Cinema Night Special: Discover Fresh Takes on Storytelling Through Animation, Plus Live Music

Friday, May 3 | 6:30-8:30 PM | Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room | Adults

This coming Friday, Cinema Night Special will present two vastly contrasting examples of storytelling through animation. The evening kicks off with a fanciful Oscar-winning short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore -- created in a "hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals."

The 80-minute, critically accritically-acclaimed Czech film "Alois Nebel," (Best Animated Film, 2012 European Film Awards) draws from vastly different inspiration —classic film noir. Rendered in mesmerizing black-and-white rotoscope, this darker film traces the haunted memories and mysterious visions of a troubled Czechoslovakian train dispatcher, haunted by events in the Second World War.

Between films, local band Cash Harrison & The Terrible Decisions will perform a live set, and fresh popcorn will be served.

Enjoy this special evening of film and music!

America's Music Film & Discussion: Swing Jazz

Wednesday April 10, 2013: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Mark Clague, Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of Research at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, leads this screening and discussion session on Swing Jazz Music focusing on the documentaries: Ken Burns' Jazz: Episode 6: Swing, the Velocity of Celebration and International Sweethearts of Rhythm. This screening is part of AADL's participation in the America's Music film/discussion/concert series.

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

Extraordinary Tale of Survival

Like all accounts of the Holocaust The Girl in the Green Sweater is disturbing and riveting at the same time. Krystyna Chiger is a young child when her family flees into the sewers to escape the final liquidation of Jews in Lvov, Poland. The Chigers do not spend those 14 months alone in the sewers. They start out as a group of around 20 people who all have connections to one another, but as time passes, there are people who choose to leave the sewers and take their chances above ground and others who die underground. In between these weighty occurrences, Chiger explains some of the everyday tasks that this tiny community had to preform in order to survive. This provides a surprising and disturbing look at what humans can actually live through. Being surrounded by human waste and severely lacking clean water, it is amazing that there were not more fatalities. This story of survival is inspiring, especially when told through the eyes of a child.

The importance of family is emphasized continually throughout the narrative. More than once Chiger describes horrific conditions but goes on to say that she did not mind them because her family was together. It is heart wrenching to think about all of the families that were not so lucky.

If this story interests you, but you are more cinematically inclined, you can check out In Darkness which is the new film depiction of the little community's time in the sewer from the director of Europa, Europa, Agnieszka Holland.

For an overwhelming list of other materials regarding the Holocaust, click here.

A Literary Spring Break

As hard as it is to believe, Spring Break is just around the corner! Not sure where to go or what to do? Let literature be your guide!

Taking a trip to New England? How about stopping at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, MA, the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT, or the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Gardens at the Springfield Museum in Springfield, MA?

A fan of the yellow brick road and ruby slippers? Check out the Oz Museum in Wamego, KS or the All Things Oz exhibit in Chittenango, NA, both places dedicated to the work of L. Frank Baum.

Looking for something a little more rustic? Three locations in the center of the U.S. pay tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series: Mansfield, MO; De Smet, SD; and Walnut Grove, MN.

Journeying to the west coast? How about a tour of and a picnic in the gorgeous Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, CA?

Want to go abroad? Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, lived in and set her stories on the charming Prince Edward Island in Canada.

If you already have spring break plans, now’s a good time to start planning for summer vacation!

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.

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