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Malletts Creek Closure Begins April 8th

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:05pm by howarde

Malletts Creek Branch will be closed for 6-8 weeks for renovations beginning April 8th. Thank you for your patience. All other locations are open.

As part of the renovation, we'll be adding two new meeting rooms, replacing the flooring throughout the building, replacing all the internet stations and kids' computers, rearranging the shelving, and converting the collection to categories.

Additional information during the closure:

  • When Malletts Creek Branch closes on Monday (April 8), all items on the Malletts hold shelves will be moved to the Westgate Branch hold shelves.
     
  • When items become available, all requests listing Malletts as the pick-up destination will be sent to these hold shelves at Westgate for the duration of our closure. You can modify the pick-up destination for your items, or freeze your holds on any items.
  • Once work on Malletts is complete, all items on the temporary hold shelves at Westgate will be moved back to Malletts Creek Branch.
  • We're more than happy to accommodate you during this time if you need more time to pick up holds, or want items sent to another branch for pick-up. Just email askus@aadl.org, or text or call us at 734-327-4200.
     
  • Items can still be returned to the Malletts Creek Branch by using our drop box. As always, you can return AADL items to any location, regardless of where you checked them out.

More About Malletts Creek Branch
Opened in January 2004, the Malletts Creek Branch replaced the Loving Branch and is a unique model of sustainable design featuring solar heating, natural day lighting, a vegetated green roof, convection cooling, naturally captured and filtered storm water, native plants and grasses, and many uses of materials that are renewable resources. The Malletts Creek Branch was awarded the 2005 American Institute of Architects Michigan (AIA Michigan) Award for Sustainable Design. The Malletts Creek Branch is a one-story building of approximately 14,000 square feet that serves as a community-based learning center that delivers superior customer service, primarily to the residents of the southeast quadrant of Ann Arbor. The building and the surrounding landscape capitalize on environmental principles, thereby allowing the overall project to operate more in harmony with the ecosystem and the community in which it serves.

Malletts Closure

 

Comments

As part of the renovation, we'll be adding two new meeting rooms, replacing the flooring throughout the building, replacing all the internet, replacing the kids' computers, rearranging the shelving, and converting the collection to categories.

I, too, am sorry that shelving will be done according to categories. Even informed, helpful
staff at the Westgate branch have been unable to help me find what I am looking for on the shelves.

I am glad to hear about the renovations but am disappointed the materials will be converted to categories. The “call numbers” are so long as to be almost unusable for anything but browsing.

We're sorry you're disappointed, Willow. Public Library Branch Collections are primarily browsing collections, and we've found that this system makes it much easier for most users to browse the collection without even needing to use the online catalog. We have refined and reduced the number of categories for Malletts Creek based on our experience at Westgate. Please don't hesitate to ask for help at the desk if you ever need assistance!

Thanks for your reply, Eli. I do understand why the library is doing it. My objection is not because I need assistance, but because I simply dislike it.

It is also hard, on small slips of paper, to fit “call numbers” like
Adult Book / Nonfiction / Family & Relationships / Parenting
Adult Book / Nonfiction / Family & Relationships / Dating & Romance
Adult Book / Nonfiction / Family & Relationships / Children with Special Needs
Adult Book / Nonfiction / Family & Relationships / Autism Spectrum Disorders

Additionally, there are so many fiction subcategories, that, if one is looking for other materials by the same author, one must consult multiple subcategories, whereas using the library catalog, or having all fiction grouped together by author, would assist the user in locating the sought materials.

I don’t have a problem with grouping materials with other materials on similar topics; that is a basic organizational principle in library science and elsewhere — even Marie Kondo does it. Instead, I find the categories unwieldy: the Dewey Decimal system is more precise and concise, most of the time, than words. But I definitely understand most people would like to skip the catalog and grab a book while they sip their coffee, chat on the phone, and chase their kids around. It just makes the library feel like a coffee shop. Again, I understand why this retail atmosphere is appealing to some people. But I think it is a loss when everything becomes a flashy store. (The library could have done a better job labeling the shelves even while using Dewey, highlighting just those categories users find helpful.)

Am I correct in surmising that we can anticipate the entire AADL system converting to these categories?

I agree with Lucille and most of the other commenters, apparently, that the category system is horrible. I get the sense that it was a brilliant new idea presented at a conference of head librarians in San Diego in 2011 or something, so now we gotta' do it.
Most respondents seem to dislike it. These are probably the most dedicated users of the library system. Does anybody in upper management care what users think? Or is everything about implementing the latest "innovative" idea - and resume enhancement?
The current modified Dewey system IS a browsing system. If you go looking for a book in 292, say, there are other titles and authors right there nearby. I've found many new authors that way.
At Westgate, many times I've found the book I want in the catalogue and eventually gone to a librarian in frustration for help in finding it.
Adult Book / Nonfiction / Family & Relationships / Parenting indeed. What a load of nonsense.
If I find a book in the catalog while at home and see that it's at Westgate, I'll almost certainly put it on hold even if it's on the shelf. Why deal with the frustration? Then a librarian has to go get it, enter it in the request system and label it, and then the AADL van will have to haul it to whatever branch I select. How is that "browsing"?

Jeeperwok, you raise so many good questions. I will follow up with a few more:
* I do not expect those staff members filling holds or shelving books are librarians; rather, they are likely individuals with a high school diploma minimum earning ~$10 an hour shelving books or ~$12 per hour working as a desk clerk (per https://aadl.org/aboutus/employment ). However, reference work in many other libraries is performed by librarians with a master’s degree. What percentage of AADL staff is composed of librarians?
* Does AADL really see its main priority as serving new users who are unfamiliar with libraries? If so, why is there now only a single branch (Westgate) that is not in a freestanding building, isolated from any other city activities or buildings, as compared to twenty years ago, when all the branches were in malls? Small, mall branches — where people might happen across the library or more easily work it into their schedules — are more likely to serve members of the public who are less library-focused.
* Why does AADL regularly decline to survey users? User needs analysis is a central aspect of librarianship, but time and time again, public desires are ignored or never sought. Observing trends and attributing them to a single cause is not scientific.

As willow said, clearly labeled shelves are the perfect solution. They would make browsing easy without having overly long call numbers.

Has there ever been a survey about the category system? What specific evidence is there to suggest that library users prefer it to the more efficiently category-based Dewey Decimal System?

Agree that I didn't really like the system at Westgate, so I'm sad to see it come to Mallets. And shelving labels are the best solution, no matter how you choose to categorize your materials.

I have to add my two cents as well. I don't like the category system either. For the kids section at Westgate, it seems tolerable, but I would hate to use it for the rest of the library. I hope this doesn't spread to other branches.

I agree. The sub categories in books and DVD's makes it very difficult to browse for a certain item I have in mind. How am I to know if a movie is considered Drama or Action? Or in the new Mystery book section the books are in such specific categories I can no longer browse for favorite authors alphabetically. It's like using someone else's computer who likes to use Folders inside of Folders. Quite frustrating.

What does it mean to be ---converting the collection to categories? Will you just be labeling the categories?

This means that we'll be reorganizing and relabeling the collection into named categories for easier browsing. This is the next iteration of the system we've been using at Westgate Branch Library since it opened in 2016.

One room, seating 10, will be located against the wall next to the computer lab, along the Eisenhower side. The other room will be in the odd nook to the left of the reading room. That room will seat 6. Both will be self-bookable online like the meeting rooms at Westgate and Downtown. Thanks for asking!

Will there be a floor plan available online showing how the Malletts Creek Branch will look after the renovations are completed, or will we have to wait until it reopens to see how it looks?

There are some decisions about specific shelving that will need to be made during the project, so we won't have a final floor plan until opening. However, other than the two new glass meeting rooms, next to the computer lab and next to the reading room, there won't be any other new wall. It's mostly flooring and rearranging the shelving to better reflect how the branch has been used for these past 15 years. Thanks for asking!

I think the Dewey system works beautifully. I learned it in library class in elementary school almost 50 years ago. I like how I can look up a book and get a number consisting of several digits, so when I go to the shelving, the search is narrowed down to a few inches of space. Plus, the sections are all in numerical order, so I can quickly get to the 600's or whatever. This way, are people going to be wandering around looking for "cooking"? I use all the libraries, so this will be a lot to remember. Sometimes change is hard for older people! I will say that the newer online catalogue seems a little harder to navigate than the old one, and this could be a contributing factor for folks just wanting to browse around the physical library. I have a lot of practice using the catalogue, though, from doing the Summer Game, which is always fun!

KMLB64, one reason the catalog’s results are humorous/unhelpful is that, by default, they include similarly spelled words. I have had some entertaining search results.

There are a lot of searches that are one letter off from what people meant to seek, and the looser one-letter-off match helps those searchers find what they were looking for. If you're searching for something that's one letter off from another common word, and you want to limit your results to only exact matches, just use quotes around your search term, just like google!

Why are you having the pick location at Westgate and not at Pittsfield Branch?
You would have me or anyone in my area drive past Pittsfield to get to Westgate. Even Trevor is closer.
Can I assume we can go on line and change this. Thanks,

Westgate has the most space for additional holdshelves. You can of course change your pickup point online until your item is ready for pickup. If you want it moved after it's already ready, just call or text us at 734-327-4200 and we'll be happy to move them for you. Thanks for your patience!

Are the two new meeting rooms expanding outward (adding overall floor space to the library) or using existing space inside the building?

For the new rooms, I would have guessed the room to the left of the fireplace room and subdividing the large meeting room, so that was not too far off. I'm so glad that they will be reservable! Recently, I needed to have a meeting of 4 people. Each of the 3 partially-enclosed "carrels" was filled with INDIVIDUAL people---sprawled out and hanging out. I guess that is their right, but since the carrels help to reduce noise, it would help if people used those for working with others. Anyway, the new rooms will be very appreciated. I hope people will be steered towards reserving for groups of at least 2.

Yes, we do plan to eventually convert all the branches to the category system. Traverwood and Pittsfield branches have renovations planned for Fall 2019 and we will see if the timing works to reorganize those collections at that time. There is not currently a plan to convert the Downtown Library's print collections to categories. Thanks for asking!

Disappointed to hear this. I hope those of us who dislike the category method are a small minority but I really dislike this system at westgate. Especially for the fiction.

Betsey, I think “new math” was popular way back in the 60s, so it’s a rather delayed rollout if that was the goal! Besides, any true math fan should stick with Dewey instead of the nested category system. ;)

I resent the suggestion that anyone who likes Dewey is either old fashioned or just plain old. Not only is this a fallacious argument (ad hominem), but it is factually incorrect.

Eli,
Why are all Branches being changed to this system? Is there any reason that the category based method was chosen over the existing system? How was this decision made, did the public/patrons of the library have a chance to voice opinion? I heard nothing about changing the organization until fairly recently.

I would like to know if the library will take public opinion into consideration on this, or other decisions.

I would like to know how citizens might express their opinions in ways that have impact.

For example...
Does posting here matter?
Is it entirely about foot traffic/circulation? (and then ascribing a single cause for high usage?)
Do emails/comments to staff/written comments on cards matter? Should we mention to staff members each time we use the library how we feel about cataloging systems?
Does speaking at the Board meeting matter?
Does choosing to use a library that does not use categories count as a protest statement?
What about boycotting the library entirely?

In other words, how can our opinions be expressed in a way that will have impact? (Or, is this a matter for which public opinion has been deemed irrelevant or unneeded?)

Thank you for asking this, Willow. I've pasted my response to your contact us message below, so those still in this thread can see answers to your questions:

Hello, Willow, thanks for your email and blog comments. I can see your household feels very strongly about this decision, and we're sorry that the prospect of this change has been so upsetting to all of you.

As you said in an earlier post, you can see why the library would choose to adopt this approach, but you "simply dislike it". Rest assured that the library staff understand that some users dislike the change to this shelving system. Many AADL staffers read every single comment, and hear opinions from patrons across the desk every day. Our decision to proceed with this transition is not based on the popularity of Westgate Library as a facility, but based on the experiences we've had, and the comments we've heard, from patrons every day since we opened. Some patrons will be unhappy about any change to Libraries, but when patrons take the time to tell us in person about how much they like the way items are arranged at Westgate Branch, that is as valuable to our decision-making as the public comments made here in opposition to the change.

We are not dismissing any patrons, we hear you and understand how you feel about this. We would never take our heavy library users for granted, and design many systems and interfaces around their needs. We're very sorry that this decision is making you feel that way. However, it is worth remembering that there are two main groups of Library visitors seeking items in the collection: those who know what title they want, and want to know where in the building it is; and those who don't have a title they're looking for and may not know where to begin. Helping users find the item they know they want is ultimately a much easier and less complicated problem to solve than helping those who don't know what exact title they're looking for, and this shelving system makes the collection as a whole much more usable to patrons who don't know what they're looking for, no memorization of codes required. While we know that there are situations where the seeker of a specific book is inconvenienced by this system, we consider it a worthwhile tradeoff to help more readers discover more books by more authors, even if they don't know what they are looking for. If the shelving system is too cumbersome for you, you can always request titles from the comfort of your own home and staff will retrieve them and hold them for you. If you find anything on the shelves that you feel is miscategorized, please do bring it to the attention of staff, just as you would with any other error.

We've made many changes to the shelving system based on our experience and patron feedback at Westgate. Over 100 categories have been eliminated, and we expect that we will revisit the system again based on the usage data we get from Malletts Creek. Like all library services, we will continue to refine the system based on feedback, online and off.

All of the methods you list for expressing your opinions would be immediately heard and recorded. You are of course welcome to make any comments you like to Staff, Administration, and the Library Board of Trustees. All will be heard and considered. However, that does not mean that the library will be reversing this decision. We would be very sad if you decided not to use some or all AADL locations as a result of the shelving system, but our feelings shouldn't enter into your decisions about using your library.

There are no matters for which patron opinions on public library service are irrelevant or unneeded. AADL strives to consider the feedback of all users in our decision making, and this is no different. Our decision to proceed with this conversion comes from the feedback we've gotten at Westgate, not in spite of it. We're very sorry that this is bothering you so much, but we still hope to see you at the renovated Malletts Creek Branch when it reopens, and that you will continue to use AADL enthusiastically.

Thank you for your consideration and feedback, and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Thank you for asking, titanic524. The existing system is a constant barrier to successful access to and use of the collection. Using regular words to organize the collection, instead of a numbering system designed for staff convenience, opens up browsing the shelves to a larger audience. Patrons of the library are always welcome to voice their opinions about library service, online or off. Let us know if you have any other questions!

The libraries are too big for a handicapped person who can't walk. How about an electric cart, like an Amega

Thanks for your comment, Judith. We have designed and renovated our buildings to accommodate personal mobility devices like electric wheel chairs, but we don't provide them. Please contact our outreach team at outreach@aadl.org if you have trouble using the library; there are several services that may be helpful to you. Thank you for using your library!

Will books from Malletts Creek still be available for holds with the renovations? Probably not, right?

Unfortunately not. Because this project involves the relabeling of most of the 60,000+ items that live on the Malletts Creek Shelves, items won't be pulled for holds from Malletts during the project. However there are relatively few titles that are only held at Malletts, so most titles should still be available. Thanks for asking and just let us know if you need any assistance with something during the closure!

The renovations to the building sound good. Will there be any plans to increase parking space in the nearer future? Parking is a bit tight at Mallets.

We wish! The parking lot at Malletts Creek is already as large as the site allows it to be, so there's no opportunity there. Thanks for your patience when finding a parking spot at Malletts!

Mallets Creek is my home branch, and I visit often with my young kids. My biggest problem with the layout is the total separation of the new books/Express Shelf area from the rest of the stacks. I would like to peruse the new books, but it is literally impossible for me to do so and still responsibly supervise my children, who make a beeline for the children's area farther on and around the corner of the staff desks. At Pittsfield or Westgate, there are clear sight lines between these areas, making it easier for a beleaguered parent to find interesting library materials. Will the renovation help with this?

Thanks for your comment! While the plan isn't a complete solution for your suggestion here, it's pretty close! The hold shelves will be where the new books are now and the new books will be along the wall where the hold shelves are. While it's not right next to the kids area, there is a much better sightline from the new place for the new books to the rest of the library, so this should help! Thanks for asking!

Is there any chance that the plan to convert the Malletts Creek Branch to the category system will be canceled? I would like to point out that there is not one single comment from anyone but Eli in support of this change, but there are many comments in opposition to it.

I absolutely abhor the category system and think it’s going to make life more difficult for most. Children’s books are ok for this method but Dewey is appropriate for jr high through adults. I’m ashamed that our library system has chosen to arrange itself for the least common denominator in one of the most college educated communities in the USA. Though the renovation sounds fabulous, I’m truly disgusted that it will render my preferred library branch completely unusable. Westgate IS basically a coffee shop and Barnes and Noble setup where finding anything is basically impossible. I don’t go unless I’m taking my kid to storytime.

The AADL is a treasure- as is all of the branches & employees. We are so grateful for everything you do!

I love libraries, and that is why I have such strong views. ;) I suspect others posting here feel similarly passionate. I avoid the West branch due to the shelving style and obviously will have to plan to go to downtown as much as possible. A shame.

I have read all the previous comments with interest and appreciate all the info but have a couple new questions.
Will the number of computer stations remain the same?
Are you using taller shelves to accommodate the loss of floor area to meeting rooms or reducing the amount of materials at the branch?
What is the new floor material? Something with sound absorption quality would be nice.
Has the Library surveyed its users about the category system? Thanks.

Thanks for your questions! The number of computer stations will remain the same. The number of shelves is not decreasing; in fact we'll have about 6% more shelves after we reopen! By rearranging the space and replacing some larger study tables with smaller ones, we're able to fit more items and more seats in the same space without crowding.
The new floors are a different cork tile and new carpet, both of which provide sound absorption.
We haven't done a survey about the category system. The decision to proceed has been based on the usage and feedback we've received at Westgate branch. Thanks again for asking, and thanks for using your library!

I wonder why AADL is so resistant to surveying library patrons/community members? This has come up before, and I find it puzzling. It seems that it might unearth trends that are not picked up by circulation statistics and those who express their opinions directly to the staff. Someone who does not visit a branch or check out material is fodder for research, and many people stay quiet about their views.

What reason is there to believe that the category system is the cause of increased circulation at the Westgate branch? Before the expansion, there were never events there, and there was also not as much space. Those are much more likely causes than the category system.

Just curious on the new flooring. As I recall the original flooring had issues even when the branch opened in 2004, but was somewhat fixed in the subsequent months. Is the new flooring to correct that original problem, or is it just being replaced due to normal wear & tear. Thanks! Love the AADL!!!

We certainly wrestled with the original 2004 cork floor! But those issues were ultimately resolved, and this project includes the replacement of the carpet and the cork tile due to routine wear & tear. Malletts is a busy place!

Another library patron who really doesn't like the category system here. I think it's much harder to find what I'm looking for. For example, I read a lot of mysteries. If I go to Westgate, I can't just look for a particular author by alphabet, I have to try to figure out what sub-genre of mystery that particular title is. I found books by the same author in two different sub-genres and if I hadn't happened to take the time to look through all the categories I wouldn't have found them both. Is some sort of happy medium possible, where the books are still shelved by the DDS, but end caps feature some rotating categories that the librarians want to pull out and highlight? I'm trying to make sure that this isn't me just being cranky and not liking change, but I really think it's less functional than the old system. Yes, there is the initial hurdle that you have to learn the system, but once you do you can find books in any library in the country that uses it. Thanks for listening. I LOVE our libraries and consider them to be one of the best parts of our community.

Thanks for your feedback, cgloh. We knew going into this change that the category system's weakness was that fans of authors who write in multiple genres could see that author's books, that used to all be next to each other in Fiction, be separated into several sections. This is definitely the primary downside of shelving fiction by categories. However, the advantage is that with categories, readers don't need to know who writes the kinds of books they're looking for to find new authors to read. The catalog can quickly help you find where what you're looking for is shelved when you know what book or author you're looking for, but shelving categories are much more effective to help readers who don't know what they're looking for find something new to read. We know it's a big adjustment for some, but it has led to more books being found and read, and readers finding new authors they love, and that's a worthwhile tradeoff.

Have you considered displaying maps of the new layout and where everything is? My biggest problem with Westgate is when you walk in you have NO idea where everything is. Granted at all libraries you need to find out where fiction vs. non fiction is. And then within fiction there has often been some wide categories like "mystery" or "fantasy". But it wasn't too much to find. (my other problem with Westgate is exactly what you said - finding books from the same author) A map, either displayed in the library or a printed map I can carry around with me will help patrons find what they're looking for in the new physical layout. I didn't get to westgate when it first opened so I don't know if you did that at first. It would be really helpful.

The shelves at the other branches are also labeled, but with much smaller labels than the signs at Westgate. I propose having signs similar to the ones at Westgate, but with Dewey Decimal numbers in addition to the subject, added to the other branches.

What input did you get from patrons regarding category system ? Will there be a survey before remaining library sites will be converted to categories ?

Hi, Lucille, we get tons of feedback from our patrons everyday, and much of this decision to continue to move in this direction was made years ago based on the success of categorizing the DVD and CD collections. (Most CDs had a dewey number of 784.) That conversion over 10 years ago drastically increased the utilization of those collections. Westgate Branch was then the pilot for using categories for books, beyond the Mystery, Fantasy, SciFi, and Western sections we'd had for decades. The circulation and feedback we've gotten at Westgate since 2016 proved that this system made the collection more accessible and easy to use... though as you can see, not everybody feels that way about it. =) Thanks for asking, and thanks for using your library!

There is a big difference between CDs and fiction on the one hand, and nonfiction on the other. Grouping CDs by rock/classical/children’s is short and obvious, whereas the long winded categories for nonfiction are truly a nightmare. I have no doubt that it is better for browsing — because I have had to ask staff to find supposedly shelved books that they were unable to find.

Also I find it amusing that the increase in use and circulation at West is attributed to the categorization scheme, rather than, say, its increased size, fanfare over its renovation, snacks, play area, study areas, and other features that draw people in more than a new categorization scheme.

There is a benefit and empowerment that comes with learning systems. I am all for ease of use, but I want our children to be able to grow up and be undaunted by academic library stacks, too.

Hey! During the renovation, would it be possible to add some crosswalk stripes to the parking lot? My kids are always confused. The sidewalk appears to extend into the road, and there isn't a clear visual cue to signal that you're in a place where cars go. My kids are usually really good about stopping and looking for cars in other situations, but at Mallett's Creek they often just keep walking.

Could you please, as a compromise- keep Dewey for non-fiction, and do categories for everything else? Then do surveys as well as statistics? Westgate IS a destination library because of the novelty and setup, and Mallets will be a better gauge of effectiveness. Maybe this idea for setup will get those of us who are unexcited used to catagories since people are more likely to browse fiction as shelved, and find non fiction based on Dewey locations. Thank you for your serious consideration of this!!!

Also is there any data nationally on a hybrid model like I’m suggesting? I know AADL leads most of the time, but I was just curious.

I guess I will stick with my Kindle! At least I can find books! I hate the Westgate branch. Nobody is listening to us!

As an admittedly old-school fuddy duddy, Dewey rocks. Westgate is my least favorite branch -- with the coffee shop and category codes, it already feels more like a book store than a library. I have nothing against book stores, but vastly prefer libraries, especially when I'm in a library.

That said, I get you have to move with the times yadda yadda and the fact that you can find/request books online is a great alternative, and I LOVE the lock pickup. I work long hours and having that as an option is wonderful!

I fail to see how the categories have anything to do with being more modern. While looking for a book in a series, to my surprise I discovered that, per the category system, its so called “call number” is
Kids Book / Fiction / School / LastName, FirstName as opposed to
J Fiction / LastName, FirstName in the traditional system.

Now a person must know precisely what a book is about in order to find it.

Is that mystery one of the classics, or is it historical, cozy, private investigators, or “general”? Is the fantasy epic or just general...or perhaps paranormal? How about Larsson’s “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo“ — it’s a mystery in the old system but in fiction/thrillers in the new. Also, Westgate books have two different call numbers depending on their larger category of regular material or express shelf:
Express Shelf Adult Book / Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Adult Book / Fiction / Mystery / General /

I like things simple and clear. My experience with Westgate’s categories is that, yes, the decorative handwritten white lettered signs on blackboards, advertising the soup du jour, er, category, may be more attractive than small, dull, computer printed labels, but I don’t have a clear sense of when something is in one subcategory grouping versus another.

I like that in the Dewey Decimal System, books with similar, but not identical, topics are somewhat near each other. For example, the 910s are about geography and travel. Each number from 914-919 is for geography and travel in each continent. Something like that is not quite possible in the verbal categorization system.

So now we're reinventing cataloging?? Not everything old is bad. At least keep the dewey decimal system in Mallet's Creek and convert the other branches to category systems if you must. Dewey system is really easier in the long run, and much more precise. It is itself a category system!

Well this explains why I hate the Westgate Branch so much. Gave up going there because I could never find anything. Movie categories are easy because they have been used forever. We all know them. This makes no since for fiction. At least not to me. What makes sense is go to fiction or mystery or fantasy and search by alphabet. It is easy. It works. No reason to change it.

If I return something to Mallets on the day it's due, is someone working there checking in materials all day? I wouldn't want my materials to be late because you're only checking the drop boxes once a day...

Thanks for your question! Yes, we will be clearing the dropboxes throughout the closure, so you can return items to the outside dropbox as you normally would. Things won't be late no matter when they're returned on the due date.

Any plans to add a Sweetwaters to Malletts? That is what I like the best about West branch. (And the ipads for the kids.) It's way better than a coffee machine.
And another vote against the category system here. But I can deal with it. I love AADL! I can't wait to see the updates.

Another strong vote against the category system. I understand it may make browsing categories of books easier, but it makes it impossible to find a specific book on the shelves without looking it up on the computer, writing down a long address, and wandering around for awhile trying to sort out how the categories are organized on the shelves. It's a very frustrating experience.

Adding my name to the list of people strongly opposed to the category system. No point in reinventing the wheel. And I am in my 20s so I am not old. lol

I really hope that you go back to where we could request a locker pickup online without having to call or email like it used to be. That was soo convenient! :) :)

Thank you.

I haven’t noticed very many people in support of switching to the category system. I know I’m not excited! I know you want to make finding books simpler but it seems most people would find it more difficult. Perhaps you could provide an educational poster somewhere in the library, or maybe even a program explaining how to use the Dewey Decimal System for those who need help.

There are already categories marked on dull signs on the sides of shelves. I understand these may not be very noticeable, but they do exist! Why couldn’t you make large, eye catching signs to replace them and keep the Dewey Decimal System?

I use Westgate because of its location, not the category system. I request nearly all my books and get them from the hold shelf. I don’t have trouble finding books at other branches, but have had to ask for help more than once at Westgate. So I’m another patron who dislikes the category system.

I'm just here to say how much I like the category system at Westgate. browsing books at Westgate is much easier and I'm more likely to discover something I'll love, whereas at Malletts I usually just pick up my holds and leave.

So disappointed to hear that the Dewey System will no longer be used at Mallett’s Creek. All my friends avoid Westgate for that very reason. Terrible idea to convert all our libraries to categories.

Can you add a dropbox "drive through" for books so you don't have to park to return items? There's not always open parking when all you want to do is swing through to return books, nothing more.

Thanks for asking about this, Brownize. The Malletts Creek site does not have the room for a drive-through book drop. Our volume precludes freestanding book drops, and there is no way on the site to allow cars to pull up to a slot into the building on the driver's side.

I also feel the need to add my voice and vote to those commenting against the category (non)-system of arranging books at Westgate and now at another branch. I have had to ask for librarian help several times (adding to my waste of time and to the burden on the staff) when I couldn't find books that would have been easy to find according to Dewey catalog shelving.
But more importantly, I thought that one unstated mission of a public library pertains to educating and raising the general intelligence and knowledge of its public. The category (non)system is a terrible concession to the dumbing down of the American public, to making every place look like a commercial environment, and to turn the library experience into stupid browsing rather than intelligent searching. Please rethink this, although I imagine it is too late for much thinking, let alone rethinking.

Since no one else is saying it... I really like the category system. If I know what book I want, I put it on hold through the website. But if I don't, particularly for nonfiction books, I find being able to browse by category so much easier than the Dewey Decimal system.

I did learn the Dewey Decimal system in school, and yes, I do know how to use it. It works well enough, I guess, but like most humans, I prefer plain language to a series of numbers. I found I had to spend a bit of time familiarizing myself with the categories at Westgate before I could really browse effectively, but it didn't take long at all. At least, it was not nearly as painful for me to learn as the Dewey Decimal system was. I spent a couple visits to Westgate wandering the shelves and reading the category labels, and that was all I needed to do.

One thing that I feel would be helpful at Westgate and other locations is if the sub category labels were easier to read. Right now they sit underneath the books at the beginning of each section, and are often obscured by the books themselves. Maybe a vertical label to the left of the first book in the section would be easier to see?

Full disclosure: I have been working part time at AADL since last fall. However, I have been a patron at Westgate since it reopened, and have found myself spending more time in that location by far than any of the other branches ever since. The cafe helps, certainly, but mostly, I find it to be the most fun library to browse in and find new things to read. I never used to just browse the nonfiction section before Westgate starting using categories. Now I do, and you know what? I read a lot more nonfiction than I used to.

I'm excited to see how the books at Mallets are organized when it reopens. :)

With the change from the Dewey system, to the Category system, I fear that the decay of our educational system and what is actually being taught in the schools today has come home to the Library as well... because it seems (from talking to my daughter, who only graduated from high school about 3 years ago) there are many things that we had to learn when I was in school, that are either no longer required or taught. Does the Dewey system still get taught to the children in this state? I know that where my daughter went to school (Indiana) it's not taught universally anymore, like it was when I was in school there.

Things are changing, and the Dewey Decimal system is just not as accessible. The library's main purpose is to make information more accessible, and organizing books like this is an excellent way of doing so.

disclaimer: not a librarian, just enthusiastic about data and accessibility

The only reason why things would be changing would be because, as Techken said, "the decay of our educational system and what is actually being taught in the schools today has come home to the Library as well".

If the Dewey Decimal System is becoming "not as accessible", then it is only because AADL is getting rid of it.

In reply to by LatitudeB

The library staff has clearly put a huge amount of thought into the layout of Westgate. There are many aspects of the arrangement of materials that differ from other branches, such as shorter shelves, fewer books per shelf (less tightly packed), books pulled out as showcase items, visible labels on the shelf, and so forth. It is hard for me to see that, when so many things are different about Westgate’s book arrangements, that the cataloging system alone is responsible for people’s enthusiasm or any higher usage. There are simply too many variables here for me to identify just this one.

What I think is unfortunate is the suggestion that people who like Dewey or do not like the category system (and these are not the same things) are unconcerned with library usage, dismissive of accessibility, and so forth. This is falling into the trap of logical fallacies and personal attacks.

I think the lack of clarity about how things are categorized, including, by Eli’s description, continuous revamping of the categories (“We've made many changes to the shelving system based on our experience and patron feedback at Westgate. Over 100 categories have been eliminated”), makes for a system that SOME might find excitingly dynamic and responsive and SOME might find vague and ever-changing, and thus confusing, because the categories to which an item is assigned are subjective, can change, and are not defined anywhere.

It is also a fact that by using a consistent cataloging system that is in common use, such as Dewey, the library instructs patrons on how to find information for themselves in any library. It is presenting a universal system, the comprehension of which can be empowering when using another public library or a university library to find other material independently, and to thus feel at home in institutions of learning throughout the world. Raising standards and teaching people how to function in educational institutions, much like learning how to spell properly or learning the multiplication table, may not be even remotely interesting in and of themselves, and may be hard, but they also provide a structure on which future academic and intellectual growth can build. This is how people become free.

Obviously having a friendly, welcoming library is more important than the particular cataloging details, and, by even caring about this, we betray our own passion for the community good that a public library can provide, and the value that AADL has for our community.

But I think it is most troubling that such a major decision was made without community input, and that any input not in accord with the decision is going to be filed in the metaphorical “round file.” This is tremendously insulting for an institution funded by and created to serve the public, and this is at the root of my objection to this decision.

[It is also a fact that by using a consistent cataloging system that is in common use, such as Dewey, the library instructs patrons on how to find information for themselves in any library.]

Dewey is not a universal system. Several library categorization systems are in use throughout the United States, including, most notably, the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system that is used by most university and research libraries. Dewey will do students no good at university.

Hi, K.A., thanks for asking. None of the permanent art at Malletts Creek Branch is affected by the renovation work and did not need to be removed for the project. The previous exhibit ended before the closure and another will load in around the time of reopening. Feel free to email us if you have other questions or concerns about the Library's artworks.

I have low vision and could not use any of the internet stations in the old Mallett because I could not see well enough to read any of the monitors, either because the room lighting was too high or the monitor contrast was too low (or both). My question is: will there be at least one station in the renovated Mallett that would have accommodations for people like me with low vision? Would it be in a darken room using a special monitor with exceptional contrast?

Have you used the stations at Westgate or Downtown? Those are the stations that will be at Malletts Creek when it reopens. It is a much larger, brighter, higher contrast screen. Darkening the room is not really possible, but we think the new screens should be much better for you. Please let us know what you think once we reopen!

I may be an IDIOT millennial, but I happen to think categories are far superior to the antiquated John Dewey decimal system. After all, what is Netflix organized into? Amazon? Home Depot? Bob Evan's menu for gods sake! (for you senior citizens) CATEGORIES. It makes far more sense! I personally am all for this change in organizational structure and anyone who defends the Dewey decimal system is clearly stuck in the 1900s.

The Dewey Decimal system is named after Melvil Dewey, not John, who was an philosopher/psychologist as is known for pragmatism. The Dewey decimal system was invented in the 1800s as the first category-based system, because books were previously arranged by the date of their acquisition. Clearly there is a lot of misinformation and confusion.

And not everything from the 1800s is bad. Stethoscopes, microphones, Morse code, staplers, safety pins, and dishwashers were all invented then, too. ;)

Dewey was also a sexual predator, anti-Semite, and racist. 90% of the 200s are devoted to Christianity with the remaining 10% set aside for every other religion on Earth. Dewey was a problematic person who left us a problematic system that has had difficulty keeping up with our quickly changing world.

The good news about a decimal system is that you can always add more digits. There can be 299, 299.9, 299.99, 299.999, 299.9999, 299.99990, 299.99991, 299.99999, and so on.

Printing all of those numbers on a little sticker is a little silly, and I don't know of any library that does so. You may as well just use words. Everyone can understand then.

Sorry, I never said Dewey was perfect, and the personal attacks are getting offensive. I think the AADL should step in and moderate this discussion, because obviously the fact that we are all people, Ann Arbor residents, and enthusiastic (or formerly enthusiastic) library users, counts for nothing. This has dissolved into preposterous attacks, including plenty of insulting statements about senior citizens, or anyone above the age of 25, including the assumption that everyone who sees any value at all in a different point of view is deranged or out of touch. The BISAC system is NOT perfect; as Eli posted, the library is constantly tweaking it.

Plenty of things were invented by people with personal flaws. I have never seen it written by actual AADL staff that they are moving towards the BISAC cataloging system because of anti-Semitism, racism, or anything of the sort of Melville Dewey. I think you will find, for example, at the Westgate Branch that there are many more Christian holiday books for children than Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, or other holidays. Having them in BISAC/retail designed categories does not eliminate societal ills.

It is too bad that the nasty tone of the current climate extends even to AADL website discussions.

I hear you, but what you are describing is different from what I am describing. It is not the number of books in question, but the devotion to these categories. Under BISAC, every category is given the same attention regardless of the number of individual books. The Dewey system is skewed toward white Christian culture; this is a well established fact. While some of this has been changed by dedicated librarians over the past century, it's a monumental task and far from complete. Dewey is also, by its era creation, out of date with technology and science (it's over 100 years old and Dewey was not a psychic). Rather than overhaul Dewey, we may as well use a system that works better for more people.

And I am not comfortable promoting a system created by a man who was found reprehensible even during his lifetime. The ALA distances itself from Dewey to this day.

While originally filled with trepidation concerning the categories system when I first started using it at Westgate - and to be fair, still have certain issues with it - I have found that, like all things in life, it just requires learning and getting used to it. While working at academic libraries in my youth, I often got questions from patrons about the DDS as well. They didn't understand why certain categories went where, why certain sections were dominated primarily by western texts or religions - leaving very little room for anyone else, and complaints about that system as well.

I think this change should be embraced with an open mind since transition is just a part of our world today. Simply going about this system in the same manner as all of us went about learning the Dewey Decimal System will probably have the same result - being able to know where to find our next favorite book.

Would the Mallet WiFi be on during the renovation? If it is, does the range extend to the parking lot? [I have a tablet with no cell connection, have no WiFi, and live a few blocks away.]

You can be sure the reason for changing the catalog system has more to do with decreasing cost than maintaining customer satisfaction. Cut employees is the mantra for everything nowadays. I , too, find this “catalog” system at Westgate abominable. Gee, did any of the powers that be ever think to ask the public before making these types of overarching changes? The “Public” in Public Library disappeared long ago. I’ll be surprised if Mallett’s reopens in 6-8 weeks. Why are renovations always completed late rather than ahead of schedule?

I'm a longtime professional website developer, with a specialty in making complicated technical things easy for ordinary people to navigate. And I live right near the Malletts Creek branch, so my family is there frequently. I seem to be outvoted, but my opinion is that switching to categories at Malletts Creek is an excellent idea. I can navigate the Dewey Decimal system just fine, but I think the average person looks at a Dewey Decimal catalog number, thinks "this is too hard," and gives up. Categories will make it much easier for everybody to be able to find books, not only the people who can speak Dewey Decimal.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth. :)

I am also extremely disappointed to learn that all the libraries will be arranged in loose categories like those found at the Westgate Branch Library. Why is the library is moving away from the far more orderly Dewey Decimal system, which makes it easy to find specific books quickly? The "system" at Westgate has pretty signs, but the book order is a mess of vague categories. The librarians don't always know where books should be, which is not an improvement.

Will the Mallet Creek Branch still feel like a Day Care or will it be modified to resemble a Library? Trying to have a peaceful hour of reading and study and not being interrupted by unruly children running around and squealing would be nice.

I hate Westgate because it's loud and there's not enough table space. The tiny number of study cubicles is a bad joke. There's really only one table and it's always full. The tables in the coffee shop are very loud and I feel like I shouldn't be sitting there if I'm not having coffee.

Since it has been about a month since Mallett creek closed for renovations, and I realize that it was going to be closed for 6-8 weeks, is there an opening date yet since it has been a month?

I went to Westgate Library twice. I dislike the browse system very much. Libraries are the seat of knowledge. They are meant to raise people up. Libraries are not meant to copy book stores. When I commented my reservations to the young women at the desk, she was very defensive and disrespectful. To me this response indicated she fielded these comments before. It would have been easy for the AADL to ask patrons and tax payers for our opinions on this unnecessary change.

The Ann Arbor Library system is a dream compared to so many public library systems in the state. Love the changes and the library! Thank you.

Hello! This might be a bit premature, but I'm wondering, will Traverwood have many changes happen to it besides converting the collections? The ash poles, the ash floors and the floor to ceiling windows in particular are really taking advantage of this eco-friendly library and its location, and I don't want that to change.

No worries about any of that, squirrelgirl! All the wood at Traverwood is there to stay. The 2019 Traverwood updates will include new carpet, a new meeting room next to the computer lab, some rearrangement of shelving, new computers, and conversion of the collection into categories. Thanks for asking!

We have our last construction work finishing up now and we hope to announce an opening date by the end of this week. Thanks for your patience, all; updates coming soon!

I'm happy to see the renovations that are coming to Mallett's Creek!
We've been using this library since 1987 - back in the days when we had 5 children and when it was called Loving Branch - at the old location.
Curious about how things are coming along, I clicked on "details here", and surprisingly came upon the plan to change the catalogue system.
Oh my. I agree with most of the comments (No! Can't find anything at Westgate! It's like a retail shop! Dewey Decimal System is the best! etc.)
Yes, I've been to Westgate - and gotten so confused that I gave up.
We are serious library users - visiting once or twice a week at least.
I'm sorry to say that (for us) the catalogue change will make the Mallett's Creek Branch a destination for dropping off books only (we avoid Westgate specifically because of the category system). We'll make the old stand-by at Main our primary library location.
We love our Ann Arbor libraries - and are incredibly proud of what we have!
It's just this one thing.
Hoping that you might reconsider -teri

Malletts Creek closed on April 8; this past Monday, 5/21, was 6 weeks since the closure began. We announced today (you can see it at the top of every AADL.org page) that Malletts Creek with reopen on 6/3, which is exactly 8 weeks after it closed! Thanks for your patience through this closure, we'll see you at the library soon!

It's getting close to the 8 weeks expected for the renovation. Is there a ETA for reopening of Mallets Creek as it's a very convenient location.

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