The office of Gov. Jennifer Granholm has confirmed that Michigan State University is one entity being looked at to take over the state library and museum, which is part of the state Department of History, Arts and Libraries that was proposed for elimination in the governor’s State of the State address.

Well-placed sources in state government say that negotiations between the university and the governor’s office are being conducted, and an executive order to abolish HAL that would include the transfer of the building and operations could come down in the next few weeks. The Legislature would have 60 days to accept, reject or modify the order.

“We are exploring options on how we can protect our history, and support the arts and libraries in more cost effective ways,” Granholm spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said Thursday. “As part of this process we are having discussions with MSU and others, but we’ve reached no conclusions on how to proceed.”

Brown would not elaborate on the “other” entities that are being sought to take over the museum and library, which are located together in a building at the western end of the Capitol complex.

A MSU official, who wished to remain anonymous, who was aware of the negotiations expressed skepticism about the proposal because it would be a financial drain on the university to operate the facility. However, he said he could see an interest by MSU in acquiring the state’s collections on display and stored in the building.

“There are lots of obstacles,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense financially” to take over the building, he added.

State library spokeswoman Sarah Lapshan also confirmed that MSU is an “option” to takeover parts of the department, but would not elaborate.

There was a hearing Thursday morning in front of a library appropriations committee headed by state Sen. Thomas George, R-Kalamazoo. Jill Costello, George’s legislative aide, said the MSU transfer was not discussed during the hearing, however rumors of the possible MSU takeover have been hanging around.

“We took testimony from the Michigan Library Association and several users of the Library of Michigan — the pattern of the testimony was they wanted to make sure the pieces stayed together,” Costello said. “Somebody mentioned the possibility of it being under a university. We’ve just heard rumors.”

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