Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Washtenaw County Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled to Become Part of the Ann Arbor District Library

17. September 2008 • Matt Hampel
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Via an AADL press release, some portions removed for length:

The Ann Arbor District Library has agreed in principle to take ownership of the Washtenaw County Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled.

If approved by both the Ann Arbor District Library Board and the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, the Ann Arbor District Library will become the sub-regional Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled for Washtenaw County. Approval is expected to take place by mid-October and the entire transition should be accomplished by January 1, 2009.

The move comes as part of Washtenaw County’s ongoing efforts to make structural reductions in its budget for 2009 to help eliminate a deficit of approximately $15 million. A complete package of recommended solutions, due largely to the loss in revenue from property taxes, will be presented to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners on September 17, 2008.

The Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled (LBPD) is part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress Network, and has been operating as part of Washtenaw County. It provides traditional services such as audio books, playback equipment, large print materials and descriptive videos to individuals who are unable to read or use printed materials due to physical disability (e.g., blindness, macular degeneration, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dyslexia).

The AADL has agreed to accept many of the collections of the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled. If the transition is approved, these collections will be housed and accessible at the Downtown Library, located at 343 South Fifth Avenue in Ann Arbor.

No details yet on where and how the LBPD will continue, or what will happen to staff. Inquiries are in to the AADL and County.

  1. I read this on the Chronicle and was very glad to see that the library won’t go away (hopefully). As I mention (ad naseum, I know, I’m sorry!!) often, I teach kids who are blind and visually impaired and these libraries are literally lifesavers. Imagine going to the library, WANTING to go to the library, but knowing that you can’t read any of the books because there aren’t any in Braille…it sucks.
    I keep meaning to drag them out here for a field trip, and now I guess I still can :)
    PS: And those descriptive videos are awesome.

       —TeacherPatti    Sep. 17 '08 - 03:55AM    #
  2. Teacher Patti, as I said in my comment to the Chronicle, the programs will continue and Josie Parker (the Director) said that she wants to add programs especially for children. The nice part about the move is that the library will now be located right across from the bus depot.

    As a County Comissioner, I am sad to see this program leave the County, but we will be in very good hands at the AADL. And, they will be covering the entire county with service, not just the AADL area. I thank them and their taxpayers for this generosity.

       —Leah Gunn    Sep. 17 '08 - 03:05PM    #
  3. Thanks, Leah! I agree that the former location is kind of problematic, so I’m also glad that it’s moving. There is SUCH a need for Braille books (less than 50% of orders are filled because of the shortage of transcribers), so I hope that somehow, that niche can be filled, esp. for kids.

       —TeacherPatti    Sep. 18 '08 - 01:18AM    #
  4. Joanna Bidlack, Washtenaw County Administration writes:

    “Unfortunately, this transfer of service will result in the loss of jobs for the existing LBPD staff. We are saddened by this decision because each staff member of the LBPD has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to developing this world class service.”

       —Matt Hampel    Oct. 3 '08 - 06:28PM    #
  5. For all the people who rely on LBPD service, the staffs are not just a librarian or person who delivers cassettes. People make a connection to the outside world through the staffs who provide various events and activities together with necessary needs of library use. LBPD is not just a book rental store… I am very much disappointed by this news.

       —supportLBPD    Oct. 21 '08 - 06:55PM    #