Scorecard on American Public Schools: How Do We Really Fare in International Comparisons?

Monday December 18, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event will be recorded

Public education in the United States has a bad reputation—in the US, that is. A somewhat different picture emerges when the American public school is compared to educational systems of other nations around the globe. Based on two international large-scale studies and our own research at the University of Michigan, this talk will illustrate the strengths of American public schools that are often forgotten in the public debate.

Kai S. Cortina is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Michigan. His major research areas include learning motivation in school, improving teaching practice, and the long-term effects of schooling over the life course. As an expert in quantitative methods, he was repeatedly involved in international studies on school achievement and student learning.

This program is part of the "Exploring the Mind" series and is a partnership with The University of Michigan Department of Psychology.

Smell and Tell: The Plague Doctor’s Cabinet of Olfactory Curiosities

Wednesday December 20, 2017: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

During the Black Plague many believed that smelling sweet substances prevented disease caused by miasma, a form of “bad” air (Italian mal aria) given off by decomposing organic matter. This shaped the work of plague doctors, who donned protective masks inspired by the shape of a bird’s beak to accommodate aromatic materials like rose, carnation, mint, spices, and camphor.

We continue to conquer bad smells with good ones even though germ science has replaced the miasma theory of disease that was prevalent in 14th century Europe. The west has entered a period of obsessive aromatization in the culture that has less to do with disease and more to do with masking odors created by everyday living in the age of science.

Have we been taught to fear our human essence? What is it about natural organic and human odors that generate anxiety? How does this feed into smells as indicators of “otherness” in the culture? Modern perfumery touches on scent memories that are familiar, forgotten, othered and repressed. We’ll examine aromatic substances used by plague doctors to understand the multiple forms, functions and facets of smells, and how this shapes how we evaluate people and our surroundings.

The Smell and Tell series of lectures is led by Michelle Krell Kydd, a trained nose in flavors and fragrance who shares her passion for gastronomy and the perfume arts on Glass Petal Smoke. The Smell and Tell series debuted at the Ann Arbor District Library in 2012 and is ongoing.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Understanding Story Arc

Monday January 8, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

When talking about fiction, we often separate plot from character, discussing each separately. But when writing, the two go hand in hand and must be considered together. Does plot come from character growth? Or does the character serve the plot? In this workshop, Alex Kourvo and Bethany Neal will show you how to integrate plot and character into one seamless novel that works on multiple levels. ​

This is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere. Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the library's imprint Fifth Avenue Press:

Little-Known Stories in American History, Part 2: 1830-1900

Monday January 8, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for grade 9-adult

Speaker and storyteller Jim Glenn returns to the library! Join Jim as he presents exciting stories about state boundaries, military leaders, music, heroic teenagers, a “miraculous” staircase and the mother of all gunfights. Listen to U.S. history come to life at this educational and entertaining event!

Self-Care Massage: Upper Body

Tuesday January 9, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

Using the Myofascial technique, licensed massage therapist Brian M. Truskowski will teach you about the muscles of upper body, with a focus on the head, neck, shoulders, arms and hands as they relate to massage.

Learn about the role these muscles play in your body and how they create dysfunction when not working properly. Brian will instruct attendees on how to self-massage by demonstrating the techniques on himself and then on any participants interested in giving it a try.

He is licensed to practice massage in the state of Michigan and currently practices at Ann Arbor Massage.

Premature Aging: How to Avoid Growing Old Before Your Time with Dr. Nishath Hakim MD

Wednesday January 10, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

We all know that our energy declines as we age, and we have probably heard that our “metabolism slows.” But what does this mean in terms of premature aging and illness? Dr Hakim will discuss how nutrition, hormone levels, and chronic inflammation can contribute to premature aging and what you can do to reverse it.

Our guest speaker, Nishath Hakim, MD has over 20 years of combined experience in Primary Care, Holistic Medicine and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. She is dedicated to addressing the immediate health problem of her patients, she also focuses on discovering and treating deeper causes of disease or illness. Her passion to help create a healthy body, mind, and spirit for each client has encouraged her to seek evidence-based therapies beyond the “typical” primary care training that prevent the disease process from progressing or starting.

Electric Vehicles | City of Ann Arbor 2018 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum

Thursday January 11, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

A panel of electric vehicle (EV) experts will discuss electric vehicles in Ann Arbor and how EVs will become a growing part of our transportation future—including autonomous vehicles. Come meet local electric vehicle owners and check out their vehicles. There will also be a “ride and drive” event sponsored by the Michigan Electric Auto Association. The ride and drive event will precede the Forum from 5-7pm just outside the library on Library Lane.

Sustainable Ann Arbor is an annual series presented by the City of Ann Arbor and hosted by the Ann Arbor District Library. The series includes four events held monthly through April, each with a focus on a different element of sustainability from Ann Arbor’s Sustainability Framework.

This event is cosponsored by the City of Ann Arbor and details of the series will be posted online on The City of Ann Arbor's Sustainability site. For information and videos from current and past Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums, please visit the City’s Sustainability website.

UMS MLK Day Event: Speculative Histories

Monday January 15, 2018: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Using books, personal narratives, ephemera, imagery, and other tools as fuel to “see” anew, Speculative Histories will guide participants through imaginative exercises intended to ignite creative ways to read what is there and build what is not there, thus weaving a more complex and complete historical view of African-American and collective American life.

Jillian Walker is an award-winning artist and cultural leader with a passion for creating seismic cultural shifts. Named “one of New York City’s most exciting playwrights” by the Bushwick Starr in 2016, her latest work, SKiNFoLK: An American Show, appeared in the 2017 ANT Fest (aka All New Talent Festival) at Ars Nova. Jillian is the recipient of the 2017-18 UMS Education and Community Engagement Research Residency to develop her new play, Tignon.

This event is a partnership with UMS and is in association with the No Safety Net theater series.

Martin Luther King, Jr's Thoughts on Militarism | A Conversation with Veterans for Peace

Tuesday January 16, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Should we have a military mainly for defense, or should we use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests? Before Dr. King’s tragic death, he spoke out more and more against government use of military over diplomacy and the use of armed forces in the routine policy of the state. For such actions, Dr. King was criticized heavily and to this day his thoughts on war still make people uncomfortable.

Veterans For Peace will discuss Dr. King's speeches relating to defense versus militarism, showing that they are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

New Year Renewal with Nature’s Diet

Tuesday January 16, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Just in time for the New Year learn how to cleanse your body, clarify your mind.

Ellen Livingston is a certified yoga teacher and has benefited from a raw vegan diet since 2002. Ellen offers yoga and raw food classes in the community and from her home on 5 acres in Ann Arbor. Ellen also offers life coaching and health retreats.

This event is in partnership with the People's Food Co-Op.