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MLA History

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) is Michigan’s oldest and largest library association and has advocated for libraries on behalf of the state’s residents for more than 125 years.

MLA 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.

 

MLA 125 year anniversary Timeline Posters