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Traverwood Branch closes December 16th for 10 weeks of Renovations

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 9:09am by eli

Now that Pittsfield Branch has reopened, we're getting ready for our last branch closure of this round of renovations. Traverwood Branch Library will be closed starting December 16th for up to 10 weeks of renovation.

Any requests that would have been ready for pickup at Traverwood Branch will be held at Westgate Branch instead. If you'd like to have your Traverwood requests held at another location, you can change that yourself on your my account page, or just contact us and let us know your preference. Don't forget that there's lots of parking behind Westgate Branch's rear entrance! Just go around the Rite Aid end to find it.

During this closure, we'll be replacing the carpet, refinishing the wood floors, constructing a new bookable meeting room, and rearranging some shelving. We'll also be reworking the rotating program room doors for better safety and utility, replacing all the public internet and kids game computers, and relabeling the collection into categories.

Thanks for your patience through this year of renovations. As always, contact us if you have any questions or concerns, and thank you for using your library! 

Comments

Many parents & children rely on the library for books, activities, etc., during school break. Shutting down the library during break absolutely disregards the needs of its users.

Hi there, there's no good time to close a library. We're very sorry for any inconvenience this will cause you and your family. We hope you're able to use one of the other 4 AADL locations during school break.

While I will be inconvenienced by the closure, I would like to thank the Ann Arbor District library system for all it's wonderful locations and wealth of materials. It is great system. For those who are unhappy, consider what happens when a home remodel is needed. The best way to shorten the duration is to move things out of the way - both for promptness and safety. See you in the spring Traverwood!

Will we be able to return books at the Traverwood location during the renovation? Thank you.

I've got several holds at the library. Is it possible for me to call you and arrange for them to be sent to a branch that is *not* Westgate? I'd rather pick them up at the main branch instead.

It’s great to hear about a new meeting room and new computers, but I am not happy to hear that yet another branch will be lost to the verbal organization system.

Since you have said in the past that you plan to keep the Dewey Decimal system at Downtown, why couldn’t you just add a second (verbal category) label to books in addition to the Dewey Decimal label instead of removing the old label so that books could be kept at any branch?

Thanks for asking, GCFB SHOP666. As we discussed at length with you in the Pittsfield Closure Post ( https://aadl.org/node/397200 ) and the Mallets Creek Closure Post ( https://aadl.org/node/392633 ), we have found that this system is very effective and leads to more readers discovering more books and feeling more welcomed by the library. I'm so sorry you feel that the branch will be lost through this process.

Materials at AADL are assigned to a particular branch and return there after they're returned; this allows collections to be set in a balance across locations that will stay balanced no matter where items are returned.

Thanks again for participating in these discussions, and we wish a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. If you're looking for some family-friendly reading material for the holiday, you can find it under Kids Book / Holidays / Thanksgiving, instead of J 394.266. =)

Obviously, people's opinions against this change have had and will have no effect on your decision making. However, I still wanted to point out that while the category system generally makes sense for nonfiction (it makes the categorization more transparent), it is rather ridiculous for fiction. Browsing through the kids' section at Malletts Creek after it switched over, I found categories with only a handful of books in them, and even those books seemed to be a stretch for that "category". It felt completely arbitrary. Fiction books are probably going to have more than one theme/subject/category, and choosing only one official category for such books is both arbitrary and limiting. Would you put a picture book called "The Dinosaurs and the Princess" about a human princess living with dinosaurs in the dinosaur category or the royalty category? If people start relying on your category system to browse instead of using the catalog to browse, how many amazing books are they going to miss out on because they think all dinosaur picture books are actually in the dinosaur category? How many gems by the same author will people not realize exist because these books are in slightly different categories? It seems like making the online catalog user friendly and easy to search (it's a terrible pain right now) would have been a better use of time and resources and also would have offered better results than this categories "solution". And just for the record, I haven't been against this change from the beginning. When Westgate first switched over, I went in and at first was intrigued by the categories in the kids' section. (I have kids and so spend a lot of time in the kids' areas). But after I found a few categories that seemed particularly interesting and looked through the books in them, I was disappointed, as most of the books sorted there only kind of fit the advertised categories. Since that experience, I haven't bothered looking at kids' books at Westgate. We now go there just for the toys and the coffee. It's a shame our home branch is following suit but this time without the toys and coffee to keep us coming.

I'd be interested in seeing your data proving that the "category" system is "very effective". Effective for whom and under what conditions? It may work well enough in small, subject-focused library collections, and/or for patrons with lots of time to hunt, or for people just looking for what they can discover. But when a user is seeking a particular title, the Dewey number is a much more efficacious access tool. Case in point: I had about 20 minutes to stop by Mallets Creek en route to an appointment and pick up a Game of Thrones cookbook. I had the Dewey number, figured I could just walk to the 650s and pull it off the shelf. But surprise, surprise--no more Deweys! Now, I am a librarian, a cataloger no less, and I was stumped: just what culinary category does "Game of Thrones" fit into?? (It didn't help that the sectional signage was unclear about where the cookbooks actually started.) Eventually I found the book, but it took much longer than it needed to.

I can understand relabeling signage to reflect contemporary language (i.e. "translating" Dewey categories into 21st century sensibilities) and I have spent many hours re-tagging Dewey shelves. But I really don't think it's necessary to scrap Dewey to accomplish linguistic modernization. Subject categorization of fiction seems particularly unnecessary: why not include [more] subject tags in the catalog record instead? I am all for increased access (signage! signage! signage!), but have yet to be convinced that we need to ditch Dewey to accomplish it.

Thanks for the update. I love the Traverwood branch and am looking forward to the improvements.

If I could ask for anything, it would be for the addition of some sort of felt padding to the ends of the chair legs in the front work area. It's a wonderful, (usually) quiet place to work, but moving around the metal chairs at all produces a piercingly noisy disruption against the hardwood floors. Could something like that be done?

Please keep the Dewey Decimal system, it is the US library standard. Please stop dummying down to the lowest common denominator, people should have learned it in school and it is the perfect organization system. The change is why I refuse to use the Westgate branch for anything except returns and I will probably stop using Traverwood despite its convenience. Du have librarians in charge?ont yo

Dewey has been in decline for decades. Heck, I'm in my 40s and about half the libraries in my life have been organized by Library of Congress or other standards other than Dewey. This article from almost a decade ago is about the death of Dewey, for example.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2011-02-18-ct-met-drop-dewey…

If it ain't broke don't fix it, but when it is broke, you gotta.

Librarians have been debating (and challenging) the merits of the Dewey Decimal System for as long as it has been in use, and it (like every other organizational system) can never be perfect; one example is Dewey's deliberate bias toward Christianity, relegating all non-Christian religions to a mere sliver of the 200s and making it difficult to adequately categorize these materials. If the public library's goal is to make its holdings as widely available and as easily discoverable as possible, then it makes sense that the AADL's librarians would explore alternate organizational schemes. If Dewey isn't serving that purpose, for whatever reasons, then it makes sense that the library should explore alternatives.

No offense, but I really don't get why people are having issues with ditching the Dewey Decimal System (DDC). When I worked in a library, I used it, but didn't think it was all that helpful. I learned it but very quickly forgot it when I didn't need it. I don't feel dumbed down because the libraries have ditched DDC.

No one gets confused or has trouble when they go to a bookstore. I have NEVER seen a bookstore with DDC. My advise to people is to pretend you are looking for something at Border's.

Well, sorry, but I had trouble just this weekend finding “The Ministry of Truth” at Barnes and Noble. Even the staff member had to call for help, especially because the listed category in the computer was one they didn’t have in the store.

Even the use of the term “category system” for BISAC’s scheme is a bit of Newspeak. Dewey Decimal uses categories — he was the one to invent the concept!

I am firmly in favor of using a system of categorization that is consistent and well defined. The bookselling model, as it has been adapted by AADL, is constantly shifting and definitions are nowhere to be found. It is also very tedious to try to find a book. Everything the library did on top of the changing system — pulling books out to display them, labeling the shelves, opening parties — is separate from the system itself, and comparing them is not suitable to conclude the categorization scheme is the cause of any particular usage improvements. What is most troubling of all is that Josie Parker’s only comment on this seems to have been promising not to suddenly abandon Dewey, and then Eli has been left to sing the commercial model’s praises on these boards.

I would caution against singing the praises of Borders, a predatory bookstore that itself fell victim to predators. Further, the library is neither a bookstore nor a coffeehouse.

I'd like to push back on the idea that DDC is immutably "consistent", "well-defined", or free of change: Dewey certainly didn't anticipate books about, say, Nintendo or Einstein's theory of relativity when he first created his system. Newly invented subjects (such as computing, as we understand it today) and topics of more expanded and/or recent literary interest (such as queer studies) have to be incorporated into a rigid system that often has no natural place for them (or, in some cases, several plausible places for them, that themselves can shift over time). The new system, with its new categories, is imperfect, but I personally view its flexibility as a good thing, as it incorporates natural language rather than relying on opaque, arbitrarily assigned numerals (often running to many confusing decimal places). Even though I do have to go to the catalog for guidance on occasion under the new system, I also have to do this sometimes for books classified under Dewey despite my long experience with the system; that alone doesn't make it a failure, in my eyes.

The comment you seem to be referring to from Ms. Parker is from several years ago, and the library has not "suddenly" abandoned Dewey. It seems to me that they have been carefully rolling this out after a lengthy test period at Westgate, and I highly doubt that the leadership team would have decided to expand the system had it not received generally positive feedback there. Obviously, the feedback has not been universally positive, but these comment threads may not accurately reflect the sum total of users' experiences. I do agree that it might be useful to have an official statement contextualizing these decisions, as they are clearly controversial.

As for the increased circulation numbers, it's probably impossible (as you suggest) to isolate every possible contributing factor and address its unique impact. However, if one of the library's core goals is to deliver more materials to members of our community, I view any progress in this direction as a positive development. This would also justify the presence of a coffee shop in one of the branches, which is by no means a unique development; the main library branch in Austin, Texas, even has a proper bar (and a lovely rooftop lounge as well)!

Public libraries shouldn't be static institutions and cannot be if they are to fulfill their primary purpose of providing information, resources, events, communal spaces, and general support to their communities. The newly adopted classification system--or any of the other changes previously, currently, or potentially afoot--isn't a perfect solution, but it is indicative of the librarians' willingness to identify ways in which they can better serve their mission and our community.

Even bookstores have most fiction alphabetical by author, the only categories are children, adults, mystery or science fiction and fantasy which is how the library was also organized. But trying to put fiction into categories otherwise seems dysfunctional. I know when I read a book I like I will go and look at all the books by that author which are all together on the shelves

Even bookstores have most fiction alphabetical by author, the only categories are children, adults, mystery or science fiction and fantasy which is how the library was also organized. But trying to put fiction into categories otherwise seems dysfunctional. I know when I read a book I like I will go and look at all the books by that author which are all together on the shelves

If you've got a kindle or a kindle app, try getting ebooks from MLC overdrive as an alternative when Traverwood is closed and if it's your main branch. It's very useful, especially when the roads are terrible and you need something to read/listen. They have audiobooks also. Or try something from MeL, Michigan eLibrary! You can get books and other stuff from participating libraries all over the state, and you may find something that you really like that AADL doesn't have that you really want or if there's lots of holds on that item.

Hi Eli, Thanks so much for posting the renovation detail here to share with us. I know my family will miss the library a lot during these 10 weeks.

I was talking about this renovation with some of my friends, who all live around in the neighborhood and many have small kids, and we have one suggestion and hoping you could help passing it to the team.

It is great that the game computers are getting updated, but not all kids come to library to play games on computers, especially for smaller kids, so maybe in addition, could we upgrade the table playing area? where currently there is only one small table, four chairs and a few puzzles. It would be really great if we could expand that area and add some toys there that kids can play together even during a non-event time. For example, a toy cash register, an ice cream stand, or a big connect game set like the downtown library has, etc, something that is inviting for kids to naturally play together would be the best. it won't cost a ton, but we think many kids would love that. Thanks again for all the great work you guys are doing! We appreciate it!

How do we effect meaning change in the library system? I agree with those people that think the category system at Westgate is absolute garbage. Finding a book usually requires consulting a librarian. While I don't necessarily think returning to Dewey is the answer, I am very sad to see this garbage migrated to Traverwood. But as usual, you people don't listen to us. So I want to know how we effect the removal of the person or persons in charge of this decision process. Is this an elected position? A political appointment? Or what? And if political, who do we lobby for your removal?

Hi there, we're so sorry you find the categorization to be garbage. As we've said, we continue to move forward with this project because of the feedback we receive over the desk from library patrons, not in spite of it. These public comment threads can seem very contentious but they're not representative of the feedback we get every day from users. We're very sorry that you feel that we're not listening to you. To answer your question, your library is governed by an elected board of trustees, and they are responsible for the hiring or firing of the Library Director. So, if you wish to have Josie removed as Library Director, the AADL Board of Trustees is who you would lobby. You can find out more about the Library Board under the About Us ( http://aadl.org/aboutus ) section of our website, or just contact us ( http://aadl.org/contactus ) if you have more questions we can answer. Thank you for your feedback, and thank you for using your library.

The central question is: what would you say to library users when they point out that we weren’t asked, and opposition was ignored? This was a major decision when a very vocal group was told tough luck. Does AADL just expect acquiescence and silence from users who dislike the commercial booksellers’ shelving system’s implementation? After all, unlike a bookstore, my property taxes automatically are given to AADL.

I really believe AADL has betrayed its principles in how it has gone about this.

I absolutely agree. Who decides what category a book falls into? I looked for a fiction book "Waking Lions" and someone had decided it was a "thriller" so instead of being catalogued by the author's name, it was catalogued under
"Thrillers". And on and on it went for the other 2 books I was looking for. I had to get the help of a library staffperson in order to find 3 books. HE had to look them up on the computer to see where and what category they were under. What a waste of time. The library is not a bookstore. Ms Parker has had many good ideas but "renovating" the libraries in this way is not one of them. It is completely wasteful.

Really excited to see the categories system continuing and to see the changes coming to Traverwood. Dewey was a terrible human being, and his system is far from sacred.

Dewey's particular perspective on the world created the basis for his eponymous classification system, baking in his personal biases. See, for example, the 290s, which are expected to encompass all non-Christian religions while Christianity enjoys the rest of the 200s. No system can ever exist without inherently incorporating its creators' own biased points of view, but Dewey classification has a whole host of problems that are at odds with contemporary library visitors' expectations and needs, as well as librarians' desire to make the library as welcoming and inclusive as possible.

The BISAC system was developed by the BISG, Book Industry Study Group, an organization for booksellers. Can you vouch for the “woke”ness of its committee members? And if a person shouldn’t be categorized, why should a book? What about people who find it troubling to use a system designed with capitalistic priorities in non-commercial settings? Finally, a section devoted to a topic doesn’t actually make the library buy lots of books in that area.

(Without looking it up, where do you think you would find genealogy books in the BISAC arrangement at one of the branches? Does it have its own subheading?)

I hope my previous comments here and on other threads have sufficiently demonstrated my belief that no classification scheme is (or possibly could be) neutral; thus, I would never deign to designate myself the arbiter of a particular group's worthiness with regard to creating one. Does BISAC have baked-in biases? Of course. Does it potentially remediate some of the problems in DDC? Yes. Does it have its own unique shortcomings and oversights? Undoubtedly. The impossibility of creating a truly neutral system does not automatically invalidate efforts to make a *better* system than what came before. And, frankly, any committee acting in good faith today is almost guaranteed to be more socially aware and sensitive than Melvil Dewey, whose odious conduct and beliefs are well-documented and inevitably replicated in his eponymous classification system.

Though I, too, am troubled by the inroads that profit-motivated mindsets have made into certain areas, I'm do not believe that this necessarily indicates that BISAC is inherently bad. It stands to reason that a capitalist approach to bookselling would be be predicated, at least on one level, on selling more books to more readers. If this is the case, then the point of an initiative developing a new classification system would be to make it easier for potential customers to find items that interest them. In this instance, the businesses' and libraries' interests are happily aligned: more customers/visitors find more materials.

Nor is the library obligated to purchase materials simply to fill out a certain section; this isn't true under DDC classification and it isn't true under BISAC, either. Rather, new classification schemes (usually) allow for more flexibility as readers' interests change over time, better reflect contemporary understanding of certain subjects, and explicitly acknowledge groups of people who were previously relegated to deep and impenetrable runs of arbitrary numerals, among other benefits.

Off to top of my head, I don't know where I'd find genealogy books in BISAC. I also don't know the relevant DDC number, though I'd guess they are in the 900s somewhere. In either case, I'd look up "genealogy" in the catalog and proceed to the correct location to browse the shelves. However, I do have an example of BISAC working better for me from just this week: I have no idea where nonfiction books about dogs are located Downtown (I would have looked it up in the catalog, comparing several records to ensure that they had similar numerical identifiers so I would indeed head to the right shelf instead of following an outlier), but I was able to find the shelf quickly at Westgate from reading the chalkboard signage and book labels. This experience won't be universal (the genealogy example alone proves that), but it does show that BISAC is not without its merits in real-world applications.

It goes well beyond the scope of a public library discussion forum to dive deeply into the categorization of people, but everyone applies labels to themselves and to others constantly. These labels and categories can be beneficial, harmful, or some combination of both depending on the context, but they do exist. Both of us, for example, can be characterized as Ann Arbor District Library users.

In the context of library usage, I'm not quite sure how a collection with open, public stacks can function without a categorization system of some kind. After all, even the very broad and ubiquitous (yet not always uncontroversial) classifications of Fiction and Nonfiction are categorical distinctions that offer valuable information to library visitors. People will always disagree on where particular items fit, but in the end they have to go somewhere, and someone has to make that determination.

Can you fix the door to the parking garage while you are at it? It closes so heavily, someone is going to lose a finger in that door. The door has been adjusted a few times to slow down its closing speed, unfortunately it only slows it down when it is wide open but still shuts way too fast at the end. It’s hard to describe but open it for yourself a few times and you will see what I mean.

What possible reason would anyone in the NE corner of Ann Arbor want their materials sent to Westgate? It is probably the most difficult branch to reach from this area. I agree with several other comments that this means I will not be able to effectively access the library for the entire duration.

We often hear complaints when we move items downtown because of parking concerns, so this time we decided to try moving the Traverwood Hold Shelves to Westgate where there is plenty of parking, particularly behind the building. But this is just the default. You can change your pickup point for your holds to whichever location works for you, or if something comes in and is ready for pickup, you can call and we'll send it to another location for you. Thanks for your patience through this project, and we're sorry for the inconvenience!

I agree with the above comments about the need to keep the old cataloguing system. I am completely lost when I look for a book at the Westgate branch. You probably feel you can't change your decision to go to categories, but please consider keeping the tried and true shelving system. Dumbing down is dumb.

The old cataloging system allows for detailed identification of items. I often search by the call number when I am researching a topic. I find the category shelving at Westgate to be nonspecific and arbitrary. The category system is a dumbing down of the collection.

Hi there, thanks for asking. We'll announce a reopening date when we get closer, as there are a lot of unknowns in construction. But we're aiming to reopen Traverwood branch around the beginning of March. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience!

Traverwoods upholstered chairs are uncomfortable, and probably unhealthful, except for those who curl up in the chairs, with their feet on the seat cushion. This allows the seat back to be supportive, and should be continue to be available to those who prefer curling up.

The problem is for those would prefer their feet on the floor (requires the knees to flex thus prohibiting sliding back to the seat back). Unless a patron has very long upper legs, the seat backs are too far back to be supportive. In contrast, quality office chair ergonomics set the standard of comfort for most adult humans. I wish the library would put more emphasis on chair comfort rather than the adhering to the latest fashion craze.

Also, I don't think any of the metal chairs have arm rests, which are nice when reading a heavy book. Additional problems with the metal chairs include the cold metal, no fabric or padding. So, again, the library could have done better, comfort-wise. Being a baby-boomer, comfort is climbing in my list of priorities.

Does the library make decisions on renovation behind closed doors, or did I miss an opportunity voice my concerns before the decisions were finalized?

ebeowulf on Sat, 12/07/2019 - 12:49pm said; "But as usual, you people don't listen to us." eli Staff responded:

Hi there, we're so sorry you find the categorization to be garbage. As we've said, we continue to move forward with this project because of the feedback we receive over the desk from library patrons, not in spite of it. These public comment threads can seem very contentious but they're not representative of the feedback we get every day from users...

Eli's response seemed reasonable, but didn't offer evidence. Is the feedback available for patrons to study? If I was working at the library and a patron was upset because they thought they weren't being listened to, the first thing I would do show the patron the statistics that were gathered. Instead, Eli changed the subject, rather than offering the statistics. Given the anger of patron, maybe I wouldn't have had the sense to get the statistics, either.
Unfortunately, Eli still has not produced the statistics that were gathered, nor provided links to show that his understanding is correct. The Red Cross was a highly acclaimed institution, until they made some bad decisions. AADL is a highly acclaimed institution in Ann Arbor. It will stay that way with oversight over how they spend our tax dollars. However, if AADL is hiding the statics they are using to proceed with category shelving, it's portends a slippery slope for the future.

The AADL staff works hard to make these renovations less uncomfortable & I applaud their efforts.

That said, I wish AADL would ask for input BEFORE deciding on a course of action.

I would like to see taller shelving units like at the grocery. This would leave more room for seating.

I would also love it if you had study carrels like at the Grad. More of those and less big tables. That would be perfect.

Yes, absolutely! You can return items to Traverwood branch throughout the closure. The drop boxes aren't emptied on weekends during the closure, though, so items returned to Traverwood over the weekend may not be checked in until Monday. If you wind up with any fees as a result, just let us know and we'll gladly waive them. Thanks for asking!

WELL, I personally think the categories system great and find it makes getting back into reading after being burned out from so many years of higher ed much easier, I mean I know I've checked out more from branches with the categories system than without. I personally find this entire thread absolutely bonkers in the most entertaining way, and look forward to when Traverwood re-opens, inevitably, with the categories system.

I love the fact that AADL has moved to a differently accessible categorization. It's fresh and offers a new way to browse. Congratulations to those innovators who were able to push through a new perspective.

Library renovation is a fantastic idea! Have been through residential and workplace renovations multiple times in the past and we just want to extend our kudos to the director, trustees, and staff for all of the hard work they're putting in to this. Having a wonderful library system that we, as a community, have the opportunity to make even better with more upgrades is a great 'problem' to have. We've lived elsewhere, even other BigTen college towns, and not all communities are so fortunate. Great work AADL team!!!

I’d like to see photos of the renovation as it progresses in the Traverwood library and a schematic of what the floor will look like when the renovation is done.

Thanks for asking, there may be some photos as the project nears completion, but the differences may be hard to spot! Even though we're reorganizing all the materials, most the shelves are going back where they were before after the carpet is done, with the exception of some small adjustments to shelf placement in the teen area. The 4 computers outside the computer room will be replaced with the new glass meeting room. You'd be hard-pressed to notice any differences other than that in a floor plan; most of the time of the project is moving materials, disassembling shelves, replacing carpet, then replacing shelves and reloading materials. Let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks for your interest.

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