Main Library : 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202. The Library is primarily funded by a 4.63-mil property tax.

Main Library South Wing expansion

The Library funded a $2.3M expansion of the South Wing, which was completed in 2011. The Detroit News reported that the Library bought 20 chairs and 8 trash cans that cost $1,100 each.

In May 2011, the Library Commission moved to buy out Deputy Director Juliet Machie's contract. Machie helped lead the expansion. A Commission report shows an architecture firm was given a $125,600 contract to manage design the Wing without filing a bid with prices.

2011 Funding Crisis


Library Commissioners learned that the DPL would be facing a 20% reduction in property tax revenues in the coming budget cycle. The Commission first proposed closing 18 of 23 branches. Commissioners later discussed closing only 10 branches by using reserves. The system also announced that it would lay off 111 of 376 staff members.


The Library learned from the city that the shortfall was a misunderstanding. City staffers had told the library that 20 percent of the city's property taxes go uncollected. Tim Cromer, the Chief Administrative Officer, said that library finance staff interpreted that as a 20% decline in property taxes each year until 2015.

The Library then expected an $11M shortfall in the 2010-11 budget cycle. In that cycle, the Library budgeted for $35M in property tax revenue and received $28M. It expects $23M in the 2011-12 cycle.

May 20: The Library announces that no branches will be closed. Cromer This week, noted that the library forgot to factor in savings from 70 staffers who left in layoffs and retirements in 2011. Cromer took responsibility for the budget errors.

Jonathan C. Kinloch, vice president of the Detroit Library Commission, told the Detroit News, "How could this happen when we've been looking at these numbers since the beginning of the year? This makes us look like a bunch of clowns."

May 24: The Commission passes its $36M budget, which does not include any branch closures or layoffs.


July 9: The Detroit News reports that the top three library executives did not take the ordered 10% pay cut.


August 24: Administrators are proposing the following closures or changes based on budget, building condition, usage, and neighborhood status:

The City is also in negotiations with the library to recover $9.2M in overpaid property taxes.


Six branches are now up for closure: the five branches above and the Chase Branch. The library board will vote on September 20th.


At their October 18 meeting, commissioners split 3-3 and voted not to close the branches. Commissioner Russell Bellant and President Edward Thomas supported the closures. Gregory Hicks opposed. Todd Kelly, president of AFSCME Local 1259, the library employees' union, said staff supported the closures.

The library system is still facing a 9.2M shortfall. Closing a branch would save about $500,000.

Four branches closed

In the end, four branches were closed: the Lincoln, Mark Twain, Monteith and Richard branches. Their collections were supposed to be split between the other branches. 

2012 FBI Raid

On November 20, 2012, nine FBI agents raided the main branch of the Detroit Public Library and the home of Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cromer. In May 2012, the Detroit News had reported about Cromer's connections to Cubemation, a development firm that got a $2M contract to redesign the Library's website. The firm had also designed Cromer's wife's website. Another contract for technology services was also involved. 

Cromer missed the Library Commission meeting the next day. Jonathan Kinloch, President of the Detroit Library Commission, said the following day that the contracts were the subject of the search