Image by Andy Thompson

On Friday, January 27, I drove my truck onto a ferry and cruised across the St. Mary’s River in order to tour Drummond Island Library.

Rationale for selection: One of the very first libraries in which I toured for this project was located on an island: Reader’s Cove Library on Harsens Island. I thought it would be both interesting and fun to visit another island library. Considering that I’ve never been to Drummond Island and several of my friends and colleagues frequently vacation there, I figured it was time to take a road trip! (I’d like to note that in August 2011, I visited nearby St. Joseph Island, in Ontario, and was able to see Drummond Island from a distance.)


Click for a larger image…

I’ve been surprised when people have asked, “Where is Drummond Island?” Answer: It’s northeast of Mackinac Island, located just off the shoreline of DeTour Village, in Michigan’s upper peninsula. 

Because I was visiting another library the following day in nearby Cedarville (Les Cheneaux Community Library), I stayed in Saint Ignace rather than on Drummond Island. The drive from Saint Ignace to DeTour Village was about an hour, but well worth it as it consisted of breathtaking views of Lake Huron. (Don’t worry, I took photos.)

From my “home” library of Sandusky District Library, Drummond Island Library is 315 miles or about 6 hours away. As I’ve done for the twenty-eight other 30Y.30L posts, DIL is 359 miles or about 6.25 hours from Purdy-Kresge Library, home of the School of Library and Information Science, on Wayne State University‘s downtown Detroit campus.

While visiting the library, I was given a copy of The Early History of Drummond Island with Sketches and the Summer People by Sally Landreville to browse. I gleaned the following:

“The earliest Drummond Township records, which began in 1856, were destroyed in the 1950’s by fire, and others were destroyed by flood waters in 1977. The oldest now remaining in township hands begin in 1883.”

A ditty about the library…

(About Dr. Charles F. Thompson)…”He also was instrumental in forming the Drummond Island Friends of the Library. His encouragement, know how, and enthusiasm made things happen.” 

 About the Library
Like Clifford and Burtchville, Drummond Island Library is a branch library — in this case, belonging to Bayliss Public Library in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan which is a part of the Hiawatha Library Cooperative. 

Drummond Island Library serves Drummond Township which is part of Chippewa County. According to the 2010 Census, Drummond Township has a population of 1,058 — a +6.65% change from the Census conducted in 2010. Taking a look at the housing data for the township, roughly 61% of the housing units cited were classified as “seasonal/recreational/occasional use.”

If Drummond Island Library were independent and not a branch library, based on its population size, it would certainly be designated as a Class 1 library. According to the Library of a Michigan, a Class 1 library serves a population of 3,999 or less and needs to:

  • Be open a minimum of 15 hours per week;
  • Employ (at least 15 hours per week) a director with at least a Level 4 certificate.

In an interview with Director Kenneth Miller, Jr., he explained that the branch acts like a “separate entity” by way of being contracted “rather than wholly owned.” In other words, Bayliss Public  Library contracts with Drummond Township to administer the branch — the building is owned by the school in which the library is housed.

Yes, I just mentioned that this library is housed in a school. Like Opperman Memorial Library in Kingston, Michigan, Drummond Island Library is a blend between a public library and a school media center. Sister libraries!

Branch budget: $25,440.
Staff: 1 part-time manager and 1 substitute
Collection size:  8,257
Cooperative: Superiorland

About the Director
Ken Miller has been in the LIS field for 40 years. While a student of the School of Library and Information Science (Wayne State University), Miller was working for the Detroit Public Library. When he graduated in 1976, with his MLIS, Miller segued into the role of librarian and began providing services to shut-ins and retirees via the Chaney Branch. He continued his work with DPL, holding various titles and positions, until 1999 when he took a position with Jackson District Library and later began interim director of the agency. 

Other positions Miller has held: Deputy Director of Matrix Theatre Company and Director of the Hiawathaland Library Cooperative.

He’s been director of Bayliss Public Library since 2004.

Miller’s professional interest: “…is and always was bringing library service to the disadvantaged—whatever the situation (i.e. urban or rural).

Favorite memory or career anecdote: “Two things: First, bringing the Bowen Branch library in Detroit back to life with community programming (the same was done here at Bayliss) and just recently we ‘discovered’ an original early 19th century chart of Lake Superior in our archive. It may be one of the ‘working chart’ that Lt. Bayfield’s team used to create the printed ones for the British Admiralty. We raised funds for conservation, which has just been completed by the Bentley. We will have it digitized (photographed) and have a ‘welcome home’ reception soon.”

Favorite part of the library’s collection: “Our archive.” (Bayliss Public Library)

Challenges: “Creating a district library from our city library and contract service areas.”

Advice to those entering the profession: “Embrace change.”

Drummond Island Library

Road Trip!