Q: Fifth Avenue has always been a quick way to cross town. Now there are meters taking part of it from three lanes to two lanes. Who made this decision, and can it be changed back?

A: The changes to Fifth (and to Division, its northbound twin) are intended to assist pedestrians and calm traffic on these one-way corridors. They’ve been in the works for several years and have been approved at various points by the DDA, the Michigan Department of Transportation (which provided a grant for part of the cost), and city council. But yes, they can be reversed–parking meters are frequently removed.

Q: Has the shift to reading online reduced on the number of books being checked out at the Ann Arbor District Library?

A: No, it hasn’t. Over the past ten years, the number of books checked out annually rose 35 percent, to 1.4 million. But because demand for materials like CDs and DVDs climbed even faster, books accounted for less than half of all checkouts (3.1 million) last year.

The total number of items checked out annually more than doubled over the decade. While more people now have library cards (56,000, up from 45,000 a decade ago), most of the growth came from existing patrons: ten years ago the average active patron checked out thirty-two items per year. Last year, the average was fifty-five.

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