Hunting for Crayfish

I remember very little from childhood, but some of the memories I've retained involve swimming in neighborhood creeks and rivers, and hunting for crayfish in the summer. When I moved to Ann Arbor last year, it was great to see so many canoes and kayaks on the Huron River, but surprising to see so few people swimming in the water. The Huron River Watershed Council has addressed this issue by working with local organizations to put on Huron River events, such as canoe races, group swims, and educational courses. The HRWC has also compiled resources and reports on its website regarding the increased safety of the water. You can also find the seasonal Huron River Report periodical, as well as several other books on activities in the Huron River available at the AADL. Come on in, the water is fine!

A D.I.Y.L.R.B.B.V.R.R/CR.!

A D.I.Y.L.R.B.B.V.R.R/CR.C.!A D.I.Y.L.R.B.B.V.R.R/CR.C.!

That stands for: A Do It Yourself Living Room Baja Buggy Virtual Reality Radio Controlled Racer! The instructions for this DIY project can be found in the current issue of Make magazine.

Other projects in this issue include: a taffy pulling machine, a night light made with LEDs, an electric motorcycle, a primer on solar power system design, and more.

Copies of Make can be found at the Downtown, Malletts Creek Branch and Pittsfield Branch locations.

The 826 Gazette rocks!


Great news! The premiere edition of The 826 Gazette published by students of 826michigan is attractive and impressive. I just picked up a copy at the downtown library youth desk, and I particularly liked the articles ”Restaurant patrons to help fight cystic fibrosis,” by Maureen McCord, and “Michigan’s Green Schools initiative aims to make schools more environmentally friendly,” by Andrew Yoo. The newspaper was written and reported by local tweens age 10-14. Erik Gable of The Daily Telegram in Adrian helped with the journalism, many volunteers assisted, and printing was donated by The Ann Arbor News. Yay! Already I’m looking forward to the next issue this summer!

"Woman's Day" Magazine promotes libraries

womans daywomans day

"Woman's Day" Magazine and the American Library Association are co-sponsoring a new health initiative. The magazine is asking readers 18 or older to submit stories of 700 words or less on how libraries have helped them improve their own or a family member's health. Up to four of the stories will be featured in the March, 2009 issue. Deadline for submissions is May 11, 2008. For submission guidelines, go to their guidelines page.

But Wait ... There's More


The Local History Room at the Ann Arbor District Library also boasts a complete run of the Ann Arbor Observer from 1976 as well as the Observer's City Guide from 1987. We use the Observer constantly at the Reference Desk to answer all questions local. The covers alone are worth a visit!

An Economist holiday

Economist 12/22/2007 coverEconomist 12/22/2007 cover

If you've never read the annual holiday edition of The Economist, you're missing a rare treat. In addition to the magazine's typical insightful reporting and commentary, this edition includes several special reports on as sundry topics as professional poker to Mao Zedong's management style. Here are just a few articles that I enjoyed from this year's issue:

* Why humans' hunter-gatherer era wasn't quite as idyllic as we think
* The political sensitivity and power that comes from the Census
* China's attempts to encourage panda sex, and why we should care
* The political implications of electing a Mormon president.

Has your interest been piqued? Want to check out this issue of The Economist in its full-text glory? You're in luck! You can access it online in General OneFile, one of our great research databases. After you get into the database, just click the "Publication Search" link and search for The Economist. You will need to login to your account to follow the database link.

Green Holidays


Looking for a way to live and give green this season? Try Eco-Libris for ideas on “sustainable reading.” Eco-Libris is committed to seeking out books and practices that are easier on the environment. They offer a handy Holiday Green Gift Guide for Book Lovers and information on how you can sign up to plant a tree for every book you read, for a dollar a book.

Relatedly, The New York Times recently ran an interesting article on the idea of simplifying gift-giving in eco-conscious ways. Is it simplifying? Is it preaching “ecological responsibility?” Is it worth all the to-do? Will you be giving energy-efficient light bulbs as gifts, or snickering at those who do?

Hours of Crafting


The November issue of Hour Detroit, Detroit’s monthly magazine, features a great article about the local craft movement. The movement in general extends beyond crocheted potholders and Martha Stewart and has been on a slow rampage for the past several years. Artists, creators and makers do just that; make. Some do it to create and meet people and some are able to also do it as a full time job. Some have studios and some sell their wares online and in small boutiques on consignment. The Hour article gives face to local craft collectives like Handmade Detroit, the Michigan Design Militia and Loop- who get together to chat, craft and produce events for others to take part in. The article also features a handy guide to upcoming holiday craft fairs in Southeastern Michigan. For more reads, Bust, Venus (and soon Craft) are other magazines at the AADL with some edgy DIY appeal.

The impending death of the used bookseller

A provocative article on recently profiled several industries on the verge of extinction. Among the condemned: record stores, newspapers, and used bookstores.

As the article notes, newspapers aren't really going to die; they're just going to change. But what about those book and record stores? It would perhaps be more accurate to say that independent bookstores and record stores are under threat. Sure, a few widely successful independents will remain. But even iconic independents are finding it harder to stay open.

What do you think? Are independent book and record stores disappearing? Should we even care, in the age of the long tail thrift and accessibility of Amazon and Barnes & Noble? Or will such stores simply adapt like their allegedly-doomed newspaper brethren?

The Wall Street Journal, brought to you by Rupert Murdoch

Big news in the business world this week: Dow Jones, and along with it the vaunted Wall Street Journal, now belong to media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The WSJ reports that, despite some heavy opposition from the controlling Bancroft family, Dow Jones accepted the $5 billion offer from Murdoch's News Corporation.

The WSJ is quite a laurel in Murdoch's already well-laureled hat. News Corporation is one of the largest media companies in the world, with holdings including HarperCollins, The Times, MySpace, 20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting Company, and many more names you've probably heard of. Murdoch hopes that Dow Jones will complement these already formidable media holdings by providing trusted business and stock information.

Opponents of the sale, notably Leslie Hill of the Bancrofts, fear that Murdoch will compromise the journalistic integrity of the newspaper, as has been alleged with other of his holdings including Fox News, ReganBooks, and The Times. Whatever the ultimate result, there is one group that will undoubtedly be overjoyed by the sale: Dow Jones shareholders. Murdoch's $60/share bid is worth two-thirds more than current DJ stock prices.

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