U. S. Government

Film: The Armor of Light

In a gripping portrait of courage, director Abigail E. Disney follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the moral strength to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. THE ARMOR OF LIGHT tracks Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Reverend Schenck is shocked and perplexed by the reactions of his long-time friends and colleagues who warn him away from this complex, politically explosive issue.

This film is being screened in partnership with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America of Washtenaw County.

Participate in this year's Washtenaw Reads!

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America is this year’s Washtenaw Reads book selection. Researched and written by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the book details the lives of six different families who barely survive on less than $2.00 a day in various parts of the country. Eye-opening and alarming, the book also explains the laws behind the reasons that some people are forced to live on so little. The authors will speak at Rackham Auditorium on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00p.m. The event includes time for questions and book signing.

The AADL is also hosting several more intimate discussions of the book. The first of these takes place on Wednesday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown Library multipurpose room. The second will occur on Sunday, February 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Westgate Branch in the Westside Room. All are welcome to attend these guided discussions, with no registration required. Participants may want to bring a copy of the book—available at all AADL locations—to reference during the discussion.

For more events surrounding this year’s Washtenaw Reads selection, follow the link here.

Looking for resources about $2.00 a Day, including interviews with the authors and related reading? Visit the link here.

Film & Discussion: How to Let Go of the World And Love All the Things Climate Can't Change

Concerned about climate change?

This special screening of the latest film by Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox ([Gasland) focuses on the impacts climate change is having around the world. In "How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change," Fox contemplates our climate-impacted future, focusing on the human qualities that global warming can't destroy.

"It's a fascinating, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring ride." — Andrew O. Hehir, Salon.com

The screening will be followed by a brief discussion on global warming. This 127-minute film is not rated.

This event is cosponsored by the Ann Arbor Chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby and 350 SE Michigan.

The Hamiltome is Here!

Hamilton, the smash-hit Broadway hip-hop musical about Founding Father and America’s first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton (yes, you read that right), has taken the world by storm. Performances are sold out through the end of this year, and celebrities from Busta Rhymes to Madonna all the way up to Dick Cheney and the Obama family have raved about the show.

If you’ve been listening to the Broadway cast soundtrack non-stop since it came out, you probably already know all about Hamiltome, the nickname for the newest book about the musical. Many Broadway shows publish libretti with music, lyrics, and notes about the show, but Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and collaborator Jeremy McCarter have put together something more like a scrapbook. In addition to the traditional libretto, Hamilton: The Revolution features large color photos of the cast, set, and show; plus historical background information, interviews, and footnotes from Miranda and the cast. It was published this week, and you can place a hold on it from AADL!

If you just can’t wait for it, and need to dive deeper into Hamilton and his contemporaries, try one of these:

Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton tops the list of further Hamilton reading, and is in fact the inspiration for the musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda took this 800-page tome on vacation as some nice beach reading, connected with the plight and struggle of a man writing himself out of hard times, and started composing the musical when he got back from vacation. This is the definitive Hamilton biography, a vivid and detailed portrait of a multi-dimensional man who came to a new country and made himself a new man.

Hamilton wrote prolifically, and there’s no better way to understand that than by picking up the 1108-page collection of his writings, which includes letters, speeches, the infamous Reynolds Pamphlet, and all 51 of the Federalist Papers he authored. Flip through, and you might even notice some lines from his actual writing that became lyrics in the show. Be certain to read some of the affectionate letters he wrote to his wife Eliza and the series of letters with Aaron Burr that led to their fateful duel.

After the duel, Aaron Burr would often casually refer to Alexander Hamilton as “my friend Alexander Hamilton, whom I shot.” They were, at the very least, colleagues, and even worked together as attorneys for the defense in America’s first sensational and fully transcribed murder trial. Duel with the Devil, by Paul Collins, shares the scandal of the Manhattan Well Mystery and the trial of suspect Levi Weeks, plus some of the political backstory of the two legendary rivals.

Don’t throw away your shot to learn more about this Founding Father’s fascinating life and career. Placing a hold on one of these books is easy, waiting for it is harder.

Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of the United States Through The Tale of Francis Scott Key’s Most Famous Song

The story of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the story of the United States itself. The melody was famously set to new words by amateur poet and lawyer Francis Scott Key after the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

Since the “dawn’s early light” on that now emblemmatic day, the song has grown and changed in ways largely forgotten today. This lecture and discussion by U-M Associate Professor of Musicology and American Culture Mark Clague will explore the history of the U.S. national anthem as a witness to the story of the nation itself.

This event is held in conjunction with the Downtown Library exhibit: Banner Moments: The National Anthem In American Life, which is on display in the Multi-Purpose Room through August. Celebrating the bicentennial of the U.S. National Anthem, this exhibit illustrates through interpretive panels, historical documents and photographs, the cultural 200-year history of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1814–2014). The tale that emerges demonstrates the power of music and poetry to spark the social imagination and thus create a sense of shared community.

Mark Clague is a native of Ann Arbor and longtime fan of the Ann Arbor District Library. He serves as Associate Professor of Musicology and American Cutlure at the University of Michigan and is editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and director of the University’s Gershwin Initiative.

Ann Arbor Elections: What Works? What Doesn’t?

The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area (LWV-AAA) host this first in a series of two public conversations on the current process of electing local public officials. This session will explore both the strengths and weaknesses of our current system, discussing such issues as voter turn-out, student participation, and cost in terms of both dollars and effort of running for office, independent candidates, and other related topics.

Panelists include David Askins, former Editor of the Ann Arbor Chronicle; Lou Belcher, former Mayor of Ann Arbor; and Jean Carlberg, former City Council Member.

Get an Inside Look at the White House...When Audrey Met Alice

Ever wonder what life is like for a kid in the White House? Then check out When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens.

Thirteen-year-old Audrey Rhodes became the First Daughter when her mother was elected the first female President of the United States. Sadly, life in the White House is far more frustrating than fun. After her last hope of making friends at her new school is ruined by a security breach, Audrey feels alone and miserable. Then she discovers the diary of Alice Roosevelt, eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt and a former First Daughter herself. Alice seems to understand exactly how Audrey is feeling, and while reading about the lively and rebellious Alice – whose antics included taking her pet garter snake, Emily Spinach, to dinner parties and sneaking a boy into the White House by dressing him up like a girl – Audrey decides to try out a little of Alice’s rebellious spirit. By channeling Alice, Audrey is eventually able to stand up for a cause both she and Alice believe in – marriage equality.

I have been a big fan of Alice Roosevelt ever since reading the wonderful picture-book biography What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, and so I loved getting to learn more about Alice and her White House adventures. Readers who enjoy spunky female characters and kids who stand up for what they believe in will definitely enjoy meeting Alice for themselves.

Tonight: Maximize Your Medicare

Jae Oh, author of Maximize Your Medicare, will discuss Medicare and its impact on the consumer. Learn what Medicare is, what to do with it, and how to save money when using it. Issues related to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act will be addressed. Books will be available for purchase following the program.

ABCs of Medicare | Jae W. Oh, MBA | Tuesday, July 9, 7-8:30 pm | Downtown Library

Michael Hastings, brilliant journalist who brought down a General, has died

Michael Hastings, author and award-winning journalist for Buzzfeed, died yesterday in Los Angeles.

In the June 22, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Hastings wrote a blistering piece on then-General Stanley McChrystal who was commander of American forces in Afghanistan. Quotes from McChrystal and his aides were so highly critical of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that the General resigned shortly thereafter. Hastings received a 2010 Polk Award for this article.

Hastings' early career as a driven, heat-seeking missile for the truth included writing for Gentleman's Quarterly and Newsweek. Then in 2007, Hastings' world was rocked. He and his fiancee, Andi Parhamovich were both stationed in Baghdad (he was writing for Newsweek; she was an aide worker for The National Democratic Institute. Andi died in an ambush on January 17th and Hastings returned to his parents' home in Vermont, where holed up in their attic for two months while he wrote I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story (2008), a keening, bitter, loved-filled tribute to Andi.

Hastings' last hard copy book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War on Afghanistan came out last year. His last book, published earlier this year in Kindle-only format, is
Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama's Final Campaign.

Hastings, who was only 33 years old, was killed in a high speed car crash.