Happy Birthday AADL!

The Ann Arbor District Library celebrated its tenth birthday in December and I would like to thank the Friends of AADL, Staff and all those who have served as Library Trustees since the public library was separated from the public schools in 1995. Their hard work, loyalty and professionalism are evidenced in the sound state of the Library today.

The decade has been a turbulent, yet very productive one for public library service in the community. In spite of a difficult period in 2000-01, careful planning and management assures that the Library is now able to operate well within its millage while building new branches, adding staff, increasing the budget for materials, and leading in major community initiatives such as the upcoming Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads.

Join us in celebrating our birthday as we look forward to another great year and the opening of the Pittsfield Branch in March.

New aadl.org features: Optional Checkout History and More

Thanks to all your comments and suggestions, we've rolled out some new features for aadl.org that will give you better information about how you use the Library.

The biggest news is the addition of an optional Checkout history that will allow you to easily keep track of the items you've previously checked out from the library, and even search through them for those times when you can't remember if you've read something. You can activate the recording of checkouts on your My Account page (just check 'Record Checkouts' in your preferences), and you can view any checkouts you make from then on from the 'Checkout History' button.

Once you've turned this service on, you can turn it off at any time, delete specific items, or delete your whole checkout history if you choose. Please note that we've made an addition to our Privacy Policy, under 'Checking Out Materials', to cover this new service. Also, know that only you can access your checkout history when you log in to aadl.org. Library staff can't access this information for you.

Read more to find out about other new enhancements...

Parking Survey for Downtown Ann Arbor

The Main Street Area Association is sponsoring a parking survey to find out how YOU feel about parking in the downtown. The survey will be active Friday, November 18 until December 10.

In addition to survey forms and boxes placed in downtown businesses, including the lobby of the Downtown Library, an online survey will be available at the Chamber of Commerce website: http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB224RX9WEJ6N

The survey is short and to the point. Responses will help us all understand how our community currently perceives downtown parking.

The survey does not ask specifically about parking for the library, so write it in or write it here on this blog!

Banned Books Week and You

For 24 years, the American Library Association has celebrated the freedom to read with Banned Books Week. Intellectual freedom is a liberty, and the role of the public library in a democracy is to protect the freedom to read, compute, listen and view. This role is increasingly undermined and sadly, throughout much of America, underfunded.

What a library holds in its collection is sometimes a hotly debated topic. It is easy to dwell on the grand and highly visible threats to the freedom to read such as the USA Patriot Act or the organized efforts being made in some areas to remove any material on gay rights issues from library shelves. Sometimes, though, the most persistent and emotional efforts to impose individual personal values and standards on a public library collection come from within a community.

Library Circulation Surpasses 3 Million

Last year we announced that items circulated during the 2003-04 year passed the 2 million mark. This year, we circulated just over 3 million items. This new circulation record represents a 33% increase and the highest annual percentage of increase in the Library's history.

We are also experiencing growth in other key areas. Our buildings were visited 1.3 million times, an 8% increase. Attendance at programs increased 14%, over 51,000, and more individuals used library computers than ever before...223,000 logins represent a 37% increase over last year.

The need to expand our space and adapt to the needs and interests of the community is clear. Let us know what you need from the Library.

...And We're Back

As you've noticed, aadl.org is back online after a brief network outage at Merit, our internet provider. Sorry for the downtime!

On a related technical note, we have solved another problem that was preventing some patrons, notably AOL users, from receiving library notices via email. If you're still not receiving email notices, and you want to, please contact us and we'll look into it. Due to the outage, today's due date reminder notices went out a little late, and won't reflect if you returned your items this morning.

Thanks for your patience during the outage.

Downtown Development and the Library

This month has been an important one in the history of the public library in Ann Arbor. We have been very focused on launching our new website and catalog while moving forward with our branch building program.

Yet some very important decisions are being made about the Downtown that will impact on the public library at Fifth and William for decades. I encourage all citizens of the library district to take the opportunity to participate in the public lectures and workshops sponsored by the A2 Downtown Development Strategy group and add your voice to the discussion about development in Downtown Ann Arbor. Dates/Times/Locations can be found at www.a2gov.org/downtown.

Update: Notices Resume Monday

We've solved some of our notice problems, and starting Monday, we will resume sending our advance notice of due items via email. We've all gotten accustomed to these notices, so if you received fines this past week while the advance notices weren't working, be sure to mention it on your next visit to an AADL circulation desk, and we'll waive those fines for you.

One catch is that Request Pickup notices are still not working via email, so we're going to print and mail them starting Monday. If you get a paper notice, it doesn't mean we've deactivated your email, it's just until we get the email notices working right for when your requests are ready. In the meantime, check your account to see if your requests are 'Ready for Pickup', especially if you are hoping to get one of our 100 copies of You-Know-What, or, the just-cataloged audiobook!

Email notices still to come

We're having a problem with email notices on the new system, including hold notices, overdue notices, and advance due date notices. While we are not currently able to send any notices, we are working on the problem, and we hope to have these services restored before the end of this week.

In the meantime, keep an eye on your My Account page to see when things are due. We are refining this page based on your suggestions to give better information about renewals and clearer explanations for renewal failures.

Architect and Construction Manager for Third Branch Selected

In addition to the launch of a new website and the successful migration of our catalog over to Innovative Interfaces, Inc. this week, the Library also announced the selection of an architect and construction manager for the third branch library project that will replace the Northeast Branch. The branch located at Plymouth Mall will be replaced with a new facility at Traverwood and Huron Parkway and is scheduled to open late 2008/early 2009.

Van Tine | Guthrie Studio in Northville, MI teaming with Veazey, Parrott, Durkin and Shoulders from Evansville, IN were selected to design the new branch. Local construction company, O'Neal Construction, owned by Joe O'Neal, will be the construction manager for the project.

AADL opened the NEB 24 years ago and has remodeled and added space to accomodate demand and new services, but we struggle to sustain high standards of service in the current facility.

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