Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (Sept. 24, 2012): The public session of Monday’s library board meeting lasted only 15 minutes. Although just six weeks remain before the Nov. 6 election – when voters will weigh in on a $65 million bond proposal for a new downtown library – that issue received scant mention.
Ann Arbor District Library director Josie Parker at the Sept. 24, 2012 meeting of the AADL board. She reported on recent recognition given to the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, which is administered by AADL. (Photos by the writer.)
But the bond proposal could be seen as the backdrop for a report by AADL director Josie Parker, who provided an update of the district’s five-year strategic plan, which the board adopted in 2010. Parker distributed a copy of the plan that highlighted achievements from the most recent fiscal year. “Our reach in the community is deep and it’s wide,” she said. “The strategic plan is our evidence.” [.pdf of highlighted strategic plan]
Board president Margaret Leary noted that as the community’s attention is rightly focused on the bond proposal, the goal of renovating or replacing the downtown building is only one item in the strategic plan. There are seven pages of actions that the library is taking, she said.
At last month’s board meeting Ellie Serras, chair of the Our New Downtown Library campaign committee, spoke during public commentary to brief the board on actions of that pro-bond group. And since then, two other efforts – to oppose the proposal – have emerged. A group called Protect Our Libraries was formed earlier this month. Its treasurer is Kathy Griswold, a former member of the Ann Arbor Public Schools board.
And Douglas Jewett, who had attended an August forum for potential AADL board candidates, filed paperwork on Sept. 25 for the Save the Ann Arbor Library ballot question committee. He did not file to run for the board. He previously had secured a sidewalk vendor permit on Aug. 20 for space in front of the downtown library at 343 S. Fifth. He uses the space to lobby against demolition of the current building, citing its architectural significance. The original portion of the building was designed by Alden B. Dow.
At the candidate forum, Jewett had praised the library, calling it the center of Ann Arbor. Four non-partisan board seats on the Nov. 6 ballot will be contested by five candidates: the four incumbents – Prue Rosenthal, Margaret Leary, Nancy Kaplan and Rebecca Head – as well as Lyn Davidge, who attended the Sept. 24 board meeting.
The positions will be elected by voters in Ann Arbor and portions of seven townships that are covered by the library’s district, in Pittsfield, Scio, Ann Arbor, Lodi, Webster, Salem and Superior. Those are the same boundaries served by the Ann Arbor Public Schools, with the exception of Northfield Township. The four-year terms begin Jan. 1, 2013. [Full Story]