Under a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, some 600 public library sites across Michiganfrom Cedarville in the eastern Upper Peninsula to Saugatuck in the southwestnow have a human and electronic link to the University Library.
The two-year, $625,000 grant enables the Library to deliver research information for community and economic development to every public library in Michigan via M-Link. The grant allows M-Link to move from a limited pilot program to a full-service statewide research information delivery system.
We are grateful to Kellogg for making it possible to share the treasures of the University of Michigan Library with citizens throughout Michigan, says University Library Dean Donald E. Riggs. M-Link is a forerunner to the information highway. It certainly enables the U-M to truly serve the people of Michigan.
M-Link Director Richard Hathaway says the M-Link pilot proved that public libraries and the University, working together, could make a real impact on economic development and community quality-of-life by delivering complex information quickly.
The grant provides the means to make this opportunity available to each city and village in the state. It greatly diminishes the inequality among libraries, individuals and communities in access to information, he adds.
Using electronic mail or telefax, all public libraries in Michigan will be able to send information requests that cannot be answered at the local level to M-Link librarians and staff. They are backed by the resources of the University Library system, including more than six million books, 50,000 current journals and computer resources in hundreds of fields, as well as faculty and researchers.
If a sheriffs department needs information on institutional programs to train police dogs, or a school district wants help on developing health instruction for ethnic groups, or a business seeks state and national regulations governing insurance coverage, we are able to respond, Hathaway explains.
M-Link also provides an electronic library available to anyone with access to the Internet, a global electronic network. M-Links digital library, GoMLink, specializes in information about Michigan, but contains data from around the world covering all aspects of knowledge and human activity.
While the Kellogg grant is for two years, Hathaway says the University is already seeking funding to continue the program into and beyond the second year.
For more information on M-Link, contact Hathaway, 209 Hatcher N.,
U-M Library, Ann Arbor, MI 48109- 1205; (313) 763-9376 or send an e-mail message: firstname.lastname@example.org.