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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, 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



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 ). 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.

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 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.

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