Library Service Area Changes

As a department of the City of Midland, the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library (GADML) has recently undergone an extensive evaluation of its services and programs in an effort to improve or maintain provided services while minimizing costs to taxpayers. As a result of this evaluation, the Library Board has recommended moving to a new catalog and check-out software system that will save the Library approximately $60,000 per year.

While this change will provide a significant cost savings to the Library, it will also remove the Library from the Valley Library Consortium. This move will end reciprocal borrowing agreements with other libraries and, as a result, Grace A. Dow Memorial Library cards will no longer be available at no cost to residents outside of the Library's legal service area. Library cards will continue to be available at no cost or a nominal replacement fee to residents in our legal service area.

If you do not live in an area that supports the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library your Library card will expire September 1, 2019.

The legal service area of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library is determined by cities and townships whose residents' property taxes support the Library. If you already have a card and live within the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library's legal service area (defined below), you will be able to continue using your Library card as normal.

Residents of the following areas can obtain a Library card at no additional fee:

• City of Midland
• Edenville Township
• Greendale Township
• Homer Township
• Hope Township
• Ingersoll Township
• Jerome Township
• Larkin Township
• Lee Township
• Lincoln Township
• Midland Township
• Mills Township
• Mount Haley Township

Check your city or township for your library service area


Michigan Library Law states that all Michigan residents should have access to library services.  If you live in an area that does not support the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, check with your township supervisor or local municipality to identify the library system available to you.

Patrons outside of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library legal service area will still be able to:

  • Attend any GADML programs
  • Enjoy GADML materials while visiting the Library
  • Request GADML materials through MeLCat from your home library

Service Areas for Neighboring Libraries

Bay County Library System

  • All Bay County residents

Public Libraries of Saginaw

  • City of Saginaw, City of Zilwaukee, Buena Vista, Carrollton, James, Kochville, Saginaw Township, Tittabawasee Township, and Zilwaukee Township

Coleman Area Library

  • City of Coleman, Geneva Township, Warren Township

Howe Memorial Library

  • Jasper Township, Porter Township


Still missing what GADML has to offer? Consider purchasing a library card. A one-year membership to all Library materials, electronic resources and databases is available for $75 (per household) through December 31, 2019. This fee will increase to $125 on January 1, 2020 to better match what legal service area residents pay in taxes. 

The Library will be closed September 1– 7, 2019 as we transition to the new catalog and check-out system.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Grace A. Dow Leaving Valley Library Consortium?

The Library is a department of the City of Midland. This year, City Council asked each city department to find ways to save money. This change will save the city $60,000 per year and primarily affect nonresidents who do not pay taxes for library services at GADML. 

Why does the Library leaving the Valley Library Consortium mean I am losing my free Library Card?

As a member of the Valley Library Consortium, all participating Libraries are required to allow patrons of other member libraries to use their libraries for free. Since the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library will no longer be a member of the Valley Library Consortium, we will now be requiring patrons who do not support the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library with their taxes to pay the equivalent of what tax payers in the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library service area pay. 

How much is Grace A. Dow Memorial Library paying to belong to the Valley Library Consortium?

The Grace A. Dow Memorial Library pays about $78,000 annually to belong to the Valley Library Consortium. By changing to a less expensive system (Apollo) we will be saving about $60,000 a year.

I live in Midland County, so why can’t I get a Library Card at Grace A. Dow Memorial Library for free?

Each township board chooses which library system their residents' taxes go to support. If a township isn't part of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, it is sending its tax dollars to another Library you can use. Not all townships in Midland pay to use the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. If you live in Porter, Jasper, Warren or Geneva Townships, your tax dollars are going to another Library.

Do I live in the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library’s legal service area?

Residents of the following townships can obtain a free Library card:


  • City of Midland
  • Edenville Township
  • Greendale Township
  • Homer Township
  • Hope Township
  • Ingersoll Township
  • Jerome Township
  • Larkin Township
  • Lee Township
  • Lincoln Township
  • Midland Township
  • Mills Township
  • Mount Haley Township

If you are unsure what township you live in, you can go to the link below and type in your address. Under “Geography Type – County Subdivision” it will show you what township you live in.

https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?ref=addr&refresh=t

Non-resident cards are $75 right now. Why are they going to be $125?

The Library’s non-resident fee has been $75 for more than a decade. While evaluating how much it costs tax payers for Library services, we recalculated the non-resident fee to more closely align with what the average tax payer pays for Library services through their taxes. How did we do this? We used a formula suggested by the Library of Michigan. We took our total budget expenditures and divided it by the total number of households in our legal services area. The new $125 fee will not take effect until January 2020.   

How long is a non-resident card good for?

A non-resident card is good for 1 year. If you renew your library card on 10/01/2019, it will expire on 10/01/2020.

I live outside of the Library’s legal service area but don’t want to purchase a card, can I still use the Library?

Yes, you can attend programs, rent rooms, use our facility … the only thing you will be unable to do is check out materials. However, you can request Grace A. Dow Memorial Library’s materials through your home library using MelCat. MelCat is a free inter-library borrowing service where you can request materials from other libraries around that state and have them shipped to your home library at no cost to you.

I live in the City of Midland but use other libraries in the Valley Library Consortium, will I still be able to use my card there?

At this time we are unsure how other libraries will be handling their out-of-district cardholders. Patrons interested in using other libraries’ services will need to contact those libraries.

Does this mean Grace A. Dow Memorial Library cardholders will no longer be able to request books from other libraries?

No, patrons will be able to request items from other libraries through MelCat, the state-wide inter-library loan system. Library staff can help patrons request materials through MeCat for those who haven’t used it before. There is also no hold fee charges on MelCat requests. Patrons will no longer be able to request materials through the Library online catalog Horizon from other Valley Library Consortium Libraries.