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September 17, 2018 Minutes of the Regular Meeting

ANN ARBOR DISTRICT LIBRARY BOARD

343 S. FIFTH AVENUE, ANN ARBOR, MI

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2018

18-129 I. CALL TO ORDER

President Vander Broek called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

18-130 II. ATTENDANCE 

Board Present:  Victoria Green, Jim Leija, Jan Barney Newman, Colleen Sherman (arr. 7:14 p.m.), Linh Song, Edward Surovell (arr. 7:10 p.m.), Jamie Vander Broek

Staff:  Josie Parker, Eli Neiburger, Karen Wilson (recorder)                

18-131 III. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

(Item of action)

Trustee Barney Newman, supported by Vice President Song, moved to approve the agenda.

AYES:    Green, Leija, Barney Newman, Song, Vander Broek

NAYS:    None

Motion passed 5-0.

18-132 IV. CONSENT AGENDA

(Item of action)  

CA-1 Approval of Minutes of July 16, 2018  

CA-2 Approval of July and August 2018 Disbursements  

Treasurer Leija, supported by Trustee Barney Newman, moved to approve the consent agenda. 

AYES:    Green, Leija, Barney Newman, Song, Vander Broek

NAYS:    None

Motion passed 5-0 

18-133 V. CITIZENS’ COMMENTS

There were no citizen comments.

Director Parker introduced the Ross School of Business class present tonight.

18-134 VI. FINANCIAL REPORTS

Bill Cooper, Finance Manager 

Finance Manager Cooper presented the July and August 2018 financials in the Board Packet. He noted that in July $1,897,495 in property taxes, 12% of the budgeted amount was received. July revenue over expenditures was at $803,138. In August tax receipts of $10,217,452, 63% of the budgeted amount was received. August revenue over expenditures was at $8,083,251. 

18-135 VII. COMMITTEE REPORTS 

18-136 A. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 

President Vander Broek reported the Executive Committee met today and discussed moving forward with the Strategic Plan and the presentation scheduled for this evening. The committee also discussed the progress of the narrative program statement being drafted by HBM Architects. 

Trustee Surovell arrived at 7:10 p.m. 

Director Parker noted the program statement should be available for Board presentation and public discussion in January of 2019.

18-137 VIII. DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Josie B. Parker, Director 

Director Parker submitted her written report in the packet and highlighted the following:  

AADL is hosting a major Japanese Calligraphy Exhibit from the Shiga Prefecture through October 13th.

Trustee Sherman arrived at 7:14 p.m. 

Several AADL events focusing around the calligraphy exhibit were viewed.

MeLCat services will resume on October 1st. Souvenir “I survived a year without Melcat” tote bags will be distributed to the first 2000 MeLCat patrons.

A certificate was received from the Arrowwood Hills Community thanking AADL staff for bringing the Songsters program to their neighborhood this summer. 

The summer game had 8,184 online players this year. AADL has 246 active volunteers who have contributed just under 2,000 hours so far this year and many were very active in the summer game events and prize packaging.  

AADL received a gift of art from 10-year-old artist Aditi Kayal Kandiah. Her artwork was displayed at the juried youth show of the Ann Arbor Art Show. The work will be framed and placed in our circulating collection. 

A thank you card for a summer game book received from Claire Elizabeth was read.  

Plans for bookable meeting rooms at Malletts Creek, Pittsfield and Traverwood branches are nearing completion.  

HBM Architects are developing a program statement for the downtown library. 

Cook Ross has been contracted to provide staff training on eliminating unconscious bias in hiring.  

A summary of public and staff comments was viewed.  

Director Parker announced a public reception will be held prior to the November 12th Board meeting at 6:00 p.m. to honor Board members Edward Surovell and Jan Barney Newman as they leave the Board.

18-138 IX. NEW BUSINESS 

18-139 A. WORKFORCE HOUSING, CITY CENTER DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLANNING, & AN EXPANDED TREELINE TRAIL PRESENTATION

Peter Allen, Kazi Najeeb Hasan 

Director Parker introduced Peter Allen from the Ross School of Business.  

Mr. Allen thanked his students for their participation and also thanked Doug Kelbaugh and Edward Surovell for their input.

He briefly reviewed a presentation on Emerging Real Estate Trends in Ann Arbor that he presented to the Ann Arbor Rotary Club.

He presented to the Board the class project from the previous semester focusing on the downtown Ann Arbor area encompassing workforce housing, center city development master planning and an expanded treeline trail. 

Board members asked questions regarding the presentation and engaged in discussion regarding the possibilities presented.  

Trustee Barney Newman left the meeting at 8:57 p.m.  

18-140 X. CITIZENS’ COMMENTS  

Frank Wilhelm 

Thank you, Peter. I’ve known about your classes and have been aware of the kind of things you have done over the years but being in the trenches on some of these controversial issues downtown we never get ourselves lifted up to think conceptually in terms of the entire downtown or a good section of the downtown and some of the other projects. And we don’t have the insight of the students when we are battling a particular piece of property. The point I would like to make is the downtown, I don’t know if there is an acronym for this but it’s everybody’s back yard. And that’s why there such, such stress and strain about some of the projects downtown. I think because, I’ve been here fifty years I still don’t know if I’m a townie. Like my kids are townies, they were born here. It’s kind of overwhelming in some ways but, and part of what was very refreshing is this comment period by members of the Board just reacting to something that’s you know sort of ten thousand foot level and not battling one particular issue. And I think the reason we got into the situation with the Library Lot, you know this has been going on for thirty years. There have been a number of public surveys that have talked about, that have come out strongly for open space. The Mayor recently said we’ve gone probably from 2,000 to 7,000 residents in the downtown. But no one wants to seem to want to produce any more open space. Go to West Park, go hang out at the diag. It just doesn’t work. So I don’t know where we’ll end up with the Library Lot but I think it’s very encouraging that the Library Board is thinking in a coordinated way, a connected way with the downtown with some fresh ideas and coalesce opinion surrounding. I think one thing that won’t work and troubled me about the slides, I don’t think any of the old folks are ready to take on a downtown full seventeen and eighteen story buildings. That I don’t think is going to be acceptable to the lawyers and the taxpayers that have been here a long time. Thank you.  

Ray Detter 

Actually I wasn’t going to do this. I’m not going to speak very long, let’s get straight with regarding an issue where we are at. This is not just an issue of simply whether or not we are going to have a park or a building. What there is here is an issue with regard to what are we going to do with the remaining areas of the downtown in terms of creating a cohesive approach to the nature of our concept of the future. And Peter tonight and his group with others and the students have come up with some very clear sources of stages with regard to what we need to look at. The information that we need to look at, I’ve chaired the downtown area since the varsity (?) council and it’s not the first time I appeared to speak with regard to what goes on that site. One of the things we always insist upon is the major issue must be connectivity. Connectivity with regard to what we’re having in terms of the concept. It isn’t just the Library Lot it’s also down by the border to border trail. How does all this fit together in a cohesive sort of program that actually recognizes the nature of all sorts of impacts? This suggests the possibility of some green space. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a park that dominates one of the most important areas of the area of the downtown. The citizens advisory council took positions with regard of the nature of what it was we wanted to give the site and the thing that we came up with was put in the newspapers and all that sort of thing. The major concept is connectivity and will be also with regard to connectivity the most important thing that we want to make sure that we don’t do is that we do not interrupt the whole nature of the success of the library on this site. That’s the most important thing to us is that whatever we do with our connectivity the library is most important. And even though many of you may not be involved in that some of us were the concept with regard to connectivity most recently was just a little over two weeks ago I think. In a situation of what we had was a vote taken by the City Council of Ann Arbor to take a concept that basically was Howard Lazarus’ concept as City Administrator, and have a double bicycle path from State Street straight down William Street to Third and then over there in that particular location what we do at that particular point is we turn First and also Ashley Street into two way streets and most in turn connect to the Tree Line and that they in turn connect to Huron Street. On Huron Street we also recognize the nature of the short walk to downtown to the river. And how do we think about that altogether? Always in our mind is going to be the most important unit of the area of the downtown the most successful one and that is the library. For what we have done tonight is this is not the plan, this is not an issue, with regard to whether or not you have a park or don’t have a park, what this is, it’s making it possible for us to all have information with regard to the nature of what the possibilities are. And talk about it in that way. Thanks for your time.

Jessica Letaw 

Hi, my name is Jessica Letaw. I’m a renter on the west side of Ann Arbor and I moved here about nine years ago and recently heard someone say unironically that they only lived in Ann Arbor for fifty years, so I’ve only lived in Ann Arbor for almost a decade. Thank you to Mr. Allen and to everyone who put all of this work together it’s stunning to see so many different concepts synthesized into one place and especially in the service of the library, an institution that I think most of us get really excited about. I’m also the moderator of Ann Arbor YIMBY, which is Yes In My Backyard. A conversation on local development and growth and change and with every respect to Mr. Wilhelm who’s been here much longer than I have, I as a renter and many other people in Ann Arbor are excited about larger buildings but that’s not even really what I think this conversation is about. I think the comments pertaining to change on the site not having had been not measured in terms of months or years but in terms of decades. Maybe you could use that as a productive constraint in your designs and in your thinking. So what does it mean to move not just well but also quickly? It’s not for lack of information. There are master plan documents that pertain not just to this site but also to the public lands along William. There has been a lot of really good thinking and you guys are probably privy to most of that material. But leveraging that and saying well you know to get it right we need to slow down, we need to go, we’ve been talking to people for decades. I love Trustee Song’s comment about how can we get great at talking to marginalized communities, how can we get great at folding in the comments and thoughts and feelings and fears of people who have lived here a long time and also their fears and excitement about where they are going. So again thank you for these ideas. Thank you.

Alexandra  

My name is Alexandra and I’m a student of Dr. Allen’s. I love this presentation but I’m more curious to find out from the Board sort of all these things took in the fact of feasibility for the land obviously came before the for new construction. But a lot of things that we didn’t hear about was necessarily how you as the library want to use the space. You know, do you need space on the ground level to hold activities for children? Are you able to host something like that on an upper floor? I live actually in Toledo, Ohio and I said our downtown library was one of my favorite places, it’s an Art Deco library that they did a brand new glass addition to and they have a roof top terrace, they have businesses hosts meetings. So I think what I would like to hear from you in order for our class to do our project correctly is for you to give a list to Peter saying these are the things we’re concerned about as far as programming, these are the things we’re concerned about as space. These are even like our monetary concerns and without knowing that how we can design these beautiful buildings for you with these beautiful spaces. I think you will have something better to take to the community if we actually consider what you want to use the library for versus me assuming what you want to use it for. So that’s what I would like from your group. Thank you.  

Brandon Chambers  

I’m Brandon Chambers and I’ve been here since the early eighties when I came here to get a masters in urban planning. Later on I got a doctorate in urban technological and environmental planning. But I did join the business school so I got a PhD in corporate strategy as well. I’m trying to figure out now what I want to do now that my kids are all grown up. I raised them in Ann Arbor, their townies. I guess I’m still on that fence post. So I’m interested in getting involved. I’ve done work in the past in Ann Arbor. You know the Washtenaw non-profits and the Art Fair and the space on Liberty. I helped set them up in negotiations we had some strong wills because the Art Fair wanted that space there. It was like no, no, it’s a main corridor that’s where the non-profits should be. And we stuck to our case and we organized all the non-profits and in a very short period of time we negotiated with the Art Fair directors, not easy to do if you know them. And then negotiated with council, so it is a process. I’m a positive by nature so I don’t know if I can turn magic in anything like that. But I’d like to get involved and see what’s possible here. There are models around the county, around the world that are facilitated engagements. I’ve been meeting with (?) and talking with him about this and trying it here. It’s around the framework of movable cities. There’s a conference in Detroit next week called Other by Design and that has been initially funded for what’s called the Galle (?) Institute. Professor (?) that innovated around this framework for Copenhagen and pulled out all the cars parked around city plazas. It was like, oh my gosh what happened to my city, there are parking lots all over the place. It’s now highly livable, highly walkable, one of the premier mobile cities of the world. He’s gotten funding in the U.S. here now to start rolling out that methodology. He’s been in New York City, to Times Square, he’s engaged in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, North Carolina and so on. It’s almost a commodity now in terms of how to do these engagement models. That’s extended to a multi-year process it’s not going to happen overnight. But make sure that marginalized communities are engaged in the process that haven’t been before. Maybe the overdevelopment centric or council centric or something else of that nature that it didn’t necessarily serve the needs for public spaces around public design processes. So that’s kind of like my torch to bear for a little while here I’m not sure where I’ll go. I’d like to engage with students on campus around this because I’m still motivated. I want to be around the professional discipline in these methods … all that scares me is that I don’t know if you would throw a library card at me and knock me out. My parting comment is to remember where libraries came from in the beginning. They are about making literacy accessible to the masses, to the large population. The U.S. library system was the innovation at the time of Benjamin Franklin has a wealth of history there. Ann Arbor is a fee basis of the knowledge economy probably felt more on campus than you hear about because it’s what you’re working on all the time. If you approach the library from the mission and design for equity you’re going to maintain the cultural tradition of library systems. So I would encourage that to be in your program statement up front. Make sure it has an engagement model for your library. Something that people can hold on to and then manage their methods and programming against it. But if this becomes about the knowledge economy or the people who already have the wealth, knowledge and access to resources you’ve missed it. I have no further comment.

Robert Vandenburg  

I am pretty excited tonight because I’ve learned two things like Library Lane, I think is fabulous content and idea. I can see that come true but I’m really happy to see all this design talk. Because I think design is what is going to make all the difference here. It’s gonna like get the votes, it’s going to arouse the people and it’s gonna make for interesting aesthetic and personal experiences for us as community members to be part of this city. I’ve come up with a new saying tonight. My father always said to me that if I had integrity, I would have happiness. He always said that to me. And tonight I think I have a new hook, I think that with design you’re always going to have happiness. So if we get some great designs going centered around the library and bring in the community I think we’re going to have this thing working.

Peter Allen  

Just wrap up by saying the students are now getting all the rules of the road, nuts and bolts of the class, real estate and the complexities down and working on a preliminary term project for early November. Two months from now we’ll get very heavily into this whole block. We’ll have ten teams about. Each team will be taking on a site. We’ll be doing similarly work that you saw before. The more you can pull together by early November the more you can educate and get out of the class desirable outcomes and bracket your key issues. So we look forward to working with you closely. I look forward to you coming to class to hear the presentations in December around the 13th and I look forward to Josie, it’s a delight to work with you. I look forward to working with more of the Board members and this could be very illuminating for the students, illuminating for the community and all the stakeholders. Thanks again.

18-141 XI. ADJOURNMENT      

President Vander Broek adjourned the meeting at 9:18 p.m.