National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Celebrates 80th Anniversary!

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On March 3, 2011, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), the Library of Congress’ talking-book and braille program, celebrated 80 years of helping visually impaired and physically handicapped individuals enjoy reading their favorite books and magazines.

This free library program brings reading materials in digital audio and braille formats straight to the homes of patrons from preschoolers to centenarians. Books on digital cartridge, digital talking-book players and braille books are sent to patrons via the U.S. mail at no cost to users. People who sign up with the program also have the option of downloading books and magazines over the Internet in audio or braille format.

"The NLS collection of more than 400,000 titles of bestsellers, classics, biographies, romance, and other genres delights even the most selective readers. Magazine-lovers enjoy free subscriptions to more than 40 periodicals in audio format, including Consumer Reports, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated for Kids, and 30 periodicals in braille, such as Ladies Home Journal, ESPN: The Magazine and the New York Times Large-Print Weekly."

For more information on eligibility and to apply for this service through the Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled @ AADL, please visit our website at: wlbpd.aadl.org.

1040 Instruction Booklets are here!

The time we've all been waiting for is here, the 1040 Instruction Booklets have arrived at the Ann Arbor District Library! Come Downtown or to any of the branch libraries to pick one up! Happy Tax Season, everyone!

Thank You Library Users! AADL again awarded 5 stars in Library Journal's Star Libraries Report!

Thanks to the patrons of the Ann Arbor District Library who continue to use their library in astonishing numbers, AADL has once again been named by Library Journal as one of the top libraries in the country!

The journal’s annual survey, America’s Star Libraries, recognizing the libraries that are the most heavily used by their communities, has again awarded its top ranking – 5 stars – to the Ann Arbor District Library. AADL was one of only two libraries in Michigan receiving kudos by the journal (Kent County received 3 stars) and was one of only 85 libraries throughout the U.S. to receive the highest 5 star ranking. This is the third time that AADL has received this honor.

High patron usage per capita - circulation transactions (checkouts and renewals); visits to library buildings; public Internet terminal usage and program attendance – form the basis for America’s Star Libraries rankings, and AADL would like to take this opportunity to thank its patrons for their enthusiastic use and continued support.

Traditionally, many public library decision-makers have focused on circulation alone as the performance indicator for a successful library. Today, the full range of library services now includes electronic access, facilities use, and programming. Recognizing this, Library Journal uses these statistics in calculating America’s Star Libraries. Top libraries are organized into star tiers, much like the Michelin guide, for example, with five, four, or three stars. Libraries are scored in key service areas in relation to other peer libraries based on total operating expenditures for the library rather than on population.

The 2010 survey was based on data reported to Institute of Museum and Library Services for 2008 and, since this data was collected, AADL’s service statistics have risen dramatically.

AADL had total checkouts and renewals that year of 8.2 million (rising to 9.1 million this past year – an 11 % increase); visits to library buildings of 1.6 million (1.8 million this past year – a 7.5 % increase); public Internet terminal usage of 259,338 (281,310 this past year – an 8.5 % increase) and attendance at programs of 52,891 (62,584 this past year – an 18.3 % increase).

AADL patrons truly support their library and the services that it offers – the statistics attest to this fact – and this outstanding support has made AADL one of the top libraries in the country.

For more information about Library Journal’s, America’s Star Libraries, visit http://libraryjournal.com.

Introducing the Wishlist!

You've asked for it, and waited patiently, and now it's here! Our most-requested patron feature, a Wishlist that you can use to keep track of items you're interested in but not yet ready to request, is now a part of the AADL catalog. Here's what you need to know:

* A Wishlist is created for you the first time you add an item to your Wishlist in the catalog
* You can add any item to your Wishlist, where it will stay until you request or delete it
* You can see what items on your Wishlist are currently available
* You can also make other lists with whatever name you'd like
* Lists, including the Wishlist, are private unless you check the box to make them public
* Requesting is also much simpler requiring fewer clicks and allowing you to stay on your list of items

In short, if you want something but not right now, just add it to your Wishlist instead of requesting it and you can see it under My Lists on your my account page. There's lots of potential for this new feature, and there may be some glitches here or there, but just let us know if you see anything strange or have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about Lists, either by commenting on this post or by contacting us. Thanks very much for your patience as we've worked on this, enjoy it, and thanks for using the Library!

aadl.org: Down for Upgrades on Monday!

As all AADL locations are closed monday for our annual staff training day, we're taking the opportunity to roll out some upgrades to aadl.org. In the process, aadl.org will be unavailable most of the day Monday. We've set it up so that nothing is due on Monday, so take a day off from managing your AADL account and relax as we implement some long-awaited new features! You can get a sneak peek at http://usability.aadl.org, or as always don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns before or after the upgrades. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for using the Library!

Fifth Avenue is Closed and the Downtown Library is Open

Fifth Avenue from Liberty to William is closed to traffic and will not reopen for at least a year. Access to the Downtown Library is from William Street. The northern portion of the Library's porch, including the handicap ramp, is closed off. Handicap access is from William on a new incline that ends at a landing directly opposite the existing automated door.

Parking is available on nearby streets, the "Y" lot, and in the Fourth and William structure. The handicap spaces and the free short-term spaces remain available on William Street, but are located further east and away from the corner. Because AATA and Federal building traffic is turning north on Fifth avenue, space was needed at the corner to provide a turn lane. The turn lane space is also where taxis and ARide passengers will arrive and depart from the Library.

Bike hoops, removed to prepare the site for construction, have been replaced in front of the porch near the flagpole.

If you have questions about access to the Downtown Library during construction, please let us know through the Contact Us button on this page. We are pleased that, to date, the construction has not had a negative impact on library visits or usage. Thank you very much for using your public library.

Josie

Tax Increment Financing Development Erodes Library Millages

If public libraries are to continue to exist beyond the first half of this century, we all need to make that decision and we need to make it right now. I’m not talking about an emotional decision that “libraries are good”, and “we all loved story time”, and “what’s not to like about libraries?”

I’m talking about money and civic priorities. Many libraries in Michigan and across the country will survive the current annihilation of public library funding by state and local politicians, but a good number of them will not. Those that do will still contend with eroding tax bases: sometimes the enemy appears friendly. The best example on the local level is Tax Increment Financing Authority, or TIFA, diversions on property taxes captured by local taxing authorities. District Library millages are eroded by these tax diversion structures and in a poor economy the use of TIFA diversions increase. Common TIFA authorities are Downtown Development Authorities, Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities, Historical Neighborhood Authorities, Corridor Improvement Authorities and several others in Michigan. Sometimes public library Boards can opt-out of a TIFA diversion, but most of the time opt-out is not permitted by statute. The long and short of it is this: When a community votes a millage into effect for their local library, TIFA diversions in that community take taxes off the top of the Library millage and that money does not go to the purpose it was originally voted to support. There is great good in Brownfield Redevelopment, and Downtown Development Authorities provide important infrastructure and economic development support for communities. The cost can be too high, though, for tax supported public institutions. Legislation providing TIFA opt-in or opt-out language needs to be adopted. Libraries can only use taxes for library purposes. Libraries have no other taxing options available to support themselves. Library Boards are responsible for providing certain services with voted millages, and expectations for those services do not decrease with the tax base.

AADL Board Candidate Information Events

The Library is hosting two Board Candidate Information Events for those interested in running for election to the Board of Trustees of the AADL. The events will be held from 6:00 PM-7:00PM in the aadlfreespace at the Downtown Library on Tuesday, July 27 and Wednesday, August 11, 2010.

Three 4-year terms and one 2-year term will be elected in November. Terms begin January 1, 2011 and information about the duties and responsibilities of library trustees can be found at AADL Board. For information on filing to run for public office please contact Matt Yankee, yankeem@ewashtenaw.org, the Interim Elections Director for Washtenaw county or visit ewashtenaw.

Special Note Regarding July 13 Events

logologoThe following events that were scheduled at the Downtown Library for July 13th will be moved to other locations:

Make Lab: Clothing! will be held on 7/13, 7:00 - 9:00 pm at the Traverwood Branch.
The AADL Catalog class will be held on 7/13, 3:30 - 5:30 pm at the West Branch.
The 10:00 Storytime at the Downtown Library will take place as usual.

Downtown Library Open During Street Construction

It may look impossible to get into the Downtown Library, but we are open. The construction on Fifth Avenue is loud and dusty, but the sidewalk from William to the front of the Library is open. Three lanes of Fifth are closed, and there is no left turn from Fifth to William today. Road closure and sidewalk rerouting will likely change daily, but the Downtown Library will not be closed during the construction. If you arrive Downtown by AATA bus, or park in the "Y" lot, it is necessary to cross William walking South, then cross Fifth going east, and back across William going north to get to the Library. The sidewalk from the south walking north on Fifth in front of Earthen Jar and Jerusalem Garden is also open.

Entering the Downtown Library will be made simpler when a new ramp and step entrance in front of the Library opens later today or tomorrow. Soon, the sidewalk north of the Library along Fifth will be closed until the new garage opens, and all pedestrian access to the Downtown Library will be from William. We are grateful to the DDA for working so hard to sequence their project so that the Downtown Library does not have to close during construction.

Josie

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