HISTORY

MLA is Michigan’s oldest and largest library association spanning more than a century. Guided by the belief that free access to information is the cornerstone of a free society, the Michigan Library Association has advocated for libraries on behalf of the state’s residents for more than 100 years. MLA defends the right to read, advocates for adequate library funding, clarifies library governance issues, promotes librarian education, and works for free access of information to all residents.

It has influenced the course of Michigan’s libraries since its inception in 1891, when Mary A. Eddy, the librarian at Coldwater Free Public Library, wrote to Henry M. Utley of the Detroit Public Library about organizing a state library association. They had discussed this matter at the 1890 meeting of the American Library Association in New Hampshire, believing a state association would be helpful to Michigan librarians unable to attend national conferences. Working closely with Lucy Ball, Grand Rapids Public Library, they awakened statewide interest and arranged  the first Michigan meeting in Detroit, September 1, 1891. Thirty-seven members attended, elected a slate of five officers and printed their original 40-line constitution on a 3-inch by 6-inch card. Mr. Utley became the association's first president.

Past MLA Presidents

2018-2019    Kristin Shelley
2017-2018    Steven K. Bowers
2016-2017    Kathleen Zaenger
2015-2016    Leslie Warren
2014-2015    Asante Cain
2013-2014    Cathy Wolford
2012-2013    Lance Werner
2011-2012    Richard Cochran
2010-2011     Christine Berro
2009-2010     Larry Neal
2008-2009     Kathy Irwin
2007-2008     Josie Parker
2006-2007     Leah Black
2005-2006     Michael McGuire
2004-2005     Linda Farynk
2003-2004     Marcia Warner
2002-2003     Phyllis Jose
2001-2002     Elaine K. Didier
2000-2001     Tom Genson
1999-2000     Denise Forro
1998-1999     Nancy Bujold
1997-1998     Pamela Grudzien
1996-1997     Beverly Papai
1995-1996     Martha Stilwell
1994-1995     Sandra Scherba
1993-1994     Sandra Yee
1992-1993     Francis J. Buckley
1991-1992     Jean Houghton
1990-1991     Jule Fosbender
1989-1990     Linda Heemstra
1987-1989     Colleen Hyslop
1987-1988     Clara N. Bohrer
1986-1987     Margaret E. Auer
1985-1986     A. Michael Deller
1984-1985     Robert Garen
1983-1984     Eleanor Pinkham
1982-1983     Margaret Thomas
1981-1982     Patricia Wilson
1980-1981     Howard Lipton
1979-1980     Carolyn McMillen
1978-1979     Robert Raz