The new library is the result of a 2005 initiative to expand the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) system, which lead to four freestanding branch facilities for Ann Arbor’s school district. The Traverwood Branch serves as a community-based learning center primarily to the residents of the northeast quadrant of Ann Arbor.
Being across from the Sapp Nature Area – an 8.11-acre nature reserve adjacent to the site – the design strategy of the library was to serve the public and community, while also protecting and maintaining the existing ecosystems and biodiversity within and around the site. The new building was designed to have as little impact on natural landscape features as possible. Situated on a heavily wooded 4-acre green-field site, the library is oriented to minimize its impact on the natural environment, while buffering the road and surrounding buildings. Sustainable design features include a storm-water management system, a rain garden, daylighting strategies throughout, and the reuse of harvested ash trees from the building site. These trees are reutilized throughout the design in structures such as the floors, walls, and ceiling. The library programming consists of open-study areas, a technology bar, a private study room, a large multi-purpose meeting room, and an electronic training classroom.