Ann Arbor District Library Board (Feb. 16, 2009): With three trustees absent and little discussion on items in a thin agenda, Monday evening’s Ann Arbor District Library board meeting was an exercise in brevity. As is its custom, the board met in executive session an hour prior to the public portion of the meeting. The public meeting lasted 15 minutes, with financial issues touched on in several ways.
You can tell it’s a longer-than-usual meeting of the Ann Arbor District Library board when it adjourns later than city council. The Monday evening meeting included a discussion of the board’s vision for the new downtown library building, and presentations by city planner Wendy Rampson about the A2D2 zoning proposals. Three staff members also briefed the board on a wide range of literacy programs offered by the library.
In Fritz Haeg’s first slide, shot straight down into his own compost pile, a banana peel was still discernible. “This,” he said, “was what we should be celebrating!” Not banana peels per se, but rather compost – a kind of recycling that does not lose value with each cycle as many of our other efforts do (like, for example, paper recycling).
Haeg was standing in front of about 40 people in the multipurpose room of the Ann Arbor District Library to present his project, “Edible Estates,” which involves installations of …
After Wednesday, Oct. 1, visitors to the University of Michigan Shapiro Library will be able to leave with a book and never have to return it – because it was just printed off with a perfect binding on an Espresso Book Machine from On Demand Books and paid for right on the spot. The option to have a book printed is restricted for now to out-of-copyright books from the university’s digitized collections, which currently includes over 2 million volumes.
At a cost of about only $10 per book, the entire digitized collection (as it currently stands) could be recreated in physical form by an Espresso Book Machine for $20 million. Put a different way, for the $700 billion price tag of the currently proposed bailout of our core financial institutions, we could instead reprint the digitized collection of the UM library 35,000 times. At 5-7 minutes per book, that project would, on a low estimate, take one Espresso Book Machine [70 billion]*[5 minutes], or 665,905 years.
“On the low end, mid 60s, to low 70s on the high end,” said Josie Parker, director of the Ann Arbor District Library, in her remarks to the DDA board. And she wasn’t talking about the weather forecast. Or an age bracket of heavy library users. She was talking about dollar amounts. Millions of dollars. But before diving into money talk, it’s worth noting that some things are free.
For example, one detail not often reported about the noontime meetings of the Downtown Development Authority board is that lunch is provided – to anyone who shows up and would like to partake. Susan Pollay, executive director of the DDA, explained that they started providing …