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Posted on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

Presentation sways resident to support the library bond proposal

By Letters to the Editor

I have just attended a meeting where a presentation of “Why We Need a New Library” was given regarding the $65 million library bond proposal. Prior to this presentation I had planned to vote 'No.'

After hearing the following persuasive facts on the main questions, I am now voting yes on this proposal as I believe it is a sound investment in the future of our community.

  • In addition to needing more space, the space needs to be arranged differently from our present-day configuration (which is the result of two additions to the original building) to accommodate the current needs for meeting, program, and technology spaces.
  • Visually, the need for renovation or rebuilding is not apparent, however, when all the needed upgrades, and renovations are taken as a whole, rather than piecemeal, it is cost effective to rebuild instead of renovate. The board has extensive data to support this.
  • Why now? Building cost will escalate as we have economic recovery and interest rates are at record lows.
  • The building does not conform to the American Disabilities Act.
  • More in depth information is available in a white paper at the library, or online here, to supplement this brief overview.

Many have said, this is another example of the Ann Arbor elitist putting forth a proposal that is not needed. When you consider the downtown library has 600,000 visitors each year, 1,000,000 annual checkouts, 21 percent increase in the past year, for meeting rooms and use of the facility, the woefully inadequate space for youth, the explosion in technology needs regarding computer usage, it becomes apparent the request for a new library is not a pie in the sky request. We need it.

Jeannette Middleton

Ann Arbor



Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

There are lots of things people want. Part of this is an issue of affordability. 1. Regarding accessibility, changes inside the existing building can be made to add to the ramp, accessible first floor restrooms, and the elevator. Alterations won't require this outlandish millage request. 2. Auditoriums that accommodate 400 people are available for rent nearby. An auditorium of that size isn't needed on a daily basis for the next 30 years, but the millage would take money from Ann Arbor the residents for next 30 years, regardless of what urgent needs will need to be ignored because of this millage. 3. Some proposed items don't pass the "smell test" because they seem to be ways revive the defeated conference center. Is it possible that Zingerman's hopes to get the food concession at the library that would include some conference type facilities? Is it possible that the DDA members want this as their "crowning achievement?" 4. Ann Arbor is a city that has cut basic services. Ann Arbor is a city that has lost his largest payer of property taxes (Pfizer). 5. Some numbers of library use may be exaggerated by people entering the downtown library to use the first floor restroom. Other numbers may not be clear if some people enter the library to return what they have borrowed and don't check out other items. Was I counted as another user visit when I donated items? How are user numbers derived beyond what's actually checked out? 6. Most people in Ann Arbor need to make choices about what we buy and what we don't. Most people can't afford to buy everything they want. Most people in Ann Arbor paint and update without replacing their houses and apartments. A lot can be done to update and improve a building without tearing it down and building a mansion in its place. Those are some reasons I'm voting "No" on the library proposal (and "Yes" on renewing the park millage).