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Downtown Library 2012: First Community Forum Update

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 4:15pm by josie

The first community forum to discuss the future of the Downtown Library was held Saturday, June 9 in the Multipurpose Room of the Downtown Library. We appreciate those who have chosen to spend time talking with us about 21st century library service at these events.

I am including the agenda and the content of our information boards, along with this video of the discussion in this message.

For those of you unable to attend, please don't hesitate to send your comments, questions or concerns to or comment on this post.


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AADL Public Engagement Process Community Forum Agenda

1. Welcome
2. Process Overview
3. Introduction
4. Information Stations
- Children
- Finances
- Quiet Reading Room
- Research/Archives
- Meeting & Gathering Spaces
- Infrastructure Tour

Current Challenges & Potential Opportunities
- Easel w/ Paper & marker for comments
- Suggestion cards

5. Question & Answer
6. Close

Opportunities for engagement: 3 Community Forums
June 9th, 10 am – 12 pm
June 12th, 7 pm – 9 pm
June 20th, 7 pm – 9 pm

Contact AADL:

All questions and answers will be posted on the Director’s blog.

Board Meetings: Board Room on the 4th floor of the Downtown Library:
June 18th, 7 pm
July 16th, 7 pm

AADL Community Forum: Information Stations


- Limited opportunities for interactive learning in current space
- Current story corner can accommodate events or play but not both
- Size and capabilities of current space limit ability to meet needs of different ages

- A room designed around flexible, upgradable interactive exhibits and play surfaces
- Dedicated capacity for simultaneous play, events, and tours
- A set of planned zones that support the varying developmental needs of kids from birth on


- AADL is a taxing authority independent of the City of Ann Arbor or AAPS
- Operating on 1.55 mills (81% of the voter-approved 1.92 mills) since July 2009
- Property taxes account for over 90% of income
- Three branch libraries opened on time & on budget, using $24 million from the operating millage

- A $65 million dollar bond will provide funds to improve the Downtown Library, allowing AADL to continue to function within the existing operating millage.

Property Market Value Property Taxable Value Library Bond Millage Per Year
$150,000 $75,000 $52
$200,000 $100,000 $69
$250,000 $125,000 $86
$300,000 $150,000 $104
$350,000 $175,000 $121
$400,000 $200,000 $138


- Ann Arbor News Archives currently housed in rented space
- Limited to no access for downtown patrons, researchers, or staff
- Difficulty integrating archives content into ongoing projects

- Provide a downtown space to appropriately house & display the Archives collections
- Enable public access to the archives, possibly in conjunction with a new reading room
- Develop research stations that allow safe use of delicate collections

Quiet Reading Room

- No room for dedicated, quiet work & reading space in current structure
- Poor lighting, bad acoustics, insufficient access to power and data
- New Branch reading rooms are comfortable, useful, and welcoming; need a similar destination downtown

- Create a comfortable, quiet reading room with ample seating, working / reading space and a welcoming atmosphere
- Provide good, energy-efficient lighting & natural daylight
- Provide ample access to power and data

Meeting & Gathering Spaces

- Insufficient individual & group study/meeting rooms to meet demand
- Library events are limited by availability & capacity of downtown rooms
- Event attendees frequently have to tolerate cramped, uncomfortable rooms with poor sightlines

- Develop a diverse set of meeting and study rooms with ample electrical, data, and equipment access
- Provide event venues capable of supporting a broad range of library & public event needs
- Establish facility within the downtown library that can comfortably handle large turnouts


- Three building phases (1957, 1974, 1991) do not work together efficiently, with terribly inefficient & expensive heating and cooling systems that require expensive service and maintenance
- Only 1 ADA accessible restroom in the building; No public restrooms or drinking fountain on the 3rd floor Challenges in safety & supervision of space
- All three building phases pre-date the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

- Utilize advances in green building technology to deliver a sustainable, high-capacity downtown library
- Ensure convenient, accessible restroom facilities throughout the building
- Develop spaces with ceiling heights and column spacing that allow intuitive way finding & supervision

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Blog Post

Downtown Library 2012

Tue, 05/29/2012 - 11:43am by josie

The Ann Arbor District Library Board is hosting three community forums in June to discuss the future of the Downtown Library. In March of this year, the Library Board commissioned an EPIC-MRA telephone survey, and based on the results of the survey, the Board is considering the options on how to provide 21st century services in a building originally built in 1958 and renovated twice. The last of two renovations was completed in 1991. The AADL library system has received 1.7 million visits a year for several years and the Downtown Library alone receives over 600,000 visits each year. The library in Ann Arbor is, and will be, about books for a long time to come, but more importantly, it is about people. How will people use a library going forward, what will people need, and what type of building can provide for that need and those demands?

Currently, the capacity of the Downtown Library is constraining the services we can offer. If the level of service and the array of program offerings currently enjoyed by the thousands of people using the library are to continue to grow into the future, these building constraints need to be considered and addressed.

Please join us for one of three community forums to learn what we know about our current situation, and to tell us what you think about the future of the Downtown Library in Ann Arbor. All three meetings will be held in the lower level multi-purpose room in the Downtown Library.

June 9, Saturday from 10:00 AM to Noon
June 12, Tuesday from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
June 20, Wednesday from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

If you are not able to join us at one of these community forums, questions and comments can be sent to All questions and answers will be posted on this blog.


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Documentary about the making of the Traverwood Branch now online

Thu, 08/06/2009 - 11:52am by andrewjmac

Earlier this year, Detroit Public Television debuted a documentary by KDN Films called "Up From Ashes" about the making of AADL's Traverwood Branch Library. Documentarian Bill Kubota takes us through the process of building that library, from the concept to the opening. His film explores the sustainable design features of the building, like the harvesting of devastated ash trees from the site, and the construction of a technically complicated building that won a 2009 AIA Michigan Building Design Award. Now you can watch this film online or download it to your computer or iPod to watch anytime, or check out the DVD of "Up From Ashes" from AADL if you want to watch on your TV.

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Blog Post

More about the new air handlers

Sun, 05/17/2009 - 9:06am by Clarence Cromwell

Delivery of the library's new air handlers raised passing interest and even mild titillation among the characteristically blase citizens of this teeming sub-metropolis. For the first time in half a century, patrons on the west side of the downtown branch quaffed un-handled air. Ken Raynor snapped a series of photographs to record the event for posterity.

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Blog Post

Library Board Votes To Suspend Downtown Library Project

Mon, 11/24/2008 - 10:28am by TimG

This morning the Board of the Ann Arbor District Library voted unanimously to suspend work on the project to renovate, or tear down and rebuild, the Downtown Library at 5th and Division.

The Library's 2004-2010 Strategic Plan called for this project, but with more bad economic news expected for Michigan, Board members agreed that continuing this project now would be inappropriate. The AADL will instead focus its attention on maintaining the Downtown Library.

We will embark on the maintenance, repairs, and renovations necessary to continue to provide outstanding library service to our community at our Downtown location, as well as from our four branch locations.

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Blog Post

AADL and DDA Survey on Downtown Library and Parking Structure

Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:33am by josie

One year ago, the Library conducted focus groups with over 100 persons in our district to discuss the future of the Downtown Library. We learned a great deal about what people love about the Downtown library and what they feel can be improved. This year, the Library has hired Luckenbach|Ziegleman Architects and Skanska to work with us to develop two programs: one for a renovated and expanded Library and the other for a new Downtown Library, both to be located at Fifth and William. At the same time, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is moving forward with a site plan to build a large underground parking structure on the "library lot". The convergence of these two activities led us to develop a joint survey asking for feedback on both the library and parking.

Please take this opportunity to contribute to the important decisions that will need to be made by the AADL, the City of Ann Arbor, and the DDA.

You do not need to be a library user, or resident of Ann Arbor to fill out the survey. All feedback is appreciated.

In addition, you are invited to attend any of the following Public Meetings to review our work and add your thoughts to the discussion.

Monday, June 2nd 7:00 – 9pm
Wednesday, June 4th 10:00 – noon
Sunday, June 8th 3:00 – 5 pm

Location: Downtown Library - 343 South Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor


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Blog Post

Architect Selected for Downtown Library Project

Thu, 02/07/2008 - 12:10pm by josie

The AADL is pleased to announce that the Library Board at a Special Meeting on Tuesday, February 5, selected Luckenbach|Ziegelman Architects, PLLC for the Downtown Library project. This firm was chosen from a field of 15 firms who responded to a Request for Qualifications, 9 of which made public presentations to the Library Board last week.

Carl Luckenbach, FAIA and Robert Ziegelman, FAIA have provided full service architectural, planning, and interior design for 27 years. They have studios in Ann Arbor and Bloomfield Hills. The firm designed Malletts Creek Branch, winner of the Michigan AIA Award for Sustainability in 2005, and the Pittsfield Branch.

Luckenbach|Ziegelman will be joined by the following consultants on the Downtown project:
Douglas Kelbaugh, FAIA Ann Arbor Urban Design
Insite Design Studio, Inc. Ann Arbor Landscape Architecture
Enliven Consulting Ann Arbor Public Engagement
M.E. Engineering Consultants, Inc. Plymouth Mechanical and Electrical
Midwestern Consulting, LLC Ann Arbor Civil Engineering
Acentech, Inc. Cambridge MA Acoustics and A/V

A press release with more complete information is attached.


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Final Schedule for Architect Presentations on the Downtown Project

Thu, 01/24/2008 - 12:13pm by josie

Nine architectural firms will be making presentations on the Downtown Library project next week. All of the presentations are open to the public and the schedule is attached on this post.

The presentations will be made in the 4th Floor Board Room in the Downtown Library. Board agendas are posted at aboutus.

The opportunity to address the Library's need to create an accessible and flexible space Downtown that will adjust to new uses over the next several decades is very exciting. The opportunty to do this in collaboration with the DDA and the City of AA, in terms of the development of the "library lot", is a very positive step toward a progressive urban design plan for the Fifth Avenue/William street area. We appreciate the interest and support we are receiving from the DDA and the Ann Arbor City Council.


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Architectural Firms Selected for Presentations on the Downtown Library Project

Fri, 12/14/2007 - 1:37pm by josie

Last evening, the AADL Board reviewed responses to the Request for Qualifications for Architectural and Engineering services for the Downtown Library Renovation and Building project. The Board will be inviting 15 architectural firms to make presentations early in 2008. The public is invited to attend the presentations. Dates and times will be announced later this month. The 15 firms invited to present are:

C2AE: Grand Rapids, MI
designLAB architects with Quinn Evans Architects: Boston Ann Arbor
Engberg Anderson, Inc with Mitchell and Mouat Architects: Milwaukee Ann Arbor
Frye Gillan Molinaro Architects: Chicago
Gwathmey Siegal and Associates with David Milling Architects: New York Ann Arbor
HKS Architects, P.C.: Farmington Hills, MI
Holzman Moss Architecture, LLP: New York
inForm Studio: Detroit
Luckenbach|Ziegelman Architects, PLLC: Ann Arbor
Merrit McPherson Cieslak, PC: Farmington, MI
Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle, LTD: Minneapolis, MN
Neuman/Smith Architecture with Hiddell and Associates: Southfield Carrolton, TX
Penchansky Whisler Architecture with A3C Collaborative: Ann Arbor
PSA-Dewberry, Inc.: Naperville, IL
TMP Associates, Inc.: Bloomfield Hills

Earlier this year, the Library received a report on the programing needs for operations and services Downtown for the next 20 years, and also a report on the condition of the Downtown facility. The Board's decision to go forward with a plan to renovate the Downtown library derived from these study results. Over 100 people participated in 12 focus groups, and while their needs and interests varied widely, they overwhelmingly agreed that the Downtown Library should remain at 5th Avenue and William Street. In early November, the City Council passed a resolution authorizing the DDA to conduct a feasibility study that will determine how much underground parking is possible on the lot that is now surface parking next door to the Library. We are pleased that the DDA, the City of AA, and the Library are working toward a common vision for redeveloping the Fifth and William area around the Library, and proud that AADL is taking the lead and moving forward in its selection of an architectural firm.

UPDATE: The Library Board invited all of the responding firms to make presentations, and 14 firms accepted. These presentations are open to the public and all of them will occur at the Downtown Library in the 4th Floor Board room the week of January 28-January 31. The schedule is attached for your convenience.


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Blog Post

AADL Receives Space Needs and Facility Study for Downtown Library

Tue, 07/24/2007 - 9:54am by josie

The Library Board received a space needs and facility study from Providence Associates at its July 23, 2007 Board meeting. The study was commissioned in February of this year in an effort to answer questions related to space needs for library services and programming, and to assess the physical and mechanical integrity of the current facility. The study meets a Facilities objective in the library’s current Strategic Plan that was adopted in 2004 and runs through 2010.

I would like to express my gratitude to the 150 or so persons who gave their time to this study by agreeing to participate in one of 12 focus groups conducted in March, and to those who accepted the public invitation to attend a focus group session in April. This honest appraisal of what works and what doesn’t and what needs to exist that is currently not offered by the Library, combined with real data about the facility, is captured in the study document.

This space needs and facility study form the beginning of a process that the Board will use to determine what steps to take in assuring library service in Downtown Ann Arbor. Options for what can be done at our current location are provided in the study, but these are concepts and are not intended to be viewed as plans. The Library Board will take the study information, expand on it, and continue to work to determine the best next step for the community at large.

Please review the attached documents, and then come back and post your own thoughts and questions about the study findings.

Providence Proposal 2007
Providence Report July 23, 2007