Jan. 21: Youth Will Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at U-M

Mark your calendar for Monday, Jan. 21, when the MLK 2013 Children and Youth Program at U-M will happen from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the U-M Modern Languages Building, 812 E. Washington Street. The program, which is turning 15, will celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Over the years the program has drawn a total of more than 8,000 K-12 students from schools around southeast Michigan, offering them entertainment, fun, creativity and dialogue through storytelling, discussions, group projects, skits, rap poetry, and music. To register for this year's event, click here.

Award-Winning Documentary: Becoming Santa

Tuesday December 18, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join us for the delightful 2011 documentary Becoming Santa. This hilarious 93-minute film tells the true story of one ordinary man's quest to become the perfect Santa Claus. Watch his transformation and training at the Professional Santa School!

Follow stocky, middle-aged Jack Sanderson through his training and preparation and his different Santa gigs. Along the way, we meet many other ordinary people who are keeping alive the Santa spirit as professional Santas.

Holiday Films For The Little Ones

This time of year the hold lists grow for certain movies and TV show episodes that many wish to view. The good news is that there are plenty of cheery holiday DVDs on the shelves sure to please the kiddies. Here’s a list of some currently available DVDs, including A Flintstones' Christmas carol, Madeline's Christmas & other wintery tales, Frosty's winter wonderland, Curious George: A very monkey Christmas, Thomas & friends. Merry Christmas Thomas, and Strawberry Shortcake: Berry, merry Christmas. For more titles, here's a larger list of youth and adult holiday DVDs that AADL owns.

Classical Bells Holiday Concert

Saturday December 15, 2012: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Classical Bells returns to the Library for their annual concert! The group's primary instrument consists of 68 bronze plus 6 aluminum English handbells, a range of more than six octaves.

This eclectic programming, combined with sensitive musical interpretation, technical skill, informal choreography, and a dash of humor, gives Classical Bells the well-deserved reputation of Michigan's Premier Handbell Ensemble. Check out or place a hold on their albums!

DIY Decor!

Saturday December 15, 2012: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Create surprisingly sophisticated looking mod forms with paper and buttons to create hanging miniatures. Decorate your house for the holidays or anytime with your very own homemade touches!

This event is for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Your Guide to Buying Local This Holiday Season

Where will you shop for holiday gifts this year? It’s buy local week! In the recent years, local businesses in Michigan cities including Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have been participating in several “buy local” themed holiday sales in order to take some of the spotlight off of the big box stores. This growing trend to “buy local Michigan” is a great way to support our state’s economy. If you’re looking for gift ideas that will support southeast Michigan, or just the state in general, here are some ideas:

-Farmer’s Markets are on the rise! According to a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Michigan has been leading the country in the percentage growth of farmers markets over the last two years and also “ranks fourth among the states in the number of farmers markets.” There are several local farmer’s markets that are open year-round, such as The Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and The Detroit Eastern Market. Pick up a locally made loaf of banana bread for a stocking stuffer. Or, for the more adventurous, cook your own gifts to give from the fresh foods found at the markets. The AADL’s catalog has several local-themed cookbooks for you to draw ideas from.

-Michigan is famous for its vineyards and wineries. Take a friend or loved one who enjoys wine on a tour of Michigan wineries by following this guide. Or pick up a bottle from a local winery.

-Speaking of local drinks, Michigan is also well-known for its local breweries. Ann Arbor Brewing Company, Bell’s, and Arcadia are among some of the most popular Michigan breweries holding holiday sales this year.

-Within the last few years, there have been several “Michigan” themed retail stores popping up that stock Michigan-made products. Among these include The Michigan General Store in Ypsilanti, The Dixboro General Store, The Produce Station in Ann Arbor, and the website “The Mitten State” which sells vintage-inspired Michigan themed t-shirts and other Michigan-themed gifts. Buying gifts from Michigan retail stores is a great way to support your local and state economy.

-Over the next few weeks, Friday, December 7th, Friday December 14th, and Friday December 21st, Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor will be hosting “Festive Fridays” which include live street entertainment and extended hours for Main Street retailers! This is a great opportunity to enjoy and support your local economy.

-Connect with local crafters and support them at DIYpsi, coming up December 8th & 9th in Ypsilanti. Other local DIY craft events and holiday bazaars coming up include Tiny Expo in Ann Arbor on December 8th, the 7th Annual Holiday Baar Bazaar in Detroit on the 14th, The Detroit Mercantile Merry Market on the 15th & 16th, and The Detroit Annual Food Bazaar on December 10th.

-If you’re into crafting yourself, check out some of the craft programs coming up at the AADL to make your very own gifts to give!

-Do you have an avid reader to please this holiday season? Check out the AADL’s Friend’s of the Library Book Shop, located on the basement level of the Downtown branch. The shop’s holiday hours this season are: Saturdays, 10-4 and Sundays, 1-4 through December 16th, 2012. Then closed until January 5th and 6th, 2013. The shop includes a wide variety of gently-used books, CDs, DVDs, sheet music, and jigsaw puzzels.

Happy local holiday shopping!

December is Write a Friend Month

In the age of texting, Twitter, and email, letter-writing has become a lost art. Rediscover it by writing a heartfelt-note to distant family and friends on Letter Writing Day on December 7, during Write a Friend Month!

Learn how to compose a well-crafted letter with The Right Letter!: How to Communicate Effectively in a Busy World, or spruce up your grammar with It was the Best of Sentences, It was the Worst of Sentences. For teaching children the art of writing, try How to Write a Letter or How to Write Letters and Email.

If you want to get real fancy, how about trying your hand at calligraphy?

Red Planet Day - November 28th

Did you know that November 28th is Red Planet Day? Spacecraft Mariner 4 launched on November 28, 1964, and during its eight-month voyage it collected the first ever up-close images of Mars!

Exciting developments from the Mars rover "Curiosity" mission are to be announced in December, so now is a great time to read up on the fourth planet from the sun. From our catalog, check out The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must for adults, Mars for children, or the documentary Can We Make It To Mars?, part of the PBS Nova scienceNOW series. Just for fun, try the Edgar Rice Burroughs' science fiction series John Carter of Mars.

Find out more about Mars by visiting NASA's Mars Exploration Program website.

It was the Night Before Thanksgiving

It was the day before Thanksgiving, and I was intent on a search, for a free Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ypsilanti Free Methodist Church. The flyer tacked to the telephone pole did assert "Come enjoy turkey and the the fixings, including pie for dessert! At 1800 Packard Rd., 4:30-6:30 pm, across from Ypsilanti High athletic fields, the feast will commence. So if you are planning to join us Nov. 21 on Wednesday, call 734-482-2055 to reserve a seat for the number attending. Happy Holidays!

Make Your Own Cast Fossil

Wednesday, October 17 | 7-8pm | Pittsfield | Grades K-5

National Fossil Day is October 17! 'Rock' out with us and make your own cast fossil out of clay and plaster of paris while exploring a process that has created fossils in sedimentary rock for billions of years. We will also have fossils found in Michigan on display.

Fossils in the earth can be formed out of plants, or invertebrates like mollusks and arthropods, or vertebrates like dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. Fossils are found in different forms too. Sometimes they are turned to stone or preserved in amber, and other times they leave an imprint in the earth that is filled in by different minerals, forming a cast. We will replicate the process of creating cast fossils.

You're welcome to bring a small, hard item that can fit in the palm of your hand -- for example, a dinosaur toy or a sea shell -- or you can use the objects the library provides. Looking for more information on fossils? Check out these great books and videos from the AADL collection.

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