DIY Bindis

Saturday December 16, 2017: 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Come share in the tradition and create your own decorative bindi, using rhinestones and beads.

The bindi, from Sanskrit bindu, meaning "point, drop, dot or small particle," has a long history in South-East Asian tradition. The traditional bindi is a red or maroon dot, applied to the center of the forehead, close to the eyebrows.

Today bindis are popularly worn with the purpose of decoration and style.

Intermediate Origami with Beth Johnson

Saturday December 16, 2017: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

Learn to create origami with local designer Beth Johnson. In this two hour session, Beth will walk you through one of her more complex designs. No prior origami experience is required, but this design will take the full two hours to fold.

Beth has exhibited her work and spoken about origami around the world. To see more of Beth's designs, browse her website,


Sunday December 17, 2017: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade K - adult

Join us for a relaxing and challenging afternoon of chess—one of the world's most popular games! Players of all ages and skill levels are welcome!

Drop in at any point over the course of the program to play old friends and meet new ones. Chess sets are provided.

No-Sew Fleece Pillows

Sunday December 17, 2017: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

This event is intended for grades 3 - adult

Make a cozy fleece pillow, for yourself or as a gift, without any sewing!

Felt Ball Fun!

Sunday December 17, 2017: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade K - adult

Local crafter Beth Battey leads this hands-on workshop.

Start with colorful wool roving, add warm water, a little soap, and some patience to get a fun felt ball! Felt balls can be toys for kids and pets, jewelry, a garland or a fun decoration.

Drawing for Adults: Drawing Birds

Sunday December 17, 2017: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

Come draw with us! We'll provide everything you need to practice your drawing skills. In this session we'll be drawing birds using Prismacolor colored pencils.

Every week we’ll cover a different topic. You’ll learn different techniques to tackle texture, chiaroscuro, and perspective, plus improve your sense of composition, lighting, and form. You'll get the chance to try out different media like pencil, charcoal, and pastel. All skill levels are welcome to participate.

Sewing Lab: Learn to Gather

Monday December 18, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Sewing instructor Rae Hoekstra of Made by Rae will do a demo on how to gather, and will offer pointers on how to use gathering successfully in your own projects.

Join us for an evening of sewing. We will have our lab's machines set up and staff will be on hand to show you the basics. You can bring a project you've been working on, or just stop by to practice your stitches. We welcome all skill levels, no prior knowledge is necessary. You are free to bring your own sewing machine and join our growing sewing community.

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

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.

Letterpress Lab

Wednesday December 20, 2017: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

Learn the basics of letterpress printing using handset type!

Workshop participants will learn how to compose, lock-up and print a small project on AADL’s historic Kelsey letterpresses. Library staff and guest instructors from U-M's Wolverine Press will lead these workshops. Follow along with our scheduled activity or plan your own project—you’re the designer!


Letterpress labs begin promptly at 6pm with a safety and equipment orientation. Doors open 10 minutes early to give everyone time to find a seat and get settled. If you can’t make the start time we regret that our staff cannot repeat the orientation, but we will happily see you at the next scheduled session. Successful completion of the scheduled activity will require the full 2 1/2 hours.

This program involves direct handling of lead-based type and is therefore not suitable for small children. Participants should be comfortable with sitting patiently for several hours, and have full use of the fine motor skills in their hands and arms.

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.