Cookies Galore with Keegan Rodgers!

Wednesday December 13, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Keegan C. Rodgers, Head Baker at the People's Food Co-Op, leads this hands-on and lively workshop on how to make cookies galore!

In this class, students will learn all about how to make a variety of cookies for the holidays or anytime. The ingredients, the steps involved with each cookie, and how to properly store the finished product will all be covered in this class. Keegan will have cookies to taste too!

This event is a partnership with the People's Food Co-Op and is part of an ongoing baking series.

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.

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: fifthavenue.press.