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Beyond Books: First Moon Landing Anniversary, The Summer Game, And Where You Can Get A Ukulele

Ann Arbor District Library
Lisa Barry
89.1 WEMU

A visit to your local public library is about so much more than just checking out books.  89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks to Rich Retyi of the Ann Arbor District Library about the many different activities they have planned including a local celebration of the first moon landing 50 years ago.


Credit Ann Arbor District Library / aadl.org
Neil Armstrong walking on the moon

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the AADL has a day of excitement planned for July 20—which is 50 years to the day when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon.

The morning starts at 10am at our Traverwood Branch with an Apollo 11 Moon Landing Storytime.  Moon-themed stories and rhymes for the young ones.

At 1pm at Westgate, we kick off four hours of historical footage that celebrates the moon landing.  At 2pm downtown, the biggest and best moon landing party of all time kicks off with fun moon activities for the whole family!  The Moon Landing Party takes over two whole floors of the Library and goes from 2-3:30pm.

Finally, at 4:30pm in the downtown lobby,a NASA Solar System Ambassador will visit the library to talk about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and NASA's plans for visiting the moon again in the near future.

The AADL's link to space goes much deeper than just our moon landing festivities.  Did you know that the WORLD FAMOUS AADL Tools collection began with a telescope collection and a partnership with the University Lowbrow Astronomers.  The AADL bought a telescope from the Astronomers, who helped us maintain and repair them.  The telescopes were so popular that we kept adding more and more until we had 30 in circulation.  Meanwhile, we added synthesizers, then other music tools, and more science and home tools, and now we have everything from sewing machines and four-foot tall connect fours, to metal detectors, event lighting, badminton sets, and electric guitars.  And theremins.  And anatomical skeletons. The list goes on and on.

Ann Arbor was also a training ground for astronauts thanks to the U-M Aeronautics program, which started in 1914—just 11 years after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk.  More than 6,000 aeronautical and aerospace engineers have graduated from the program, including some of the most celebrated astronauts of all time. 

Ed White came to Ann Arbor in 1959 from West Point and earned his Master's and three years later found himself at NASA.  Three years after that, he shot into space on the Gemini 4 missionwith fellow U-M alum James McDivitt.  During the four day mission, White popped the hatch on the capsule and floated in space for 20 minutes—the first human to ever walk in space. McDivitt had to beg him to return.  Upon returning to the craft, White said "It's the saddest moment in my life."

You can learn all about White, McDivitt, an the all U-M Apollo 15crew, at the AADL Archives.  Tons of photos and articles about the astronauts, including all the parades and conferred honors they received when they got back to Earth. 


Ann Arbor District Library
Credit Ann Arbor District Library / aadl.org
Ann Arbor Summer Game

The current AADL Summer Game grew out of the Library's Summer Reading Program, which incentivized kids and teens to read books throughout the summer. The Library had been doing this since at least the 1930s, with different themes cropping up in news reports in the 40s and 50s. 

Today, the Summer Game includes the classic Summer Reading Program and an expanded Summer Game, that includes scavenger hunts for codes in local parks, museums, and businesses, the online catalog search, and more.  Plus the Summer Game shop as well.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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