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Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Price of new library too high for people still struggling with budgets and employment

By Letters to the Editor

Although the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library as an organization financially supports the new library campaign, there are some among the Friends who share my view that, as proposed, this library project does not well serve the community. Reasons for rejecting the proposal compelled me to form a ballot opposition group: “LOL=Love Our Library Vote NO”

Three compelling reasons to consider:

1. Closing the downtown library for 2 to 3 years deprives residents of library
 functions on which they depend. While the library intends to operate from a downtown storefront, services will be limited and browsing the physical collection impossible. One might also ask what staff that has been assured their jobs will do during the closure.

2. As a child of depression-era parents, I was taught to make the best use of everything we had. Destroying a useful structure just to replace it runs counter to what I believe which is that the library should plan a structured renovation of the existing building that does not require a lengthy closing period.

3. The price tag of more than $65,000,000 is too high during this period when people are struggling with employment and with their budgets. Many citizens live on a fixed income. Only a 1.7 percent increase is scheduled for those whose primary income is Social Security. For them and others this plan is too expensive.

A “NO” vote should not be viewed as a vote against the library. Many voting against the proposal will be those who love the library, its collections, its staff and its programs.

Sheila Rice

Ann Arbor



Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Quoting Dave Cahill on 10/25 to a mailing list I'm on: "Tomorrow (October 26) is the deadline for the ballot question   committees on the Library to file their campaign finance   statements...   1.  The Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library (FAADL) is a 501   (c)(3) charitable corporation.  It raises funds largely through   donations of books by the public and sale of the books.  Those   funds normally are given to the Library. But FAADL has used a   large amount of those funds for another purpose.  It has made a   $25,000.00 contribution to the "yes" committee. FAADL's membership   was not polled. Instead, the Board alone voted to make this large   contribution.  Lee Gunn pushed this through the FAADL Board. The   people who donate to FAADL have no way of knowing that many of   their donations have been diverted to a ballot question committee.    This contribution is so large that it could fund a mayoral campaign.   2.  The postcard that has been sent to thousands of voters has on   it this statement:  "Thank you to our friends at Print-Tech and   Dykema for their support."  I don't know what Print-Tech is.  I do   know what Dykema is:  It is the Library's law firm.  Dykema will   benefit financially from if the ballot question passes because it   will have to write or review many construction contracts. I do not   know if Dykema has a PAC. I know some large firms do. So I don't   know if a contribution by Dykema will show up as a PAC   contribution or a bunch of contributions from its lawyers.  My   guess is that Dykema helped pay for the postcard mailing."

David Cahill

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

To what extent is the FAADL financially supporting the new library campaign? I don't see Ms. Rice online. Does anyone else know?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

Citizens of AA are getting smarter, maybe City is not using enough fluoride in our water. Those people do not know too much fluoride makes people relaxed just like Prozac would. Anyway before we vote for Library we need our seasonal leaf pick up. Also as we were walking back after the Michigan football game we noticed most of the lights were off on Granger St. Same goes for on Washtenaw Ave from 2200 block to E. Stadium. Lights are off. It is the safety issue.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Don't act like you want a bond to pay for something we don't have. There is a library. Use common sense in this economy and fix the one we have. I'd rather spend $1 per month on a new fire station or more policemen. A new library won't save my home or protect me. Common sense. VOTE NO.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

The cost is too high. $65 million bond, before the financing over 30 years. How much will that $65 million cost at the end of 30 years? For those of us in the Ann Arbor library district with low home values, $1 per month is to pay for the new building, but we already pay $10 per month for library operations. Plus, we're paying for the new AAPS technology bond and the parks millage is up for renewal too. Don't forget that AA taxpayers pay for AATA bus service and WCC and WISD - all important to our community. Just because you can afford to pay more in taxes, remember that many people in the Ann Arbor community are struggling financially. Please vote NO on the new library.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

How about just handing out free Kindle's to everyone? would be less expensive and your would be able to refresh your reading in a moments notice! New brick and mortar? why?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

Art and books are fundamental to our culture -- they feed the soul and the mind. I can't afford to buy books anymore or to buy a Kindle, so I value the fact that our library has so many free resources available to all. If citizens don't ensure that the best of our civilization continues into the future, we are lost. I'm voting yes.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 10:43 a.m.

"The price tag of more than $65,000,000 is too high during this period when people are struggling with employment and with their budgets." I disagree. $65 million is too much AT ANY TIME.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:32 a.m.

The present library has 110,000 square feet which, according to library staff, is insufficient space. The library staff assures tax payers that a temporary library will operate out of rented quarters while the new library is being constructed. No interruption of services is anticipated. I have two questions regarding the temporary library: 1) How much of the resource collections and services available at our present library will be reproduced by the temporary library? and 2) A temporary library must find a large enough building out of which to operate even if some of its resources are stored in warehouses. $13.5 million from the $65 million bond issue will be used to operate the temporary library for the thirty-month construction period. That amount of money should provide for operations almost equivalent to our present library's operation. Where will the library find a sizable building to be leased that will accommodate the activities and services presently available? Will the temporary library have to operate out of a building away from downtown? Is it appropriate to include operational funds in a construction bond issue? Will this be acceptable to voters?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:10 a.m.

hey borrow it from the art commission. they got a mil sitting waiting to spend it on ART VS BOOKS. i think book are ore important than art> we the people of ann arbor have our priorities mess up. bike lanes, crosswalks without lights, and the famous art commission. i think books are needed to help our kids learn. leaning is so so important for the future.

Peter Baker

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

Or, even better, look at the website where they answer your exact question ( - AADL will not lay off staff during construction. - A temporary downtown library will open in a rented space offering request pickup, drop boxes, internet access, a kid's area, and popular materials "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 kid's 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."

Peter Baker

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

The property tax increase is going to be about $1/week for most houses. Considering you could borrow 3 books from the library and more than the whole year's worth of taxes, I would consider the library a bargain, and one that will only save you more money the more you use it. And from what I've heard, all staff will be busier than ever during the transition (the branches are all supported and operated from downtown, and they'll still need to be during construction). Josie Parker, the director of the AADL, will answer any and all of your questions on the Director's Blog at Might be worth asking her your questions before putting them out there as an op/ed.

Dave DeVarti

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

Well said BobbyJohn. Peter we can already check out three books from the Library. We don't need this bond issue for that! It is a great Library that we support with a generous annual millage. I use the Library and in fact have two library books on my dining table right now. Whatever minor improvements that are needed can quite well be accomplished without this ill-conceived $65 million bond issue. I will be voting NO on this bond issue!


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

Peter Different people have different opinions. I use the main library quite often, for books, DVD's and events, and allways find it a great place. Perhaps it is not perfect, but it is not very old, remodeled only 20 years ago. I almost always find a space to sit for presentations in the multi purpose room, never have a problem finding a nice place to sit and read. I, nor do any of my friends or family, have any complaints. By the way, this $1 week is disingenuous. Typically costs are shown per year. Why not do it per hour, that will make it look less expensive for your side. Also, it is more like $70-100 for many residents. OR $1000 for 10 years, to turn your example on its head.

Peter Baker

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

*borrow 3 books from the library and SAVE more than the whole year's worth of taxes

Bill Wilson

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

LOL, Just noticed the ad on the left for read dot gov. Too funny, but oh... so true. It's an amazing time for us all to be living in, and we'd be darn foolish not to take advantage, and participate. A wise man once told me: "Successful people are intense people. Want to be successful? Be intense! And grab all of the knowledge that you can." And now that knowledge is everywhere, why not grab it? Let's take those dollars and feed the hungry and help the homeless. These are the causes we need to embrace.

Bill Wilson

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

Count me too, as one who see this project as a waste of time and money. You may still do as I've done all of my life: hit your local used book store. For years, I'd take $20 and a couple of empty trash bags and come home with a couple of bags full of books to read. When I was done, I'd separate the ones I wanted to keep with the ones I no longer wanted, and trade them back to the used book store for partial credit (read: more books). These days, I still hit the used book stores every so often, but mostly, I use my Kindle. And then, there's the internet. You can visit many museums and read countless stories and books right on your phone. I read a dozen newspapers online every day. Who needs a library? Even the homeless guy I gave a buck to the other day stopped to answer his cell, so even the homeless have access. It's a new world out there.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

Yeah, why should people who don't have the money to spend on books be allowed to read! Brilliant!

Bill Wilson

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

Tom, You've certainly got a computer.... same difference. And used computers are a dime a dozen (I've got four I'd give away, but there's no takers: everyone I encounter already has one) with internet access FREE all over town. There's simply no excuse for tuning out life these days. I'd rather see the hungry fed than money wasted on technology that's readily available to all.

Tom Todd

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

can't afford my cell anymore.

Kathy Griswold

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

Thanks for your thoughtful letter.