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!



Dear Josie,

I did not see anything regarding the Book Sale space, so I would like to tell you how important this has been to our family for the last 20 years. As a teacher, I have found a wealth of useful things for the classroom, along with being able to add to our classroom collection of books-I have been able to buy a great many more than I would have paying bookstore prices. I can even give away books to my students because they are so inexpensive. My five children have had the pleasure of spending their money for much loved stories to read over and over. And I have been able to donate many books back to the library sale when they are no longer in use. There is always a crowd no matter when I go, so it seems that I am one of a great many who benefit from this wonderful service. Please provide space for this valuable resource in your plans. I can see it sharing space with other needs if shelves were built aroud the outside of a large room, and then had movable doors or something to cover them when the room was not in use. It would sure make it a lot easier to move when the book sale is crowded, too, if the space were bigger. The Book Store also provides funding for the library, and I usually spend more than I would otherwise, knowing that it all goes for a very worthwile cause.

In short, It would be a great loss to many if the Book Store were curtailed, and I hope it finds a generous space in the new library plans.

Thank you,

Marie Joseph

Thank you for the letter. We are holding space for the Friends' shop in the lobby area of a new or renovated library. The exact configuration is unknown because we are not that far out in the planning. However, the first decision about a used bookshop rests with the Friends of the Library and I know that they are actively working on a bylaw revision that includes a discussion on their mission. If a bookshop is determined to be important by them, the AADL is certainly willing to work with them on space allocation.

I'm glad that the shop has added to your family's, and to your students enjoyment of reading.



Amazingly enough, I am not going to be able to make any of the three meetings (despite what I thought was a sure thing on my part). Will there be a web video or CTV airing of one of the meetings available? Or a transcript? (I'd actually prefer transcripts.)

Thank you for any assistance you can offer. And, as always, thank you to the AADL staff and Board for giving us the most awesome of libraries.



Have there been discussions about how a new or renovated library will be financed? And would the parking structure be funded in the same way?



I am sorry that you cannot make the information sessions. We are not filming these sessions, but we will post a summary document after the June 16 AADL Board meeting. You are also welcome to attend the Board meeting to hear the update. The meeting will be in the 4th Floor Board Room Downtown. The meetings usually begin at 7:00 PM, but do check the website for the correct time a few days before the meeting.



The financing method will be determined after the Board decides in August which direction to take in terms of renovation, addition, or new. Under the District Library Financing Act the Board can bond for the building if certain conditions can be met. The Board can ask the voters for a capital millage to fund the project. The Board can decide to raise the money in a capital campaign. All of these options are available to the Board and can be combined if necessary.

No decision on financing will be made until we know the costs of the different options. Thanks for asking a good question and one that is on everybody's mind. I think you will enjoy knowing that the Library has built all three of the new branches within our existing millage and they are paid for when they open. The AADL is financially responsible and is in a good position to consider a project the size of the Downtown Library.

The parking structure is a DDA project and I don't know the details about how it will be funded.



Thank you, Josie. That's very helpful information.

I also strongly support the Book Sale space, for similar reasons.

I was just reviewing the survey results. I didn't see any results for whether wireless computer network access throughout the building was used, desirable or of no consequence. How can you provision network capacity without a measure of projected use?

I was surprised there was such concern about parking with AATA The Ride across the street and 1/3 of city residents living in the central area which is a walkable distance to the central library building. I rarely use the central library building anymore since I can go online and request materials be sent to the Malletts Creek branch - which I walk to. How many other people nearby the new branches have reduced their use of the downtown library?

Perhaps the structure of the survey makes parking seem more important than it is for library use alone. Maybe it reflects people's frustration with parking in general downtown. What if the Link service ran by the library? What if there was curbside pickup (like the electronic boxes outside the Malletts branch)?

I remain a fan of cost-effective, shared, print and digital materials without solving other perceived downtown parking issues.

Thank you, Josie. I'm wasn't aware of how the financing for the other branches worked so that was nice to know. We are on the NE side and looking forward to the new branch opening!


Wireless computing is available now in all of our locations, and we have no plans to eliminate it as a service. We will, however, enhance the user's ability to access wireless by providing laptop spaces with connectivity and power throughout the building. We have done this already in the new branches.

The parking concern arises from the fact that thousands of visitors to the Downtown Library come for reasons other than retrieving materials or they use the the trip to the library in combination with other errands done downtown. Last year over 600,000 visits were made to the Downtown Library. We have surveyed those who attend programs and the majority do drive to the Library. The downtown building has four meeting room spaces that are in high demand and rented by groups, clubs, associations, and businesses,and they are not related to library programming. Library programming is a robust and vital service component Downtown. Convenient parking and safe passenger drop off is essential for all users ranging from parents using strollers who arrive at storytime to the vans transporting residents from senior homes to the many lectures held annually at the Library. Safe drop off AND convenient access do not exist in combination now at all.

The Downtown library is also a venue for many events for other area groups who do not have adequate facilities. The Library's partnerships with the University Musical Society, the book festivals, Ann Arbor Symphony, various departments and institutes at UM, and many others provides a strong connection to the community and high use of existing facilities. These are appropriate and responsible uses of a public library.

The AADL's online access works well for those whose use of the Library is limited to material retrieval, and we are committed to continually improving online access. Access to physical space is equally important and while the AATA transit center is across the street, and the Link does travel in front of the library when it is operational, many people who live within the AADL district boundaries live miles from a bus stop.

Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to so many topics in one post.