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News and Reviews

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All Aboard the Freedom Train

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 12:47pm by oldnews

Freedom Train

On August 18, 1948, the Freedom Train pulled into Ann Arbor at Ferry Field. This traveling museum of the most important documents in American history gave people a rare opportunity to view and learn about America's founding documents, historic events and guiding principles. Washtenaw County decided to celebrate the exhibit in a very big way with a week of parades and events leading up to the train's arrival.

There was a Veteran's Parade, a Children's Parade, a Community Organization's Parade, a Voter Registration Day, parties and speeches throughout the County. The Ann Arbor News covered the events extensively and put out a special Freedom Train edition. Old News has published the photos the Ann Arbor News photographers took -- not just the few that made it into the paper. There were floats galore, bands aplenty, excited kids, a sea of bikes, long lines at Ferry Field and in the Exhibit.

An interesting part of the special edition were the ads by local merchants tailored to the exhibit. Each ad highlighted an important freedom like trial by jury and unlawful search and seizure, or a civic duty like voting and volunteering. The focus of many of the ads and speeches were those running for office, exhorting them to be fully educated to our Constitution, Bill of Rights and civil liberties. 1948 was a Presidential Election year and the Freedom Train's travels throughout the 48 states surely had an impact on candidates and voters.

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AADL & TheRide Summer Game Bonus: Free Ride Fridays In August With Your AADL Library Card

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 8:55am by TimG

AADL and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) are partnering this summer for a fun, new addition to this year’s summer game!

Every Friday in August, AADL cardholders can ride any of TheRide’s local fixed-route buses for free. The only item you need to take out of your wallet is your AADL Library card.
Show the driver your card and ride for free!

While you ride, look for the summer game code sign inside the bus and win 1,000 points to trade in for great Summer Game Shop prizes. It’s easy – there’s only one code to find, repeated on every single bus. When you see it, text the code to 4AADL (42235) or visit play.aadl.org to enter the code and get 1,000 points.

TheRide and AADL have created even more ways to get summer game points:
• Find the code featured on the outside of several buses for 500 points.
• Find the codes at bus stops nearest to any AADL location for 500 points.
• Codes are also hidden on TheRide’s website - TheRide.org.

Find all the codes to earn the Ride Master Badge and a 500 point bonus!

It’s a great way to end the summer – ride TheRide for free, and get points to trade in for excellent prizes at the Summer Game Shop. For more information about TheRide’s buses and schedules, visit TheRide.org

New to the AADL summer game? Last year, there were 5,476 active summer game players who were awarded 85,850 badges and selected 7,227 prizes. Will you be a player this year?

Visit play.aadl.org or text NEW PLAYER to 4AADL (42235) to get started.

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Sneak Peek at Performance Network at its Dawn

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 1:15pm by oldnews

The Performance Network, formerly an Ann Arbor professional theater group, enters Old News in 1982 with the article Their corner of the world’s a stage. “Our immediate aim is to be studio or work space,” explained David Bernstein, one of Performance Network’s co-founders. For the first two years, Performance Network was a place for directors, playwrights, actors and stage crew to develop their professional skills. A unique feature was the “Works-in-Progress” series, stage readings of plays followed by a discussion with the playwright. Among them was Rachelle Urist, a reporter for the Ann Arbor News, who had her play, "Just Friends,” stage read and later developed into a full production. Opening their doors was the play, "We Won’t Pay, We Won’t Pay,” which heralded the era of Performance Network. Stay tuned for additional articles, photographs, programs, and more, from Performance Network's long history.

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Summer Is Here And So Are The Fireworks

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 9:26am by oldnews

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Independence Day, the Fourth of July, or July 4th, however you wish to refer to the nation’s official founding day, it is the one and only big summer holiday. It rings in the country’s separation from the British Empire (a sort of Brexit of our own), and, for some, the start of summer. With BBQ’s, picnics, fairs, parades, and fireworks, fireworks, fireworks being sold and shot off all around town, now is a great time to look back on our own history of Fourths’ gone by. There's no better place to see some great pictures as well as articles from the historic Ann Arbor News than the library’s very own Oldnews site. If you remember a guy who dressed up as a clown nurse or another who brought a skunk to the parade, you can see them on Oldnews.

Wonder what fireworks were available back in 1961? See them on display here. Remember the Buhr Park fireworks? Relive a moment in time from one of those events in 1963 or read the article about it. And of course there are plenty of parades. You can see the Ypsilanti High School's Girls Drum & Bugle Corps or the Boy Scouts, Troop 88 float in different Ypsilanti parades. But by far the favorite is the Greenbriar Subdivision kid’s parade. But if enjoying the beach is more your speed, Groome's Beach circa 1963 may give you ideas for celebrating the Fourth in a more relaxed manner.

Any way you celebrate, enjoy a safe and happy holiday!

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The University of Michigan Zoo

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:46pm by oldnews

Wolverine

If you were in Ann Arbor between 1929 and 1962, you had the opportunity to visit the University of Michigan Zoo. On October 11, 1929, an article in the Michigan Daily said the zoo would open “in about three weeks” and would boast a weather vane by famed UM sculptor Carleton Angell. A December 11, 1929 Michigan Daily article reports animals moved in "last week". The tiny zoo enclosure was constructed behind the Alexander G. Ruthven Museums Building, what most of us think of as U of M's Natural History Museum. (The giant pumas that guard the front doors of the Natural History Museum were sculpted by Carleton Angell too!)

Inside today's museum is a memorial to the zoo which explains "...In 1929, a University of Michigan alumnus anonymously offered a collection of live native Michigan animals. It was the donor's hope that the animals could be enjoyed by children staying in the hospital then located across the street. A circular animal house and pond known as the "Museum Zoological Park" were constructed behind the Museums Building." Old news articles and photos show zoo residents like badgers, a bobcat, red foxes, skunks, otters, raccoons, several pairs of black bears throughout the years, and a wolverine named Biff. At some point a "reptile pit" was added, which included snakes and turtles.

In 1938, elaborate plans surfaced for a forty acre zoological garden to be located near the University of Michigan hospital. A WPA grant was "expected to provide the finances" for a wildlife utopia, where animals of the tiny U of M Zoo would be turned loose to live with no cages. The location of this dream zoo, which never came to fruition, seems to be the edge of what is now Nichols Arboretum.

Despite the popularity of the U of M Zoo, it was torn down in 1962 to make room for an addition to the Ruthven Museums Building. A few Ann Arbor City Council members, as well as many Ann Arbor townspeople, appealed to the University Board of Regents to save and/or relocate the beloved 30something year old zoo, but eventually the animals were relocated and the zoo became a memory. By today's zoological standards, the animals of Ann Arbor lived in fairly terrible, tiny, cramped quarters. The "Animal House", as it came to be called, never grew to be a wildlife utopia, but certainly provided countless Ann Arbor children and their families the opportunity to appreciate Michigan wildlife up close.

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Memorial Days Of The Past

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 2:58pm by oldnews

Memorial Day Dad

Who doesn’t love a parade? And Memorial Day certainly is full of them. Ann Arbor is no exception either. Whether it is the Ann Arbor High Marching Band or Brownie Scouts or just groups of kids watching the parade, we have gathered some wonderful articles and photos. In addition to parades there are other commemorations for this holiday and for Armed Forces Day as celebrated in Ann Arbor. You can find them all here.

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AADL Closed On Monday May 30

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 9:54am by TimG

All Library locations will be closed on Memorial Day Monday, May 30.

Regular Library hours will resume on Tuesday May 31.

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Come see the new fairy door in the Downtown youth area!

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 6:46pm by eapearce

Visitors to the Downtown Library in recent months might have noticed that the fairy door area was “under construction.” Just this week we installed a BRAND NEW fairy door and fairy door fans of all ages will definitely want to come check it out! Located in the same spot as the old fairy door, in the Downtown Youth Department, this new door is super special. You can peek inside to see an adorable scene with a tiny desk, fairy-sized chairs and pillows and little books. There’s even a cute hanging plant—in a thimble, of course! And, this fairy door has a special light that allows you to really see the details that make it so special. Each time you look inside, you’ll notice things that you hadn’t before—like how the walls are papered with dozens of images from old books. The new fairy door is really a treat—come see for yourself!

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60th Anniversary of 'New' Ann Arbor High School, April 1956

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 10:07am by oldnews

Hallway

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the 'New' Ann Arbor High School in April 1956. Old News has published the photos and articles that tell the story from students campaigning for new digs in February, 1953 to the first commencement in June, 1956. Voters had barely passed the bond when the earth movers starting clearing the old Stadium Hills Golf Course to make way for the new high school. There are great shots of the construction and the various buildings that make up the complex. A cornerstone ceremony was held in December, 1954, led by the AAHS Marching Band. By May, 1955, the building was ready for a Student Council inspection and in November, 1995, the School Board sponsored a public tour that brought a real crowd to the site.

Moving-in started in earnest in February, 1956. On March 30th an army of student volunteers turned out to help AAHS staff to fight the mud and get the school ready for opening day, April 9, 1956. Students filled the halls, tested the equipment, hit the books and had some fun at the not-quite-finished school. Check out the lunch room. While the new school filled up, 'Old' Ann Arbor High School at State & Huron emptied out and silent hallways awaited remodeling by the University of Michigan as the Frieze Building.

The official public tour of the new high school was held on April 15, 1956 and thousands turned out. Guests were welcomed at the door, toured a sleek new lobby, and attended a formal dedication. You can view the original Dedication Program on Old News.

On June 14, 1956, the first Commencement was held at the new high school, featuring both an 1891 graduate and an engagement. Many of the photos we've published on Old News never appeared in the Ann Arbor News so be on the lookout for townies you know.

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Digitize Your Photo Collection with a Portable Scanner!

Wed, 04/06/2016 - 11:05am by antdevee

The Magic Wand Portable Scanner is just one of many great Tools at the Ann Arbor District Library that you can check out with your library card.

With its easy to use functions this scanner is great for scanning large amounts of photos in minutes. Insert 4x6, 5x8 or 8x10 prints into the auto feeder and the scanner will do the rest. And anything larger can be scanned by hand; just detach the scanner from the docking station and you're instantly mobile!

Other features include color or monochromatic scan selection, 300/600/1050/1200 DPI scan quality selection and a color display to playback the scanned images. So instead of spending countless hours using a flatbed scanner for your next project use this one instead!

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Poetry on the Bus!

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 3:12pm by muskrat

To celebrate National Poetry Month, AADL has joined with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority for poetry on the bus!

In the spirit of the 2006 Poetry Bus and following in the footsteps of Vancouver's Poetry Moves and the Poetry Society of America's Poetry in Motion campaigns, AADL and AAATA have introduced two placards in each AATA bus with excerpts from great poems by John Keats, Li Po, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Claude McKay and others.

See if you can read them all! There are 8 placards and they will be up all month

Then head over to the library to check out more poetry!

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Library Closed On Easter Sunday

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 1:56pm by TimG

All AADL locations will be closed on Easter Sunday, March 27.

Regular Library hours will resume on Monday, March 28.

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Pulp: Arts Around Ann Arbor

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 2:20pm by TimG

Where can you find out more about arts & culture in Ann Arbor?

Where can you get updates on music? Visual art? Author and book events? Film & video? Theater & dance?

With AADL's new arts blog, Pulp, you'll find excitement and appreciation for the Ann Arbor area arts & culture scene and all it has to offer. Visit Pulp for previews, thoughts, critiques, reviews, dorky puns, opinions, and observations from professional journalists, community contributors, and, of course, your very own AADL staffers.

Learn about a new art exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, read a review of a film currently playing in Ann Arbor theaters, and even get a head start on summer plans with a preview of offerings at the Stratford Festival.

Find out more at A2pulp.org!

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AADL on MetaFilter

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 10:53am by valerieclaires

The community weblog MetaFilter invites members to contribute to discussions through links and comments. Common threads on the site run the range from advice to news stories, all the way to the Internet’s favorite: cat videos.

One recent thread brought out Ann Arborites and Ann Arbor District Library fans with mentions of our Tools Collections. Commenters were especially excited about our Music Tools, raving over the OP-1 synthesizer and controller and Local Musician Dave Menzo’s album Shhh…, made using only instruments checked out from AADL. The thread also mentions some unusual collections at other libraries across the country.

You can check out our tools for yourself in the library catalog, and read the full thread on MetaFilter.

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AADL in the Michigan Daily

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 4:47pm by valerieclaires

This week in the Michigan Daily, columnist Susan LaMoreaux shares her fondness for the Ann Arbor District Library. She highlights AADL programs, services, and community partnerships, including our ever-popular Tools Collections and PALMA: Proyecto Avance: Latino Mentoring Association, run through the University’s Residential College.

She interviews our own Laura Raynor, who explains how AADL looks at the community when developing new services and collections.

What sticks out most throughout the piece, though, is Susan LaMoreaux’s love of the library. She writes:

“In many ways, I did much of my growing up between the old brick walls and metal shelves, and among the thousands of pages and stories contained in just the downtown branch alone. I don’t intend to stop using this collection, even with all the resources on campus that are made available to me because of my student status. That may be partly because, even for those with no library card, it’s always free to walk down William Street and step through those doors.”

You can see her full column on the Michigan Daily website.

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AADL in Synthtopia

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 2:07pm by valerieclaires

Online electronic music site Synthtopia typically covers all things electronica: electronic music gear, new releases, artists, and synthesizers, but this week they’re covering something a little closer to home: The Ann Arbor District Library!

Synthtopia profiles our Music Tools collection and mentions our wide range of synthesizers, effects pedals, amps, and uncommon musical instruments.

Interested in checking out this equipment for yourself?

Visit aadl.org/musictools to see all our music gear, and see aadl.org/tools for our full range of Tools collections, including Art Tools, Home Tools, Science Tools, and more!

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Oldnews posts articles, letters to the editor and photos on the history of the Pall-Gelman dioxane groundwater contamination

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 7:32pm by amy

Editorial Cartoon, 1992

The Pall-Gelman 1,4 dioxane groundwater contamination has a long and troubled past in Ann Arbor history.

AADL Archives staff, with the assistance of Scio township resident Roger Rayle, founder and leader of Scio Residents for Safe Water, has posted over 1,000 historical articles, editorials, letters to the editor and photos from the Ann Arbor News covering the history of the Pall-Gelman dioxane groundwater contamination cleanup from the late 1960s, when Gelman Sciences (now the Pall Corp.) pumped contaminated water into a holding pond at their 600 S. Wagner facility, through the close of the first iteration of the Ann Arbor News in 2009. Coverage includes not only attention-grabbing headlines but considerable detail about the company's earnings, personnel changes, and related environmental concerns at the state and local level throughout this period.

The discovery of the 1,4 dioxane in water wells in the 1980s caused a public outcry and set off much finger-pointing and several legal battles between the Pall-Gelman Corporation; Scio township residents; the city of Ann Arbor; and the state of Michigan concerning responsibility for the cleanup that's now stretched over three decades. Former Ann Arbor News assistant metro editor Lynn Monson has written a special feature story for Oldnews to bring readers up to date as the dioxane plume continues to spread toward the Huron River.

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AADL Welcomes Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea to Westgate Branch!

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 5:37pm by eli

Library patrons will soon be able to enjoy a delicious cup of fresh coffee or tea as they browse new collections at the expanded Westgate Branch Library!




Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea signed a sublease this week to operate a café adjacent to the Branch when it re-opens in late summer. Lisa Bee, Sweetwaters owner and founder, says, “We are so excited and thrilled to join the AADL family and Westgate. To be a part of the first Ann Arbor library where patrons can enjoy a treat with their favorite book is a great honor.”



According to Library Director Josie Parker, “The Ann Arbor District Library's opportunity to expand in place at the Westgate Shopping Center allows the Library to consider and develop a new and different type of partnership. We are pleased to launch this public/private partnership between the Library and Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea. Sweetwaters opening will coincide with the reopening of the expanded Library in late summer 2016.”



Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea was founded in 1993 by Lisa and Wei Bee in downtown Ann Arbor. Both Wei and Lisa are UM graduates who decided to stay in Ann Arbor, continue their families’ hospitality tradition, and become a part of the Ann Arbor business community.



Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea is a warm, comfortable, coffeehouse that offers a blend of traditional European espresso drinks, globally inspired beverages, beautiful Asian teas, delicious desserts, pastries, and savory treats.



Library Board President Jan Barney Newman adds, “It is with great anticipation that the Trustees of the Library look forward to Sweetwaters presence in the expansion of the Westgate Branch. A gathering place on its own, Sweetwaters will be a great asset to the Library and the Westgate Community. “



The new Westgate Branch expansion adds 16,500 square feet to create a branch with 21,000 square feet for its users. The Branch closed in late November and construction is now underway.



Updates on this project can be found on the library website. For more information, visit westgate.

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Leni Sinclair, 2016 Kresge Eminent Artist

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 1:15pm by amy

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Congratulations to Leni Sinclair, recently named the 2016 Kresge Eminent Artist!

AADL was privileged to work with Leni on the events and website surrounding the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in 2011. You'll find several of Leni's photographs relating to the Rally and her years in Ann Arbor on AADL's Freeing John Sinclair site. Here you can also listen to an interview with Leni in which she recalls the origins of the Detroit Artists Workshop and their strategic retreat to Ann Arbor following the Detroit Riots, or a joint video interview with John Sinclair on their memories of the 1971 Rally. Read Leni's essay about her life in Ann Arbor's Hill House commune, or check out her work in Detroit Rocks (2012), co-authored with Gary Grimshaw.

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Old News Way Back Day: January 29, 1951

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 7:15pm by oldnews

This month Old News travels back 65 years to January 29, 1951 and the grand opening of Eberwhite School. We found a wealth of material on Eberwhite so we've posted over 200 articles and photos all the way back to the original land swap with the University of Michigan, the laying of the cornerstone in 1950, construction, and the hundreds of events and milestones throughout the years. Many of the photos we've posted were never published in the Ann Arbor News so we don't have names to go with the faces. We'd love to hear from the alumni, faculty and families of Eberwhite to make the history more complete.

There was plenty of other local news reported on the 29th. Fire destroyed the Riverside Bar and Bowling Alley in Ypsilanti. The Ann Arbor Public Schools announced the first annual Bands In Review program featuring bands from Ann Arbor High School and Slauson and Tappan Junior Highs. On the sports front, Dave Dingman dominated the All-City Skating Meet at Burns Park. The University of Michigan opened its track season with a meet that featured a mysterious missing lap in a medley relay. While the Kiwanis thanked city residents for their generous support of the fundraising Rummage Sale, an Ann Arbor News editorial wondered why the citizens of Washtenaw county were failing to support the Polio Drive. Weddings and births were announced, plays produced and movies promoted. Television replaced radio as the mainstay of home entertainment with shows like Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Milton Berle and Studio One. Our favorite advertisement of the day was the Modern Appliance Co. display ad for the amazing Spindrier that featured several ladies dancing, celebrating and hugging the appliance.

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AADL Highlights 2014-2015

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:33am by troyanth

Did you know? AADL held 1,465 events last year, including appearances by:

• nationally-known authors Louise Penny, Kathy Reichs, Gary Shteyngart, and David Oshinsky;
• climate activist Tom Hayden;
• Rosa Parks’ niece Sheila McCauley Keys;
• Award-winning Chef Takashi Yagihashi;
• local musician Dave Menzo, who used the AADL music tools collection to create his new album

A lot more happened at AADL this past year.

Check out our full annual report to find out more!

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Old News Way Back Day: December 17, 1935

Wed, 12/16/2015 - 8:11am by oldnews

This month Old News travels back 80 years to December 17, 1935. Local news dominated the front page that day with the major announcement of the merger of three banks, Ann Arbor Savings Bank, the Farmers and Mechanics Bank, and First National Bank and Trust Co. The merger, in the middle of the Great Depression, was seen as reassuring move in an otherwise shaky banking industry. Economic conditions dominated other local news as the Ann Arbor Public School announced federal funding for nursery schools and adult education. The WPA plan for a "practice house" where girls from relief families would be trained as housemaids was also unveiled. Even the Letters to the Editor were concerned with the Depression as a citizen called on neighbors to drop their opposition to a home for orphan children in the 7th ward. Perhaps related to the dire economic conditions (or not), the Courts took up the case of the stolen hog.

Many of the holiday traditions familiar to Ann Arborites took center stage in 1935. A front page article predicted that thousands would listen to the University Choral Union's Messiah at Hill Auditorium. The Community Sing, begun in 1931, was promoted with a full-page display complete with lyrics to all the favorite Christmas songs for the expected 10,000 carolers. The University of Michigan's Subscription Dance was becoming so popular organizers had to limit ticket sales. The local schools were not to be outdone with the Tappan School students putting on a production of Dicken's Christmas Carol. Check out the list of players and you may recognize a Townie. The annual Yule Lighting Contest deadline was extended to give citizens plenty of time to decorate their yards.

Amateur sports were big, really big, in 1935. Amateur boxing nights at the Armory drew big crowds and prominent coverage in the News. Mill Marsh, the News sports columnist, mused on the growing popularity of Wolverine hockey and basketball. Intrepid wrestling coach Cliff Keen regaled the Ann Arbor Kiwanis with a description of the drama of Big Ten conference matches.

So what kind of routine news would you find in the Ann Arbor Daily News in 1935? Plenty. Birthdays were celebrated, marriage license announced, deaths noted, weather data recorded, and the ever-present promotional contests, with readers competing for prizes with funny verses. Readers looked to the radio listings for their favorite programs and the theater ads for the latest films from Hollywood.

Much has changed in Ann Arbor in 80 years but it's amazing to note how many business are still around. Moe Sport Shop, celebrating 100 years in 2015, had a gorgeous display ad to tempt holiday shoppers. Kroger Co. gave cooks a list of the most-needed holiday items. Arbor Springs reminded readers to stock up on water for the holiday dinners. Stay tuned to Old News for more Way Back Days.

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Livin' On The Line ~ The Community High School Line-Up Debacle of 1996

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 7:12pm by oldnews

It seemed like a good idea in January,1996: To deal with overwhelming demand for placements at Community High School, AAPS would hold a lottery for the first 50 slots and then the rest could wait in line "for a few days" before the April 1st sign-up date. Except the line started at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, March 17th when Tappan Middle School student Maisie Wilhelm lined up outside the Balas Building. And they came, and they came and they came, with tents, and cook stations and couches and campfires. Parents set up temporary homes in vans, temporary offices in tents, and a Line-Up headquarters. Hopeful middle-schoolers played Hacky Sack (remember Hacky Sack?), strummed guitars (of course), and exhibited almost-Community High cool.

This being Michigan and March, a late-winter storm hit Ann Arbor on March 20. By March 27, the Ann Arbor News had seen enough of frozen kids and sacrificing parents and called for an end to the Line-Up in favor of an all-lottery system. Apparently the situation got so tense a Community High School student had to remind News readers it was the AAPS and not the students who lined up who caused the Line-Up debacle at Balas. April 1, 1996 finally arrived and a cold and wrapped-up Maisie was officially welcomed by Community High School dean Judy Hamilton Conger. And by April 2, Superintendent John O. Simpson had read enough Letters to the Editor, seen enough images of tents and announced that AAPS would move to a lottery system for filling slots at all three alternative schools. And thus ended another chapter in the colorful history of Community High.

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Westgate Branch has Closed for Expansion!

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 2:51pm by TimG

Westgate Branch, the smallest and oldest of AADL branches, closed for expansion on Friday, November 20 at 9:00 pm. It will reopen in mid-2016 with 21,000 square feet, creating a new, modern branch for the community.

Item Requests for West Branch pickup will be sent to Pittsfield. You can call the renewal line at 734-327-4219 to have your items moved to another branch if you prefer.

Drop boxes will not be available at West Branch until the project is complete. Items can always be returned at any other AADL location.

For more information about the upcoming expansion, visit westgate . Thanks for your patience as we work to bring you an amazing new Library!

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December 1, 1974 ~ Ann Arbor's Biggest Snowfall

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 2:47pm by oldnews

It was 41 years ago on Sunday, December 1, 1974, that the snow started falling, and falling, and falling. By the time the storm stopped on December 2nd, Ann Arbor had recorded it's biggest snowfall since records began in 1880 -- a total of 19.8 inches. Thousands of travelers were stranded throughout Washtenaw County. US 23 was a mess and cars were stuck on all county roads. City, County, Schools and organizations sprang in to action, housing folks, providing bed, blankets and meals for the weary voyagers.

In Ann Arbor, buses were waylaid, the University of Michigan closed and townies handled the storm with typical aplomb , true grit and seasonal humor. The Lopez kids got down to work, the University of Michigan students got arty and cars stayed buried for days.

We went to THE source for weather records, Dennis Kahlbaum, and he provided the up-to-the-minute list of Ann Arbor record snowfalls since 1880:
1) Dec. 1- 2, 1974: 19.8 inches
2) Jan. 26-27, 1967: 17.0 inches
3) Jan. 3- 4, 1999: 15.9 inches
4) Mar. 18-19, 1973: 14.6 inches
5) Jan. 30-31, 2002: 14.5 inches
6) Feb. 1- 2, 2015: 14.1 inches
7) Jan. 25-26, 1978: 13.6 inches
8) Dec. 11-12, 2000: 13.1 inches
9) Jan. 14-15, 1992: 12.5 inches
10) Jan. 1- 2, 2008, 12.3 inches

Check out all the photos and articles on Weather at Old News -- we're always adding more weather-related content.

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Westgate Branch to Expand

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 8:37pm by eli

Good news, Everyone! The Westgate Branch, the smallest and oldest of the Ann Arbor District Library branches, is about to expand.

Although AADL Library services have increased and expanded over the last decade, Westgate Branch has not been remodeled for over 21 years. The branch originally opened in Maple Village Shopping Center in 1977, moved to Westgate Shopping Center in 1983 and was remodeled ten years later in 1994, adding 2,314 square feet.

Westgate Branch, which currently has 5,500 square feet, is still approximately only 1/3 of the size of the other AADL branches. Its circulation figures match and even surpass some of the other branches, and the current Westgate space has no room for events and youth storytimes, popular and important features at all other locations.

The new expansion will add 16,500 square feet to create a branch with 21,000 square feet for its users. New features will include:
• 2 new public entrances, allowing for additional parking access from the rear Westgate parking lot
• A Kids area with story space for preschool and baby storytimes
• Additional space for books and other library materials
• 5 open study rooms for use by adults, teens and youth
• A community meeting and event space for authors, lectures, performances and other events
• 2 small group meeting rooms
• A comfortable reading room with a fireplace
• Additional seating and workspaces with additional wiring for computers and other electronic devices
• A café operated by a local business

Earlier this year, Westgate Branch neighbor Sun & Snow relocated out of the Westgate Mall. Pictures Plus will also relocate to a new Westgate location at the end of this month. These vacancies provide AADL with an opportunity to expand a popular branch location that already experiences over 200,000 visits per year.

AADL Trustees have signed a lease to expand the Branch and construction is expected to begin in November 2015 with an expected opening in summer 2016. Westgate Branch will close November 20 so that construction can begin, and staff working at that location will be re-assigned to alternate locations during the construction period. Construction costs will be paid upfront by Westgate Management and AADL will reimburse Westgate Management up to 1.2 million of the construction costs over the first 8 years of the lease.

In addition to expanding the Library for the convenience of current users, AADL is looking forward to welcoming many new patrons. AADL’s past openings of Malletts Creek, Pittsfield and Traverwood Branches all saw remarkable increases in use at each new branch, as well as across the Library system.

Updates on this project will be posted on the library website. For more information, visit westgate.

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AADL in the New York Times

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 6:38pm by valerieclaires

This week, The Ann Arbor District Library and our tools collection were featured in the New York Times in an article about non-traditional library collections. Several libraries around the country, including AADL, are profiled, each with a unique collection to share. The article can be read on the New York Times website or on page A12 of the Tuesday, September 15 edition of the Times.

If you’d like to check out a tool, from a Spinning Wheel to a Telescope, or a Giant Checkers Set and a Thermal Camera, visit aadl.org/tools!

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Blog Post

Watch Bo Schembechler's first season unfold in real time!

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 4:05pm by amy

How can this Wolverine football season get any more exciting? We found a way! Now you can revisit one of the University of Michigan's most exciting seasons ever - Bo Schembechler's first campaign as head coach in 1969 - in real time as reported in the Ann Arbor News.

From pre-season coverage and that thrilling first game against Vanderbilt University, through the shocking Ohio State upset and the trip to the Rose Bowl in January, who knows what treats await? We've already uncovered Millie Schembechler's famous crab dip for your tailgate party!

Follow our coverage of Bo's entire 1969 football season via twitter or tumblr and ... GO BLUE!

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Blog Post

The Michigan - Michigan State Game That Almost Wasn't

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 4:05pm by oldnews

The October, 1970 Michigan - Michigan State football match provided one of the weirder twists in the long interstate rivalry that is known simply as "The Game." A former Michigan Daily sports editor, Joel Block, filed a lawsuit to block the game, citing it as a "public nuisance." Block was protesting the pre-emptive canceling of the Goose Lake Music Festival due to perceived widespread drug abuse at a previous concert.

Preparations for The Game continued as the team and the AAPD finalized plans for defense, offense and crowd control. And then the day before the game, Washtenaw County Judge Ross W. Campbell issued one of his more popular decisions, dismissing the lawsuit as "patently frivolous."

And The Game? Hail To The Victors ruled the day at Michigan Stadium as the Wolverines battered MSU, 34 - 20. The Spartans suffered injuries and Billy Taylor did everything right for Bo. The final twist on the lawsuit came as the Ann Arbor Police reported October 17, 1970, one of the quietest Michigan - Michigan State games ever.

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Blog Post

Friend of AADL's Old News, Wystan Stevens, Dies at 72

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 8:29am by oldnews

Wystan Stevens December 1981

Old News lost a vital member of the team this week with the passing of Wystan Stevens, the dean of local historians. Wystan generously shared his deep knowledge and love of Ann Arbor with Old News since its inception in 2010. He named unknown people, identified unknown buildings, streets and venues, gave context to hundreds of photos, corrected mistakes made by Ann Arbor News reporters and photographers as well as Old News staff.

Just last week Wystan helped us in trying to identify where a group of 1930s photos of bowling teams were taken. We had no names, places, or specific dates on the negative envelopes but Wystan was able to identify people, teams, venues. Here’s an example:

"The man with necktie number 3, second from right, is a very youthful Jerry Hoag, longtime manager of the Michigan Theater and other Butterfield theaters in Ann Arbor. His presence here strongly suggests that the venue is the Michigan Recreation Lanes, which was located in the Michigan Theater Building's basement." ~ Wystan Stevens

Wystan loved to include nuggets of history and the more controversial the better, like this one about the Wolverine Barber Shop:

"Like the old Dunbar Community Center, this building figured largely in the history of Ann Arbor's African-American community. And when it was a hotel, in 1902, it played host for a few days to anti-drink crusader Carrie Nation, on one of her lecturing and saloon-smashing excursions." ~ Wystan Stevens

All we had on this photo envelope was “House Being Demolished, September 1969.” We sent it to Wystan knowing there was simply too little to go but, once again, he knew exactly the where, what and why of the photo:

"Demolition of the former home of piano teacher Geraldine Seeback, who sold it to Comerica Bank for installation of their drive-up banking window branch office and driveway on the site, which was across the street from the 1925 Michigan Bell Telephone headquarters. The brick house next door now belongs to Peter Heydon." ~ Wystan Stevens

He was at his best detailing the history of buildings. The Haven Hall fire photos illustrates just how deep his knowledge of a building could go:

"The Law Building, completed in 1863 north of Mason Hall, was expanded and remodeled several times -- extensively in 1893, and again in 1898 following protests over the 1893 makeover, which had added a useless tower. After the beautiful new Cook Law Quadrangle was completed in 1933, the old Law Building was renamed "Haven Hall" -- it provided offices, classrooms, and library space, until it was destroyed in an arson fire on August 6, 1950. (After the fire, nothing ever again was built on the site.) ~ Wystan Stevens

When it came to making sense of an old aerial photos, which is always hard, Wystan could sort out the direction we're facing, as well as what was to come. Check out his unbelievable commentary for the photos of Tappan Junior High School and Stadium Blvd.

Wystan's contributions to local history go far beyond Old News. He contributed photographs to and research for the Downtown Historical Streets Exhibit Program as well as narrating the video introduction to the Streets Exhibit. And he donated his time and materials to the Ford Gallery of Ann Arbor Founders Exhibit. He even made makes it into our Old News UMS archive of historical programs as narrator in a program from 1979.

Wystan authored, introduced, or had been a consultant for numerous books on Ann Arbor history in the AADL collection. He did workshops on books set in Ann Arbor, led tours of the city's landmarks, including his most famous and popular tour, the Forest Hills Cemetery. He was a favorite subject of Ann Arbor News photographers and his sense of humor came through in every photo. The official historian of Ann Arbor and the unofficial Old News historian will be greatly missed by all of us at Old News.

Thanks for the memories, Wystan.