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Vacation fun with the Michigan Activity Pass

Diane Dahlem is manager of the Circulation Department at AADL.

Diane Dahlem is manager of the Circulation Department at AADL.

I enjoy spending time with my grandkids regardless of the activity or season. I try to make it a point to expose them to as many cultural activities as I can over summer vacation. Whether it’s visiting a museum, attending live music performances or seeing a historical site, summer seems like the perfect opportunity to broaden their learning experiences in a fun, organic way.

This is why the Michigan Activity Pass is one of my favorite services offered by AADL. MAP allows library users with a valid library card free/reduced admission or other exclusive offers at more than 70 participating cultural facilities across Michigan. The AADL has five passes per week for every participating organization. Library cardholders can print a pass from the AADL website, aadl.org, either from home or at the library. From the website, click on the “Services” tab, then click on “Michigan Activity Pass” on the list of “Unusual Stuff to Borrow.”

I always suggest to patrons who are going on vacation to check the venues listed in MAP to add to their itinerary. It’s a wonderful tool to get more acquainted with our great state.

How to be unbored all summer long

Amanda Schott is a library technician in Youth & Adult: Services and Collections at the AADL.

Amanda Schott is a library technician in Youth & Adult: Services and Collections at the AADL.

Summer and no school are here, and “Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun” by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen is full of ways to keep you busy with a variety of subjects. While the book features “serious fun,” it’s written more on the funny side. It has a great cover and illustrations, which totally nudge me to like certain books more.

This giant book gives you big ideas and tells how to make them happen, including how to grow a science garden, make your own games, zines and LED graffiti. You can also learn how to perform kitchen experiments, blog, fix your bike and lots more.

“Unbored” also features some fun lists, including a list of banned books you should read, the secret history of young adult novels, best-ever sports movies, best-ever animal movies, best-ever DIY fiction and the best-ever clean hip-hop songs.

There are informational bits thrown in. Learn some weird facts about condiments or browse a list of kitchen cures, and learn how to train your grown-up to be a ninja.

The home and gardens of Virginia Woolf

Cynthia Chelius is an information desk clerk in Youth & Adult: Services and Collections at the AADL.

Cynthia Chelius is an information desk clerk in Youth & Adult: Services and Collections at the AADL.

If you are: a) an admirer of Virginia Woolf and interested in the private, intimate side of her life or, b) a garden lover with a special attraction to English gardens or, c) simply in need of a relaxing, beautiful book — with outstanding photographs — that will transport you to the garden haven of Leonard and Virginia in the Sussex countryside, I’ve got a book for you.

“Virginia Woolf’s Garden: The Story of the Garden at Monk’s House” is written by Caroline Zoob, who lived at Monk’s House and tended the house and garden for 10 years on behalf of the National Trust of England. It’s an intimate and detailed account of the full glory and history of these gardens which include many walkways and terraces, an orchard, ponds, three distinctive gardens, beehives, a cactus house, a bowling lawn and the writing lodge. It sounds rather formal, but these outdoor “rooms” are all relaxed, with an unstudied air. The glorious photographs by Caroline Arber contrast expansive views with small, enclosed spaces — and flowers are everywhere!

With many new and old photos of the gardens, the house and its famous residents (with both their human and canine friends), this beautiful book is pure pleasure and reveals a side of the famous author I never imagined.

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