It's Humid in the Downtown Library

Two air handlers, circa 1958, are being replaced in the Downtown Library. Fresh air is not being pushed through the older portion of the lower level, or the 1st and 2nd floors so it is muggy and sticky inside the Library. We apologize for the inconvenience, and are doing all that we can to cool those spaces down. There are no operating windows in the Downtown building, so we are limited. However, the front doors are opened at 7:00 AM and are left open until closing.

If you are circa 1958 or earlier, you can remember, as I can, a time when this was the normal summertime condition in all buildings!

The work is scheduled to be completed within the next week or two. We are hoping for a cool spell.


AADL Celebrates 5 Star Ranking in Library Journal Survey of Public Libraries

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of the top libraries in the country, according to a new survey by Library Journal, America’s Star Libraries, published in its February 15 issue. Of the 7,115 libraries evaluated for the report, only 256 (3.5 %) received stars for their achievements. AADL was one of ten of 88 libraries nation-wide in its budget bracket (libraries with an annual budget of $10M – $29.9M) to receive the highest possible overall ranking of 5 stars. In Michigan, 376 libraries qualified for evaluation, with only two receiving stars - AADL with its 5-star ranking, and Canton Public Library which earned 3 stars in its budget bracket.

The survey was based on data reported to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for fiscal year 2005-2006 and since this data was collected, AADL’s service statistics have continued to rise. Traditionally, many public library decision-makers have focused on circulation alone as the performance indicator for a successful library. Today, the full range of services now includes electronic access, facilities use, and programming.

The inaugural LJ Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor's Bibliostat, is based on 2005-2006 data for:

• circulation transactions per capita, including checkouts and renewals;
• visits to library buildings per capita;
• computer sessions per capita;
• program attendance per capita,

as reported by local libraries to their state library agencies and compiled by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Top libraries are organized into star tiers, much like the Michelin guide, for example, with five, four, or three stars. Libraries are scored in relation to other peer libraries based on total operating expenditures rather than on community population.

These numbers and this ranking reflect YOUR use of YOUR public library. Enjoy!

Based on the data reported to IMLS in fiscal year 2005-2006, AADL, with a service population of 155,000 had:

• 34.3 circulation transactions per capita
• 9.1 visits to library buildings per capita
• 1.6 computer sessions per capita
• 0.3 program attendees per capita

Since 2005-2006, growth has continued at AADL:

• Annual circulation transactions have increased 57% to 8,173,534
• Visits to library buildings rose 16.5 % to 1,642,078
• Computer sessions increased 6% to 259,338
• Event attendance increased 14% to 52,891

With an equally expanded projected service population of 165,000 AADL now boasts:

• 49.5 circulation transactions per capita
• 10 visits to library buildings per capita
• 1.6 computer sessions per capita
• .3 program attendees per capita

For more information about Library Journal’s 'America’s Star Libraries', visit the index at


Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled @ AADL

Today, February 2, the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled @ AADL opens across the library system. As a designated sub regional library of the National Library Service, AADL will serve all residents of Washtenaw County who are unable to read standard print either due to blindness or physical disability. Approximately, 500 persons are currently registered, but we believe that thousands are eligible, and we are hoping to see this service expand.

NLS is administered through a national network of cooperating libraries with the mission “that all may read”. The service provides a free library program of Braille and audio materials to eligible borrowers in the United States through postage free mail. This service was mandated by Congress through the Pratt-Smoot Act of 1931 and remains a service of the Library of Congress.

Please call 734.327.4224 for more information about eligibility, applications, and services.


AADL Wins Award....Thank you!

The Ann Arbor District Library has received a 2008 Voice of the People Award presented by the International City/County Management Association at its annual national conference on Sept. 21 in Richmond, Va. and we want to say, "Thank you!".

The award is a result of positive responses received from more than 1,000 City of Ann Arbor residents who shared their opinions of local services and amenities when the city conducted the National Research Center Inc. National Citizens Survey™ in 2007. Ninety percent of residents polled rated their quality of life as “excellent” or “good.” Furthermore, Ann Arbor residents rated their District Library more favorably compared to how residents of other jurisdictions rated their own public library services in the 2007 survey.

To win the Voice of the People Award, the rating for service quality must be one of the top three among all jurisdictions who surveyed their residents in 2007. Honorees must reside in the top 10 percent overall among the over 500 jurisdictions in the National Research Center database of citizen surveys. For more information on The National Research Center Inc., visit

From the 1866 founding of the Ladies' Library Association to the 2008 opening of the new Traverwood Branch, the Ann Arbor District Library has continuously provided library collections, services and programs to the Ann Arbor community located within the boundaries of the Ann Arbor Public School District. The existence of the Ann Arbor District Library assures public ownership of print collections, digital resources, and gathering spaces for the citizens of the library district. We are committed to sustaining the value of public library services for the greater Ann Arbor community through the use of traditional and innovative technologies.

Thank you to the citizens of the Library's district who live within the City of Ann Arbor who took the time to take this survey!


Downtown Library Project Update

Downtown LibraryDowntown Library

On Monday evening, September 15, 2008, after months of work that included three public information sessions, focus groups with the public and the staff and several public meetings, the Library Board made the important decision to replace the current Downtown Library with a new building in the same location at South Fifth Avenue and William Street. The new building will be 47% larger at 160,000 square feet and four stories. Current services will be enhanced and spaces for youth, teens, exhibits, meetings, study, and reading will be larger. The building will include a 400 seat auditorium; a Reading Room that will be designated as a quiet area for reading and study; a children's area three times larger than the current area; expanded space for collections including audiovisual formats; adaptive technology labs for adults and children as part of our new mission to serve the blind and physically disabled; and the flexibility in the future to accommodate new formats and services without expensive remodeling. We will continue our commitment to build responsibly using sustainable technologies and the new downtown library will be barrier free and accessible to everyone.

In the current building much of the essential infrastructure, including electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, is original to the 1958 building and it is failing. Credit should be given to the effort that was made over the 50 year life cycle of the Downtown Library to those who maintained and serviced the building. Things wear out, and when they do, they need to be replaced. The scope of this project enables the use of modern, efficient building systems that will result in a more sustainable library.

The 1990 addition was completed prior to the adoption of the American with Disabilities Act. Again, credit should be given to the efforts of staff and administrators over the past 17 years for their efforts in making what changes they could to the building to accommodate those in the community with disabilities. However, in our community a public building should be accessible to everyone without barriers. The library Board is committed to building such a building.

The library Board has not determined what funding mechanisms will be used to pay for the building, but it will likely be a combination of a bond, a capital millage, and fundraising. The current cost estimate for the new building is $71 million. More schematic design work is scheduled through December and the program of services and functions is still being reviewed. Library Board meeting dates, minutes, and agendas are posted at Please join us as we work to assure library services in a building that will serve our community to 2050 and beyond.

The Ann Arbor community is proud of its Downtown Library and the short history below will illustrate how decisions to make room for expanding collections and needed services have been made time and again with enthusiasm and generosity by the taxpayers. It is our hope that this enthusiasm and generosity will support a new Downtown Library to open in Ann Arbor in 2011.

Malletts Creek Closed July 3

Malletts Creek Branch is closed today, July 3, due to a power outage related to last evening's storm.

We apologize for the inconvenience.


Traverwood Branch Opens Tomorrow, June 30, at 10:00 AM

The Traverwood Branch will open at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning, Monday, June 30, 2008. All are welcome to join the Library Caravan beginning at the old NEB at 10:00 AM to carry the remaining books to the new library.

The Branch is located at the corner of Traverwood Drive and Huron Parkway. There is ample free parking on the street, underneath the building, and in a flat lot to the south of the building. Entry to the underground parking is off Huron Parkway. Entry to the south parking lot is from Traverwood Drive. Handicap parking is located on Huron Parkway and in the underground garage. There is stair and elevator access from the garage. Bicycle racks are located on the north near the front entry, and in the garage.

The dropboxes are located on the north side of the building and will be available tomorrow, too.

Many events are planned for this opening week and they are posted under Events at

See you at the Library!


Downtown Library Project

Recently, over 6,000 persons responded to a survey sponsored by the Library and the AA Downtown Development Authority on the future of the Downtown Library building and the proposed underground parking structure on the lot north of the Library.

Approximately 100 people joined us this past week at one of three opportunities to discuss the findings and to continue this important discussion on the future of library services in the Downtown.

We appreciate the support and interest of so many, and I am happy to continue to answer questions about the project. My email is and my phone number is 327.4263. Contact information for members of the Library Board can be found at Board.

See you at the Library!


Northeast Branch at Plymouth Mall Closes, Sunday, June 1 at 6:00 PM

The Northeast Branch at Plymouth Mall will close at 6:00 PM on Sunday, June 1. The Traverwood Branch at Traverwood and Huron Parkway will open on Monday, June 30 at 10:00 AM.

The need for library services in the northeast sector of Ann Arbor was recognized as early as 1965. Land was purchased in 1971 at the corner of Huron Parkway and Nixon Road, but was later sold for the development of the Plymouth Mall. The Library opened the storefront branch in the mall in 1981. This 2400 square foot space was increased by an additional 1200 square feet in 1985. This space served as the branch with several interior renovations and remodeling over the next 15 years.

The library in Plymouth Mall has served the community well as the library has adapted the space to its maximum capacity introducing a program space and computing.

It is a wonderful circumstance in any library system to say that a library is once again too small to serve its patrons. In answer to this dilemma the AADL has built a 16,000 square foot library branch .5 mile to the west. The branch includes 90 reader seats, children's spaces, a quiet reading room, study rooms, computer lab, expanded collections, and 90 parking spaces.

Those serving in 1965 as library officials understood that this branch would be needed someday to serve a growing community and they purchased property in the early 1970's to make it possible. We salute them for their foresight and for their willingness to assure public library services for this area of our community. While the location is different, and decades have passed, the day has finally come.

We invite you to join us on Monday, June 30, at the Northeast Branch at 10:00 AM to mark the transition to the new library building. Children are invited to participate in a "Library Caravan" to move picture books in strollers, wagons, and in book bags to the new building! All patrons, all ages are welcome to walk along.



The AADL is pleased to host Mayor Boris Palmer this evening, Tuesday, at the Downtown Library. Mayor Palmer, leading a delegation of 29 citizens from our sister city Tubingen, Germany will speak on environmental issues. During his first year in office, Mayor Palmer started an unprecedented climate protection campaign at the local level. Hear his ideas when he discusses climate change and the city.

We also welcome the Jazz Band and High School Brass Bands of Tubingen. They will play at 7:00 PM prior to Mayor Palmer's lecture. They are fantastic!

The sister city relationship with Tubingen began in 1965. A delegation from Ann Arbor attended the Tubingen City Fest in 2005 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the partnership. On Sunday evening the AADL hosted a welcome reception for the delegation and their host families at Malletts Creek Branch, our AIA award-winning environmentally sustainable building.

In addition to students, government officials, and educators, this year's visit also brought artists and their work to Ann Arbor. Please visit the WSG Gallery on Main Street to view their work.

Please join us in welcoming our German guests and friends to Ann Arbor!


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