Stories indexed with the term ‘video’

Ann Arbor Library Signs Digital Music Deal

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (April 25, 2011): At Monday’s meeting, AADL staff reported on a recent groundbreaking deal they’ve struck with the digital music publisher Magnatune, as part of a broader effort to provide more digital offerings to library patrons.

Nancy Kaplan

Nancy Kaplan, the newest Ann Arbor District Library board member, is introducing a proposal to videotape library board meetings for public broadcast. The board is expected to consider a resolution on that issue at its May 16 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The deal – which is getting national attention from library professionals – gives patrons unlimited access to a downloadable catalog of about 12,000 tracks in a wide range of genres. Though it doesn’t include songs by popular artists on major record labels, AADL director Josie Parker told the board that the selection should appeal to a community like Ann Arbor, which values alternative music.

The library is looking for other ways to increase its digital offerings of audiobooks, films, music, and free or open eBooks. Possibilities include tapping collections like Project Gutenberg, which has about 50,000 titles, and working with local authors, musicians and filmmakers who might be interested in making their work accessible to library patrons.

Also at Monday’s meeting, board member Nancy Kaplan advocated for televising the board’s monthly meetings, and said she’d like to bring a formal proposal to the board for a vote on May 16. Other groups like the Ann Arbor Public Schools board and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority currently hold their meetings in the same location as the AADL board – the fourth floor conference room of the AADL’s downtown building on South Fifth Avenue. AAPS and AATA meetings are televised by Community Television Network. Parker agreed that there are benefits to televising the meetings, but cited issues of quality and control as reasons why they haven’t decided to do that yet.

In other business, board members got a preview of the 2011-12 budget, for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2011. They plan to keep the millage level unchanged – AADL levies 1.55 mills, not its maximum allowable 1.92 mills. There will be no layoffs, but no pay increases. The board will take a formal vote to approve the final budget at their May 16 meeting, which will also include a public hearing on the issue.

And in a discussion about the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library, Parker asked the board to consider putting a direct link to that organization’s website on the front page of the AADL website. The move would be “a pretty public vote of confidence for them, and recognition for everything they’ve done,” she said. The AADL had distanced itself from the Friends several years ago in the wake of financial oversight issues that have since been resolved. The group operates a used bookstore in the lower level of AADL’s downtown branch, with proceeds – $100,000 this year alone – benefiting the library. [Full Story]

Liberty Street Video to Close

The storefront of Liberty Street Video at 119 E. Liberty in Ann Arbor.

The storefront of Liberty Street Video at 119 E. Liberty in Ann Arbor.

When the economy soured last year, Dave Kozlowski still felt optimistic about the prospects for his business, Liberty Street Video. After buying the store in 2007 and investing in new inventory, sales were growing 10-15% each month, and he had finally stopped losing money.

But in January, he says business took a turn for the worse. Since then, sales at the East Liberty store have dropped around 5-8% each month, with no sign of improving. So with his lease up for renewal at the end of the year, Kozlowski has decided to close the last independent video store in Ann Arbor.

Sunday will be the last day of the store’s regular hours. It will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, then reopen on Wednesday with truncated hours: from 2-8 p.m. weekdays, and noon-8 p.m. on weekends. The goal is to sell off all inventory, including DVDs for $5 and $2 for VHS tapes. Kozlowski says he’s hoping to recoup some of his roughly $200,000 investment and pay down $40,000 in debt, including the $10,000 in back rent he owes the landlord, Ali Amiri.

“It’s been fun,” Kozlowski told The Chronicle. “I love it. I love the town.” [Full Story]

Parking Rate Hikes Delayed Slightly

The more you near your destination the more you slip sliding away,

The DDA board heard from the public on the topic of snow removal downtown, including the person attached to this foot, whose holiday gifts included some pullover gadgets with non-slip metal coils.

Downtown Development Authority Board (Jan. 7, 2009) The Main Street Area Association had hoped for a year-long delay in the parking rate increases that were approved by the DDA board at its Nov. 5 meeting. But after discussing that possibility – and the borrowing of $3.65 million from the TIF fund that the year’s delay would require – the board left their original proposal intact. However, it will not be put before city council for final approval on Jan. 20, as originally planned.

Instead, the rate hike, which is part of the same packet of materials as the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage project, will be placed on the agenda for the second council meeting in February. The board settled on this delay when mayor of the city of Ann Arbor, John Hieftje (who serves on the DDA board in that capacity) announced that the council’s budget and finance committee had indicated a preference to see that packet delayed until February. Hieftje warned that if it were placed on the Jan. 20 agenda, it would simply be postponed by city council. [Full Story]