Traverwood Branch Closed for Floor Maintenance Beginning February 13

Traverwood Branch will be closed for necessary repairs and maintenance to the wood floors beginning on Monday, February 13. We plan to re-open the branch by February 23, but if things go well it will open sooner. The finishes used that adhere to standards that are in keeping with the sustainable principles used to build the building have not held up to the high traffic in that location. The floor needs to be sanded, repaired in some places, and recoated and sealed. We could simply throw all caution to the wind and finish the floor like a basketball court, but that seems shortsighted and unjustified. A product that meets our standards, and is proven to hold up well in high traffic areas will be applied. Annual maintenance on these wooden floors will always be required, but it is our hope that extensive work will not be required for years.

Library materials may be returned to the outside Traverwood drop boxes on Huron Parkway or to any other AADL location during this closure. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Unexpired holds will be moved from Traverwood to the Downtown Library after the Branch closes at 6 pm on Sunday, February 12. Unexpired holds that would have been available for pickup at Traverwood during the closure will instead be held for pickup Downtown. If you would like to pick up your holds at a different location, please contact us at www.aadl.org/contactus, call 327-4219 or come to the Traverwood service desk prior to Monday, February 13. We will be happy to assist you.

During the closure please check this website for the many storytimes, computer classes, ESL sessions and events at other AADL locations. Consider visiting the Downtown Library or one of our three other branches.

Thank you in advance for your patience. We again apologize for any inconvenience.

Josie

Comments

To my recollection, this is not the first time Traverwood (a very new branch) has had to close for major work to the flooring. Why has this been allowed to happen? Why were these problems not anticipated, especially after the first "redo"? Finally, who was/is responsible for making the decisions resulting in this situation?

I am obviously very concerned about this apparent lack of foresight, resulting as it has in a waste of taxpayer funds


Dear hendelms,

You are correct. We did close to work on the floors at Traverwood two years ago. I am ultimately responsible for the decisions made concerning the buildings and all other operations at the AADL. While I wish the products used to seal the ash floors had held up to the high traffic in the branch, the fact of the matter is that they haven't, and we are taking care of the problem before it becomes more expensive to correct.

Josie


Josie, just a shout out to you and your team for jumping on the situation with the floors at Traverwood. These things can happen, and especially in light of the fact that our branch is seeing an unusually high amount of traffic as the cause-- this is actually a good thing, and reinforces the importance of this branch to our community. The worst thing we could see is a building that is in pristine order because no one ever cracks the door, or checks a book out. Best to have empty shelves, and a certain amount of chaos!

Just also have to say it is very cool that the director of this library blogs openly, and maintains this level of transparency with the community. Much appreciated.


I was on the Library Board during the design and construction of the Traverwood branch. We were never told about the possibility of such maintenance problems by the architect or the contractors. From what Josie is saying, this is a truly unforeseen technical situation due to using a coating that did not stand up to heavy use.

Although I will not be thrilled by the closing, I think re-coating with something that will indeed last is worth the inconvenience.


Well, if it is the case that the Board was never informed by the architects or contractors of possible maintenance problems (Cahill), then why not actively pursue recovery from them of the public funds expended on correcting the problem ?


I don't think recovery against the architests or contractors is possible. It seems that the Library just hasn't yet found the right coating yet. Hardwood floors are much more user-friendly than concrete floors, so any maintenance issues are worth it.


Thank you, Ron. I appreciate that you enjoy using the Library, and I am sorry for the inconvenience that a closure will cause.
Josie


Thank you, David.
Josie


Maybe the basic problem is that ash wood floors are not suitable for high traffic areas, in which case...why was the Board not advised of this by the people (architects and contractors)!paid to know such things?

I don't mean to keep flogging this thing, but it would be nice if there was some accountability here. We ARE talking about thousands of dollars of public funds.


It's sad to hear this news because I already do not stay longer than a few minutes in the Traverwood branch due to the smell of lacquer/sealant in the air and the tendency of myself, other patrons, and even staff to comment about their having headaches when there for a half-hour or more. I was hoping the air quality would improve over time, but instead the odors of varnish and polyurethane still linger. Have you considered the amount of off-gassing taking place at this location due to the materials chosen for its construction and maintenance? Resealing the floor will only prolong this problem. I found the previous location in the mall to be much more friendly and inviting, and far more quiet. The other issues at this branch, including poor parking, unsightly exterior (where is that promised patina?), and an entrance inconvenient for the handicapped, should have been better addressed before so much money was spent. One cannot even blame design over function, since the exterior is an eyesore and does not make one think "library." A young patron said it best: "Daddy, let's go. It's ugly and I don't like it." She has a point.


vovvi,

I am sorry that using the Traverwood branch is so unpleasant for you, but I am very glad that you do continue to use it regardless of your concerns.
Josie


I see many interesting comments about the floors & the library branch generally, so I'll add to the conversation. I love using a public library but see some problems with our branch. If the floors need to be refinished, so be it, but surely the products don't have to give people headaches! Already the ugly exterior (due to poor planning) & the unnecessarily difficult parking give some of us eye aches & headaches.
Parking: Inane comes to mind. The U-turns to access parallel parking, & parallel parking on an incline, are both silly. They waste gas & increase wear & tear on the pavement. Both fly in the face of the sustainable practices elsewhere. Angle parking in both places would be far more sensible. Handicapper access is poor, & the (unpainted) curbs & varying lrvels & steps to the building are dangerous. Additionally, people hit the unpainted pillars in the underground area! Neon paint maybe?
Interior:
1)The shelves that house books on hold require stooping to lift heavy books from floor level & bending to access any of the shelves. Not user friendly. The benches once there were removed because of complaints. Suggestion: while redoing the floors, please relocate these books so that they are at eye level.
2) The aisle space between the stacks & Zoom & large print books is waaaay too narrow (even for an 85 pounder) & prevents browsing the Zoom shelves. Please consider widening it.
Sorry if this is carping.


I completely agree about the shelving, both its proximity to the floor and its spacing that creates tight aisles. Also, I have nearly been hit on the driver-side when leaving my car on multiple occasions because people tend to do illegal U-turns in order to park, and unfortunately they pay little attention to the parked vehicles when doing so. Finally, the poor access for the handicapped has prevented my bringing along my wheelchair-bound mother to the library. As for my continuing to use the library, it is only for retrieval and return of items: I no longer enjoy browsing there, as I did at the previous Traverwood branch in the mall.


Incredible that this branch has been open for such a short time and has now been forced to close two or three times to have floors refinished. And there's no attempt to recover some of this cost from either the builder/architect/designer. I would have hoped there'd be a greater sense of fiduciary responsibility when spending public tax dollars. And lets not even bring up the dead and/or dying trees out front, the weed choked landscaping and mud slopes next to the parallel parking on Traverwood. Too bad there's not an award for "Form Over Function".


How are hardwood floors any more or less user-friendly than concrete floors? More attractive, sure-bit
if you are talking user-friendly, then plain old sound-deadening soft carpeting trumps them both.


What will happen to unexpired holds (e.g., holds filled while Traverwood is closed) sent to Downtown when Traverwood reopens? Will they be moved to Traverwood for pickup for the remainder of the hold period?

Access to the Downtown Branch has become far more difficult since Fifth Street closed, unless you are in walking distance.


Is there any way this repair can be delayed until early summer when the beautiful weather will entice people to spend more time outdoors and cease seeking indoor refuge? I'm sure the library has reduced traffic in early summer.

As the most popular comment on the AA News website has noted, this is just terrible timing with the library being such an important indoor place in the winter to play and read for children (and others). We are really going to suffer for those 11 days, not so in summer.

Also, this timing coincides with the AAPS winter break!! So, schoolkids will miss going to their neighborhood library while off school. And, eleven days may turn into a longer period if things don't go well with the repair.

Thanks for consideration.


I would just like to say that I think the Traverwod branch is the best looking of all the branches. I love the rust; the color, the texture. I don't need a library to "look like a library." It's forward thinking, yet still classic.


Unexpired holds will return to Traverwood when it reopens. Anyone who would like to pick up Traverwood holds at a different AADL location may make that request at www.aadl.org/contactus or by calling the Renewal Line at 327-4219. Desk staff at Traverwood are also available to help prior to the branch closing. Thanks for checking!

Diane Dahlem
Circulation Manager


The coating is likely the same one used at Seattle Public Library, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, and many other civic-minded public institutions around the country. All were aiming for LEED certification, and all had high-traffic areas with wood underfoot. And they've all (at least SPL and SBRI) had to close for surface maintenance, as the product just didn't hold up. New products sometimes don't perform as promised; it's not the library's fault.

Kudos to the team for planning and informing the community well in advance; this can't be an easy project.


Perhaps if some patrons taught their children an ounce of respect...the floors would be easier to refinish instead of being covered with discarded chewing gum that will take time, effort, and chemicals to remove...just a thought.

Personally - I don't think the floors look bad enough to warrant such drastic action, although I can understand the desire to prevent further damage. I would, however, say it's time to stop experimenting and use time-proven materials that can withstand heavy traffic...we have probably wasted enough oil/energy to-date to go ahead and use petroleum-based tough varnish and be done with it already for the next thirty years!


This rush away from accountability is disappointing. The fact that other institutions had the same problem is all the MORE reason why someone locally ought to have known about the consequences of using this type of flooring/finish. Not the library's fault? Of course it is! Whose project is it? Who hired all the experts (consultants, architects, etc.), none of whom were apparently aware of the problematic nature of the flooring?

So no one is at fault, no one is to be held accountable? Not the library, not it's experts, no one?


I completely agree with the previous comment :

"The aisle space between the stacks & Zoom & large print books is waaaay too narrow (even for an 85 pounder) & prevents browsing the Zoom shelves. Please consider widening it."

This has been a major problem for me since the branch opened. It is so unpleasant/uncomfortable to be looking at the large-print books and constantly be in people's way and to have people walking almost right into you and making you feel that you are just in a bad place, just blocking the flow of traffic. I have discussed this with the librarians and they are aware of it. Surely something could be changed? Please!


A library such as the Traverwood branch, with its high occupancy and usage levels is far from being a museum. It's a working building and will always need repairs as time goes on. However, I do expect that for this particular job, the designers and contractors give a minimum ~ 10 year guarantee on the product and their work quality, if they wish to get the job.


which is the closest library (besides the downtown one, parking is hell there) to traverwood?


The Traverwood branch library is one of my favorite places to be. What a gem of a community learning center in our neighborhood! I like the wood floors, the ash borer ash pillars in the back, the reading area with fireplace, the sweeping and creative architecture inside and out. Also the woods and grass outside are restful to look at through the many windows. The roof is intriguing, especially when rain is heavy, and water cascades off the roof near the children's area. I use the collection of foreign language instruction and fiction books. Passage way by Zoom books is narrow, but people are courteous about it. Computer user area is handy. Parking is OK and the staff are always helpful. Keep up the good work!


Maps showing all AADL locations are available here: http://www.aadl.org/aboutus/hours. The AADL staff will be happy to welcome you at any of the four other locations.

Diane Dahlem
Circulation Manager


Could you please confirm this statement that was written in the first information about Traverwood's closing: "Library materials may be returned to the outside Traverwood drop boxes on Huron Parkway ...." When I asked the library staff, they were doubtful that the books would be checked in on time and predicted the return box could overflow. Thanks for your help.


The drop boxes will remain open during the closure, and you will not incur overdue fines due to the volume of material turned in at the drop boxes.

Josie


Next time you close, kindly consider sending an email message to users who have material on hold in the specific branch. I had no idea library is closed, went to pick up stuff, found out it is closed. I lost time, gas, and the possibility to borrow the items, as I had no time to go the Main Branch.


Yoash,

We are very sorry that you did not know about the closure and were inconvenienced.

Josie


I absolutely love Traverwood and tell people outside of Ann Arbor about it all the time. We are incredibly fortunate in Ann Arbor. Our library system is amazing in every way, including how responsive they are to the comments here. If you want some real adventure and challenge, take a trip to a branch of the Detroit public library.


A small price to pay for such a beautiful library. I love Traverwood, thanks for keeping it beautiful!


Could you explain your comment "We could simply throw all caution to the wind and finish the floor like a basketball court, but that seems shortsighted and unjustified."? I don't understand what that means. Why is it shortsighted? What makes it not cautious?


mablischke,

Basketball courts are sealed with petroleum based products. The floors at Traverwood are sealed with water based products.

Josie


I completely agree with drreader:

"The Traverwood branch library is one of my favorite places to be. What a gem of a community learning center in our neighborhood! I like the wood floors, the ash borer ash pillars in the back, the reading area with fireplace, the sweeping and creative architecture inside and out. Also the woods and grass outside are restful to look at through the many windows. The roof is intriguing, especially when rain is heavy, and water cascades off the roof near the children's area. I use the collection of foreign language instruction and fiction books. Passage way by Zoom books is narrow, but people are courteous about it. Computer user area is handy. Parking is OK and the staff are always helpful. Keep up the good work!"

Thank you, AADL!


Now that the Traverwood branch has been closed for 7 days, what's the latest estimate on re-opening?


Traverwood Branch will re-open at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, February 22.