Image by Andy Thompson

On Monday, December 19, I headed back to the burbs for my last 30Y.30L visit of the year. In the afternoon, I met with Shirley Roos, Director of Holly Township Library.

Why did I select this library for the project? Growing up in Oxford, Holly was practically in my backyard. Fact: In my freshman year of high school, I fractured my ankle while playing soccer against Holly High School. Reason #2: Geography. Holly Township Library neighbors Brandon Township Library which in turn neighbors Oxford Public Library.

Holly Township Library is located in the Village of Holly, Michigan — a suburb in Northern Oakland County. From my home library, Sandusky District Library, HTL is 90 miles southwest or roughly 1.75 hours. My route included: M-53 –> I-69 –> I-475 –> I-75 –> Holly Road –> Saginaw Street. While it was a bit of a drive, I had some Christmas shopping to do at nearby ski resort Mt. Holly!

For those not familiar with the area, Holly Township Library is 53 miles (or about an hour) northwest of Purdy-Kresge Library, home of the School of Library and Information Science, on Wayne State University’s downtown Detroit campus.

Service Area, Size, and Operating Budget
Townships served: Groveland, Holly, and Rose. Currently, the library’s service area has a population of 22,359 which gives the library a Class 4 designation.

According to the Library of Michigan, a Class 4 library serves a population of 12,000 to 25,999 and needs to:

  • Be open a minimum of 40 hours per week.
  • Employ (at least 35 hours per week) a director with at least a level 2 certificate.

Other relevant facts and figures:

  • HTL has a total of 10 staff: 7 full-time and 3 part-time — no MLIS degrees. 
  • Operating budget: $344,193.
  • The library is open 55 hours a week.
  • 55,000 = number of items in the library’s collection.
  • 86,000 = annual circulation.

About the Director
Shirley Roos has been in the LIS field for a total of 40 years with 36 of those years in her current position as Library Director. Her interest in the field began when she volunteered to help set-up the library in a local elementary school where her 4 children were attending.

Favorite part of the job: “Making friends with the local people. It’s really about the people.” Shirley added that she enjoys watching kids come to story hour and knowing the fact that their parents used to attend the very same program when they were young.

Least favorite part of the job: “Worrying about the money and where it will come from. Over the last three years, the library has cut $80,000 to balance the budget. I really don’t want to cut hours.” Fortunately, Shirley doesn’t think it will come to that.

Advice to those entering the profession: “Any chance you get for experience in a library: grab it!” She went on to say (with a big smile on her face), “Don’t come out [of library school] thinking you’ll get a job right away. People like me stick around! It’s a great job.” In later conversation, she added: “Be tolerant of the kids and try to help people.”

Notes and Observations

  • My tour/interview began at 2p and the library was very busy! While it made taking photos difficult, I was pleased to see the library being used. 
  • Holly Township Library has been serving the community for 125 years! 
  • The library has been housed in its current building since 1972.
  • Shirley started the library’s large print collection by way of a grant.
  • The adult area features a beautiful reading room that was part of a memorial donation from the Milmet Family who dedicated it to their mother and brother: Sarah and Leo Milmet.
  • Shirley’s favorite review sources: Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.
  • Special collections: Michigan history, children’s large print, bound copies of the Herald-Advertiser, and gardening. The gardening collection was made possible by way of the Open Gate Garden Club of Fenton, Michigan.
  • The Michigan history collection is housed in a separate room.
  • An on-going book sale to benefit the library is housed in the basement. 
  • One parent, in response to the Harry Potter series said, “Not in my house!”
  • A table located by the periodicals features coupons for patrons to clip and a basket for patrons to share their coupons with others.
  • The library became automated around 1992. 
  • Shirley makes a diligent effort to recycle the library’s newspapers. 
  • At the time of my visit, HTL was advertising an amnesty period for library fines: 12/19 – 1/3.