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The Michigan Avenue library suffered significant water damage during the storms in early July 2023 and will be closed for an extended period of time. On this page, you can read updates from our Director, Lisa Hoenig, and find information about access to programs, resources, and more during the closure.

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (June 13)

Great news!  As I hope you’ve read in The Loop, we anticipate reopening the Michigan Avenue library by Saturday, August 3rd. The new meeting spaces have been framed, insulation is going in, furniture is on order, and computer equipment that has been in storage is being readied for use. It’s been a long road, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that everything comes together smoothly. While the work inside continues and anticipation builds, we’re planning some fun.

On Sunday, June 30th, YDL is holding a special “Sneak Peek” Tea Party fundraiser to support the reconstruction effort. If you’d like to join us, a limited number of tickets are available for $40 each. Offering a glimpse into the future with a nod to our past, the event will take place in Library Plaza downtown. It will include tours of the interior renovation, live music, hot and cold tea, and other party treats. Tickets can be purchased here until they’re gone or June 25, whichever comes first.  

Saturday, August 3rd, help us celebrate the public unveiling of our new spaces. We’ll kick off reopening with a ribbon cutting and offer fun activities for the whole family throughout the day. We can’t wait to show you the “new” YDL-Michigan and welcome you Back on the Block!

Lisa Hoenig

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (May 17)

Things are moving along with the Michigan Avenue reconstruction and renovation! Along with the needed repairs and upgrades to public spaces, some behind-the-scenes infrastructure improvements are also taking place.  

The Michigan Avenue library has long struggled with humidity and temperature fluctuations despite our best efforts to control them. Since the interior was stripped down to its bones, we are taking the opportunity to make the building more energy efficient and comfortable.  

Radiant heating units located around the perimeter of the main floor were destroyed during the flood remediation. Instead of replacing them, our team did some engineering studies and installed ductwork – a better heat delivery system. In addition, the main floor’s walls are being insulated to help maintain a more consistent indoor temperature year-round. Insulation protects against moisture intrusion, and helps with noise reduction. It’s not glamorous, but we think you’ll feel the difference.  

As more materials and new furniture orders are finalized, we now anticipate reopening in early August.  We can’t wait to welcome everyone “Back to the Block.”  More details forthcoming!

Lisa Hoenig

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (Mar 1)

Dear YDL Patrons:

Construction to repair and improve YDL’s Michigan Avenue branch is underway! All the magic will be happening inside, but check out the construction sign posted in front of the building when you walk or drive by.

Following months of water damage remediation, working with our insurer, developing a redesign with architect Faber Design Co., and nailing down a project budget, the Library’s Board of Trustees approved the cost of improvements at its February 28 meeting. Building permits have been secured, so construction manager Phoenix Contractors, Inc. is digging in at last. Fittingly, as we were alerted to the July 1 flood by a fire alarm, the building’s fire alarm panel was the first thing to be replaced. Repairs to the walls, floors, and ceilings, installation of replacement lighting, new electrical, carpeting, window blinds, etc. will follow.

Besides the flood-related repairs, we’re making improvements to the building we think you’ll love. Interior upgrades will include three new study rooms, a laptop counter with street views, some spiffy new furnishings, and a completely redesigned youth area. We can’t wait to show it to you!

We have our fingers crossed that our beloved downtown library branch will reopen sometime in June.  With the supply chain still a bit unpredictable there’s no guarantee, but we’re certainly going to try.  A big welcome back party is in the works – stay tuned!

Lisa Hoenig, Director

P.S.  During the lengthy Michigan Avenue closure YDL lost a few employees through attrition.  As we prepare to reopen, we’re hiring to fill those vacancies.  Please see our Jobs page if this piques your interest – applications are due March 12.

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (Dec. 28)

Dear YDL Patrons:

Our architect from Faber Design Co. has created a design for the Michigan Avenue library’s restoration that improves its configuration and makes our space more flexible. We are currently nailing down the resulting budget and securing building permits. Once those steps are satisfactorily complete, construction will begin.  

I find the renderings on this page very exciting, and I hope you will, too! On the main floor we will install new group study rooms, change the configuration of the entrance, and open up the center of the space for greater visibility and flexibility.

The youth area will also be opened up to be more welcoming and adaptable, with a fresh, clean look that brightens the space and gives everyone more room to learn, work, read, and play.

The Library has very good insurance which will cover the repairs, but any changes we make during construction must come from our operating budget and through donations. Thank you so very much to everyone who has contributed so far. We appreciate your support, and it clearly demonstrates just how much the downtown branch is loved and missed.

More soon! 

Lisa Hoenig, Director

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (Oct. 19)

Dear YDL Patrons:

I’m pleased to report that with the wrap-up of road construction downtown, the YDL Bookmobile will add a stop on Adams Street near the library’s parking lot entrance on Friday afternoons from 1-5 p.m. beginning October 20. The Bookmobile is a library on wheels that provides materials for reading and borrowing, computers with Internet access, and friendly, helpful staff. We hope our downtown patrons will visit – we miss you!

The 24/7 outdoor lockers at Michigan Avenue are back online following flood-related damage. You can request materials and pick them up from the lockers or at the bookmobile stop. Library Plaza offers 24/7 high-speed internet access and a power pedestal to charge devices.    

At its September 27 meeting, the Library’s Board of Trustees approved a proposal for architectural services from Faber Design Co. to restore Michigan Avenue. The architect is now working on a redesign of the interior that will maximize the space and make it more user friendly for patrons. We are all sensitive to the need to resume library service downtown, and will not pursue upgrades that will take longer than would otherwise be necessary.  

I was recently interviewed about the flood by MLive. You can read more about YDL’s work toward reopening in their article here.  

Lisa Hoenig, Director

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (Sept. 14)

Dear YDL Patrons:

I finally have an update to share.  Nearly two and a half months after the Michigan Avenue branch was flooded, work to remediate the damage is complete. On-Site Restoration worked tirelessly to remove waterlogged building materials and eliminate mold and moisture that resulted from the flood. An environmental testing firm has confirmed the space is safe to enter once again. Restoration work can now begin!

YDL is working closely with our insurer, an architect from Faber Design Co., and Ypsilanti-based Phoenix Contractors in this next phase. Soon the architect will take a Matterport 3D scan of the interior, begin design development, and create detailed plans and specifications for the reconstruction.  Because the building has largely been gutted, materials for walls, floors, and ceilings themselves need to be specified, as well as their finishes (carpeting, blinds, paint, etc.). Some large light fixtures, our fire alarm panel, study tables and other furnishings that were destroyed must be replaced as well.

The good news is now we can get back inside and figure it all out. We still have a long road ahead before we can reopen, but at least we are now on the road!

Lisa Hoenig, Director

Update from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (July 28)

Dear YDL Patrons:

Along with the rest of the YDL staff and our Board, I’ve been touched by your amazing outpouring of support as we work to recover from the flooding at Michigan Avenue.  Our downtown branch is a special place, and it’s heartbreaking to have it closed this summer.  One of our Trustees described it as a “gut punch,” and we all feel it.  Thank you for your caring and concern.

The sad photos on this page speak for themselves. Crews from On-Site Restoration have been hard at work. Most of the contents of the building have been removed. The carpet was largely ruined and will be replaced. Unfortunately, there is still water trapped under the flooring and behind the walls, making demolition necessary. An environmental report found a (covered) layer of lead paint on the main floor, so containment efforts are being utilized to protect workers. Once they open up the walls and assess the damage inside, we’ll have a better understanding of the road ahead.

Staff are emptying the book return regularly, and you can pick up materials from the new lockers in Library Plaza, or visit our Whittaker or Superior locations. Big thanks to the downtown organizations and businesses (such as Bridge Cafe and Parkridge Community Center) that have welcomed storytimes and other library events.

Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding.  We will work to reopen Michigan Avenue better than ever, as soon as possible.  I’ll update again when we know more.

Lisa Hoenig, Director

Letter from Library Director Lisa Hoenig (July 7)

Dear YDL Patrons:

The evening of July 1st, downtown Ypsilanti was pummeled with torrential rains. Streets filled with standing water and cars were stranded. Our historic Michigan Avenue branch was flooded inside as the roof drains were overwhelmed. The damage to the building is extensive, but thankfully the collection was mostly spared. Sadly, the branch is not likely to reopen before the end of the summer. Some events will be moved off-site, but others will be cancelled. Staff will be reassigned to our other library locations until we are able to open our doors downtown again.

At YDL’s Strategic Plan Retreat held last September, participants made it very clear: the library’s #1 priority in the coming years should be to renovate Michigan Avenue. We will build back the best we can from this setback. When we reopen, the building will sparkle and provide the very best service possible to our downtown patrons.

We’re constantly fighting to remediate and prevent future water infiltration; it’s a library’s worst enemy. The current situation is disheartening, but we’ll let it galvanize us to action. We will not give up on our community’s dream of a modernized and expanded Michigan Avenue branch in the heart of the city.

As we work to reopen we’ll begin the feasibility study as outlined in the strategic plan, carefully assessing the building, community needs, and financial options for a major renovation. We’ll also use this opportunity to bring staff together as a more cohesive team, reinforcing that we are indeed one library that serves three communities with top-notch programming, collections, and services.

We thank you for your patience and understanding. Please come visit us at Whittaker Road and Superior, and be inspired to complete the Summer Challenge!

Lisa Hoenig, Director

Click to view renderings of the planned renovation work at the Michigan Avenue branch
Click to scroll through images of the ongoing work at the Michigan Avenue branch

Resource updates

Drop off your materials in the dropbox

The dropbox at Michigan Avenue will remain open, so you can feel free to return materials at that branch.

Take the bus to Whittaker or Superior

You can use TheRide to get to one of our other branches during the Michigan Avenue closure. 

Route 46 schedule (Whittaker)

Route 42 schedule (Superior)

Branch hours at Whittaker and Superior

Our Whittaker Road and Superior branches will still be operating on their normal schedules. Each will be open from 9am-9pm Mon-Thu, and 10-6pm Fri-Sat. Whittaker is also open from 1-5pm on Sundays. Find more branch information here.