borrowing and other privileges at defendant library, defendant commanded a "reciprocal agreement" with 90 other libraries in which those libraries agreed not to lend books to any city of Bloomfield Hills resident. Thus, despite that plaintiff was issued a MichiCard from the Pontiac Public Library, he was refused book borrowing privileges at the Baldwin Public Library and the West Bloomfield Public Library, even though both libraries belong to the network of libraries accepting the MichiCard. Those libraries informed plaintiff that under their agreement with defendant, they "cannot furnish borrowing services to Bloomfield Hills city residents unless they have a valid card from the Bloomfield Township Public Library." The majority allows this to continue, foisting on our citizens a public library system that is subject to calculated measures to deprive plaintiff and others like him of the full use of libraries. Surely this is not what our citizens envisioned when they ratified a constitutional amendment that was to broaden library availability. Indeed, to plaintiff, who is now denied book borrowing privileges by 90 libraries, libraries are "generally not available."
"Form follows funding."