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Author Susan Orlean and "The Library Book"

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:19pm

Susan Orlean, hailed as a "national treasure" by The Washington Post and the acclaimed bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution--our libraries in her new book The Library Book.

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, "Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie." The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library--and if so, who?

Weaving her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean presents a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling story as only she can. With her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, she investigates the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives.  Filled with heart, passion, and unforgettable characters, The Library Book is classic Susan Orlean, and an homage to a beloved institution that remains a vital part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country and culture.

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Author Event | Herb Boyd discusses Black Detroit: A People's History of Self-Determination

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:36pm

Author Herb Boyd visits the Library to discuss his award-winning book, Black Detroit: A People's History of Self-Determination, a 2018 Michigan Notable Book.

Black Detroit looks at the evolving culture, politics, economics, and spiritual life of Detroit–a blend of memoir, love letter, history, and clear-eyed reportage that explores the city’s past, present, and future and its significance to the African-American legacy and the nation’s fabric. It brings into focus the major figures who have defined and shaped Detroit, including William Lambert, the great abolitionist; Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records; Coleman Young, the city’s first black mayor; diva songstress Aretha Franklin; Malcolm X; and Ralph Bunche, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Herb Boyd is an award-winning author and journalist who has taught African American History since 1969 when he was a founding member of the Black Studies Department at Detroit’s Wayne State University. He currently teaches African American History and Culture at the City College of New York in Harlem where he lives.

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Nerd Nite #56 - Lustron: America’s Heavy Metal Housing

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:17pm

Lustron homes were factory-made all-metal homes developed after WWII for the booming housing market. Most of their surfaces, inside and out and on their roofs were made of enameled steel. John lives in one, and in this talk he shares the ins and outs of occupying an all-metal home.

About John Heider:

John was a 28 year veteran newspaper photojournalist who was recently retired against his will and is also a ninja school dropout.

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Nerd Nite #56 - American Race Riots: Our National Sport?

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:15pm

The United States has been the site of hundreds of race-based disorderly confrontations that can be described as race riots. By now, most everyone has seen images from riots on TV whether it’s a riot from the 1960s, or from the more recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland.

But what is a riot? Why do they happen?  What are the trends? Common themes?  While one can learn quite a bit from the study of any of these individual events, taking on the topic broadly has different lessons for us.

This talk discusses the overall trajectory of race riots in the United States, exploring the greater context for mass race-based conflict. 

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Author Event | Rhys Bowen & Susan Elia MacNeal

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 6:01pm

Authors Rhys Bowen and Susan Elia MacNeal visited the Library to discuss their best-selling historical mystery series' and their latest books: Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (A Royal Spyness novel) and The Prisoner in the Castle (A Maggie Hope novel).  The authors were interviewed by Aunt Agatha's Bookshop owner, Robin Agnew.

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Wayzgoose - Geri McCormick

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 3:14pm

Geri McCormick of Virgin Wood Type explains the process for making wood type, with a demonstration of the final step — using hand tools to create the points or corners that the router bits can't make.

 

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Wayzgoose - Scott Moore

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 3:14pm

Scott Moore of Moore Wood Type uses wood patterns and a pantograph to show the process of making new wood printing type. Moore demonstrates how a mix of modern technology and historic processes supports the revitalization of interest in letterpress.

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Studebaker, Packard, Nash, and Hudson

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 1:27pm

Automotive writer Russell Doré discusses the origins of four major automobile companies of the 20th Century.

Learn how the Studebaker Brothers, the Packard Brothers, Charlie Nash, and Joseph L. Hudson grew their companies and what lead to their ultimate disappearance from the industry. Find out the interesting interactions between these leaders and other major automotive entrepreneurs.

Russell Doré has presented programs on Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, and Billy Durant, founder of General Motors. He is a member of the MotorCities National Heritage Area, the Henry Ford Heritage Association, and the Northville Historical Society.

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5000 Ways You Know You're From Detroit

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 3:08pm

Martin Bandyke, morning drive host at Ann Arbor's 107one, hosted this event with Walkerville Publishing's Elaine Weeks and Chris Edwards.  Weeks and Edwards showed images and shared stories from 5000 Ways You Know You're From Detroit: Detroit's Baby Boomer Years, their new coffee table book that shows the highs and lows Detroit has weathered in decades past.

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Irene Butter: From Holocaust to Hope

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 5:11pm

Irene Butter has shared the stage with the Dalai Lama, Elie Wiesel, Desmond Tutu, and other peacemakers. She is one of the few Holocaust survivors still alive but she has never told her entire story until now.

Irene Butter's definitive biography, Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope, My True Story, brings a fresh, moving tale to the vital genre of Holocaust narratives. Irene’s relationship with her brother Werner allows us to navigate the horrors of concentration camp life with a trusted friend. Her connection to an orphan Polish boy and to Lex, her first love, allow us to explore a displaced persons camp in Algeria and finally, to watch her find her way home. It allows us a rare glimpse into the intimacy of family life during a time in history when many families fell apart.

This timeless story speaks to what we must strive to uphold. It’s about the importance of family, of never being a bystander to violence, and of the strength of the human spirit.