February is National Bird-Feeding Month

It's been a rough winter here in Michigan, and we're not even done with it yet. But this weekend when I heard birds twittering in the trees amidst the snowfall, it put in mind the coming spring, and that's something to be excited for! While we're waiting for our beloved heralds of spring, the red-breasted robins*, there are still feathered friends among us who would probably appreciate a little celebration this February, so break out the seeds and suet - it's National Bird-Feeding Month!

Check out The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible, The Backyard Bird Lover's Ultimate How-To Guide, or The Bird Watching Answer Book for the who/what/where and when of feeding wild birds.

Not sure what birds you've got visiting your yard? Try Birds of Michigan: Field Guide, Birds of Michigan, National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: Michigan, or The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan. More of an auditory person? Birds of Michigan: Field Guide has an accompanying CD to help identify birds based on their vocalizations.

(*You can help observe and track the spring migration of the American robin. According to the data, looks like many are arriving early or have overwintered here!)

January is Get Organized Month!

The start of a new year is a great time to get your household, office, finances, and life in order. At AADL, we have a ton of books to help you on your path to orderliness!

Are you confused by the clutter that has consumed your family room? Are you never able to find important paperwork when you need it? Are you afraid of opening a close-to-bursting closet door for fear you may never get it shut again? Consider checking out some of the books in our Organizing Your Home list, which will help guide you through organizing the physical spaces as well as the intangible ones – finances, family, time, etc.

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you own? Having trouble letting go of items you don’t really use anymore? Do you ever feel mentally and/or physically exhausted keeping up with your belongings? Maybe it’s time to Simplify Your Life.

November is World Vegan Month

It's no secret that veganism - a lifestyle eschewing animal products - is on the rise. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman introduced to the world his popular "eat vegan before 6 p.m." diet this year with the release of his book VB6. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, John Salley, Emily Deschanel, Russell Simmons, and even former president Bill Clinton have been vocal about the benefits of their plant-based diets. Articles about the rise of veganism have appeared in New York Times, Huffington Post, Business Week, and Psychology Today. Vegan athletes are popping up in all kinds of disciplines - running, cycling, mixed martial arts, even football!

Whether you're a longtime vegan, a vegetarian thinking about making the switch, or an omnivore curious about plant-based diets, AADL has lots of great cookbooks to help you celebrate World Vegan Month!

For delicious meal ideas, check out the classic Veganomicon, the phenomenal Vegan Soul Kitchen, or the recent homage to Betty Crocker, Betty Goes Vegan. Got a sweet tooth? Don't miss Chloe's Vegan Desserts (the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are to die for!), The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (vegan and gluten-free diets can go hand in hand), or Easy as Vegan Pie (which also has savory pies - just in time for the holidays!). Just want to know more about plant-based living and its myriad benefits? We've got lots of books and DVDs on that.

Halloween at the Library!

Halloween is a great holiday for all ages to celebrate, and the AADL has excellent resources to help you make this Halloween especially fun! Browse in our Halloween section to find books like Tricks and Treats: The Ultimate Halloween Book, A Halloween How-To: Costumes, Parties, Decorations an Destinations, and Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living.

Check out our music collection to find Halloween CDs to help set the scene for a Halloween party or to play while kids get ready for trick-or-treating. We have Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween, Andrew Gold’s Halloween Howls, 57 Kids Greatest Halloween Songs, Games and Stories, and many other Halloween-themed CDs.

We have tons of Halloween picture books for kids in our youth Holiday section, and we have a number of youth-oriented Halloween events this year, too. There will be two Halloween Parties on October 31st downtown, from 9:30 to 10:00AM and from 10:30 to 11:00AM, and a Halloween Story Time at our Pittsfield Branch that evening from 7:00 to 7:30PM, where kids will be able to hear Halloween stories and make a craft. Come celebrate with us!

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Have you been considering adding a four-legged furry member to your family? Do you feel like you have the time and energy to devote to belly rubs and slobbery kisses and nice long walks under the red and orange trees of autumn, and also vet visits and 2 a.m. potty breaks and possibly some chewed shoes? Ready for a dog but not sure what to look for? Consider stopping by an animal shelter and seeing the wonderful dogs waiting for their perfect forever home, because October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

Humane Society of Huron Valley, which serves Washtenaw county, has many loving dogs in need of loving homes. Don't forget to check out Petfinder.com, which will help you locate other animal rescue groups in the area.

Need a little guidance? The Adopted Dog Bible is a great resource for anyone welcoming a shelter or rescue dog into their home.

Not ready to adopt, or already have a home full of furry friends? We have lots of books about other rescued animals that will warm your heart as the weather turns cold! (Warning: You might shed a few tears, too!]

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
Comet's Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life
Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish
Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls--One Flying Disc at a Time

September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy there! Well shiver me timbers once again Talk Like a Pirate Day is upon us and it will be a glorious one. If you are curious as to how this international event started, you can check out the story posted here on the original website. You can also view the countdown and see a map of events happening around the world that are related to Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you really want to embrace the pirate speak, you can even change your language settings on Facebook to English(Pirate). Now for a friendly disclaimer, pirates in reality were nothing to laugh about and the creators of Talk Like a Pirate Day will be the first to admit it. Pirates were and are for the most part pretty despicable people so the promotion of speaking like a pirate is not a general endorsement for the pirate lifestyle.

If you want to skip talking like a pirate and would rather read about or watch them instead, make sure to check out the materials that AADL has featuring these terrifying tormentors of the sea.

Fair winds me hearties!

June is National Audiobook Month

Will you be traveling during summer vacation? Do you have a long commute to work? How about listening to something while you clean the house or cook dinner? These are all great times to get a little reading in - by ear, of course! June is National Audiobook Month, and the Ann Arbor District Library has plenty of books on CD to help you celebrate.

For the younger set, Jim Dale brings life to all of the Harry Potter audiobooks, and Tim Curry brings mystery and intrigue to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. You may know James Avery as Will Smith's uncle in the 90's TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but he's also an extremely talented voice actor, and you can hear his work in the audiobook version of Christopher Paul Curtis' Bud Not Buddy.

If you're looking for a few good laughs, check out Stephen Colbert's satire I Am America (And So Can You!) or Tina Fey's biography Bossypants, each read by the author. For a gut-busting funny fiction read, try Lunatics, written and recorded jointly by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel. Barry and Zweibel take turns reading chapters from their respective characters, and I dare you to get through a single chapter without cracking a smile.

For the ultimate audiobook experience, however, you must try something from the inestimable Bill Bryson. Bryson is mostly well known for his travelogues like A Walk in the Woods (in which he walks the Appalachian Trail), but he has also written Shakespeare in Shakespeare : The World as Stage, the history of science in the extremely informative A Short History of Nearly Everything, and the history of private life in At Home. (Note: All the commercially available copies of Bryson's audiobooks are read by Bryson himself. However, several titles in the AADL collection are library edition copies and thus have different readers.]

May 17th is Endangered Species Day

Today is Endangered Species Day, so let's raise some awareness about the plight of Earth's endangered animals! We only have one earth and we all have to share it, humans and non-humans alike. Check out these books to learn more about how we can all help out.

Hope for Animals and Their World and Wildlife Heroes are two books about people around the globe who have worked hard (and are still working hard!) to bring back many different species from the brink of extinction. The Atlas of Endangered Species gives good information about all the endangered species from diverse ecosystems like forests, mangroves, and coral reefs. While many people know the plight of the polar bear, the panda, and the elephant, there are species of animals fighting for survival in our very own backyard. Can We Save Them? is a look at the endangered species of North America.

May is National Bike Month!

What better way to celebrate the return of warm weather than hopping on your bike and going somewhere? May is National Bike Month, so get your tires checked and peddle away!

Not sure where to go? Check out Washtenaw County Bike Rides : A Guide to Road Rides In and Around Ann Arbor for local trips. If you're a bicycle commuter, it's important to keep up with maintenance for those daily treks. Essential Bicycle Maintenance & Repair or The Urban Biking Handbook : The DIY Guide to Building, Rebuilding, Tinkering with, and Repairing Your Bicycle for City Living can help you with that. Looking for something comprehensive, covering maintenance, skill, and rules of the road? Try Effective Cycling. For the serious cyclist, take a look at Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die : Biking Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations.

Commuters, don't forget to get involved with Ann Arbor's getDowntown program!

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