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.

Bibliocraft - A Crafter/Library Lover's Dream

An honest question here: Do you love your library? If you're here, on this page, reading this, then I can pretty much guess that you do. I'm not surprised; your library has so much to offer! Books, and games, and science-y things--and now, for all of you library-loving crafters out there, a book that can help you combine your crafting talents and your undying love of all things LIBRARY.

Bibliocraft. How perfect is that? A book that tells its reader all about how to harvest crafting inspiration from the endless potential on the library shelves. It starts you out slow and steady, walking you through some library basics, like how to find what you want in a library catalog and some important points about copyright in library books.

And then it gets real. Part 2: THE CRAFTS.

The rest of the book is a smorgasbord of amazing projects inspired by library resources like, oh, perhaps, the ones you might find here. Historic watermarks transformed into pillows, Japanese family crests turned into coasters, votive holders, pendants made from quilled paper, and, my personal favorite, instructions for making a pocketed kitty-kat apron. With...wait for it...additional instructions for making actual knitted kittens to put in those pockets. Because why not?

You had me at "kitties", Bibliocraft.

And don't forget, along with this biblio-gem, the library has dozens of other awesome craft books and crafting programs, so make sure to check them out! (...see what I did there?)

Red Libraries

In the epilogue of Rosamund Bartlett's Tolstoy: A Russian Life, she traces the evolution of the great writer’s place in the new Bolshevik state. Some of this appraisal, not surprisingly, was based on an article V.I. Lenin wrote in 1908 praising Tolstoy's immense pride in his mother country, while being critical of his lifelong attachment to the gentry. In a speech by Anatoly Lunacharsky, made on Sept. 9, 1928, the centenary of the Tolstoy’s birth, the Bolshevik journal Red Librarian stated that Count Leo Tolstoy was the only pre-revolutionary Russian writer to have maintained his popularity. Bartlett stated that rural Russians often waited for months to read the one copy of War and Peace from the local library. It’s good to know that libraries and the Red Librarian had a place in the Soviet Union, and that you can still get many of Tolstoy’s works at aadl!

For the Child Learning to Write: Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub is a fun, witty picture book about Little Red, a brave little red pencil who sets out to write a story using what she knows about grammar and writing. First, however, she must face the hungry pencil sharpener, the Wolf 3000. Here is a sample of the cleverness of this book: ". . . she found herself writing a sentence that would not end but just kept going and going and running on and on although it had no purpose yet it would not get out of her story or say anything important . . . " School Library Journal named this one of the Best Picture Books of 2013.

Great Library Collections At Your Fingertips!

If you've always been curious about the treasures hidden deep inside the Vatican Library or the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, wonder no more! The two libraries are in the midst of a four-year project to digitize many of their most important works, including various Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and Gutenberg Bibles. Accessing the digitized content can be done by visiting http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/.

And if you've always wanted to check out the Vatican and Bodleian Libraries in person but just can't find the time, you're in luck! From DVDs about the collections, to Books about the buildings, to Audiobooks about the people who have shaped them, AADL has you covered!

Bernard Waber, creator of the beloved Lyle the Crocodile picture books, has died

Bernard Waber, who turned his commercial graphic arts training into a successful career as a children's book author and illustrator, died May 16th.

Waber, a World War II veteran and devoted movie buff, first introduced Lyle the lovable crocodile in his 1962 book, The House on East 88th Street. In this fanciful, gentle, funny story, the Primm family discovers Lyle hanging out in the bathtub of their Upper East Side brownstone. Lyle made several more appearances, including in Lyle Finds His Mother (1974) and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (1965). His final Lyle book, Lyle Walks the Dog: A Counting Book (2010), was a collaboration with his daughter Paulis Waber.

While most of Waber's books involved whimsical illustrations of animals -- The Mouse that Snored and the delightful A Lion Named Shirley Williamson (1996) -- Waber also had a gift for using human subjects to zero in on and allay common childhood anxieties. In Ira Sleeps Over (1972), little Ira frets about whether or not he can bring his teddy bear to a sleepover. In 2002, Waber published Courage in response to September 11th. He had started it before the attacks, but added firemen and police officers to his examples of people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who exhibit courage every day.

Waber forever endeared himself to book and movie lovers when he said that the way he endured frequent relocations as a child was to seek reassurance from his parents that wherever they moved, a library and movie theater would be close by. "...The Library and cinema were life-giving urgencies, a survival kit for any new neighborhood."

Waber, who was 91, died at his home in Long Island.

Tunes 'n' Tales By Tricia

Monday, April 1 | 10 - 11 am | Malletts Creek | Preschool - Grade 3

Tricia Kjolhede is an amazing entertainer with years of classroom experience and knowledge of child development. She doesn't perform FOR kids; she performs WITH kids! Tricia brings music and movement, allowing for differing learning styles, many opportunities for self expression, and a chance for all to develop self confidence. She uses songs that make playtime learning time too.

Explore the fun of musical expression with Tricia at Tunes 'n' Tales!

Drummunity Comes to AADL

Friday, January 4 | 10 - 11 am | Malletts Creek | Grades K - 5

Give the drummer some! Join us for Drummunity, a unique, hands-on drumming experience at Malletts Creek on Friday, January 4th from 10 - 11 am. With her multicultural collection of drums and percussion, Lori Fithian can always get a group of strangers drumming, singing, and dancing - creating their own "Drummunity" orchestra!

"A 'Drummunity' circle is a high energy, fun and empowering activity. Lori Fithian, drum circle facilitator and workshop leader, will bring her collection of hand drums and percussion toys to the library to transform our community into a “Drummunity” – a word she invented for the community-building that happens when people come together around a circle of drums."

This event is for grades K - 5.

Wonderful New Picture Book: 'Waking Dragons'

When illustrator-author Derek Anderson visited the Malletts Creek Branch of the AADL in October, I watched as Ann Arbor children and adults fell under his spell. Sketching shapes looked like such fun! Anderson even talked a bit about his life and career. Afterwards I was drawn to buy his book, Waking Dragons and to have it signed for my son. I took the book home, read it, and stole it back for myself.

This picture book, written by master storyteller Jane Yolen, is beautiful and magical, and brought to life by Anderson's gold-washed paintings. After the dragons "bumble" and "tumble" out of bed, the determined boy-knight who is in charge of them prepares a delicious breakfast of waffles -- served from a catapult -- in time for the dragons to fly the boy off to Knight School. As you read the rhymes, don't miss the humor, such as the sign on the fire extinguisher, "In Case of Dragon Breath."

Anderson probably is best known for his Little Quack books, but I'm also a fan of Gladys Goes Out to Lunch. For more good reading for adults, go to Derek's web page, and read "In the Studio: A Creative Journal." Fascinating.

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