Professor David L. Holmes Discusses His Book "The Faiths Of The Postwar Presidents: From Truman To Obama"

Monday September 17, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

David L. Holmes established himself as a measured voice in the debate over the nation's religious underpinnings with his acclaimed 2006 book The Faiths of the Founding Fathers. With the same judicious approach, he now examines the role of faith in the lives of the twelve presidents who have served since the end of World War II, in The Faiths Of The Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama.

Join us as Professor Holmes discusses his new book and provides enlightening anecdotes of our recent presidents. This event includes a book signing and books will be on sale.

Teamwork and Timbers: It's Barn Raisin' Time!

Saturday September 15, 2012: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Reconstruct a quarter-scale replica barn! Held in partnership with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, this event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience a traditional community barn raising.

Common in Michigan during the late-19th and early-20th centuries, barn raisings are similar to husking bees and quilting bees, where neighbors depended upon each other to accomplish what they could not do alone.

This event is for Grade 3 - Adult.

Screening of Emmy-Nominated PBS Documentary: In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo

Friday September 14, 2012: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Francis O'Donnell and his friend Denis Belliveau took a wild idea -- retrace Marco Polo's entire 25,000-mile, land-and-sea route from Venice to China and back! Join us for the screening of this amazing journey in the Emmy-Nominated 2008 PBS film that was made of their trip: "In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo."

Equal parts travelogue, adventure story, history trek and buddy movie, the 90-minute film weaves footage both from the duo's often perilous voyage and from Marco Polo's descriptions and experiences.

Unfortunately, Francis O'Donnell, filmmaker behind the documentary, will be unable to attend this event to discuss his film - but we hope you join us for the viewing of his extraordinary journey!

Celebrating Our Republic: A Flower Show Celebrating Our Great Nation: Ann Arbor Garden Club

Saturday September 8, 2012: 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

A flower show at the library!! This year's flower show celebrates America. Come and see what the Ann Arbor Garden Club grows and how they use what they grow in many beautiful floral designs.

Members of the garden club will be on hand to visit and answer questions.

Tonight: Ragtime Concert: Deborrah Wyndham

Tuesday September 4, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Pianist and composer Deborrah Wyndham returns to AADL for this special ragtime concert! She will also share the story behind ragtime as the original American "pop music" in the late 1800's as well as being an early form of jazz.

Seen on FOX, NBC and ABC, and heard on NPR, Deborrah has performed for audiences in libraries, schools, colleges, concert halls, museums, festivals and more! Don't miss the chance to hear her live at the Downtown Library!

A great historical mystery series

The Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mysteries start out really good and just get better. There are five of them now and, having just finished the fifth, I am bereft. I can’t find any evidence of a sixth on the horizon (though I’m sure there has to be one soon) and I have that feeling there is nothing else worth reading (which will pass). They are a triumph of people, plot and prose.

Set in the latter years of Henry the VIII’s reign, lawyer Shardlake is drawn into the corruption and turbulence of the political landscape time and again, when all he wants is a quiet life. He is not adventurous or daring by nature, but he has demanding patrons, like Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr. These and many other historical characters weave into the stories and even bad boy, King Henry, makes an appearance in the third book.

Author, C J Sansom, is brilliant at weaving just enough historical fact, into compelling, page-turner plots, with rounded, sympathetic characters. Sansom has a PhD in History and was a practicing lawyer, so he is well informed about the back story of the Tudor courts and the tremendous upheaval of religious persecution and political maneuvering which was rampant in this era. The Tower, Bedlam, the execution block, the rack, the King’s “Progress” to York, the naval battles of the war of 1545, the sinking of the warship Mary Rose, the Book of Revelation, and the ancient, incendiary weapon known as Greek fire are all featured prominently at some point in these five stories. Pretty grim, you might think, and you would be right.

But Shardlake is the counterpoint of dignity and kindness in the midst of the insanity and he brings his compassion and brilliance to bear on every case he is thrust into. With a supporting cast of interesting and feisty characters, the books manage to create a bit of light in the darkness that was Henry’s reign. In the end, these are intriguing and engrossing stories which keep you coming back for more. Don’t plan on doing anything important for a few days after you begin one.

Start with Dissolution, a mystery embedded in the chaotic time when Cromwell oversaw the dismantling of monasteries all over England.

Apple vs. Samsung

Steve Jobs wanted to destroy the Android mobile platform as he considered it stolen property. Recently Apple won a large suit against Samsung concerning infringement of utility patents that may have enormous ripple effects in the industry. Samsung may not be allowed to sell their latest smart phones in the US. With pending outcomes on filed injunctions awaiting decisions in September and beyond, even key elements of the Android operating system may be deemed to infringe on Apple’s patents.

It may result in companies such as LG Electronics, Lenovo and HTC to move away from Android altogether. The ramifications are unknown, companies may be forced to change operating systems or just have to pay royalties to Apple, further enriching the world’s most valuable company. Only time will tell.

The history of patent law is interesting and mercurial. Epic battles have been fought over patents and intellectual property. Some of the world’s largest and best known companies including Ford Motor, Singer, Kellogg, Nokia, Colt and Kodak have waged war over intermittent windshield wipers, sewing machines, shredded wheat, knockoffs and digital image technology.

The Ann Arbor District Library has many resources to explore this fascinating topic; here are just a few:
Flash of Genius is a film about Robert Kearns, the Wayne State University engineering professor who won large settlements from Ford and Chrysler over his invention and patent for an electric motor powered intermittent windshield wiper.
Great Feuds in Technology details the legendary battles of the Ford Motor Company, the Wright Brothers vs. Glenn Curtis, Philo T Farnsworth vs. David Sarnoff and more.
Killer Colt : Murder, Disgrace, and the Making of an American Legend chronicles the story of the gun and the man who transformed the American West along with lawsuits aplenty.
Tube : the Invention of Television covers the inventors and the patent battles over who would get credit and control the enormous market created by TV.

July 2012 marked the opening of the Elijah J. McCoy USPTO office in Detroit, the first ever Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington, DC. The tremendous innovative power fostered by the automotive industry is one reason they chose Detroit. Now local inventors won’t have to go far for assistance in speeding up the patent process and the creation of more US business, industry and jobs.

Attention Genealogists and Historians: The 1940 Census Records are fully indexed!

Back in April we celebrated as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the 1940 census records for the "Greatest Generation" to the public. Every ten years since 1790, the federal census has provided a snapshot of the American people. The 1940 census recorded that critical period in American history as the country was still recovering from the Great Depression and before its entry into World War II. After 5 months of intensive indexing, the census is now completely searchable on the two most popular genealogy websites, Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org. This includes ALL of the 48 states, as well as territorial censuses for Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Puerto Rico, and American Virgin Islands. Hooray! One important detail to keep in mind is these two websites were indexed by different groups of people, meaning the results may vary - if you don't find who you are looking for on one site, try the other!

To access the Ancestry Library Edition, visit our Research Database collection at any library location and select Ancestry Library Edition from the Genealogy category. Ancestry.com is currently offering free access to the 1940 Census records online, and Familysearch.org is always free to the public. Clueless about how to start your family tree? Check out some of the genealogy books in our collection.

"Tales of the New World"

From time to time, the desire or the time to commit to a full length novel just isn't there; this is where short stories come in. The best selling point of short stories is that if you are not particularly interested in one story, you can move on the the next without the guilt that can come with putting an entire book to rest without consideration.

Tales of the New World is a collection of ten short stories by PEN/Faulkner Award winner Sabina Murray. Some of the stories are firsthand accounts and others outside perspectives of exploring new lands around the world. Murray delves into the complex world of writing historical fiction focused on recognized historical figures. A few well-known explorers are represented in this compilation, including Magellan and Balboa, as well as lesser known explorers, such as English-born Mary Kingsley.

While there is a definite tone of bleakness and isolation, Tales of the New World offers a fascinating glimpse into the perspective of world explorers, with fictional tales of adventure tinged with strife.

Auto History Night! The World Of Classic Cars

Thursday July 12, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Celebrate the history of automobiles and the 2012 Rolling Sculpture Car Show! Joseph Jendza (Top Hat John) and Victoria Mobley (of the Society of Automotive Historians) discuss classic cars and popular culture.

This event is also part of the day-long celebration of the DDA's opening of Library Lane (the parking structure next to the Library).

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