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.

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

Celebrate with AADL!

AADL received two recognitions this past week confirming that the presence of a strong and vital public library is important in our community. Once again your direct feedback to the International City and County/Management Association (ICMA) and the National Research Center (NRC) resulted in an award for Excellence for the AADL. The award honors jurisdictions nationwide with the highest rated services among all those surveyed. To win for Excellence, the rating for service quality must be one of the top three among all eligible jurisdictions and must reside in the top 10 percent among the over 500 jurisdictions in the NRC database of citizen surveys.

In addition, the AADL also received a ranking of 5 Stars from Library Journal. This ranking is based on data submitted each year to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 98 public libraries in the US reported in our budget category of 10M-29M, and AADL was ranked in the top 10. We are the only 5 star ranked library system in Michigan, and we wish to congratulate the public library in Canton, MI for receiving a 3 star rank in their budget category. The rankings are based on: circulation transactions per capita, including checkouts and renewals; visits to library buildings per capita; computer sessions per capita; and program attendance per capita.

The Board and staff of AADL thank you for both of these recognitions. Awards that are generated by those who are paying for library services, and that are unsolicited by the AADL, are the very best!

Josie

DDA Announces Closure of "library lot" on September 30

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has announced the closure of "library lot" in preparation for the construction of the 5th Avenue underground parking garage. The lot will close at midnight on September 30 and construction fencing will go up on Friday October 2. The DDA is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony at 4:00 PM on October 1 and the public is invited. Parking will remain available in the "Y" lot, the Fourth and William structure, and on the street.

Questions should be directed to the DDA.

Josie

Amended Executive Order Preserves Library of Michigan Yet Funding for Statewide Library Services Remains Threatened

On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Granholm issued an amended Executive Order Abolishing the Department of History, Arts, and Libraries. The amended Executive Order does eliminate the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, but it preserves the administrative functions of the Library of Michigan, including retaining the Library of MI by name with a staff person to be designated as State Librarian. The amended Executive Order also emphasizes the importance of statewide resource sharing and services administered by the State Librarian and the Library of Michigan. The Ann Arbor District Library commends and thanks the Governor for acknowledging the importance of the Library of Michigan and its functions to the citizens of Michigan. We would also like to recognize and thank the legislators involved in advocating for this amendment, and all of the citizens who contacted elected officials to request a reconsideration of the original Executive Order issued in July.

Unfortunately, the funding required by the Library of Michigan to continue providing statewide online database access, MelCat Interlibrary loan, and Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped services at the levels offered today is not appropriated by this Executive Order, nor is it guaranteed. Funding for these services is allocated in the state budget process as State Aid to Libraries.

Please read Governor Granholm’s Amended EO and consider contacting your State Senator and your State Representative to advocate for funding of State Aid to Libraries at the current level of $10 million.

Josie

AADL Library Services Threatened by Governor's Executive Order to Abolish State Library

On July 13, Governor Granholm issued an Executive Order abolishing the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, as part of her effort to reach a balanced budget for the next state fiscal year. It is understood and accepted that hard decisions must be made, and that all departments of state government should be expecting to find savings and efficiencies.

It is not clear how abolishing the department dedicated to promoting Michigan history and the arts, and supporting all libraries in Michigan will result in significant savings; the Governor has indicated that there is an unfunded plan to move the collections to repurpose the State Library building. Library services, when separated or isolated from a larger system, and placed in a bureaucratic environment, will wither.

How will this proposed plan affect you? The State Library administers the services of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. AADL is a sub-regional service provider and has been since February of this year. The plan as proposed moves the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped from the Library of Michigan to the Commission for the Blind. It is not clear if any funding will follow the move, and the Commission is facing the same cuts as all other state departments and agencies. If services from the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped statewide are to remain stable and funded, the Governor, and our legislators, should be made aware that the proposed move is a threat to its existence.

The Library of Michigan also administers the group purchasing of databases that are made available to all libraries statewide for reduced costs. Any library cardholder or Michigan citizen with a valid driver’s license can access those databases from anywhere in the world. If the resources of the Library of Michigan are dispersed or eliminated, and if the State Aid to Libraries allocation is reduced, then access to these databases will disappear. Only the larger, most affluent communities will be able to consider locally funding these resources. Even at AADL, continuance of the currently available set of resources will not be possible.

The very popular statewide interlibrary loan program via MeLCat is also administered through the Library of Michigan, and paid for through a match of State Aid allocation with Federal funds. Each $1.00 of state funding for this service is matched with $.50 of Federal funding, and the total to fund this statewide delivery service is in the millions of dollars. This service is also threatened if the Library of Michigan is abolished, and State Aid is reduced.

It is an irony that in a time when all are calling for efficiency, resource-sharing, consolidation of services, and collaborations to save and find money, a state institution that has led statewide programs that work for the benefit of all Michigan citizens, and which help to provide the critical tools needed for our workforce to reinvent itself, is threatened because someone has the very uncool and uninformed notion that libraries are obsolete.

The Ann Arbor District Library opposes Executive Order #2009-36, and supports funding of State Aid to Libraries at the current level of $10M.

Josie

Please consider contacting your State Senator and your State Representative.

Traverwood Branch Is Open

I wish to thank everyone who was inconvenienced by the closing of Traverwood for your patience and support. The floors are done, and they are beautiful, too! The branch re-opened this morning, August 28, at 9:00 AM.

We have backdated the returns at Traverwood to avoid fine accrual, but if after returning material you find accrued fines on your account, please call the Renewal Line at 327-4219 to have the fines removed.

Josie

Traverwood Branch to be Closed August 20-27

The wood floors at Traverwood Branch are being sanded and sealed, and the work begins on Thursday of this week. We apologize for any inconvenience the closing of the branch will cause you and your family. After closing on Wednesday, August 19th at 9:00PM, all remaining items on the hold shelves at Traverwood will be moved Downtown, and will be available for pick up on Thursday. Hold requests for Traverwood will be available Downtown until the branch reopens on Friday, August 28 at 9:00 AM.

The return slots on the north side of the building will remain available and open, but the return bin in the garage will be unavailable during this week. Computer classes scheduled for this week at Traverwood will be relocated or rescheduled. Staff will contact those who have registered about changes in location or time.

We appreciate that this notice is short, and we do apologize. Thank you in advance for your patience. Please consider exploring other AADL library locations. They will be open regular hours and some very cool and smart people are working in them. They will enjoy helping you.

Josie

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