Library project improves access to public records

Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson, who has teamed up with local libraries to improve access to public records, said 11 additional libraries - for a total of 36 Oakland County libraries - are now a part of the Library CARD Project.

"This means that most residents across Oakland County without Internet access at home can go to their local library and use the computers there to access and order public records," said Johnson, who launched the Library CARD Project (Convenience and Access to Records & Documents) last month. Today, 36 of the county's 43 public libraries are a part of the Library CARD Project, offering brochures and an instructional manual on accessing public records through the County Clerk's website at

"They can order their child's birth certificate, watch a video on how to vote, request a copy of their deed, apply for a marriage license, use court records to check out a company or find out who is contributing money to local political candidates, all from that computer," said Johnson. "Public records are just that - public," said Johnson. "Our libraries, already a phenomenal resource to their communities, graciously agreed to help us spread the word about what is available."

New members of the Library CARD Project include:

* Addison Township Public Library.

* Berkley Public Library.

* Ferndale Public Library.

* Highland Township Public Library.

* Independence Township Public Library.

* Madison Heights Public Library.

* Novi Public Library.

* Oxford Public Library.

* Rochester Hills Public Library.

* Royal Oak Township Public Library.

* Troy Public Library.

Johnson said using online services can save residents the trip to the Clerk/Register of Deeds office in Pontiac and gas money to get there. Residents can order the documents while online at their local library and have the records mailed to their home.

"With this economy, we just can't open satellite offices in other parts of the county," said Johnson. "But nearly every community has a library that is open into the night and on weekends."

"It's a natural for libraries," said Mary Karshner, director of the Royal Oak Public Library. "We are in the business of giving information to people and this is another way people can access this information and save time and gas money needed for a trip to the county offices."

A complete list of libraries participating in the Library CARD Project is available on the County Clerk's website at They include:

* Auburn Hills Public Library .

* Baldwin Public Library (Birmingham).

* Blair Memorial Library (Clawson).

* Bloomfield Township Public Library .

* Brandon Township Public Library.

* Farmington Community Library.

* Hazel Park Memorial Library.

* Holly Township Library in Holly.

* Huntington Woods Public Library.

* Springfield Township Library.

* Royal Oak Public Library.

* Milford Public Library.

* Oakland County Law Library (Pontiac).

* Oakland County Research Library (Pontiac).

* Oak Park Public Library.

Libraries, in this economy, have seen a huge surge in the number of patrons using library computers. It is estimated more than 20 percent of the households within Oakland County do not have Internet access.

A national study,, released in April 2010 found that nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older - roughly 77 million people - used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the last year. Low-income adults were more likely to rely on the public library as their sole access to computers and the Internet than any other group.

Online services offered by the Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office include:

* Birth, death and marriage records.

* Online marriage license applications.

* Property records, including deeds.

* Passport information.

* Oakland County Circuit Court records.

* Election night results.

* Sign up for our online Election Reminder Service.

* Access to voter registration/absentee ballot forms.

* Assumed business name database.

* Clerk's Mobile Office schedule.

* Campaign contribution reports.

Published: Fri, May 21, 2010