AADL Website is a Winner

Launched on July 1, 2005, the new aadl.org has been selected by the American Library Association as the best library website in the nation for libraries with budgets of $6,000,000.00+. Skidmore Studio located in Royal Oak, MI worked with seven members of the AADL staff for five months in 2005 to determine the site goals, conduct usability studies with the public, determine a new site logo, and to develop simple administrative tools for maintenance. We wanted our site to be functional for all levels of computer proficiency, and we wanted to use interactive tools to facilitate communication with our customers.

We got what we wanted and so, apparently, did our public:

Feb 05 Feb 06 % Change
Stat Visits 77277 108601 +40%
Unique Visitors 28206 33518 +18%
Ave. Visits per Visitor 2.74 3.24 +18%
Average Visits per Day 2760 3878 +40%
Pages Per Visit 5.6 17.7 +216%
Registered Users unknown 22272 (over 50% of patrons)

My thanks to staff members Amy Cantu, Chuck Yates, Terry Soave, Jenny Hoffman, John Blyberg, Eva Davis, and Eli Neiburger for their great work in the development stages and to the Information, Access and Systems staff for everything that has come after.

Young Writers are Winners!

The awards ceremony announcing the winners of the AADL short story writing contest, It's All Write! was held on Saturday, May 13th as an event of the Ann Arbor Book Festival. Being present at this ceremony and being exposed to the joy and satisfaction expressed by these teens and their parents as their creative work and encouragement are recognized and rewarded is a highlight of my year. Join AADL in congratulating these authors.

Middle School:
1st Place - Lindsay Fischer (title: Alien Girl)
2nd Place - Timothy G. Rhein (title: Escape to Denmark)
3rd Place - Isabel McKay (title: A Slanted Roof)

High School 9th/10th:
1st Place - Eva Colas (title: Morning Again)
2nd Place - Maya Lamm (title: Saved)
3rd Place - Sabrina Na (title: Daisies in the Garden)

High School 11th/12th:
1st Place - Emmaleigh Mia Paul (title: How to Make Empenadas)
2nd Place - Jenneva Scholz (title: The Gift)
3rd Place - Eva Miller (title: A Romance)

Prizes were generously donated by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Robert Bruce Dunlap Memorial Awards Fund, and all 1st place winners will receive $250, 2nd Place, $150, and 3rd Place $100. All Finalists received a certificate, and a thunderous applause went out to all #140 teens who submitted a story.

Site Plan Submitted for New Branch at Traverwood and Huron Parkway

The site plan for the new library branch at Traverwood and Huron was submitted to the City of Ann Arbor Planning Department on Monday, Februray 13 and revisions were submitted on May 1. The project was unanimously approved by the the City of AA Planning Commission Tuesday, May 16. The project will now move to City Council for final approval.

This new building scheduled to open in 2008 will replace the existing Northeast Branch in the Plymouth Road Mall. The location at the corner of Traverwood and Huron Parkway is .5 miles from the current location.

The proposed building includes a total of 16,987 square feet with 90 proposed parking spaces. 34 of the spaces are in an off street underbuilding parking lot, 32 are in an open off-street parking lot, and 24 spaces are on-street. The building is designed to hug the corner with as little impact on natural features as possible. Sustainable design elements include an innovative stormwater management system that may include a vegetative roof.

The project budget of 10 million dollars includes the property purchase, building design and construction, site development, furnishings/fixtures and collection.
The Ann Arbor District Library branch expansion plan is funded from the existing millage approved by voters in 1995. The building is designed by VanTine|Guthrie Studio and will be constructed by O'Neal Construction.

Images of the site plan and elevations are on display at the current Northeast Branch, and elevations can be found at New Northeast Branch Information

Pittsfield Branch Opens March 20

We are pleased to announce that the Pittsfield Branch on Oak Valley Drive will open on Monday, March 20, 2006. This library branch, the first in the district to be built outside of the city limits of Ann Arbor, is located in Pittsfield Township at the headwaters of Malletts Creek.

A reading room, to be named the Homer Chance Reading Room, honors the former Ann Arbor Public Library director who initiated branch expansion in the district while serving as director from 1951-1977. Group study and tutoring rooms, computers, a casual study area with vending, a meeting room, and outdoor seating area will be available.

The collection is new and will feature new formats as they are introduced into the marketplace, as well as traditional materials such as books, CDs, DVDs, newspapers and magazines. Access to the collection will be enhanced by self checkout and a 24/7 material pickup system.

The Library continued its committment to build responsibly and sustainably on this site. The building takes full advantage of a southern exposure on the front and will be cooled and heated convectively when conditions are favorable. We have used recycled content, low energy content, and content from renewable resources in our building material choices. We will restore and manage areas including the existing watercourse, Malletts Creek, and a wetland on the property.

The building designed by Luckenbach|Ziegelman Architects PLLC, constructed by Skanska USA Building, Inc. and landscaped by InSite Design Studio, Inc. cost 8.3 million dollars. The cost for the 16,500 square foot project on 5.74 acres include: the property purchase, site development, construction, furnishings, and the new collection.

The library levies 1.94 mills and uses 1.6 for operations. The remaining .34 mills is used for buildings and other capital expenses. Voters approved a levy of 2.0 mills in perpetuity for the library district in 1995.

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.

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.

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.

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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