Anime Club Meets July 23

We had a great time listening to the vibrant storytelling artistry of Eiji Hamaoka (aka Maruku Kabutoya)–pictured above^

This special performance during our bi-monthly teen Anime Club was made possible by the Japan Society of Detroit Women’s Club. The JSD Women’s Club regularly arranges traditional cultural demonstrations on behalf of the Consulate-General Japan in Detroit.

Our Anime Club enjoyed a spirited performance from Maruku Kabutoya Rakugo is a traditional form of verbal storytelling stretching back more than 400 years, where the storyteller is the lone person on stage, seated, using multiple theatrical voices and only a limited number of props to tell a lively story.

Teens can join us on Monday, July 23 for the next Anime Club: Participants will be designing and decorating their own traditional Japanese folding fans. 13+  No registration required.  All materials provided.

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Library Bill of Rights

Believe it or not, there have been instances of public libraries having their materials challenged or even brazenly hidden away from visibility by anonymous visitors with evident disagreements toward content, or otherwise, of specific titles. The Library Bill of Rights‘ calls on all public libraries to resist the abridgment of free access to ideas. The Ferndale Library adheres to and supports the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View Statements adopted by the American Library Association….


With Independence Day celebrations this week,
we wanted to share the first three articles of the Library Bill of Rights:


I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

“Librarians consider free access to information the foundation of democracy.” –Marilyn Johnson, This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
Above Poster Image © Roger Roth (Artist, USA) via © American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
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Anime Club Storytelling Performance

Our teen Anime Club is an exploration and celebration of various artforms and storytelling styles of Japan, as well as Japanese culture. This Monday, we have a special event…. 


For more info on our Anime Club, follow the Kids Corner 

Storyteller Eiji Hamaoka (aka Maruku Kabutoya) came to Southeast Michigan nine years ago from the Rakugo circle of Kobe University in Japan. Rakugo is a traditional form of verbal storytelling stretching back more than 400 years, where the storyteller is the lone person on stage, seated, using multiple theatrical voices and only a limited number of props to tell a vibrant story.

This special performance during our bi-monthly teen Anime Club was made possible by the Japan Society of Detroit Women’s Club. The JSD Women’s Club regularly arranges traditional cultural demonstrations on behalf of the Consulate-General Japan in Detroit.
Maruku Kabutoya has been performing his Rakugo in English for three years, winning over audiences in several cities and at Universities such as Michigan State and EMU.

You can watch a video of a Raguko performance from the Asian Studies Center at MSU via Facebook. Click here for more info on our Anime Club.

Click here for more info

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Kids Summer Reading & New Interactive StoryWalk


Librarian Jordan Wright takes over as Ferndale’s new Head of Youth Services just in time for the Summer Reading kickoff and Ice Cream Social on June 23.  Over the years, “Mr. Jordan” has coordinated several engaging programs for kids and charmed toddlers and young readers with infusions of music during interactive storytimes with his steel string acoustic guitar.

The theme for Ferndale’s annual Summer Reading program is “Libraries Rock,” and during the sign-up on June 23, Wright will inaugurate a new program in collaboration with The Library of Michigan: the Braille Enhanced Storywalk.

“Of course I love that the StoryWalk program encourages literacy,” said Wright. “But it’s also inclusive; it inspires families to enjoy an activity together, and encourages folks to get outside during the summer months.”


Braille StoryWalk: Ferndale joins 31 other libraries for what will be this second-annual StoryWalk, coordinated by the Library of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education’s Low-Incidence Outreach, and Braille & Talking Book Library. It’s a fun, educational activity designed to inspire parents and caregivers to take young children outdoors to engage in literacy and physical activities.


The book we’ve chosen is This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt,” said Wright. “It fits perfectly with our ‘Libraries Rock’ theme for Summer Reading. And since we’re debuting the StoryWalk during our Summer Reading Kickoff Party, after we sign folks up and get them a scoop of ice cream, I hope that everyone will then enjoy taking a stroll to read This Jazz Man.”

Summer Reading:  The Ferndale Library Youth Services Librarians coordinated two full month’s worth of Summer Reading events or kids of all ages, including activities, games, crafts, and, of course, lots of reading!. “The research is crystal clear regarding summer learning loss,” said Wright. “On average, students spend a full month relearning material they’ve lost over the summer months, and we want to encourage children and their families to keep their brains engaged this summer, but it’s just as important to us that we make Summer Reading fun and exciting to help foster a lifelong love of reading and learning.”

Kids and teens can build their reading skills with a take-home activity pamphlet. Librarian Jasmine Parker will provide teens with their own pamphlet of tasks and if each age group completes enough tasks, they receive tickets to the Pool Party Finale on August 11.

Kids can log their reading time and explore an interactive game board in their pamphlet, where they’ll be able to check off other activities like visiting a local museum, or attending exciting library programs like the “Full STEAM ahead” series. Teens can try out the Michigan Activity Pass, check out music from a local artist, or attend a library program as part of their Summer Reading activity pamphlet. Accumulated time spent reading brings them the chance to win prizes from FADL’s Summer Reading sponsors (Taco Bell, Chipotle) or other treats like ice cream, a free book, or a fidget widget!

Follow the Kids Corner on Facebook for more info

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Anime Club

Anime Club (2)

Anime Clubs are a great way for the Ferndale Library’s Youth Services Librarians to facilitate a fun, laid-back, and culturally-enlightening program for teens inside an inclusive and welcoming environment. Teens can be among the toughest of age demographics for libraries to retain as consistent visitors, but by tapping into the phenomena of Anime, librarians like Ferndale’s Jasmine Parker can offer teens with similar interests a chance to meet and create new friendships.

But what is Anime? “I would say that Anime is a timeless artistic movement,” said Parker. “And a culture that bridges both ethnic and age gaps.” Anime is a style of hand-drawn art/animation originating in, and commonly associated with, Japan, spanning graphic novels (known as “Mangas”), television shows, films, and beyond.

Teens can meet at the Ferndale Library on the second Tuesday of each month for this open culture club.

“(Anime Club) is an opportunity for teens to gather to watch and discuss what they enjoy about the art form, be it the movies or shows,” said Parker. “It’s a great incentive for libraries to engage with (teens) because we can dig deeper into the Japanese culture, which is the catalyst for Anime, in an effort to provide some programming and information about Japan as well as just providing the space for Anime junkies!”

All Anime has a magic about it, in that it can be easy to fall in love with it. Or, at least, it’s easy to fall in love with at least one its many characters, storylines and universes. For some, they might fall into the culture through the films of Hayao Miyazaki, or it might be classics from the 90’s like Dragonball-Z or newer productions like Attack On Titan. For Parker, it was Sailor Moon.


“Yes, Sailor Moon was definitely my gateway,” said Parker. “I didn’t realize the show was an anime show until very recently. I remember being so drawn to it: …here you have this teenage girl,… dingy, whiny, and self-absorbed…, but at the same time (she’s) undoubtedly strong and dedicated. (In Sailor Moon), I was drawn to the character Serena because I admired her vulnerability and her flaws, and I drew hope from her strength; how she managed to save others, and balance being imperfect was and still is very encouraging to me. As I’ve gotten older, I notice that even in my imperfections there lies an inner strength within me that can rise to the occasion when it presents itself…and when I least expect it!”

And Ferndale’s Anime Club aspires to spark comparable epiphanies of identity and a bolstering of self-esteem for everyone who attends. Anime is something teens tend to get very passionate about, and the Anime Club allows them a space to fully express their fandom. While High School can be a place of intimidation for anyone sensitive about the things they love, i.e., it might not “cool” to “like Anime…,” the library’s Anime Club welcomes them and lets them know that they’re not outsiders. Here, they can find a community; a community that loves the culture of Anime.

“I am excited about exposing the teens to Japanese culture with upcoming activities around fans, arts, and food,” Parker said. “And although I can only guess what it is that specifically sparks something inside of (Anime fans)–my guess would be the nuanced traits of the characters. These are imperfect people and imperfect beings created in a world that is similar to our world; in the sense that it is flawed, and yet somehow they need to figure out how to adjust to make it. That takes a certain amount of courage and confidence, and I think it resonates with teens.”


Follow the Kids Corner Facebook page for more info

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Adult Summer Reading 2018: Libraries Rock

The Ferndale Library has a two-step lifehack for stimulating your brain, expanding vocabulary, improving memory, reducing stress, increasing empathy and helping you relax, focus, learn, laugh and love. 1.) Pick up a book. 2.) Begin reading…

Rock ‘n’ Roll, just like reading, is here to stay. You’re never too old to rock! And you’re never too old to READ! That’s why the Ferndale Library’s embraced the theme of “Libraries Rock” when they invite adults of all ages to grab a Summer Reading Game Board during the June 23 signup and kickoff party in the library courtyard.

Reading a book is great for your health, but so is a habit of regular visits to your local public library. That’s why the Libraries Rock bingo game allows you to earn a stamp even for attending a library program. But you can also try things like reading a new genre, a non-fiction book, or maybe an audiobook.

READ Landscape (1).png

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State Rep Wittenberg’s Community Conversations

On the importance of public libraries to the communities of the 27th District and emphasizing careful, coherent, and civil communication in the age of social media.


Public Libraries are evolving, as you might have heard…

But all libraries, even ours, still struggle to demonstrate our progression and our continued vitality to every member of the communities we serve.

State Representative Robert Wittenberg noticed this even before he was elected to the House in 2016, and that’s why he makes a concerted effort to host Community Conversations inside the libraries of the 27th District, including Ferndale and Hazel Park.

“I want (these Community Conversations) to bring people in (to the library) that might not be aware of it or haven’t visited one in forever, so that they can see how they’ve changed and grown.” Wittenberg said.

Wittenberg will be at the Hazel Park Memorial Library on Fri., June 15 and then visit the Ferndale Area District Library on Mon., June 18. These free events are Wittenberg’s way of “reporting back” about the policies and bills being debated and developed in Lansing and how they might impact life for residents of his District.

“I want to be as accessible as possible,” says Wittenberg, “so I host these Community Conversations to create more awareness and get more people in to (the library)…,” he said, reiterating that “…libraries are a very important and valuable resource (for the community).”

Designed to be smaller scale, informal town hall meetings, the prevalence and frequency of State Representatives like Wittenberg utilizing “community conversations” increased notably over the last 10 years; Wittenberg has proven himself eager to host as many as possible.

And libraries are optimal locations for these events because they’ve evolved into 21st century community centers, with multifaceted resources and access capabilities. Libraries increasingly see their role and the services they provide expanding to include not just literacy, but computer literacy: this would entail helping patrons navigate computer software, attain a comfort with keyboards, mouses, and other programs…

But what’s just beginning to rise in importance is a discussion about media literacy—which concerns everyone’s ability to effectively analyze and evaluate the media (news, information) we’re encountering on a daily basis—primarily online. Last January, the Ferndale Library partnered with WDET-FM (101.9, Detroit’s public radio station), to co-host a panel discussion about media literacy. It’s all about communication–something Wittenberg is sensitive towards…

“I think social media has definitely changed how people interact with their legislators,”  said Wittenberg, in considering not just media literacy, but the rapid spread of social media’s impact on our daily lives. And when it comes to politics, “(Social Media)’s predominantly how people become aware of what’s going on…”

“It’s tough this day and age to be a good legislator without some social media presence,” Wittenberg admitted. “Although it’s not the most important thing, it’s still definitely of a piece with the whole picture, because people want to know what’s going on (in Lansing), and that’s especially true, now, after the 2016 election, I can tell you; more people are engaged in the political process than ever before, at least in my lifetime.”

The Ferndale Library’s previous media literacy discussion primarily addressed what Wittenberg already mentioned–that a lot of people get their news through Facebook or Twitter. That’s something Wittenberg is sensitive about during Q&A sessions with voters. “The reality of there being articles out there that are false,” he said, “or that there are articles that are acutlaly opinions but still presented as or assumed to be factual; there isn’t always enough critical scrutinizing or fact checking that needs to be there and that leads people into echo chambers, where they’re listening to, or reading only things that they already agree with.”

Wittenberg said that at these Community Conversations, he’ll occasionally encounter someone upset by something they read on social media, something that may be a strain of ‘fake news.’ That’s where the in-person conversations can alleviate. “It’s an interesting world, right now, that we’re in, with social media, and it’s obviously still new to for legislators, specifically, and the world of politics and government. I think we’re still trying to figure it out. It’s changed fast. Technology in general changes fast and will keep changing.”

The core of Wittenberg’s Community Conversations concerns engagement. These events are opportunities for us to log-off, as it were, to put our devices down and engage with legislators like Wittenberg in person, (or, as Internet slang would put it, “IRL” for “in real life!”)  Even though the Internet aids in communication, Wittenberg said, it’s still not as impactful as being in person, being accessible, and having a civil conversation.

“You can get backlash (over social media),” Wittenberg said, when it comes to a post that lays out a representative’s position on a certain issue. “I do read everyone’s opinions because I want to know all sides of an issue, to then can see whether I need to evolve on something. But what’s most important is to utilize and absorb these opinions and suggestions from the people who live in the 27th district. So I do some thinking ahead of time before posting anything. I’ve seen horrible comments in online threads and it just makes me realize that some people aren’t interested in actually having a dialogue on a topic. Not everything I’m going to do is 100% supported by everyone, but I hope it spurs discussion. You can have civil dialogue on issues, and that’s what I hope to do.”

Wittenberg’s mother is a lifelong educator, teaching 3rd grade, and he credits her, his family, and his upbringing for influencing that inclination toward promoting civility and building consensus. “This is a relationship business,” he said. “If there are more than 90,000 people in the district, that mean’s not every one of them is a Democrat, and not everyone believes everything that the Democratic Party says is necessarily right–it’s a spectrum. So we have to do the best we can to have conversations and reach across the aisle.”

Wittenberg is currently working to prioritize the consideration of our senior citizens, and that extends not only to financial security, but to media literacy as well. “These are people who have worked their entire lives and worked hard.” Wittenberg’s platform emphasizes an assurance of a quality of life for seniors. “But then you hear of senior citizens who are really vulnerable online, they’re getting exploited by scams over email or their cellphone.” Media literacy is a concern for all generations, then.

Wittenberg is also working particularly hard on education issues in Lansing, addressing class size, pushing for universal pre-school and actively visiting schools in the district during events like National Reading Month to read to students and promote literacy. “The foundation of it all …is literacy,” Wittenberg said. “You can’t be media literate if you’re not literate to start with. So the foundation is making sure kids are able to read and able to learn at a very young age, and then obviously grow to love to read.” A library is the perfect place to have these conversations, first and foremost because “… it’s a place full of books!”

“But libraries have also progressed,” Wittenberg concluded. “It’s a community center, really! That’s why I host as many Community Conversations at libraries as I can, because it’s a valuable resource that everyone needs to know about.”

Community Conversations
with State Representative Robert Wittenberg
*Fri. June 15
Hazel Park Memorial Library
123 E 9 Mile
*Mon. June 18
Ferndale Area District Library
222 E 9 Mile Rd


State Rep. Wittenberg pictured here on January 25, 2018 with fellow Democratic legislators submitting the TeA+chers for Michigan education plan — a 21st-century overhaul of the state’s K-12 schools.

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