Library Shuts

March 4, 1998

by Casey Coston, MetroTimes

With little fanfare, the downtown branch of the Detroit Public Library closed its doors Friday, ostensibly to prepare for the impending demolition of the Hudson's building next door.

Officials have indicated the library will reopen in June 1999, and that the closing is due to concerns regarding "vibrations" from the implosion, and the effect of the resulting dust on the library collections.

If anyone else thinks this sounds somewhat dubious, you're not alone. I spoke with employees who requested anonymity and who voiced concerns that the branch is slated for permanent closure.

It would be a definite blow to those who think the city's downtown core should be a place where people actually live, work and play, and not just another office or entertainment district.

City officials deny the library is permanently closed, but the rumor is that developers foresee the Hudson's site as an entertainment mall, with theaters and garish theme restaurants in the mix. Not exactly a copacetic environment for a quaint library branch.

Whether grandiose plans for the much-ballyhooed downtown development known as Campius Martius deliver on mixed use/residential promises remains to be seen, but one would hope that a reopening of the library branch receives priority by the powers that be, lest it be turned into another food court/fern bar for worker bees in newly constructed office towers.