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Ed Albertson honored with ‘Heart of a Champion’

by Susan Bromley

October 30, 2013

Brandon Twp.- Ed Albertson has been recognized as having the "Heart of a Champion."

A resident of the township for 28 years, Albertson received the honor Oct. 17 in Lansing at the Michigan Library Association's annual conference. He is only the second recipient of the award, established in 2012 to recognize a library supporter who has shown an exceptional commitment to libraries and/or the library profession. Albertson was the state's sole winner of the 2013 award for his efforts in the township library's millage campaign last year.

"He was instrumental in getting the millage passed for the library," said Library Trustee Verna Cole, who nominated Albertson. "Ed provided inspiration, leadership, contacts, and the enthusiasm to keep the group going, setting goals and reaching them, raising money for the campaign and ultimately winning the election and getting the millage passed."

Albertson led the Support Our Library Committee, completely independent from the library and Friends of the Library group. The SOL committee waged the successful campaign to raise the library millage from 1.7739 mills to 2 mills. Voters approved the .2261 increase in the August 2012 primary election, with 1,574 yes votes to 1,312 no votes. The passage of the millage increase resulted in about $95,000 in additional funds for the library this year, restoring Friday library hours, upgrading technology and adding materials.

Albertson was surprised to receive the award, which he called "quite an honor."

"We formed a committee of residents who cared about the library and we had a great team," he said. "We had no budget, came up with a game plan... and let people know what would happen if it didn't pass and the benefits if it did. We got some poeple to vote that had never voted before. The library won and the residents of Brandon Township and the village won... Libraries, like police and fire, are the heart of a community. It's not just for students or for seniors, all of us use it at some point or another and I think it is key to having a good community."

"The millage absolutely would not have passed without Ed," said Cole. "There's never enough funds for a library, but a library is where we keep the knowledge we have created as a culture and a library shares that knowledge."