50th Anniversary of Tornadoes That Swept Through Milan

On Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965, tornadoes and severe weather tore through the Milan area. Considering that more than 270 lives were lost in the Midwest and 42 in Michigan, it was phenomenal that Milan reported only two injuries and no fatalities. Residents described strange clouds and whistling sounds while the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department reported a collapsed bridge and damage to several businesses. The most typical scenes were crushed cars, damaged homes and destroyed buildings. The News got a first-hand account of the damage to Coldwater from a former reporter. Cleanup began immediately but it was years before Milan fully recovered.

HeritageQuest Database Upgrade

Attention family history buffs and genealogy sleuths! The HeritageQuest database got a makeover on March 4th!

Now powered by Ancestry, HeritageQuest's new look and feel is more streamlined, functions similarly to Ancestry, and has powerful new search options that allow for greater specificity and control. In addition to the cosmetic and functional upgrades, they've also added a wealth of new content. For example, the 1790-1940 federal census now includes complete every-name indexes, 20,000 titles have been added to the family and local history books collection (almost doubling its content), and the revolutionary war collection has also been expanded.

With so many new, user-friendly features, you don't want to miss out on exploring it for yourself. Best of all, you can still access HeritageQuest remotely with your valid online library account login.

For more details about new content/changes, and for great tips, take a peek at HeritageQuest's helpful LibGuide. Happy sleuthing!

Access Common Legal Forms Online

We often get questions at the library about finding legal forms for a variety of purposes. If you find yourself needing forms, the library offers access to the Legal Forms Library - a database of common legal forms. You can search for specific forms or browse by popular categories. Popular categories include:

Divorce
Bankruptcy
Power of Attorney
Wills and Estates
Landlord Tenant
Name Change
Real Estate
Sample Letters
Incorporation

You can access the database from here (then choose Legal Forms Library from the list). Forms are available for download and printing in Microsoft Word, Rich text, and PDF formats (depending on the individual form). The database is updated regularly and also includes a legal dictionary and a Q & A section. A great resource with a wealth of information!

February is Black History Month

Signal of LibertySignal of LibertyThe best way to celebrate and honor Black History Month is to delve into history. What better place to do that than the Library?

This February, AADL has several events and resources to help you mark Black History Month by honoring those who came before, their traditions, and our hopes for the future.
EVENTS:
April Ryan, a 30-year journalism veteran, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House has just released a new book, The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of race relations as it relates to the White House. She will be at the Downtown Library on Monday, February 16 at 7 pm to discuss the book, her career, the three presidents she’s covered, and her experiences.

The Sankofa Ensemble takes their name from a word that means “to retrieve the goodness from the past”. They will teach us about the traditions of Ghanaian and West African music and play authentic instruments from Ghana. Families will especially enjoy being able to get up and dance to the music, and learning more about traditional African dancing. The Sankofa Ensemble will perform on Saturday, February 21 at 2 pm in the Downtown Library’s Multi-Purpose Room.

The last very special Black History Month event features the relatives of a prominent Civil Rights figure: Rosa Parks. Sheila McCauley Keys is Rosa Parks’ niece, and she and her siblings grew up very closely with their aunt when she moved to Detroit. They have recently released a new book of memories of their aunt, Our Auntie Rosa: the Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons, and Sheila will visit the Downtown Library on Tuesday, February 24 at 7 pm. She will talk about her new book and her Auntie Rosa, and she will take questions from the audience.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Of course, libraries are fantastic resources for more than just events. Here at AADL, we have the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County’s Living Oral History Videos. These are recorded interviews with local African-Americans discussing what they witnessed and experienced and their perspectives relating to race, gender, education, equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and social infrastructure in our area. These amazing videos show what a historical resource our own people are, and make learning about history as easy as a conversation with your grandparents.

Newspapers are also great historical resources. AADL has digitized copies of local abolitionist newspaper Signal of Liberty which was started in April 1841 and published almost every week from an office on Broadway Street in Ann Arbor. Issues featured local and national news, anti-slavery poems, interviews with emancipated slaves, minutes from anti-slavery meetings, and stories by abolitionists about helping people escape from slavery. Reading these articles helps us to understand issues surrounding slavery, why people opposed this dark part of our past, and how ordinary people participated in the fight for freedom.

Whatever part of history you are interested in, your library is a resource for research, learning, and commemorating.

For the Birds!

Do you keep bird feeders in your yard for the winter? Do you ever see a type of bird that you want to know more about, or can't identify? AADL subscribes to Birds of North America Online powered by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornithologists' Union. This subscription-based resource is available through our website for all library users. You can learn the behaviors, eating habits, migration, and more, of hundreds of birds. You can even listen to recorded samples of their bird calls!

Get Out and Vote in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014

We're only one week away from the General Election for Federal, State and Local Offices and Ballot Proposals. You can view your sample ballot, check your polling location and much more at Michigan Votes.

The Michigan League of Women Voters Nonpartisan Voter Guide is available at all library branches and online. League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area candidate forums can be viewed online as well.

Here's a few tips for making voting easy:
-Don’t forget to bring your photo ID to vote. Voters who do not have acceptable photo ID will be required to sign an affidavit in order to vote.
-Peak voting hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Voters who want to avoid long lines are encouraged to vote during midday hours.
-Polling place hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you are standing in line by 8 p.m. then you are eligible to vote.
-The City Clerk's Office is open Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 8am to 2pm to accept in-person requests for absentee ballots.
-Ann Arbor Public Schools are closed on Election Day. Polling places located within schools are open.

Washtenaw County election results are televised on Community Television Network’s CitiTV Channel 19 beginning at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014—after the polls close—and will continue throughout the night.

ET Rover Pipeline - Washtenaw County

Fact sheets and maps of the proposed ET Rover Pipeline, LLC (ET Rover) can be viewed online here and are also available at the Downtown Library 2nd floor Reference Desk.

ET Rover Pipeline Company LLC (a division of Energy Transfer) announced a 42” diameter high pressure natural gas pipeline project that is proposed to run through Washtenaw County. The approximately 810-mile natural gas pipeline will connect the rapidly expanding Marcellus and Utica Shale production areas to markets serving the Midwest, Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions of the United States, or for export to Canada.

34 Million and Counting

That's the estimate on the number of vehicles currently involved in recalls in the U.S. Now there's a quick tool to determine if your car or motorcycle needs a second look: Safercar.gov, a web site launched this week by NHSTA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Using the VIN# of your vehicle, the search tool looks for safety recalls that are incomplete on a vehicle, safety recalls conducted over the past 15 calendar years and safety recalls conducted by major light auto automakers, including motorcycle manufacturers. Very recent recalls may not be in the system yet and not every make and model is covered but it's a fairly comprehensive database with a straightforward interface.

Treasures of the British Library

I am recently back from London where I visited the British Library's Sir John Ritblat Gallery. Among its treasures are the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible, Shakespeare's First Folio, and the only remaining medieval manuscript of Beowulf.

There's nothing like seeing rare books in person but you can't browse through them. Now, for selected items, the British Library allows you to do that online at their virtual books page. Here you can read handwritten books by Lewis Carroll and Jane Austen, examine William Blake's, Mozart's and Leonardo's notebooks, and study the drawings in The Birds of America and the Medieval Bestiary. A "Read" option brings up the text of or commentary for the work (Carroll's handwriting is neatly legible but Jane Austen's is not). A "Listen" option reads the text or commentary to you.

I didn't learn about the treasures on the British Library website from my British Library visit. I learned by looking at the Books and Reading page at aadl.org. You can also find the Complete Works of Shakespeare, the New York Review of Books and dozens of other options there.

A Community for Victory - Ann Arbor in World War Two

AADL is pleased to partner with the University of Michigan Stephen S. Clark Library to explore community life in Ann Arbor during World War Two. "A Community for Victory - Ann Arbor in World War Two", which will be on display May 1-August 1 on the 2nd floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library, makes use of AADL’s local historical archives, the Clark Library's map collection, and special materials from the the American Culinary History Collection.

Among the documents on display from AADL’s collection are Ann Arbor News articles and photographs highlighting homefront activities during World War II, including the promotion of victory gardens, scrap drives, and bond drives. Nearly 800 additional articles and photographs from the World War II era are available via AADL’s Oldnews site.

An opening reception will take place at the Stephen S. Clark Library, 913 S. University Ave., on Thursday, May 1st, 4- 6pm, with coffee and light refreshments provided. Public welcome!

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