The Library Branch Expansion Project
The vision of branch libraries for the Ann Arbor Library system began with former Library Director Homer Chance. Recognizing the need for access to materials and facilities beyond the Downtown Library, Chance opened the first branch library in Ann Arbor - the Loving Branch - in 1965. In 1977 the West Branch opened its doors and the Northeast Branch began serving the community in 1981.
In 1997, with a goal of providing superior public library services into the future, the Library embarked on a Facilities Need Analysis of the library system by consultant David Smith. His study found the three branch libraries severely lacking in square footage to meet current and future public needs.
Using data gathered in surveys, on-site interviews, and estimates of projected material collection sizes in the year 2020, Smith’s study called for the construction of several larger branch libraries to serve the long-term community needs. These would accommodate projected collection sizes and provide adequate meeting, event, storytime and teen spaces as well as areas for growing technology and staff work areas.
Since 1997, the Library has been working toward the goal of creating these larger, more functional branches constructed within the Library’s current authorized millage.
The Westgate Branch, the smallest and oldest of the Ann Arbor District Library branches, is about to expand.
Although AADL Library services have increased and expanded over the last decade, Westgate Branch has not been remodeled for over 21 years. The branch originally opened in Maple Village Shopping Center in 1977, moved to Westgate Shopping Center in 1983 and was remodeled ten years later in 1994, adding 2,314 square feet.
Westgate Branch, which currently has 5,500 square feet, is still approximately only 1/3 of the size of the other AADL branches. Its circulation figures match and even surpass some of the other branches, and the current Westgate space has no room for events and youth storytimes, popular and important features at all other locations.
The new expansion will add 16,500 square feet to create a branch with 21,000 square feet for its users. New features will include:
• 2 new public entrances, allowing for additional parking access from the rear Westgate parking lot
• A Kids area with story space for preschool and baby storytimes
• Additional space for books and other library materials
• 5 open study rooms for use by adults, teens and youth
• A community meeting and event space for authors, lectures, performances and other events
• 2 small group meeting rooms
• A comfortable reading room with a fireplace
• Additional seating and workspaces with additional wiring for computers and other electronic devices
• A café operated by a local business
Read more about the Westgate Branch and follow the progress of the expansion.
The current Downtown Library building consists of three different phases of construction: the original building built in 1957, a 1974 addition that doubled the size of that building, and a 1991 addition that doubled the building's size again. In 2007, the AADL hired library consultants PROVIDENCE Associates LLC to undertake a study examining the functions of this building and evaluating the building's feasibility for the next 20 years. The results of this study, which consisted of focus groups with over 100 users of the Downtown Library, led the AADL to begin the process of redesigning the Downtown Library.
The findings of this study led the AADL Board to issue a Request for Qualifications for Architectural and Engineering Services that eventually resulted in the selection of Luckenbach-Ziegelman Architects, PLLC of Ann Arbor. A joint survey with the Downtown Development Authority in spring 2008 provided the AADL with feedback from over 6000 members of the Ann Arbor community about the future of the Downtown Library. This survey was followed in June 2008 with three public meetings, open to all members of the community, about the Downtown Library Project.
In November 2008, the Library Board voted to suspend the Downtown Library Project as a result of the economic downturn.
Read more about the Downtown Library Project.
The Traverwood Branch Library, opened on June 30, 2008, is situated on 4.34 acres located in the southwest corner of Traverwood Drive and Huron Parkway in Ann Arbor. The Branch is a one-story building of approximately 16,500 square feet which replaced the Northeast Branch of AADL, located in Plymouth Mall.
The Traverwood Branch serves as a community-based learning center that delivers superior customer service, primarily to the residents of the northeast quadrant of Ann Arbor. The library includes a casual study area, a laptop computer bar, four study rooms and a meeting room with seating for 90. Electronic resources include 24 public computer terminals, 20 of which are located in an Electronic Training classroom, and wireless internet access.
Traverwood Branch is designed to have as little impact on natural landscape features as possible. Sustainable design features include an innovative stormwater management system and the reuse of harvested ash trees from the building site. A rain garden is located on the south side of the building. The design of the Branch takes advantage of natural day lighting.
Opened in March 2006, the Pittsfield Branch was designed to accommodate the needs of a library for a growing neighborhood while protecting the wetland on which it sits. The Pittsfield Branch is located on 5.74 acres of land on Oak Valley Drive in Pittsfield Township. It is a one-story building of approximately 14,600 square feet and is adjacent to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube arena.
The Branch serves as a community-based learning center that delivers superior customer service, primarily to the residents of the southwest quadrant of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township.
While its primary mission is to deliver traditional library services, the facility also includes a casual study area with vending and seating for 24 people and a meeting room for groups up to 100. The facility also houses a reading room for comfortable, leisurely reading, several quiet study and tutor rooms, and exhibit space for local artists and organizations. Electronic resources include 35 computer terminals, 18 of which are located in an Electronic Training classroom.
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.
Opened in January 2004, the Malletts Creek Branch 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. It replaced the Loving Branch, which was no longer of adequate size to serve its customer base.
While its primary mission is to deliver traditional library services, the Branch also serves as a true community. This facility includes a vending area with seating for 20 people and a program room for groups of up to 120 people. The branch contains a collection of approximately 35,500 items. Electronic resources include 28 computer terminals, 18 of which are located in an Electronic Training classroom.