Rebuilding the Downtown Ann Arbor Library

The proposal to rebuild the downtown Ann Arbor library facility is a $65 million bond request payable over 30 years. Voters in the greater Ann Arbor area will decide on this proposal (the final item on the back of the ballot) on November 6, 2012, determining a significant direction for the future of Ann Arbor's library system. Our New Library campaign organized on behalf of the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) to provide information on this issue to voters and advocate for a YES vote to invest in this cornerstone of our community.

Rebuilding the Downtown Ann Arbor Library Will Provide:

  • An adaptable, technology-friendly, highly energy efficient building
  • A facility designed to encourage an exploration of books, discovery of digital media and engage with the AADL’s extensive collections
  • Exceptional access for people with disabilities and assistive needs
  • A multi-age youth area that can simultaneously accommodate open play, story times, hands on activities and other youth programming
  • A modern 400-seat auditorium to comfortably accommodate the crowds that AADL’s lectures, movies, discussions, and 
performances consistently attract
  • An accessible downtown location for AADL’s Local History collections, specifically the collection from The Ann Arbor News
  • Individual and group study areas and workspaces throughout the building with adequate comfort, power, and acoustic privacy
  • An array of meeting spaces that can simultaneously accommodate events that range from hands-on programs to formal speakers and public assemblies
  • Additional possibilities include: a café with extended hours, a Friends of the AADL shop in the lobby, a media production lab
  • Public input will contribute to shape the final designs and features of a main library that best serves the Ann Arbor community

Library Leadership

  • Operates in the black each year with a balanced budget
  • Built three new branches in last ten years using its operating millage; operates them within that millage
  • In 2009 decreased tax levy from allowable 1.93 mills to 1.55, saving tax payers about $1.5 million annually
  • Lower cost per capita than Kalamazoo, Chelsea, Plymouth, Farmington, Saline, Southfield
  • Staff and board are responsive to patrons' suggestions, concerns and feedback
  • Services more than 9 million circulation transactions per year, one of the highest per capita in the country.
  • Has an elected board of officials, accountable to the public with open meetings
  • The library is not part of the City or the DDA (split from Ann Arbor Public Schools in 1995)
  • Decisions made on this vote have no bearing over City or DDA projects or spending

Investing Now

  • Interest rates are near historic lows and construction costs are as low as they’ve been in years 
  • Advances in green building technology will significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs
  • 0.56 mils = only $56/year for a home of $200,000 market value
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