Good news, Everyone! The Westgate Branch, the smallest and oldest of the Ann Arbor District Library branches, is about to expand.
Although AADL Library services have increased and expanded over the last decade, Westgate Branch has not been remodeled for over 21 years. The branch originally opened in Maple Village Shopping Center in 1977, moved to Westgate Shopping Center in 1983 and was remodeled ten years later in 1994, adding 2,314 square feet.
Westgate Branch, which currently has 5,500 square feet, is still approximately only 1/3 of the size of the other AADL branches. Its circulation figures match and even surpass some of the other branches, and the current Westgate space has no room for events and youth storytimes, popular and important features at all other locations.
The new expansion will add 16,500 square feet to create a branch with 21,000 square feet for its users. New features will include:
• 2 new public entrances, allowing for additional parking access from the rear Westgate parking lot
• A Kids area with story space for preschool and baby storytimes
• Additional space for books and other library materials
• 5 open study rooms for use by adults, teens and youth
• A community meeting and event space for authors, lectures, performances and other events
• 2 small group meeting rooms
• A comfortable reading room with a fireplace
• Additional seating and workspaces with additional wiring for computers and other electronic devices
• A café operated by a local business
Earlier this year, Westgate Branch neighbor Sun & Snow relocated out of the Westgate Mall. Pictures Plus will also relocate to a new Westgate location at the end of this month. These vacancies provide AADL with an opportunity to expand a popular branch location that already experiences over 200,000 visits per year.
AADL Trustees have signed a lease to expand the Branch and construction is expected to begin in November 2015 with an expected opening in summer 2016. Westgate Branch will close November 20 so that construction can begin, and staff working at that location will be re-assigned to alternate locations during the construction period. Construction costs will be paid upfront by Westgate Management and AADL will reimburse Westgate Management up to 1.2 million of the construction costs over the first 8 years of the lease.
In addition to expanding the Library for the convenience of current users, AADL is looking forward to welcoming many new patrons. AADL’s past openings of Malletts Creek, Pittsfield and Traverwood Branches all saw remarkable increases in use at each new branch, as well as across the Library system.
Updates on this project will be posted on the library website. For more information, visit http://aadl.org/westgate.