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Posted on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

10 questions and answers about the downtown Ann Arbor library bond proposal

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor District Library officials say they've been getting many questions about the upcoming library bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Hoping to provide more information before voters head to the polls next week, the AADL has put together the following list of answers to 10 basic questions.


Will the Ann Arbor District Library have a storybook ending for its bond proposal? Voters will decide on Nov. 6.

Ryan J. Stanton |

What is the downtown library bond proposal?

Residents of the Ann Arbor District Library service area will find a proposal for a bond to fund a project to replace the downtown library at the end of their Nov. 6 ballot. If approved, the proposal will authorize the sale of up to $65 million of bonds, and authorize the library to levy an annual property tax millage for up to 30 years to make the bond payments.

Why is the downtown library bond being proposed now?

The current building will need major investment over the coming years to maintain or upgrade aging infrastructure. This will require increasing percentages of AADL's operating budget. With interest rates at unprecedented lows and construction costs still well below average, the AADL Board of Trustees determined that now is the time for the community to decide if a new downtown library should be built, or if AADL should continue investing operating funds in the current inefficient building. In 2007, the AADL board studied the issue of whether to replace or renovate the downtown library to address the capacity issues, and it was found that a new building would cost only 10 percent more than a renovation. Those cost estimates were assessed again in 2012 and found to be still valid.

Why is the proposal for rebuilding a downtown library on the same site?

AADL owns the site of the current downtown library, and it is by far the most heavily used public library in the district. AADL is committed to making information, events, workspace, and collections available downtown, and current demand for these services is beyond the capacity of the current building. The compromises involved in the previous two renovations to the current downtown library building are a major factor that limits the ability of a third renovation to add space and efficiency, so the AADL Board voted to place the bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot to seek public approval for a new downtown library on the current site.

Who is responsible for this project?

The publicly-elected Board of Trustees of the Ann Arbor District Library is the sole body responsible for the project, services, and facilities of the AADL. AADL is an independent taxing authority, and the downtown library project is not affiliated with the Ann Arbor Public Schools, the city of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, or any other governmental or commercial entities.

How much will the project cost? What does that cost me?

The bond proposal seeks authorization to sell up to $65 million of bonds to be repaid over 30 years. That is enough to fund the estimated $53 million of construction costs, plus demolition, rental of temporary facilities during construction, furniture, equipment, technology, and other costs related to the project including permits, architectural and interior design, and engineering.

Once the bonds have been sold, the library will levy property taxes for the annual bond payments. Depending on the interest rate at which the bonds are sold, annual payments will by funded by a millage rate of 0.47-0.56 mills per year, meaning the cost to the owner of a $200,000 home with a $100,000 taxable value will be between $47-$56 per year.

The library currently levies 1.55 mills per year for operation, costing the owner of a $200,000 home with a $100,000 taxable value $155 per year.


When would the bond payments begin?

If the proposal is approved by voters, the bonds would be sold in spring of 2013, and the millage would appear on tax bills starting summer 2013.

If approved, what will happen to the downtown library?

It is AADL's intent to have a downtown library open to the public throughout the process. If approved, when the current building closes, a temporary downtown library will open in a rented space offering request pickup, drop boxes, internet access, a kids' area, and popular materials, until the new building opens. AADL will not lay off staff during construction. The current downtown collection will be temporarily relocated and available by request as always during the construction process, and will be brought back into the new building before it opens.

If approved, when would the project begin and end?

A solid timeline will be developed if the proposal is approved, but it is anticipated that the project will begin by spring 2014 and construction will last 18-27 months.

If approved, who would design and build the library?

The AADL Board will select an architect and construction manager if the bond proposal is approved. AADL Board meetings, as always, are open to the public.

If approved, how can the community give input on the design?

In addition to the public forums seeking public feedback on the project that were held on June 9, 2012, June 12, 2012, and June 20, 2012, AADL will offer many opportunities for the public to give input and feedback on the design of the project as it progresses if approved.

Similar events were held throughout the design process for the Malletts Creek, Pittsfield, and Traverwood branches, and the public is invited to speak to the AADL Board of Trustees at the beginning of every AADL board meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


lou glorie

Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Another stellar piece of "press release" journalism.

Emily Puckett Rodgers

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

I'm voting YES for the new downtown library. I don't want to waste my taxes on helping a limping building along in the next 20 years when it can't actually serve its purpose. Libraries are SERVICE-ORIENTED buildings. Why, if you support the "library" and its services, do you not support the library board (who make decisions about the services you receive and you appreciate) and the library administration (who facilitate the services you receive and you appreciate) in a decision like this? These are the investments we must make in our community, so that the whole benefit. Libraries exist for the Common Good.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

It should be known that pro-library commenters Peter Baker and Donald Harrison both have dogs in this race. As has been revealed, Baker does web design for Our New Library; Harrison does promo videos, also for Our New Library ( Also, per his website we find that he has an Alden B. Dow Creativity Fellowship award, but now advocates demolishing an Alden B. Dow building. We wonder if there are any pro-library commenters who are not either a.) going to benefit financially from a new library or b.) are being paid by the new library campaign? Harrison may qualify for both given his profession.

Donald Harrison

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

And regarding Alden B. Dow, I'm glad you brought that up. As I posted on 10/17/12 on the AADL's website: "What you say, how you think, is going to last longer than any building you ever build." - Alden B. Dow - June 2, 1975: I've studied the life and work of Alden B. Dow, who carries the distinction as Michigan's only architect laureate (awarded in 1983). I appreciate his philosophies and many of his designs, especially his Home & Studio in Midland, MI - a highly recommended visit for a tour (where, btw, they recently demolished the old building of his architecture firm that he designed). In my opinion, the downtown library is not a great example of his architectural designs nor does it merit expensive preservation/restoration efforts. Coupled with the poor functionality and worsening deficiencies of this building that was cobbled together with two other renovation/expansion efforts (1974 and 1991), I agree with the AADL's recommendation to rebuild for the best long-term value to our community. In rebuilding the downtown library I would like to see some type of tribute to Alden B. Dow's role designing the original in 1958. I look forward to sharing this suggestion during open public meetings about the designs and details of a new downtown library, if/when that project is approved.

Donald Harrison

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

cindy1 - I wonder a lot of things on here. Like, who are so many of the people commenting on this site with anonymous names that make Ann Arbor seem like a negative place that really doesn't match the reality of our great city? If you're calling for true disclosure for everyone, let's start by sharing your own full name and profession. As for having "dogs in this race" I think that's true for all of us in the greater Ann Arbor area. And I think we'll all benefit from a greatly improved main library and needed investment in the infrastructure of the AADL. This is my personal opinion, expressed elsewhere on this site and in more detail, which I was not hired to share. If people want to see creative work I've been hired to do, they can visit or my own public website which you already shared:

Emily Puckett Rodgers

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

I'm a pro-library commenter who is going to benefit CULTURALLY from the new library and I'm not being paid. And I have a lot of friends, colleagues and neighbors who happen to stand with me. We're all volunteers. And we're voting YES.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

For goodness sake, if this passes, can we at least get a building that is not an eyesore that we will have to avert our eyes from for the next 50 years? May I humbly suggest banning the following firms: Quinn Evans, the firm that brought us the Ann Arbor Municipal Collage of Random Building Materials and Mismatched Windows; Polshek Partnership Architects (aka Ennead Architects), who gave us Faux Brick, Plastic, and Glass-over-Glass Biomedical Research Institute and Monstrous Stack O' Pringles; Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, the brains behind the Michigan Stadium Halo; Allied Works Architects, who graced the Art Museum with Giant Blank Walls, Black Reflective Glass, and Griddle. The city might want to consider: Einhorn Yaffee Prescott (EYP) and Robert A.M. Stern Architects, designers of the lovely North Quad; Metro Group Architects, who designed the Corner House Lofts on State.

Kathy Griswold

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

In response to Jim S.'s question about the cost of the approximately 20 year old addition and renovations. The AAPS board of education approved an $8,750,000 contract with Osler/Milling on August 10, 1988. On August 24, 1988, the BOE approved the purchase of 319 and 323 William Street for $365,000. More information, and presumably some smaller amounts, may be found in the BOE meeting minutes on file in the downtown library. The library addition and renovations were funded by a subset of a $30,000,000 AAPS bond. Phase two of the bond sale is documented in the BOE minutes of January 25, 1989.

Peter Baker

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

And that was a 10 year bond. It's paid off.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

The Michigan Daily says "no" to new library: The Ann ArborDistrict Library Proposal will demolish and rebuild the downtown library at Fifth Avenue and William Street to include a larger auditorium and study rooms, better wheelchair accessibility, longer cafe hours and new computers. The $65 million bond is supported by the Ann Arbor District Library, but several local groups have mobilized in opposition. The downtown library building is only 20 years old and the $65-million price tag seems unreasonably hefty. The AADL states that the demolition and subsequent rebuilding costs 10 percent more than it would if the building were simply renovated. Though the AADL has suggested a 30-year time table for bond repayment, the millage places undue burden on taxpayers for an extended period of time. Additionally, the plan has not yet been finalized to include important logistics such as architect choice and building blueprints. Though libraries remain an integral part of the community and perform a priceless function, the AADL needs to have a more concrete plan in place before asking voters to approve such a large allocation of funds. Vote NO on the District Library Proposal.

Jim S.

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

There's some irony in a student publication editorializing about the rest of us. The current building is older than 20 years; the most recent renovation was 20 years ago, and it was done on shoestring budget ($6 million? Can someone check that?) without much thought for how long it was going to last.

Paul Wiener

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

This is not news, nor does it pertain to political reporting or government. It is a blatantly pro-library vote advertisement written by library personnel that somehow has managed to make it to in the guise of "clearing up confusion." It's also a verbatim defense of the library's position on the vote that can be found on the AADL website: it's there on their front page for all to see - nothing confusing about it. If wants to support this referendum vote, fine: say so in an editorial, not disguised as news. It's been my experience as a librarian that no one speaks more highly of libraries, of improving them, of their potential, nor cries more about the absence of users, public appreciation or budgets than librarians. It is not news when special interests make large claims for themselves.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

"Hoping to provide more information before voters head to the polls next week, the AADL has put together the following list of answers to 10 basic questions." Readers might easily, and mistakenly, conclude from this sentence that the questions were Ryan's and the answers were the AADL's. As a reporter, Ryan should have been the one asking the questions. kb3

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

The "private" library mailing list that was used to distribute this political message to library members is funded by public tax dollars. Access to that publicly funded advertising channel should be available to opposing viewpoints. Do you see how using the list for political messages is an abuse? It demonstrates poor ethics and bad judgement. You give your email address to the library so they can inform you when materials you are waiting for on hold become available, and for overdue notices, etc. If you do not provide an email addres, then you typically cannot place popular items on hold.

Donald Harrison

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

The public library is one of our few remaining public commons and shared resources. The AADL is proposing a long-term investment in critical infrastructure of their system to better serve our community's needs. A great public library makes the Ann Arbor area a better community, one that clearly values knowledge and access to arts/culture/learning for everyone. Despite its outdated, inadequate main facility, the AADL provides many services and programs that benefit the diverse spectrum of our community – from disadvantaged families to privileged youth to 2nd language learners; from those looking for jobs to individuals with disabilities looking to learn to those seeking to collaborate. Our entire community benefits whether or not you choose to directly use AADL's innovative and extensive services: I've found the AADL to be one of our area's most respected and trusted civic/cultural organizations and heard this sentiment echoed widely across our community (this comments board of critics notwithstanding). Their leadership has demonstrated an excellent track record for the past decade of strong fiscal management and delivering outstanding value to tax payers. I appreciate the extensive information provided by the AADL and their responsiveness to our community.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

@Donald -- You make an interesting point about the question of being disconnected. I'm not sure how a centralized location prevents that, but I am curious as to your line of thinking there. I'd posit that neighborhood branches function like neighborhood schools: they offer a public space within walking or biking distance of existing neighborhoods where people can meet and learn. Currently, this resource is available on the SW, south central, west, and NE corners of town, as well as to downtown residents. The Westside branch is pretty inadequate (visit sometime, and you'll marvel at downtown!), but opportunities could also exist for branches in the Maiden Ln / Broadway area, on the far northwest (think Skyline) or even the east side (Arborland). My genuine concern about demolishing and rebuilding the existing downtown branch is that the opportunity for these other portions of the community are foreclosed completely in favor of forcing them to get into the car to drive downtown.

Donald Harrison

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

"Brimble" - I agree that we've added valuable services to the outer ring of the Ann Arbor area with 3 great new satellite branches. But the downtown building is the anchor of the system; it's 8 - 12 times the size of the outer branches. And it's deficient in many critical and fundamental ways: I don't agree with investing even more in the suburbs of Ann Arbor through the decentralized approach you recommend. I see that as supporting sprawl and more driving and more of a disconnected community.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

@Donald -- The statements you have made here are all dead-on, but for one critical assumption: What makes the library system great is the resources (including the staff) which comprise it. What makes it great is accessibility to a wide spectrum of the community. But a new building does not make it greater. Why not expand the reach of the library with another branch -- or two! Why not decentralize and advance the outreach the system already pursues? Why must all of our tax-dollar-eggs be placed in one single downtown basket? Making this choice diminishes, rather than enhances, the future of the system, and at no small cost.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2 p.m.

In Ryan's defense, the second sentence of the article states, "the AADL has put together the following list of answers to 10 basic questions." would do better to research the issues and write content, but he did make it pretty clear that this was straight from AADL. The article is pretty factual. Of all the comments listed above, virtually none argue with the content. The most common theme in the comments is "not the right time to be spending this money". I think Ann Arbor deserves a Very Good library, not just a generic one. I'm voting YES.

Jon Saalberg

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

At the very least, a new library should be an easy choice - this city built an unnecessary $50M parking deck which seemed to fly by without nearly as much negative response - a library, most people would agree, provides a critical part of a creating a well-informed, literate society - unless such is no longer valued in our fair city.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

How do I get access to the library's email list to lobby on this election issue? If the library can lobby via that list, shouldn't everyone be able to lobby via that list?

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

Who would own and operate the cafe? Why does our public library want to be a landlord? If there is demand for this service, let private enterprise do it all. A coffee cart would be easy.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Those aren't nits, Jim. Those are valid questions about a $100 million dollar project that some of us feel lacks transparency. I see that nobody has been able to answer my very basic questions. It rather proves my point about transparency, don't you think?


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Who would own and operate the cafe? Maybe that's where the "friends of AADL" come in and get their back scratched.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

You are picking at a nit.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

OK, my attempt at an honest question. Is there any bond stuff coming due and thus coming OFF the millage? In the next few years? Anyone know? Thanks.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

According to the census burea, the population of Ann Arbor is 114,925. At the library board estimate of $65,000,000, that comes to $565 per every man, woman and child in the city. With interest and overruns, it's likely to be twice that in total cost. SO $1200 per every citizen. If 20% of the population uses the library (a generous estimate) it will cost about $6000 per user to build the new library. Why not provide free notepad computers and free internet service to everyone instead? It would be cheaper and much more useful.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

At 3.5% interest, total is 65+40 = 105. At 3.0% interest, total is 65+ 33.6 = 98.6 At notebook lasts about 10 years, not 30.

Donald Harrison

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

AADL isn't just the City of Ann Arbor. It's the greater Ann Arbor area, almost the same as the Ann Arbor Public School system - roughly 160,000. AADL has built 3 satellite branches on time/budget in the last 10 years. This bond proposal will cost someone with a home of taxable value $100,000 (roughly $200,000 market value) between $47 - $56/year for the duration of the bond - 30 years.

Claire Duvernoy

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

I am disappointed that you chose to simply reprint the AADL's statement, rather than providing an objective set of answers, as the headline to this piece led me to believe I would find. The current downtown library, while not beautiful by a 2012 esthetic, is quite functional, was designed by Aldon B. Dow, one of Michigan's most celebrated architects, and clearly has the capacity to provide many more years of use. I am discouraged that did not put any original thought into this piece.

Donald Harrison

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

It's spelled Alden B. Dow and, while he's Michigan's only architect laureate, the 1958 part of the downtown building he designed is not one of his great buildings and not even mentioned on the website dedicated to his work: Even the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio recently tore down a building he designed because it was no longer functional and too expensive to maintain and fix.

Tom Wieder

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

This "article" is truly appalling. I say that as someone who, unlike many, thinks has done a good job of covering government and politics, and that Ryan Stanton is as good a government and politics reporter as I have seen in the 44 years I've lived in A2. ( I don't oppose building a new library, but I think this proposal is being rushed through at the wrong time without sufficient public input, so I have voted 'No" for now.) However, presenting this official position statement of the body that wants the taxpayers' money under a reporter's byline is dishonest to the readers and a disservice to Ryan as a journalist. When I see a bylined article saying "10 questions and answers," i assume that they are the questions of the reporter, and the answers he or she received and edited, not a verbatim reprinting of an official statement. Shame on you, You have hurt your credibility as a news source, and that saddens me, because we need a credible, local news source.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

Thank you for your concise and clear communication which reflects our thoughts perfectly.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

He cited the source (AADL). So chill out. At worst, the title of the article could have been better.

Greg A

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

I'm voting yes, in part because we have one of the most respected and cutting edge library groups of anywhere in the country. We're giving resources to folks who have shown they are capable of doing good and creative work, so as compared to many other investments in government, this one's a good bet.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Not convinced either way yet. A new library could be a wonderful thing, but I would like to see more specifics on the design, and even more importantly how it would integrate with a plan for development on the rest of the immediate area. Still, I am very turned off by the $130 million claim of opponents, which makes ludicrous assumptions about the interest rate that this project would pay. Such flagrant distortions should have no place in our public discourse.

Tom Whitaker

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Gerry, I'm afraid it is you who have made the assumption that the $130 million figure is only a "claim" and "flagrant distortion" of opponents. In fact, this figure comes from the library itself, where a chart was presented to the board on the bond costs at their July 16, 2012 meeting. That chart indicated the total cost of a 29-year term would be $65 million in principal plus $64.669 million in interest. Note that this was for a 29-year term and not the actual 30-year term the board approved. This means that even if the interest rate is lower that the estimate, the total cost estimated by the library of about $130 million is probably not that far off since the difference between a 25 and 29 year term was estimated to add over $11 million in interest to the total.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

It is very simple math. $65,000,000 30 years @ 4% = $111,715,178.40 total paid. no clue what closing costs are on a $65,000,000 loan though


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:57 a.m.

"current downtown by far the most heavily used public library in the district" That's cause that's where the most books are! If one of the other branches was that big I'd go to it the most instead for the most selection. I visit all the branches depending on where I'm at around town. I just have my requests sent downtown since I have a bigger area to browse in once I'm there, but I REALLY hate having to pay to park at the library. What's wrong with a library with just books and other media, why try to make it into a convention center with huge meeting rooms and catering facilities? If we wanted public meeting rooms then why wasn't that included in the City Taj Mahal?


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:47 a.m.

This is about WANT, not NEED. We're talking about OVER $100,000,000.00! That is not chump change! 400 seat auditorium? Arent there just a few close by? MI/State/Ark etc? Café? Arent there just a few close by? Too many to name... Open play area for children? Is this a day care or study/reading area? Storage area for the news paper collection (scanning anyone?) Meeting spaces on top of individual group study areas? (DDAs doing perhaps? Hmmm) A gift shop/store? When did a public library become a retail store? Online perhaps? Media production facility? So now we're paying for others media production? We NEED to let the city know that they have to be fiscally responsible and vote NO on any new taxes.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:30 a.m.

We don't need a new library. Vote No.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 9:36 a.m.

Perhaps one of's reporters could ask AADL officials how they came up with the mailing list to which they are sending out their self-serving list of "facts" about the library, who made the decision to send these mailings, and their take on whether it violates the Library's privacy policy. I personally did not expect my email address to be the recipient of lobbying messages from the library when I signed up for an AADL account. I consider this spam.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

Happy I voted YES! Just like the distant memory of the folks who showed up with pitchforks and torches about adding onto City Hall, a few years from now you won't hear complaints about the grand new library! Of all local entities that have a proven track record of sound financial management and leadership, the library (and maybe Google) have my vote. Don't be a scrooge. You can pay for this just by turning your heat down 1/2 a degree this winter. TONS of people use the downtown library, from kids to retirees and everyone in between. When's the last time you heard someone complain, "I can't go anywhere downtown without paying to sit down!" Invest in the downtown library—it's a mainstay of our city.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

"Really? Did you forget about the following: Donald G. Dely, 61, was convicted in 2000 of embezzling $119,387 from the library from 1997 to 2000." Yeah, and they threw that bum out!

Jamie Pitts

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

"I can't go anywhere downtown without paying to sit down!" Simple answer: build a park/plaza downtown.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

LiberalNIMBY - My winter indoor temperature is already set to 65.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 6:07 a.m.

"... proven track record of sound financial management and leadership..." Really? Did you forget about the following: "Donald G. Dely, 61, was convicted in 2000 of embezzling $119,387 from the library from 1997 to 2000." "The embezzlement was discovered in January 2000 when library officials were faced with a $1 million deficit." Pay for what? Many features desired by library, DDA and city officials will not be used by a large majority of library patrons. Without visuals, tax payers have no idea about the appearance of the exterior or interior of the "new" library. And you should note that the "TONS" of people who use the library have no complaints about it. To them the library is not too crowded or the wait for assistance not too long or the environment uncomfortable or unpleasant. And, LiberalNIMBY, you do not even say what you want most out of a new library.

Jeremy Wheeler

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

Voting YES. The misinformation is out there and unfortunately it's doing it's job (heard of a few people who regret voting NO early because they had trouble sussing out the facts). Reply with the usual vitriol if you want. I'll gladly get off your lawn (ie: the comment thread) once we all get to take our signs down off our actual lawns.

Patricia Lesko

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

"To clarify: Ryan did not write this. We chose to run this because it was widely disseminated by the library...." Obviously, it's not clear Ryan didn't write this. That's because his byline is used, as well as his bio. This, as you well know, indicates authorship. It is not like when you run Chris Taylor's missives, because Chris Taylor (presumably) writes them, and so authorship is clear. You're trying to cover up a somewhat serious lapse in editorial judgment by passing off what amounts to a press release, verbatim, with a reporter's name at the top. This was a one-sided, biased, piece of spam sent out by library officials in their own lapse of good judgment. Did they violate their own privacy policy ( When companies do that, customers may file suit. Yes, you've tried to cover both sides of the issue. However, when you do things like this it is a gross disservice to the community you purport to serve. There are so many threads you've missed, however, and this is one of them. Where did the email addresses come from? Did the AADL officials violate their own privacy policy? Did the emails about a bond proposal go out through the AADL's mail server? That's not legal. How about the story of the $25,000 donation to a PAC by the Friends of the Library, whose website says donations to the group fund programs at the AADL. Giving 20 percent of gross revenues to a ballot question PAC is not what folks had in mind when they donated books and other materials to the Friends of the AADL, I imagine.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

The second paragraph clearly states: "Hoping to provide more information before voters head to the polls next week, the AADL has put together the following list of answers to 10 basic questions." Was that not present when you read the piece? It seems very clear to me.

Adam Goodman

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

I'll be enthusiastically voting YES. I have been nothing but impressed with the AADL and its leadership. Over the past ~decade, they have overseen construction of three beautiful new branches on-time and on-budget, put on an impressive array of innovative programs, assembled very interesting non-traditional collections, and built virtual platforms to complement their physical presence - all the while maintaining one of the highest per-capita circulation numbers in the country and, for many years, collecting less tax revenue than that to which they are legally entitled. Given all of this, it's clear that the AADL leadership is both fiscally responsible and highly innovative. In the case of the bond proposal, they have spent several years studying options for the downtown branch, and I really don't doubt that they have reached a sound conclusion - that maintaining the current facility would be an ever-growing burden on operating expenses, and any substantial effort at renovation would not be cost-effective. However, the real reason I'm so excited about the prospect of a new downtown library has less to do with the past than the future. The existing building was built mainly to house books - but for libraries to remain relevant in the decades to come, they really need to consider a broader role as a center of knowledge and learning for a community. I can imagine no team better suited to this challenge than the AADL leadership and staff. I can't wait to see what they can come up with!

Jamie Pitts

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

I'm way against the proposal, but this was well-put. I do agree that we all need to think differently about what a library is.

David Cahill

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

According to the "yes" committee's campaign finance statement, the committee paid commenter Peter Baker's firm, Elevated Works, $30,000.00 for "media". And yes, the Library's sending its e-mail "blast" out to e-mail addresses of its patrons violates the Library's privacy policy.

Emily Puckett Rodgers

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

I happen to completely agree with Peter Baker's position supporting the library, as do many of my colleagues, friends, and neighbors. And none of us are paid for it. I'm voting YES for the bond to build a new library downtown.

Anti Crankypants

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Wait, I thought the aa dot com comments board was mainly for anonymous people to criticize things. I love a place where someone called "Goober" argues for more disclosure. I might really live in Sweden.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Peter should have disclosed his conflict of interest in all of his related postings.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Thanks, @David. Funny that the reporters never reported that.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

I wish we would have had this info when the articles first started running. I wish this commenter had come clean in the beginning so we could have better understood his position.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:35 a.m.

Ahhhh, thank you for bringing that up about Peter Baker Mr. Cahill, very interesting... now its clear why he is always pushing for a new one.

Peter Baker

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

David, I told you when we met at the Ann Arbor Democrats meeting that I and an sub-contracted employee have been working on the design, website, photo/video production, advertising, and event coordinating for this campaign for over three months. That's my profession. Thanks for the plug for Elevated Works though; But, debating and arguing for things I believe in both in person and here on (like I've been doing for years), that I do for free.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

Thank you, David. Now that we know for sure, because really who didn't know, that Peter Baker is a paid shill for the 'yes' campaign, I wonder will Ann remove all of his library related cheerleading, under their prohibition of commercial postings within its very heavily enforced comment moderation guidelines?

Paula Gardner

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

To clarify: Ryan did not write this. We chose to run this because it was widely disseminated by the library - much like we chose to run Council Member Chris Taylor's email note to constituents when he answered questions on how the public art tax was structured. This isn't the first time we've added the "official" voice to the mix when it's already being presented in written form - and it won't be the last. We have covered this issue over time. Follow the link in the story to the most recent look at the debate on it. There also was a story at the end of last week on donations to the various campaigns. We also have devoted time to making sure that letters to the editor on the topic have reached readers - and we did not hold any verified letters back. You've read what we received by last week's deadline (unless any remain at the end of the 'letters to the editor' pipeline which should all be published by Thursday). Many readers have an opinion on this. Others are forming opinions. I don't see a downside to telling people what the "official" word of the library is on this as people either look to form an opinion or look for validation of the one they already hold.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 11:16 a.m.

The headline implies that a reporter sat down with someone (or a group) from the library and asked them questions: "10 questions and answers about the downtown Ann Arbor library bond proposal." It would have been fine if the library had answered questions posed by the paper, but they also got to select the questions! That this all begins with a reporter's byline, still up two days later, adds to the problem.

Tom Wieder

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Paula-To "clarify" that Ryan didn't write this, take his byline and photo off of it now! That's the beauty of electronic newspapers - you can correct your errors in real time, not a day later. And change the headline to something like "Library officials offer answers in response to questions about the new library bond proposal." Justifying this by saying that you did more-or-less the same thing with Chris Taylor's email to constituents doesn't cut it. That was almost as bad, presenting a government official's biased position paper virtually unedited.

Patrick Haggood

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

The numbers just seem so 'out there'; the restoration 100+ yr, 166K sq foot old 'Old Main' building on Wayne State's campus (large Queen Anne style fortress') was $41M; the library analysts said the refurb on the 60yr old 110sq foot main lib would be > $45M (i.e. 90% the $53M budget)

rusty shackelford

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Given all the subliterate rage directed at Ryan re: points clearly addressed in the piece, I'd say an improved library is more necessary now than ever.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

Ryan - I find you enthusiasm for the "PRO" side to be unlike your normal "report the facts". A few things to think about: 1) Is the library really 50 years old? - No only a small portion designed by one of the best architects at the time is 50 years old 2) Have we paid off the 1991 bond? -No there are several years to go on that 30 year bond 3) Does the library really get more book and CD space -Not likely but no one knows for sure since there is no design. The auditorium will take between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet, the cafe another 200 to 400, The kitchen for catering at least another 300 to 500, other meeting rooms probably another 3,000 to 5,000. So the net square footage for traditional books and reading will probably be about the same 4) Does it really cost 90% of the cost of tearing it down to renovate the existing building -No one knows, since the only options explored were tearing down at part of the library. Initial informal reviews indicate it would probably cost less than 20% to renovate the existing building 5) Is the downtown library traffic really growing? -No the branches are were the majority of growth is according to the AADLs own numbers 6) Could the existing library be leed certified -Probably, it would take careful work on energy efficiency and green energy to make it so.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

Peter Baker claims: "The part of the building that is nearly 60 years old is the part that everyone uses. The 90s addition by the school board only added administrative space." Only administrative space? That is simply not true. I should know: I worked in the library prior to the renovation, and I use and enjoy the new part every time I visit the library. Please stop spreading false information!


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

Mr Harrison - 1) A good to great architect could do that. It does not take tearing it down. I know of many buildings that were renovated to be much more useful that were built in phases. Most of them come out with a unique character that a new "box" does not have. 2) Not true and you know it. See my comment above. 3) Preliminary designs are normally done to come up with a figure for a millage. AADL has avoided this. I have to wonder what they are hiding. I have been able to look at preliminary designs for almost every building I have voted for a millage on since I started voting decades ago. No preliminary designs are not plans, they are a rough idea of what the layout will be and how the space will be used. As to the numbers - they are based on construction estimating guide. Because people have said that the auditorium will have theatrical capability in addition to audio visual capability the numbers are taken from the mid-level of the guide for auditoriums with stages. You too can do some research and find numbers for this sort of thing. 4) The AADL never did a renovate only estimate. Their starting point was "TEAR DOWN" "X" and then go from there. You can read it on their website, I did. I have walked the library with people who are specialists, I posted in another thread how to do the renovation for far less than the 90% figure. If you want to dispute it, go back to that thread, read what I wrote and prove me wrong. 5) Sorry, but the library has not caught up with where it was before the branches opened and people started using them. The growth is in the branches, see Ryan's post in another thread. Instead of fighting for this monster, fight to get more space in the branches, far more cost effective and more useful to most of the Ann Arbor community.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

Mr Baker and Mr Harrison - The bond is being paid by the taxpayers thru the AAPS, which owned the library at the time. So yes there is a bond and it has several years to go. Sorry about that, but there is and it is. Just because the AADL became a separate entity with the same service area as the school district does not mean that the tax payers are not paying for the library addition. The 1991 bond will be retired in about 8 more years. So some research gentlepeople. Mr Baker - 1) Yes, and it is a shame to just tear it down. Buildings by Mr Dow are normally preserved. 2) Not true and you know it - see my comments above. 3) What plan, there are no preliminary plans, no drawings, nothing. So no one really knows 4) Oh - expansion - when the reasons cited prior were poor heating and cooling, electrical outlets, etc. 5) Go back to the 2003, 2004, 2005 time period, the numbers are similar to now. Sorry Ryan posted the numbers - that dog does not hunt. 6) Most of it is cinder block and yes it can, I just toured a building that was renovated to be LEED Silver - with very similar construction. The work was done for about 15% of what you are claiming it would cost.

Donald Harrison

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

To clarify a few of DonBee's unreferenced points, here's added (and cited) facts by DonAech (me): 1) The original downtown library was built in 1958. The back 2 stories were added in 1974 and the top 2 floors on that back section were added in 1991 ( It's not a question of age; it's a question of how best to address the major problems our main library suffers from due to three disparate construction phases. 2) There was no 1991 bond and the AADL is carrying no debt - please cite your reference. The fiscal management of the current AADL leadership is excellent, having delivered 3 new branches to better serve the community on time/budget within their current millage and then voluntarily lowering that millage to save tax payers money during the economic crisis in 2009. 3) Plans are not designs - those will only be commissioned if the bond proposal passes. The AADL began planning how best to address the critical deficiencies of the downtown facility 5 years ago, as shared through open meetings, in their 5-year strategic plan and on their website ( You are asserting square footage claims that are complete speculation. Rebuilding the downtown library would create an opportunity to achieve a lot more functional space for everything the AADL owns and provides. 4) The AADL brought in a team of experts in architecture, construction and libraries to address the renovate vs. rebuilding issue. Your "initial informal reviews" at 20% the cost seem spurious - please share details. 5) As expected, downtown growth flattened during construction of the underground parking garage/closure of 5th Ave., but from Stanton's 10/25 article, "But with Fifth Avenue reopened, there already have been more than 160,000 visitors to the downtown library in the first quarter of this fiscal year, an 11.2 percent increase from last year." When Salt Lake City invested in building a great downtown library, visit

Peter Baker

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:25 a.m.

Don 1) The part of the building that is nearly 60 years old is the part that everyone uses. The 90s addition by the school board only added administrative space. 2) This is entirely made up. There is no current bond. 3) You seem to get pretty specific while also saying nobody knows. In fact, more room for books and materials is in the plan. 4) Expansion of the building can not happen within the current structure, that is way your "renovation-only" option wasn't explored, renovation-only doesn't address the reason for the project: expansion. 5) You can see all of the AADL's own numbers, where they state that downtown usage was up 5.6% in 2010, 2.3% in 2009, and so on. It's all in their annual report: 6) No way would a poured cement building built in three phases twenty years apart achieve LEED certification without MASSIVE capital expenditure. I'd guess, say, 90% of what a new building would likely cost.

Susie H.

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

Vote "no" to save the library! It seems really wasteful to tear down a perfectly good building instead of just fixing it up.

Anti Crankypants

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Perfectly good to do what - live in the past and suck more money out of AADL's operating budget just trying to maintain it?


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

Shame on you Mr. Stanton. You had an opportunity to present both sides of a hotly debated topic but instead you decided to follow your interests. What's even worse you insulted the intelligence of your readers by writing "the Ann Arbor District Library officials say they've been getting many questions about the library bond proposal"....The information you re-printed is front and center on their webpage. Once again. shame on you.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

@Paula -- with all due respect, I disagree. The link at the top of this article is to another article which pretty clearly favors passage of the millage. The disappointing thing about the presentation of the question is not that the paper clearly favors the millage -- that's fine -- but that the role of the paper might be to more completely investigate the claims made by either side. For example, both sides have cited other cities libraries as points of comparison. How about an article that discusses what has occurred in those cities in the course of their library systems' growth? What about the open, and oft repeated, question of what it would take to renovate the existing building? Why not interview builders who either might agree that it is unfeasible or that it is easy? Where is the analysis of what happens to the $65m request -- is that a reasonable or unreasonable number? How does the AADL expect to spend that money: what portion goes to planning, demolition, construction, fixtures, moving costs, temporary collection housing, the DDA portion, etc.?


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

But have both sides been presented impartially? Fox News "presents both sides" all the time.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

He's presented both sides - you'll see it if you follow the link at the top of this article.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

This is about a long term investment for the future of the city. The duration of the bond reflects that.

Bob W

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

And.. what will the total cost to AA residents be WITH the interest include?


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

So did the last bond that we are still paying on.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

This should be a paid ad, not a newspaper article.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Bring on the conspiracies! In fact, I heard just yesterday that the DDA will be taking 85% of the building cost to construct the Worlds Biggest Parking Meter. Who needs libraries in the age of Honey Boo Boo Child?

rusty shackelford

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

What funny/sad is I didn't realize you were kidding.

Jamie Pitts

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

LOL... Actually the real conspiracy is the concrete companies. The parking lot did not suck up enough of this year's concrete production.

Kathy Griswold

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

See the back cover of the Ann Arbor Observer for the 10 reasons to Save Our Library and vote NO. It is clearly identified as an advertisement, as is the ad on the inside front cover.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

I'm not sure I'd call those "reasons", more like conspiratorial rumors mixed with outright misinformation.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Clever. Now how about answers to the ten top questions asked by the public. 1. Why do we need to replace a library that will last another 100 years with proper maintenance? A. The City has a secret plan to compact 100,000 more people into highrises downtown and those people will need a place to go and do things besides The Big House, eating pizza, and drinking at fab bars.. 2. How much will it really cost ? A. Closer to $100M but we won't discuss such confusing matters. 3. Who stands to profit from this. A. The public, of course. 6. No, really. Who gets to line their pockets with all that hard earned public money? A. We don't understand the question. 7. Isn't the library's main purpose to provide libros for the public to read? A. There will be free Kindle and Nook access points throughout the new builiding. 8. Aren't there plenty of alternative meeting places around town? A. Not for 100,000 residents.downtown. 9. Won't the Federal Government wave any building disability requirements you now face? A. We want a new elevator system for a taller building. 10. Didn't you get the message that the public is not interested at this time? A. We will reiterate our message for the nth time on You and 100,000 others really need our lovely extravagance. NO.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Check out the Warren Report (they must have a copy); I bet you'll find more grist for your mill in there.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

4. How long will the new building last ? A. At least 20 years or until the bond is paid off which ever comes last. 5.. Are the Library Friends getting any payola from this ? A. Absolutely not. We are all independently wealthy from past means. The Friends of our Friends and other local business' and Development Authority Friends may see some benefit to all this investment. Not that new money covers up their crumbling balances and capital shortfalls or mis-managed projects or enhances political support from anonymous PACs or 100,000 new customers for lunch or anything of the sort.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

1. No way that building lasts 100 years or anywhere close. 2. It's fine to disagree with the proposal, but can you refrain from imputing people's motives? Do you really think people go into librarianship because of all the opportunities for payola? I guess all those $.05 fines add up to some nice kickbacks?


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

In the digital age, why are we building a Brick and Mortar structure? Lets be progressive and go digital! Lets use some of the creative juices from Ann Arbor's population and have the best library system in the world not just a "Cute" building!

Emily Puckett Rodgers

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Why do you think the building would just be cute? Libraries (especially Ann Arbor District Library) offer a lot more than content to consume. They offer programming, training, workshops, cultural events, opportunities to create content, space to meet in, space to collaborate in, space to perform in, and a Place to call ours. That we all own, no matter how rich or poor we are. Not everyone has an ereader and I don't think everyone will get one in the near future.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

"AADL is the keystone of our intellectual infrastructure in this community" Yet another impressive pronouncement with little basis in fact.

Jamie Pitts

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

I agree, but a better way to put it is that we need less space for books that might be distributed to patrons using kindles. Of course we need to maintain historical material. Still, the space created by reducing the stacks can be used for the so-called "grand reading area" as well as displays promoting interesting themes. All can be done without turning the library into a McConferenceCenter(TM).

Jim Deakins

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Its amazing that Ann Arbor still has parks! Cant we all just look at pictures of parks online?

Ryan Burns

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

The library is about more than everyone sitting at home and reading a kindle. You could acquire books without a library 10 years ago, did that mean libraries were obsolete then? AADL is the keystone of our intellectual infrastructure in this community, a central gathering place of ideas, creativity and education. Hands-on workshops, performance, books, workspace - these are all important features of a vibrant 21st century library, features I certainly wouldn't want to go without.

Stephen Landes

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

Interesting that Ingrid Sheldon's opinion piece about the library bond issue, although originally posted just today, has vanished from the site to be replaced with this puff piece from the AADL. I found Ms. Sheldon's piece only by searching for her name. I, for one, will not support the AADL bond issue. I have no confidence in the board that has 1) mismanaged the existing facility, and 2) seems bent on building a monument to itself. I would spend money to hire more librarians, pay them more money, or acquire new and up to date CONTENT.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

It's in the Opinion topic. You'll find it here or in the "dropdown" menu that you'll see by scrolling over "more" in the row of topics at the top of the page.

Ryan Burns

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

The board has not mismanaged the existing facility. From the 2007 Feasibility Study by Cornerstone Design and O'Neal Construction: "While the Administration and the Facilities Department of the Ann Arbor District Library have been excellent stewards of the current building, there are issues of general age related to MEP (mechanicals, electricity, plumbing), HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) and accessibility that cannot be addressed by relocating operations and services within the existing footprint, by replacing carpeting, painting surfaces, and adding shelving, etc." This leaves aside the increased capabilities a new building would offer, from space for engaging children and teens in reading and literature, to space for the currently offsite local history collection (The Ann Arbor News archive), to space for hands-on workshops, computer classes, and a performance space for talks, music, and film.

Anti Crankypants

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

Our library is a public resource that will provide greater access for kids, seniors, families and individuals seeking to gain knowledge or better themselves. Unlike a ballpark or UM building or commercial development, this won't be named after someone on the board or bear statues of those who proposed we rebuild. I have great confidence in the leadership of the AADL. They've delivered a library system that's incredibly utilized and responsive to our community, despite a main facility that's become increasingly inadequate and wastefully inefficient to operate/upgrade. In my opinion they're one of the most respected and trusted civic/cultural organizations in our region.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

Ryan -- it is somewhat odd that you have chosen to reprint content of an email sent by the library board, almost entirely devoid of context or comment. I think you do make it clear that you are advancing their arguments, not passing them off as your own, but I also find it very disappointing. The tone of your paragraph suggests a factual presentation, when what follows is very much an editorial position. There are no counterpoints offered, and the statements made by the board are presented as indisputable or absolute, when there is some dispute surrounding a number of them. I am opposed to the bond -- my other posts make no secret of that -- but even were your post to be in favor of my 'side' of the argument, I'd expect that an editorial is an editorial, or that context is offered for the partisan statements of the board.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

It's not a pro "group", it's the LIBRARY. They get to say factual information about the proposal they proposed. It's up to the other campaign's to sell it or refute it.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

I agree with brimble. This should be a paid ad, not an article. Is going to give 'equal time' by reprinting the arguments of the No groups?


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Mr. Stanton, Ms. Gardner, etc. - This is the same content, exactly the same I believe, as an email blast which the library itself sent out to library members during the past few days. Is Stanton actually being permitted to pass it off as his own writing? Is this's way of endorsing the library bond proposal? On an equally distressing note, according to the Library's privacy policy - under "Obtaining a Library Card" it says: "If patrons choose to provide an email address on their library card application, the information will only be used to deliver AADL notices. I assume that means info about material one checks out, NOT political campaign info.

Jack Eaton

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

I sent an inquiry to the address in the Library's email. This is the response I received: Mr. Eaton, You did receive this email because you submitted your email when you registered for a card, and the notice we sent does not violate our privacy policy. That is not something that we would do. Sincerely, Josie Parker Director

rusty shackelford

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

I've received the email at multiple addresses, while the library only has 1 of mine, leading me to believe that they got the email addresses elsewhere.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

The top of the article says that the AADL put the list together.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

"Will the Ann Arbor District Library have a storybook ending for its bond proposal?" So is *officially* endorsing the proposal?


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Oh, you seem to have been keeping up just fine.

Peter Baker

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

Really? There have been so many op-eds against the bond published I can't even keep up. I'm pretty sure both sides of the argument aren't thrilled with the coverage of the issue. Which probably means it's been pretty fair.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

I ask that because of what I've perceived to be subtly "preferential" reporting for the pro-new-library-bond side of the equation. Anyone else noticing that?

Ron Granger

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

"If approved, how can the community give input on the design?" If "their" money is approved, there will be even less opportunity for the public to influence the outcome.

Emily Puckett Rodgers

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

I don't believe a "high-end computer production bay is an excess. Many people can't afford to invest in the hardware or software to produce creative, scholarly, or entrepreneurial content from their own houses. As we begin to use computers and software on a daily basis to conduct work, express ourselves and learn, we need to make sure the same opportunities are available to those who can't invest on a "whim" or work in "private industry." If you disagree, check out:

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

I don't agree Donald. They are full speed ahead to overspend on this project. Just look at the spending per square foot, and the nuggets like this one: From the new library info page: "A Media Production Lab that provides high-­-end computer production bays adjace ntto larger, comfortable, public computing areas" Why must taxpayers finance a "high end media production lab"? Shouldn't that be a function of private industry, or an individual's whims? How much will be spent? Why don't taxpayers have input into this apparent excess?

Donald Harrison

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

This is one of the few building projects where we actually get a vote and input into the design/features. I see the AADL as responsive and responsible to our community. I can understand cynicism directed at downtown development projects/City/DDA, but it seems like the AADL is unfairly getting some of this backlash.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

I voted no. This is not the time to be levying more taxes on us. We have a wonderful library system, and we can use it for a while longer. Come back to us in a few years when we've had a chance to put some money into our own savings accounts. You may not realize that many of us were hard hit during the past few years.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

I'll be voting no. And I agree with the comment about how the NY Public library, for instance and just one of hundreds of examples we could use, about libraries that are very old, but extremely functional. I cannot fanthom allowing tax payers to pay $65 million for a new library to help some Ann Arborites feel more 'modern' and cool. Put a few million into it for 2013ish aesthetics and then leave it alone for a while.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Grow up people! Do you realize exactly how stupid the statement, "the substantive portion of the building is well over 20 years old." sounds? The NYC library is 100+ years old - and no one speaks of tearing it done and replacing it. The Vatican Library is 400+ years old - should we tear it down as well?


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

I'm voting no. I already have 990 cuts. Only 10 more until I bleed to death from taxes.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

"It's ONLY $XX per month, why are you complaining?" Death from a thousand paper cuts.

Peter Baker

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

DonBee, the library has no current debt. There was no bond for the 1991 addition. Why do you keep saying that? Also, only two floors at the back of the building are from the 90s, the substantive portion of the building is well over 20 years old.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

A2Onward - Yes over 30 years. The first 8 of which we will still be paying for the 1991 edition that is being torn down. Just like we are paying for 3 generations of computers that AAPS has bought and tossed. If it runs true to form, this library will be out of date in 20 years and we will pay for two libraries again for a decade.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

You do realize that the bond would be spread over 30 years? So you won't actually be paying for the vast majority of it for at least a few years.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

I'm voting yes. A library is not a luxury, and Ann Arbor – of all places – deserves a great one.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

I'm voting no. It is a waste of money. Get creative on repairs and you would be surprised what can be done if you acted as if the money well was dry.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : midnight

One argument at a time cheryl, but fine: Definition of INNOVATION 1 : the introduction of something new 2 : a new idea, method, or device


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

Tearing something down and starting over all is not what comes to mind when I think of the word innovative...


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

I'd say a place that puts as much value on education and innovation as Ann Arbor does, absolutely deserves and demands the best library we can give it.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Not to be disrespectful but your "Ann Arbor of all places" is what I hate most about living in Ann Arbor. People in this city believe they are entitled to the best of everything. Ann Arbor is not a bad place to live, but if the citizens stopped believing the hype then they could get to work on the problems that plague the city.