Whose Library Is It Anyway?
When retired chemist Doug Jewett heard that "they were planning to tear the library down, I just had a rush of adrenaline," he says. An admirer of architect Alden Dow, who designed the first phase of the current building, Jewett sat outside the library for a couple of weeks, handing out cards inviting people to come to his house to discuss the issue.
Sheila Rice also got involved. After attending an informational meeting in June, the retired Washtenaw Community College librarian had a dream in which she saw piles of rubble coming down. The next day, she says, she walked into the building, looked at the walls, and thought, "This is just so solid." Rice thought up a name--"LOL=Love Our Library"--and, like Jewett, registered a "ballot question committee." Soon she was hearing from Kathy Griswold.
A social worker and MBA, Griswold describes herself as an "advocate." A former schools trustee who helped defeat a schools millage three years ago, she is emerging as the person in Ann Arbor you'd least like to oppose whatever you're supporting. Griswold had several objections to the plan, but the main one was equity: she felt the bond would force people on the outskirts to pay for a downtown building few would use. Griswold soon found herself, by default, treasurer of a third group, "Protect Our Libraries." "I can order signs in my sleep," she says--and, soon 500 of them were dotting the city. She also mailed out 12,000 postcards to likely voters.