The Puck Drops Here and the Winter Classic help ring in the new year in Ann Arbor!

At 1:00pm on New Years Day, hockey fans will pack The Big House in downtown Ann Arbor for the 2014 Winter Classic. The battle between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs is not only expected to shatter the record of the highest attendance ever at a hockey game, but is also expected to break the overall attendance record in the Big House, which currently stands at over 115,000.

To welcome visitors in town for the game and celebrate the New Year, local Ann Arbor groups have worked together to create The Puck Drops Here, an outdoor celebration being held in downtown Ann Arbor tonight. There will be over 6 hours of live entertainment throughout the event, most notably The Voice finalist and Ann Arbor native Michelle Chamuel, and a midnight ball drop on Main Street. Many Main Street restaurants plan to re-open their outside seating for the evening, so the guests can watch the festivities under the warmth of outdoor heaters.

In conjunction with this event, the Farmers Market space in Kerrytown will have family-friendly activities including a skating rink, ice carvings, and marshmellow roasting.

You can read more about activities related to these events at AADL. Kids will enoy Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet. Red Wings fans can explore The History of Hockeytown: Detroit Red Wings, 75 Years and The Winged Wheel: A Half-Century of Detroit Red Wings in Photographs. And, you can hear more of Michelle Chamuel’s work on Dancethink Systems, by My Dear Disco, the local band she was part of before competing on The Voice.

Happy New Year to all!

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.

Save the Date: Smart & Thrifty Energy Expo

Mark Thursday, January 30th on your calendar for the Washtenaw County Smart & Thrifty Energy Expo. The expo will be from 4 to 7 pm at the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center. Topics and presentations will include methods for conserving energy, home weatherization, new energy saving products, and alternative energy options. If you want to monitor the energy efficiency in your home, take a look at our home tools. These uncommon tools to check out from the library include three different kinds of energy meters!

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.

Inspired Addition - More Trees for Traverwood

WindbreakWindbreakOne of my very favorite spaces in town is the reading room of the Traverwood Branch Library. I think it is that combination of coziness, open space and trees, inside of the building, that makes me feel so calm. I didn't think it could get better until a donated piece of artwork was installed over the fireplace. Gale Nobe's black & white photograph, Windbreak, is the perfect addition to the space.The row of aspen trees in the image visually echos the tree-inspired architecture of Traverwood. We have exhibited Gale's work previously, but this venue highlights the lovely and haunting evening scene with the moon hanging overhead. Go in peace and enjoy!

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.

Performance Network Theatre: Jerry's Girls

Ann Arbor's Performance Network Theatre is showing Jerry's Girls, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, through Jan. 5. Herman worked on the concept with Larry Alford and Wayne Cilento. From the theatre's webpage: "Fabulous, flamboyant and fun for the whole family, 'Jerry's Girls' is the larger than life musical revue of Jerry Herman. Winner of four Tony Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement of Theatre, Jerry Herman and his music are synonymous with some of Broadway’s biggest hits – Hello Dolly!, La Cage Aux Folles, Mame, Mack and Mabel, Dear World, and more. Complete with large scale production numbers, tap dancing, and a little bit of drag – this is the perfect holiday excursion . . . " Ticket information is here.

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