Ann Arbor Resident's Story of Survival

A current resident of Ann Arbor has a story to tell about her remarkable survival during a period of tremendous upheaval and bloodshed a lifetime ago and an ocean away. Miriam Garvil's autobiography I Have To Survive: Miriam Garvil's Story is the culmination of twenty years' worth of work. Ninety-two year old Garvil, who resides in an assisted living facility in Ann Arbor, began writing with the encouragement of social worker Ruth Campbell, who continued to assist Garvil's work even after retiring herself.

"I Have To Survive" reveals the author's past growing up in Poland before the outbreak of the Second World War, and recounts her memories of the concentration camps Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. She lost her mother, father and sister in the camps, and recalls her promise to her father: "If you don't survive, I will survive for you".

You can find more information on Miriam Garvil and her story in this month's issue of the Ann Arbor Observer.

America's Music Project: Explore Popular Music March through May with Films, Concerts, and Talks

AADL presents America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway, an eight-week series featuring documentary film screenings and discussions at the Downtown Library.

Wednesday evening sessions, led by Mark Clague, Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of Research, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, will focus on various genres of twentieth-century American popular music, including:

A final session on May 8 will center on the history of performances at Ann Arbor’s own Hill Auditorium.

Throughout the series, the Library and Kerrytown Concert House will present related concerts performed by some of the area’s prominent musicians.

The series begins March 13 with a concert by Mr. B and a film preview at the Downtown Library.

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of fifty sites nationwide to host the America’s Music series, a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music.

The AADL series is cosponsored by Kerrytown Concert House, UMS, WCBN 88.3 FM, and the Friends of the AADL.

America’s Music has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

Professor Graham Smith Presents An Illustrated Talk On His Recent Book "Photography And Travel"

Thursday February 28, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Professor Graham Smith's lavishly illustrated talk will cover the inventions of photography in 1839 and then describe early applications of the new medium to the practice of travel. He will share a sampling of rare 19th century photographs from Italy and Scotland, two countries he knows well, as well as contemporaneous pictures from Egypt and China, countries he knows not at all.

Graham’s recent book Photography and Travel will be for sale, and the event includes a book signing.

Harpbeat! African Musical Safari

Thursday, February 21 | 10 - 11 am | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room | Preschool - Grade 5

Harpbeat's harpist, vocalist, and percussionist Donna Novack takes you on a magical world tour and explores the geography, culture, language, and music of Africa. Featured languages include Swahili and Zulu.

Travel across the "Middle Passage" to the West Indies. Take a ride on the Underground Railroad and arrive "dancin" in Motown. Learn how African musical styles -- call & response, work songs, spirituals and more, have revolutionized American music. Martin Luther King, Jr. is featured in Harpbeat's original "I Have A Dream," song, which is accompanied by simple sign language.

Harpbeat! recordings and Donna's original songs have won many national awards. The AADL has the Harpbeat! CDs Around the world from A to Z as well as Hopes & Dreams & Rainbows for checkout.

A Selection of February’s Non-fiction Staff Picks


Our incredible staff has been at it again. If you are in search an interesting read, look no further.

Here are just a few of this month’s non-fiction selections:

Chinese Lessons by John Ponfret, “which follows the lives of a group of Pomfret’s former classmates, is a highly personal, honest, funny and well-informed account of China’s hyperactive effort to forget its past and reinvent its future”.—NYT

Droidmaker by Michael Rubin “…really captures the 20-year technology journey that runs through Lucasfilm for a period and ends with Pixar Animation Studios. In short, it's the tale of relentless technophiles, visionary patrons and a film revolution.” Register UK

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn by James Donovan is “A virulent stew of hubris, inexperience, misunderstanding of other cultures and misinformation overflowed into disaster. And Donovan puts it all into perspective without the biases of so many works about the battle's events and personalities.” –Billings Gazette

Ruffian: A Racetrack Romance by William Nack “As he writes in this short, fascinating, melancholy hybrid of turf history and personal memoir, “I have thought of Ruffian so often over the years that today she flits around like a ghost in all the mustier rooms of my reveries, a boarder who has had a run of the place.”’—NYT

Nine Suitcases by Bela Zsolt “This is by far the best book I've come across on the subject of the extermination of Hungary's Jews. Zsolt is and will be classified by literary historians as a minor novelist, whose tragedy was that his greatest story happened to himself.”-- Guardian

The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898 “Thomas has delivered an innovative, frequently entertaining and valuable retelling of an episode that set the pattern for more than a century of foreign military adventurism.” Washington Post

All of these titles are available at our Downtown location on the first floor Staff Picks shelf or by placing a hold and having them delivered to your preferred branch location.

Stories From a Diplomat's Jewel Box

Here are just a few of the posts Madeleine Albright has held during her long career in public service: legislative liaison for National Security Council and member of White House staff, 1978-81; U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, 1993-97; cabinet member and National Security Council member, beginning 1993, and U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001.

Along the way she collected jewelry and her pins became part of her diplomatic signature. A famous example is cited in her book when as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations she criticized Saddam Hussein and was criticized in turn by his poet in residence who called her “an unparalleled serpent.” At an upcoming meeting with Iraqi officials she decided to wear a snake pin to send an unspoken message that originated with the American Revolution slogan "Don’t Tread on Me."

She also sent some kinder messages with her pins, for instance, when she wore her dove pin while with visiting with survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

Ms. Albright wrote a wonderful book about her collection called Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomat’s Jewel Box that is available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Take the opportunity to see over 200 of her pins at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. The exhibit lasts through April 21st. Stop in and see the pins she collected and used as diplomatic tools throughout her fascinating career.

National Day of Courage on February 4th honors Rosa Parks' 100th Birthday

On Feb. 4, The Henry Ford will celebrate what would have been Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday with a National Day of Courage.

In 2001 The Henry Ford became the home to Montgomery, Ala., bus No. 2857, the very bus that Mrs. Parks refused to give up her seat on. The bus has become a symbol for courage and strength as many believe Mrs. Parks’ actions that day sparked the American Civil Rights Movement.

The day-long celebration taking place inside Henry Ford Museum will feature nationally-recognized speakers, live music, and dramatic presentations. Current scheduled speakers include American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement Julian Bond, contributing Newsweek editor Eleanor Clift, Rosa Parks biographers Jeanne Theoharis and Douglas Brinkley and Wayne State University Assistant Professor Danielle McGuire. A live stream of the day’s events will be available to watch online on the National Day of Courage website.

You'll find a list of books and DVDs about Rosa Parks here.

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1942. United States scientists and engineers gather in secrecy to design and produce the first atomic bomb. Their mission is called the Manhattan Project. They're part of a three way race against Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and there are Soviet spies within the Project. Can lead researcher, Robert Oppenheimer, be trusted?

New York City, New York, 1942. Harry Gold delivers top-secret atomic bomb plans to Soviet agents working inside the United States. His source is Klaus Fuchs, Soviet spy, and member of the Manhattan Project. Will Gold get away with espionage?

Vemork, Norway, 1943. Allied forces discover a Nazi 'heavy water' plant in Norway that Hitler is using to create his own atomic bomb. Can Norwegian commandos infiltrate and sabotage this key target before the Nazi's have enough fuel to build the bomb?

Sheinkin weaves together these three stories seamlessly in his well-researched and gripping narrative. Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon is the winner of the 2013 Excellence in Nonfiction Award, the Sibert Medal, and the Newbery Honor.

Highly recommended for grades 5 - 8.

On This Day in History--January 31st: Congress passed the 13th Amendment in 1865, for the abolition of slavery

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, was finally passed through Congress on January 31, 1865. Throughout the 1860’s the number of proposals for legislation that abolished slavery began to grow, until finally the Senate Judiciary Committee combined three proposals made by Senator John B. Henderson of Missouri, Representative James Mitchell Ashley of Ohio, and Representative James F. Wilson of Iowa, and introduced the resulting amendment proposal to the Senate.

The Senate passed the amendment on April 8, 1864, by a vote of 38 to 6, but the House of Representatives took much longer to make a decision. Its passage was due in large part to President Lincoln, who made it part of his campaign platform for the 1864 presidential election. It was finally passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and then sent to the state legislatures to be ratified. On December 6th, when Georgia became the 27th of the then 36 states to ratify it, it was finally adopted into the constitution.

The 13th Amendment was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments to be adopted after the end of the American Civil War. The 14th Amendment gave African-Americans citizenship, equal rights, and equal protection, and the 15th Amendment gave them the right to vote. Follow the links to AADL’s collection for more about the Civil War and the 13th Amendment!

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Civil War - Comrades in Arms

Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy!

It was 200 years ago this month that Jane Austen published her second, and perhaps most beloved, novel: "Pride & Prejudice." The official publication date was January 28, 1813.

Austen wrote it between October 1796 and August 1797, but publishers at first declined to look at it. After she went back and revised her manuscript, originally titled "First Impressions," nearly fifteen years later between 1811 and 1812, it was finally accepted for publication. Although she never married, Jane Austen loved her books like they were her family and was so excited when "Pride & Prejudice" arrived, she wrote to her sister Cassandra, "I want to tell you that I have got my own darling child from London."

The first edition sold out quickly and has been popular the world over ever since. It has been translated into dozens of languages and adapted for both television and the big screen. It's been given modern twists in Hollywood movies and Bollywood, too. It even has its own popular web series and been adapted into graphic novels and zombie apocalypse stories.

And of course, there are the books. From the original to all the adaptations and continuations, it's clear something about that story of misunderstandings and seemingly impossible happy endings still has a grip on us. It's easy to wonder what Miss Austen would have thought of the stages her "child" has gone through and how the world still holds such love for its characters even now, 200 years later.

Looking for more ways to celebrate Jane Austen? The library has a large collection of her other books or other movie adaptations of her work!

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