Observing a Meteor Shower

The Perseid Meteor Shower is peaking right now and although the weather in Ann Arbor isn't exactly cooperating tonight, it looks like it may clear up in the next couple days. So prepare yourself for a shower of comet debris by grabbing one of our new binoculars, part of our collection of Science Tools. Even if the moon outshines the shower, at least you'll have the perfect tool for gazing at the mountains and craters of the moon.

Head Downtown to Check Out Lawn Games For The Weekend

Today is a great day to visit the Downtown Library and check our recently expanded Games collection. We've got giant garden checkers and dominoes, disc golf kits and colorful scoop ball sets, giant tumble towers, metal detectors & more. Also, we highly recommend that you get your Scandinavian lawn games fix with a set of Kubb (pronounced coob) the ancient viking lawn game of chance and skill. Most games circulate for one week and some can be requested, but most are offered on a first-available basis.

Games People Play

Just in time for summer, we have added games to our list of Unusual Stuff to Borrow. But, not just any ol' games! We now have giant-sized versions of small games and small-sized versions of giant games. Available only Downtown, we have giant lawn Checkers, giant Dominos, a mini Ping Pong table, Kubb and more, available for all AADL cardholders to check out.

The games are limited in quantity, and are on a first-come first-serve basis; they may not be renewed or requested. You can see the full catalog list of games here.

Framed Prints for Your Events

May and June are packed with graduation parties and weddings. Are you hosting an occasion and would like an inexpensive way to decorate the venue? You can borrow beautifully framed prints to display at your event from us.

AADL not only has books, music and movies for patrons to check-out, but many unusual items, including framed prints. The collection includes works by well-known artists including VanGogh, Matisse, Degas, Monet, Rivera, da Vinci, and Lichtenstein, just to name a few. You can browse the full selection in our catalog. Rentals for art prints extend for eight weeks.

Even if you aren't hosting a party, adding something new to your wall can freshen up any space. Stop in and browse today.

UMSI MakerFest

Are you interested in finding out more about the University of Michigan’s new Bachelor of Science in Information degree? Would you like to watch a demo of Google Glass, see a 3-D printer in action, learn how to crochet, or play with some of AADL’s music tools? If so, then you should definitely check out the UMSI MakerFest on Wednesday, March 26th from 12-2 PM at the Michigan Union.

So what is a MakerFest? UMSI's MakerFest grew out of the Maker Movement, which encourages people to combine their love of crafts and DIY projects with innovative technologies. MakerFest is an opportunity for "makers" of all types to get together, try out new tools, and most importantly, make new things.

This event is cosponsored by the School of Information, the Center for Campus Involvement, Ann Arbor District Library, All Hands Active, MakerWorks, U-M Computer and Video Game Archives, and Michigan Makers.

You can find out more at the UMSI MakerFest Facebook page.

March into a Book Club to Go!

Over the next few weeks the AADL will be rolling out six new Book Clubs to Go. There will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction that will include Amy Tan’s newest book, The Valley of Amazement and Robert K. Massie’s best-seller, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Keep your eyes open for the following titles:

Fiction:
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
Exiled to an equestrian boarding school in the South at the height of the Great Depression for her role in a family tragedy, strong-willed teen Thea Atwell grapples with painful memories while acclimating to the school's strict environment.

The Round House by Louis Erdrich
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Recruited into MI5 against a backdrop of the Cold War in 1972, Cambridge student Serena Frome, a compulsive reader, is assigned to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer whose politics align with those of the government, a situation that is compromised when she falls in love with him.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man's fantasy since her start as a 'Virgin Courtesan' at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world.

Non-Fiction:
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity

I Remember When: a 1974 video series made during Ann Arbor's sesquicentennial celebrations

Just in time for Ann Arbor’s 190th anniversary, AADL is pleased to release - for the first time! - I Remember When, a seven-part video series made during the city's sesquicentennial celebrations in 1974 "to tell the story of the important events that have happened in Ann Arbor's 150-year-old history."

In the first show, host Ted Trost says, "...the entire series will be recorded on videotape so that future generations of Ann Arborites may see and hear what it was like, way back when in 1974 - the year Ann Arbor celebrated her sesquicentennial.” And today, 40 years later, all seven episodes are available at aadl.org/irw for streaming and downloading!

Following an overview in the first show, each episode focuses on a specific topic - from city politics, the business community and religion, to entertainment, music and theater, and Ann Arbor’s Greek and German communities - and features interviews with several prominent citizens from that era. Together these films provide a snapshot of our city at a unique time and place in its history.

I Remember When was sponsored by the (at that time) Ann Arbor Public Library, in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Commission, and produced by students in the University of Michigan’s Speech Department.

Play the Theremin!

It is the only musical instrument that you play without touching it. Invented in 1920 by Leon Theremin, the Theremin's distinctive "otherworldly" electronic sound infuses such famous movie soundtracks as the original The Day the Earth Stood Still and Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. (A cousin of the Theremin, the Electro-Theremin creates "that sound" on The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations.) And if you watched the most recent season of the FX show American Horror Story: Coven, one of the witches on the show, Myrtle, played by the formidable and fantastic, Frances Conroy, played the Theramin on the show a few times. Wonder if you can play the instrument yourself? AADL is now offering a Moog Etherwave Theremin for checkout as part of the Music Tools collection, complete with User's Guide and the "Mastering the Theremin" DVD. Music Tools can be checked out for a week, are not renewable and not requestable. You can find them on the shelves next to the Downtown Library Circulation Desk.

Learn more about Leon Theremin's unusual life in the documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey and explore other electronic instruments in the Music Tools collection such as the Stylophone and the Monotron.

Now Available Through AADL: 250+ Downloadable & Streaming Albums from Ghostly International & Spectral Sound

For over a dozen years, record label Ghostly International has made Ann Arbor its home. Haven't heard of them? The Ann's piece highlighting them as a "hidden gem" will help get you up to speed.

Founded in 1999 in a dorm room by a then-UM student, Sam Valenti IV, the label has grown steadily in scope and size. Beginning with talented locally-based artists such as Matthew Dear and Dabrye, the Ghostly crew has expanded over the last decade-plus to include illustrious alumni and around a dozen currently active artists, including Shigeto, ADULT., and Tycho. A spin-off/related label -- Spectral Sound -- also emerged, and 100+ of their albums are also included in this special AADL collection.

As its roster of musical artists has grown, Ghostly has also maintained a careful, deliberate approach to the visual elements of each release (and to the aesthetic of the label as a whole), evident by their attention to cover design and frequent partnerships with companies that are beyond the imagination (aim) of many more traditional labels.

AADL is thrilled to partner with Ghostly to offer DRM-free downloads and streaming of 150+ Ghostly and 100+ Spectral Sound albums to all AADL cardholders. All you need is to have an AADL library card. Then, login with your linked AADL online account, and all of these tracks are yours for the listening!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a star exploded and you can see it today!

As reported yesterday, astronomers have detected what appears to be a Type 1a supernova - an exploding white dwarf - in nearby galaxy M82, the closest to us in 40 years. Supernova 2014J, as it's been named, is a little hard to see in small scopes right now, but it's predicted to grow significantly brighter over the next two weeks before it fades away - easy enough to spot in the library's 4.5-inch telescope and even binoculars.

M82, also known as the "Cigar Galaxy" because of its shape, is part of a popular galaxy pair (M81-M82) in a relatively dim region of the constellation Ursa Major, about a fist's width above the bowl of the Big Dipper in the northeastern sky. It's visible by 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. in our region and will be visible throughout the night.

Sky & Telescope has some additional information and star maps to help you find Galaxy M82.

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