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.

Who Doesn't Love Tyrannosaurus Rex?

If I could choose one way to die - being eaten by a T-Rex. Happy Valentines Day! We've just shelved the newest addition to our growing Science Tools collection, a Tyrannosaurus Rex 1.2 kit. You get not one, not two but three detailed T-rex models; a cast of the current world record holding largest T-rex tooth yet discovered; one cast of a T-rex foot claw; and a cast of its brain; along with the supercool adventurer/travelogue book Dinosaur by Stephanie Stansbie and a copy of the DVD Dinosaurs Decoded. Visit the Downtown Library to check out the Stuff Shelf, where you can also find our Tyrannosaurus Rex 1 and Tyrannosaurus Rex 2 kits, along with our other Science Tools, Music Tools and Home Tools. Watch for Art Tools coming soon!

Meet the OP-1 from Teenage Engineering

Now available for checkout is the OP-1 synthesizer from Teenage Engineering. This is one of the coolest little synths we've played with in a long time. It comes loaded with 24 voices, 8 synth engines, a super neat sequencer and a 4 track virtual tape machine, all topped off with a superbly designed user interface that is amazingly fun to interact with. Visit the Downtown Stuff Shelf to borrow one today, and while you're there check out our other Music Tools, Science Tools and Home Tools.

Family Science Workshop

Are you a dinosaur lover?

Then join us for Dining on Dinos: Long Necks, Sharp Teeth, Club Tails, Killer Claws on Saturday, January 18 from 10-11 AM at the Pittsfield Branch. This Family Science Workshop from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will introduce young dinosaur lovers to what fossils can teach us about dinosaurs. The event is intended for children K-5 accompanied by an adult.

You can learn more about dinosaur fossils by checking out these dinosaur fossil books. Be sure to also check out our Science Tools, some of which include models of dinosaur fossils.

See all of our upcoming Family Science Workshops here.

Visit The Downtown Stuff Shelf and Check Out Some Stuff!

Are you looking for things to do over the holiday break? Then why not pay a visit to the Downtown Library and check out our Stuff Shelf. The Stuff Shelf is where is keep our extensive and growing collection of tools, gadgets and other cool things.

If you're looking for sciency stuff then we've got telescopes and microscopes, more microscopes and lots of devices for measuring things like environmental quality and sound.

More interested in stuff you can use around the home (perhaps you are trapped there for the week), then we've got devices for measuring your energy use and testing your microwave and determining the best place to hang a painting.

If you know someone currently in their dinosaur-phase (for some of us this lasts a lifetime) we've got a series of dinosaur fossil kits so you can check out a T-rex tooth or a Triceratops horn or a Velociraptor skull.

If things are a little too quiet around the house then check out our collection of musical devices. We've got items great for beginners like Boomwhackers and Bliptronics and Pocket Pianos, as well as devices for more advanced users like Microbrutes and Volca Basses and Pocket Pianos again (which really are great for both beginners and experienced users alike).

Have fun and let us know how it goes.

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!

New Prehistoric Life Kits

Check out our new prehistoric life kits. Each contains a mixture of fossil casts, books, DVDs and models, all wrapped up in a protective case. Case sizes range from about as big as an apple crate to about as big as a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull - you can find the exact measurements in the Specifications field in their catalog records. They checkout for 1 week and are requestable for pickup at any location.

Trex #1, Trex #2, Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus), Sabertooth Cat, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, Therizinosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Albertosaurus and Spinosaurus

Find them and more at

New Collections And New Ways To Borrow!

Today we present two new collections: Science Tools and Home Tools!

Science Tools help you explore the world around you in fun and creative ways. Get an up close look and discover secret details invisible to the human eye with a powerful stereomicroscope, or go mobile in the field with a digital pocket microscope and see what you can turn up under logs and in puddles; devise experiments with a variety of handheld meters for measuring ultraviolet light, electromagnetic fields, sound, radio frequency microwaves and environmental quality; and gaze into the cosmos with a Dobsonian telescope. Many new Science Tools will debut this summer, so watch the link above for updates!

Home tools are things that come in handy around the house. We’re starting with some uncommon tools that you might not have lying about, like an indoor air quality meter, a thermal leak detector and an infrared thermometer to accompany our existing energy meters.

But that’s not all! Today you also get a brand new way to borrow materials from AADL: Up For Grabs. Think of Up For Grabs as free Zoom Lends, where we set aside a few of our most popular items to be available for walk-in checkouts. Up For Grabs items are non-requestable and non-renewable, though you can still place requests on their non-Up For Grabs counterparts. They currently circulate for 1 week and are available on a first come first serve basis. Up For Grabs items have a special sticker so that you can find them on the shelf, and their own call number so that you can find them in the catalog. We’re starting out with some telescopes, stereomicroscopes and digital pocket microscopes, so if you’re deterred by long request lists or rental charges then keep an eye out for Up For Grabs!

Tools can be found on the Stuff Shelf, take a look!

We hope you enjoy your new tools and borrowing options, and let us know what you think.

Michigan Wildlife Exhibits From The Leslie Science And Nature Center

This summer we welcome back three live animal exhibits from the Leslie Science and Nature Center.

Visit the Malletts Creek Branch to see an eastern newt in an aquatic enclosure along with some little pond bug friends (at least until he eats them all). Drop in to the Pittsfield Branch to visit a grey tree frog who may even sing to you if you’re lucky. And be sure to stop by the Traverwood Branch for a lifecycle exhibit of the cecropia moth, currently housing last year’s cocoons, that will hatch into North America’s largest native moth over the next 3-5 days. The moths only live for about one week, and we release them after a few days, so you’ll need to hurry if you want to see them before they’re gone. The moths reproduce by laying eggs that hatch into caterpillars, who will spend the summer growing through several impressive phases before building cocoons for the winter. You’ll get to witness multiple caterpillar instars simultaneously at any given time in the enclosure, try to identify them all!

Be sure to watch for this Friday's badge drop at for a chance to earn Summer Game badges and points for visiting the critters, and read on for some sneak preview video!

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