FREE Tax Preparation Assistance in Washtenaw County

The Washtenaw County Asset Coalition is offering both traditional VITA tax preparation services as well as access to tax preparation software for persons wanting to prepare their own taxes with access to a tax coach. The household income limit for free tax preparation is $52,000 this year, though they can offer free e-filing for self preparers with incomes under $58,000. Call (734) 677-7235 for an appointment. Appointments are held at the Washtenaw United Way on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, February 2: 5:30-8:30pm
Saturday, February 15: 10am-4pm
Wednesday, February 19: 5:30-8:30pm
Saturday, February 22: 10am-4pm
Wednesday, February 26: 5:30-8:30pm
Wednesday, March 26: 5:30-8:30pm
Saturday, March 29: 10am-4pm
Wednesday, April 2: 5:30-8:30pm
Saturday, April 5: 10am-4pm
Wednesday, April 9: 5:30-8:30pm

Biakuye Percussion Group in concert: an MLK Day Event

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The acclaimed percussion group Biakuye will be at the Downtown Library's Multi-Purpose Room for a special concert on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday January 20, 2014, from 1-2pm, performing original compositions and arrangements grounded in American innovation and African traditions.

Among the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa, Biakuye means unity. It is the spirit of unity that brings the American and African members of Biakuye together to perform "Melorhythmic world percussion," uniting the cool sound of American jazz vibraphone, drum set, and electric bass with the melorhythmic richness of African xylophone, kalimba, and hand drums.

Or, as their website puts it, ".....wooden keys suspended over gourds and spider webs….rosewood bars connected to electric pick-ups….seed pods spun like a yo-yo… metal bars, flattened tire spokes, a contoured red box… goat-skin drums and electric bass… These are the sources of Biakuye’s captivating sound—a sound that is both deeply grounded and cutting-edge. The resulting music reflects the unique journeys of its four members, which have taken the group’s West African born artists to the United States and taken its American born artists to Ghana, Uganda, Trinidad, and Cuba."

Check out a video of the group here and sample some album tracks.

Assistive Technology at AADL

Adults and children with visual or cognitive disabilities can have easy access to information and entertainment through several types of Assistive Technology at Ann Arbor District Library.

From hand-held magnifiers, to text-to-speech software, to Braille printing, AADL has an assortment of accessible technology available during all regular library hours. Not sure how to use this type of technology? Also available, is walk-in training with an experienced instructor! Walk-in assistive technology training is available, at no charge, Tuesdays, 1-6 pm and Wednesdays, 9:30am-2:30pm, in the Assistive Technology Lab on the 2nd floor of the Downtown Library. Call 734-327-4224 for more information, or email wlbpd@aadl.org.

Interested in new technology? Mark your calendars for: "VISIONS 2014: What’s New in Technology for the Blind & Visually Impaired.” VISIONS will take place on Wednesday, May 14, at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building.

Large Print Materials-Easier on the Eyes

Perhaps you've realized that your eye sight isn't what it used to be. You don't need to give up reading, if that's the case, because AADL has a Large Print collection that can be mailed to eligible patrons as Free Matter for the Blind.

If large print is still difficult to read, you may want to consider submitting an application to the Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled. AADL administers the WLBPD to all eligible Washtenaw County residents. This program provides Digital Books and a Digital Player at no cost.

WLBPD Holiday Books

Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled patrons can browse the Michigan Braille & Talking Book Library (BTBL) or National Library Service online catalogs to find a good selection of Christmas mysteries, romances, cookbooks, or holiday stories for young people. Titles like "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" (DB26048/BR7225) or "It's Kwanzaa Time!" (DB42923) are available, as well as books about Hanukkah.

You can do a Word in Title search for a holiday using the online catalogs or call 734-327-4224, and a reader adviser will be happy to order them for you.

A Virtual Tour Of Ann Arbor Architecture

Did you know that the Judge Robert S. Wilson House has been called the most famous house in Ann Arbor? It was built as early as 1835 and has perfect proportions.

Learn the history of the many fascinating buildings around us with the Ann Arbor Architecture Archive, AADL's online gallery of images and text about Ann Arbor's historic buildings.

Get the Facts About the Affordable Care Act

Join MSU Extension experts for a live, online webinar to learn how you can get the most out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Sessions for individuals and families will be held on Mondays from 9 am to 11 am, 3 pm to 5 pm, and 6 pm to 8 pm. The same information will be provided during each time period. Sessions for farmers, self-employed people and small business owners will be held on Mondays from noon to 2 pm. To participate, log on to connect.msu.edu/healthinsurance. Click "guest" and type any name to attend anonymously.

AADL's Library Songsters Program Highlighted

Music EducatorMusic Educator For more than a decade, AADL's Library Songsters Program has brought area folk and blues musicians into classrooms though a partnership with the Ann Arbor Public Schools. The program teaches students, with the guidance of a professional musician, how to compose original songs, based on a unit of history or a related subject that students are studying in the classroom.

The just-published Fall 2013 issue of Michigan Music Educator highlights AADL's unique program, which has meant so much to hundreds of area youth.

U-M Star Billy Taylor & AADL's Old News

Record-setting, 3-time All-American and team MVP Billy Taylor began his career at U-M at the same time as coach Bo Schembechler. Despite his amazing college achievements, he later saw his world come crashing around him as he battled addiction, incarceration and homelessness on the streets of Detroit.

If you missed the inspiring Monday, December 2 AADL screening of the documentary of Billy's life - or if you want to know more about this amazing individual who faced despair but turned his life around. - AADL has an online collection of information about this and other compelling local stories. Documentary filmmaker Dan Chace used AADL resources to research content for the film. Here is a selection of articles gathered on Billy Taylor.

You can easily view thousands of similar articles from local Ann Arbor newspapers over the years, including the Signal of Liberty, The Ann Arbor Argus, The Ann Arbor Courier, and The Ann Arbor News by visiting oldnews.aadl.org.

Six Years of Podcasts!

There are over six years worth of podcasts available at AADL.org; a collection that is growing all the time. Listen to guests from a variety of fields, such as representatives from Ann Arbor businesses, past and present. These selections include talks with former employees of Argus Camera, Ann Arbor Chronicle publisher Mary Morgan, Charles Schlanderer Sr. and Charles Schlanderer Jr. of Schlanderer & Sons, David Vogel of Vogel's Lock & Safe, longtime realtor and Ann Arbor District Library trustee Ed Surovell, and Guitar Studio legend Herb David.

You can also subscribe to Audio Podcasts of programs from AADL's Video Collection. Or get the Video Feed itself.

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