Introducing LearningExpress Library 3.0!

MeL, or the Michigan eLibrary, has just updated its LearningExpress Library for all ages. The new website features a brand new interface, additional options for users, and more intuitive organization.

What is the LearningExpress Library? It's a database offered by MeL to help students of all ages test themselves in various categories, including:

  • Adults (also available in Spanish): Reading and math skills, becoming a U.S. citizen
  • High School: GED, TASC, HiSET, basic skills
  • College: ACT, SAT, AP, TOEFL
  • Elementary/Middle: content in core subjects

Who can use this service?
Anyone who is a permanent resident of the state of Michigan!

  • AADL Library Card holders: Log in to your AADL online account
  • AADL visitors: Log in to LearningExpress while visiting any AADL branch
  • Other option: Use your Michigan Driver's License or State I.D. to log into mel.org

Where can I go to start using LearningExpress Library?
You can access the LearningExpress Library in two ways:

  • Go to aadl.org and click on the Research tab. Click Test Prep.
  • Go to mel.org and click on Mel Databases. Scroll down to LearningExpress Library.

Note: Once you select a test to take, you will have to register (it's free!) with a username and password.

I was using version 2.0. What does this change mean for me?
You will have until June 30, 2014 to access your old testing sessions and results in version 2.0. Version 3.0 requires a new username and password.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #450 - For All Ages

Here is something extraordinarily fun and quirky and I hope, unexpectedly moving as well.

"If Roald Dahl had rewritten The Picture of Dorian Gray to include a gang of 24 bandits and a giant balloon, the result might have been Gianni Rodari's wonderfully improbable novel that, for all its humor, is loosely based upon the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Italian politician Aldo Moro" and that! would be Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto.

When we first meet 93-year-old millionaire Baron Lamberto, he has been diagnosed with 24 life-threatening ailments, one for each of the 24 banks he owns. But when he takes the advice of an Egyptian mystic and hires servants to chant his name over and over again, he seems to not only get better, but younger, to the chagrin of his ne'er-do-well nephew who is impatient to inherit.

When a terrorist group lays siege to his island villa, his team of bank managers has to be bussed in to help with the ransom negotiations, and a media spectacle breaks out . . .

Gianni Rodari (October 23, 1920 -April 14, 1980) was an Italian writer and journalist, most famous for his books for children. The recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1970, Rodari is a household name in Italy among educators and parents, not to mention children. Influenced by French surrealism and linguistics, Rodari advocated poetry and language play as a way to recover the rhythm and sound of oral tradition and nursery rhymes. One of Italy's most beloved fables, Lamberto is only now translated into English. Much of the charm lies with Maggioni's ink drawings in this edition.

Once Upon a Winter's Day 2014

Once Upon a Winter's Day 2014Once Upon a Winter's Day 2014

Being caught in the clutches of another polar vortex is no fun. So let's liven things up.
Come to the family storytime Once Upon a Winter's Day, 2014 version. It will be at
the Pittsfield Branch on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
We'll tell snow stories, polka like penguins, sing songs, sip hot chocolate and do a craft that's perfect for our sub-zero
temperatures.
Bring the whole family for an afternoon of winter fun.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Sunday, January 26 1-3pm DTN

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid program this Sunday will surely be hours of family fun. Although the event description says it's for grades 4-7, everyone is welcome!

Express your inner-cartoonist by writing silly "Zoo-Wee-Mama!" jokes, decorate a sugar cookie to look like Greg Heffley's face, and play a fun game of bean bag Cheese Touch Toss!

There may even be a special surprise for the parents (hint: it involves music)!

We hope to see you there!

Kid Support, Teen Time & Parenting with Cancer

Cancer affects a lot of people and when it's a parent or a child, it is particularly delicate for the entire family. Cancer Support Community provides groups for kids & teenagers who have a parent or loved one with cancer, either in treatment or post, or for children who have cancer themselves. This 4-week session begins Saturday, February 1st, and runs from 10:00am-12:00pm. This is a feel-good, positive group with age-appropriate activities. For more information and to learn about how to register for these free groups, click here.

MLK Event: Author/Illustrator Bryan Collier at AADL

We are very fortunate to be able to host author/illustrator Bryan Collier at AADL!!! He will be appearing at the Pittsfield Branch on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Mr. Collier has illustrated three titles that have garnered him Caldecott honors. He has won the illustrator medal of the Coretta Scott King Awards three times and had honor books another three times. His King Awards were for Rosa, Uptown, and Dave the Potter, Artist, Poet, Slave.

Start off the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day by coming to see this very talented illustrator.

The 780s - Music Books at AADL

If music occupies a big room in your pleasure palace, then browsing the 780s at Ann Arbor District Library will provide great rewards. Whether you're looking for scores to practice or perform, biographies to explore, or genre histories to absorb, surfing aadl.org or browsing on the third floor at the Downtown Library or in the Youth Dept. will be the mother lode. Titles like French Baroque Music: From Beaujoyeulx to Rameau, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll, Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music, Cats of Any Color: Jazz, Black and White, Yiddish Folk Songs from the Ruth Rubin Archive, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, Sabastian: A Book About Bach, The Mikado, or Teach Yourself Guitar, give you just a smattering of the wide selection. So visit aadl soon and find your musical bliss!

Audiobook: Scientists and Spies

Sometimes, the truth is even more exciting than fiction. At least it is in Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. This non-fiction account of the scientists and spies involved in the development of the first atomic bomb is an amazing story, full of gentle humor, suspense and thoughtful insights into the cost of developing atomic weaponry. While written for youth, this book will appeal to science and spy lovers of all ages. Parents should note, however, that descriptions of the atomic bombings and their horrific aftermath are included.

The book was awarded a Newbery Honor medal in 2013.

Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"The Electric Lady," Janelle Monae: The easiest way to categorize Janelle Monae's music would be "R&B," but the young singer-songwriter is far more versatile than that. As on her previous masterpiece, The Archandroid, she plays fast and loose with genres from funk to soul to rock to jazz...even a bit of baroque folk. Creating an android alter-ego for herself, she weaves bits of tongue-in-cheek sci-fi dialogue into the album, which plays like an hour of the funnest, funkiest radio you've ever heard. Featuring excellent guest artists from Prince to Erykah Badu. (Fun fact: if you haven't heard of Monae before, you've almost certainly heard her voice. She's featured on Fun's smash hit "We Are Young".)

"The Speed of Things," Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: If you're seeking some locally-grown jams, look no further than the new record from Detroit indie-pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. These guys seemed on the verge of major celebrity status with their previous record It's A Corporate World. While their latest isn't quite the big, radio-friendly push they need, it's still full of cheery, hooky, danceable tunes. (Just listen to "If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't On the Dancefloor)" and try NOT to spend the next hour humming that riff.)

"Dream River," Bill Callahan: Some may recognize Bill Callahan from his work under the name Smog, but he takes a more personal approach on this record, his fourth to be released under his own name. There's something fascinating, beautiful and a little spooky about Callahan's sparse, autumnal arrangements. You could describe the record's genre as "folk," but Callahan's whispery, often spoken lyrics are too unique to pin down to an established genre. Lie back and let Callahan's pensive lyrics and atmospheric arrangements wash over you.

Find more great new CDs here.

Blast from the Past: 'Eight is Enough'

Maybe it’s because I was an only child, but as a kid in the late '70s and early '80s Eight is Enough was my favorite TV show. I was devastated when it was cancelled after it’s 5th season in 1981.

Eight is Enough, originally based on the life and memoir of the same name by Thomas Braden, was a family comedy/drama about Tom, his wife Joan, and their eight children, David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas, living in Sacramento, CA. Actress Diana Hyland played Joan, but the actress became ill and tragically died shortly after the first episode aired. The entire show was retooled and Tom Bradford became a widower.

Abby, played by Broadway star Betty Buckley became Tom's love interest in season two. Son Tommy, played by Willie Ames became a teen idol and would later appear on the Scott Baio vehicle Charles in Charge. The brightest star to emerge from Eight is Enough didn't arrive until the final season: Ralph Macchio caused hearts to go pitter pat when he debuted as Abby’s troubled nephew Jeremy. Check out seasons one and two at AADL. Seasons three and four are on order!

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