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Downtown Library 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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



The downtown location should simply be maintained. The future is obviously in the remote locations. I use the Pittsfield branch and see no reason to ever go downtown. It's an electronic era with an online catalog. A large central library is a thing of the past. The most imporatnt thing size provides is a place for the storage of books and that could likley be done cheaper in a remote site. I will not vote a penny for expansion or significant improvement of the downtown site.

This comment came through the email:

I would support a millage increase to renovate the downtown library.
I'd love to have the library remain where it is, but any other central
location would do, as long as there is adequate parking.


Library response:

Thank you very much for commenting on this important issue, and I really appreciate your support of the library generally.


This comment came through the address:

The frequency of visits to the downtown branch attests that the facility is more than adequate for now. In these days of belt tightening, it is inconceivable to me that any near term changes should be considered. Remember that other branches within the system have already been updated and offer near term relief if needed.
Yes, we must think of the future and potential changes in technology that will color future choices. I think it prudent to consider alternative broad options, but I reccommend a 3-5 year pause before any definitive plans be put into effect.

John Corazzol

Library response:
Thank you very much for contributing to this discussion.


Josie Parker

I love and support the library and use it frequently. I usually go to Pittsfield due to where I live and the availability of parking. While a new building offers a lot of promise, I have to believe that the ongoing conversion of books to electronic forms will eventually lessen the need for space and a physical building. I don't think I can support a new building given the economics and technological direction of books and other items. I feel prudent investment in existing facilities makes more sense that a larger downtown facility.


Thank you for contributing a thoughtful response to this issue. However, I'm going to take the opportunity to be provocative with my response. The conversion of books to electronic forms, in fact all media, is the WHY that calls for new spaces for different uses in a library building. Size is relative and will be determined by those uses. That is no different than when buildings built as libraries were designed primarily to store books for public lending. The question of how best to provide services in a library for the 21st century is the catalyst for the community forums to be held this month, and I hope that you can attend.


This comment came through the account:

The only things I would LOVE to see incorporated into any of the
libraries (particularly the downtown branch) is a drive through drop off
box for returning materials.

Library response:
Thank you very much for contributing your wishes about a drive-up drop off for library materials.


Speaking as someone who has no car, I would strongly support renovations to the downtown library. There is a branch closer to me, but getting there on the bus involves crossing major streets, and I feel safer going downtown.

The entire future does not lie in the branches. :)

What consideration has been given to locating technical services and administration to another location thereby freeing up more space in the downtown building for public services?

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