What you have told us

Here you can search through numerous patron comments and the corresponding AADL replies. Search by the type of comment, in general by what the comment is regarding, or by a particular issue.

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Date Received: 2015-05-06
Type: request and renewals
Regarding: holds

Patron Comment: It seems that every time I put a book on hold at my local branch - and that book is on the shelf there currently (Mallet's Creek), if the book also is on the shelf anywhere else in the system, I will get a copy from the other branches. Why is this? It seems that if you request a hold for a book you know is at your branch, but want it held until you can get there - they would just pull that copy. I understand some books get lost in the shuffle, but it seems to happen every time. Wouldn't it be more efficient to place the hold on the copy at the pickup branch first, by default, and create efficiency? Just curious. Thank you for the wonderful service - its always been great. I just notice this happens a lot. If I get to the library before my held traveling copy, I just pull the book from the shelf if its still there... wonder if many others do this too.

AADL Reply: Hello, thanks for contacting us! A copy is not actually designated for you until a staff member has it in hand. This means when you place a request and you're next in line, the next copy to be checked in will automatically be held for you and sent to your pickup point. For popular titles with many copies this often happens before we go pull things from the shelves. However, we used to target available copies at the pickup point as you describe, and it resulted in longer overall wait times because some copies couldn't be found and requests would get stuck waiting for them to show up. Instead, we now search all locations for any copies of titles with outstanding requests, and hold the first one that is found, as we've found that even though this may result in a truck trip from another branch, the overall wait time is lower than when we focus on the copies available at the pickup point. I hope that helps; please let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks for using your library! -eli Eli Neiburger Deputy Director Ann Arbor District Library


Date Received: 2015-05-02
Type: complaint
Regarding: policies

Patron Comment: I'm appalled at the extreme process you have for collecting late fees. It blows my mind that you think the best way to get the people to pay their late fees is to send them to collections. Potentially destroying their credit for $10! (Including my five year old son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) WHAT DOES THAT SOLVE?! All it does it make so angry that I do not want to pay anything. It leaves a terrible taste in my mouth and I can guarantee I'll think twice before voting for any milage increase for AADL! How about a simple email: "Hey did you realize you have outstanding late fees?", "Hey we emailed you and haven't heard back. If we don't receive payment in XX days we will then..." or even a simple automated phone call that does the same thing. It would have to be cheaper then working with a collections agency that then harasses you!!! Had I EVER RECEIVED such a communications I would have paid the fines immediately but was simple not aware. I understand it's my responsibility to manage my account but sometimes life gets in the way and things happen. When things go off course there are nice customer oriented ways to remedy the situation and then their are company centric ways that alienate your customers and get you nothing. Clearly you seem to landing on the side of not caring about the community YOU SERVE. You're a community organization ACT LIKE IT!!! Oh yeah! If you want me to be able to pay the fines for five year old son's account how about giving me the ability to pay it online!!! I have access to his account for everything BUT BEING ABLE TO PAY FEES. SO YOU HAVE MADE IT AS HARD AS POSSIBLE TO TAKE CARE OF. THANKS FOR THE FOR HARASSING PHONE CALLS FROM A COLLECTION AGENCY AND FOR MAKING ME NEVER WANT TO USE THE LIBRARY AGAIN.

AADL Reply: Ms. Cope, I am very sorry that our method of collecting library fines has been so distressing to you. We do send several emails or printed notices attempting to get overdue material back before it is sent to Unique Management for collection. I am not sure how we missed notifying you since your email is the contact in your son's account. I am very sorry that this opportunity was missed by us all. Currently, the account in question had fines of $43.75 waived on May 2. The fee of $9.95 is what is charged when an account is so long overdue that it is sent to collection. That total will not stop the use of the card. At no time does a minor's credit history from the library follow them past the age of 17 so your son's credit is not affected. We also recommend that since you do have an online account that you consider adding your son's account by using the Add An Additional Library Card link available after logging into your account. You will then be able to see due dates for your son's account and renew his items online. As I stated above, you also have your email in your son's account so you should be getting courtesy email notices about due dates for his account as well. If you haven't been receiving those notices, perhaps the email is incorrect or has changed. Again, I am sorry that you are so unhappy about our process for collecting fines, but we work very hard to remind patrons about due dates, and then we do a great deal more to get the material back and the fines paid before we need to resort to the services of a collection company. I am happy to discuss this with you if you have further concerns or questions. My number is 327.4263. Sincerely, Josie Parker Director


Date Received: 2015-05-02
Type: complaint
Regarding: noise

Patron Comment: In general the library tends to be very noisy, which makes it difficult for quiet reading or study. Encouraging visitors who are at the library solely talk in small groups or converse to sit in the front area would be helpful. Also, reminding visitors that voices should be quiet when talking would also help. It is frustrating to have so many conversations going on in the back area (where newspapers are). Campus libraries are closed this weekend, but there should be "quiet" areas of the main library as well. Having employees assist in monitoring this would be ideal.

AADL Reply: Ms. Anglin, I am sorry that you did not find a space quiet enough for your needs at the public library this weekend. Our policy regarding noise is that talking is allowed in all areas, but must be acceptable for the general noise level of any particular area. An example would be that noise is louder in the casual study areas where food is allowed, and much quieter in the reading areas. The staff of the AADL are asked to monitor the noise level as described above, and if on your visit they failed to do so, I do apologize. I am assuming that you were in a branch, and you are correct. The branch libraries are not equivalent to campus library spaces, nor are they intended to be. They tend to be very busy, and well used spaces by all ages for most of their open hours. It is unlikely that you will ever find complete quiet in one of the branch libraries. Downtown there are several areas on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors that provide an environment much like you would expect in an academic environment, but not exactly. While both types are libraries, the populations using them and their overall purposes are very different. The noise level is one indicator of that difference. Again, I am sorry if you were disturbed, but glad that you were in the public library and hope that you return. Sincerely, Josie Parker Director


Date Received: 2015-05-02
Type: other
Regarding: other

Patron Comment: Hello, I am a grad student working on a project to encourage my local libraries to offer science tools. I am impressed by your collection! Are there any benefits to offering such tools that I can share with my local libraries? Do you ever share citizen science projects with your guests that the tools can be used for? For example, I noticed you offer binoculars. There are citizen science projects where people can submit their bird sightings into a larger database to contribute to actual research. Cornell's Lab of Ornithology offers a few and even includes free teacher resources for classroom use: http://www.birdsleuth.org/. I would love for my local libraries to offer the tools, information, and of course literature to allow my community members to participate in projects like these. Any tips? Thank you for your time, Erica

AADL Reply: Hello, thanks for your interest! I'd say the benefit is providing unique value to your community. New patrons, new ideas, new ways of seeing how the library fits into the community. We do sometimes share citizen science stuff, although we tend not to be too prescriptive about what the tools are for. This is an emerging trend in public libraries, in that it's been done at increasing scale for decades; sometimes a small grant or donation is all it takes to get a library started. I hope that helps; thanks for your interest, and let me know if you have any other questions! -eli Eli Neiburger Deputy Director Ann Arbor District Library


Date Received: 2015-04-30
Type: complaint
Regarding: policies

Patron Comment: To Whom It May Concern, I have been a regular library patron since I was a small child. And now that I have a son I already am immersing him in everything the library has to offer. However I am very disappointed in the fact that the library has no policy against pornography at the computer stations. On two separate occasions at two seperate branches I have witnessed individuals partaking in this lewd behavior and I find it disgusting. On this most recent occasion the individual was even stroking the outside of his pants while watching the video. The first time it happened I tried getting security but was told there wasn't anything they could do. I do not find this to be an acceptable answer. Therefore I wish to have a meeting with the library director for her to explain this lack of policy. And I feel as though I have a sufficient amount of evidence in the form of laws that support my claim that the pornography should be banned from the computers. I look forward to discussing this matter in person and creating a more comfortable environment for all. Best Regards, Sarah Cassadine

AADL Reply: Ms. Cassadine, I am sorry that you have had this negative experience at the Library. We do have policies regarding the use of the computers, and if you would like to meet with me, my number is 327.4263. Please call so that we can arrange an appointment. Regards, Josie Parker Director


Date Received: 2015-04-29
Type: complaint
Regarding: other

Patron Comment: I wish you would extend the borrowing time for DVD's!!! Considering that we have no control over the date that we can actually pick them up, the 5 days allowed are woefully inadequate, especially for those of us who work full time, have to get to sleep at 10 pm in order to get up at 6:00 am! If all video rental places had not shut down, I would certainly not borrow videos/DVDs from the AADL! As it is, I pay more in late fees on DVD's than I would have paid in rentals... It is unseemly to take advantage of changed circumstances. I believe that altered realities should lead you to reconsider your policies... Perhaps it would make sense to have a 2-tier approach to DVD loans; short borrowing periods for recent releases (the "hot" videos), while old, classic videos can be borrowed for 15 days, with much lower late fees? Please reconsider this often onerous policy...

AADL Reply: Thank you for the suggestion, and we will certainly take your comments and experience into consideration when we are considering loan periods and late fees. Regards, Josie Parker Director


Date Received: 2015-04-28
Type: other
Regarding: other

Patron Comment: Recently I made a suggestion to the staff at one of one of your branch libraries. At times I will do this and consistently am told to do it through the website, that the powers that be respond best to users. Most of the time I don't bother. I saw something that could be improved, normally with tiny or no expense, and told a responsible person. Forced to type these sentences, I am dealing with an organization that prefers to communicate through a website. I like to support local organizations by going into stores and such. Other people like Amazon and support them. I guess that most people who work for a library have strong people skills, they seem quite happy talking to people. Funny about that. Human to human communication functions very differently that communicating through typing. Presenting an idea in person allows for clear explanation and reasoning. Typing on a webpage? Not so much. You can't see the other person. You do not get non-verbal feedback about the light of understanding, the light of bored out of their mind, the light of blowing you off, etc. You cannot adjust your presentation to the person. Anyway, I do wish you well. John

AADL Reply: Mr. Arkinson, Thank you for letting me know your feelings about using the website. My phone number is 734.327.4263, and my office is in the Downtown Library. People stop in to talk to me regularly, without appointments, and call me, too. Your suggestions may or may not be those that staff at the different libraries can act on, and they correctly have directed you to those who can make decisions about improvements or changes. Please don't hesitate to contact me directly. Regards, Josie Parker Director


Date Received: 2015-04-28
Type: complaint
Regarding: collection

Patron Comment: You have such a bad book collection. I'am glad it's not a real library.

AADL Reply: This comment was submitted anonymously.


Date Received: 2015-04-28
Type: complaint
Regarding: other

Patron Comment: The new copier is ridiculous! 6 steps to copy a page. Good grief!!! Much added complexity with zero benefit. Otherwise, great branch with great stuff.

AADL Reply: This comment was submitted anonymously.


Date Received: 2015-04-28
Type: complaint
Regarding: branch building

Patron Comment: What in the world is going on with this library? My kids and I came here today for the first time in a while and I can't believe all of the homeless and mentally disturbed people there are sitting around and sleeping inside the place. I never felt so unsafe any place in Ann Arbor ans I did here today. When did this place become the hangout for the very young and homeless? You need to clean it up and make it safe again in here.

AADL Reply: This comment was submitted anonymously.