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Go West!

In 1890 the U.S. Census Bureau declared the American frontier to be "closed" - ending one hundred years of expansion. In July, 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered his essay The Significance of the Frontier in American History at the World's Columbia Exposition in Chicago, explaining his views on how the idea of a frontier helped to shaped America's characteristics. Beginning with the mountain men and Lewis & Clark, and ending with the closing of the frontier, the Library has a great collection of resources available about our country's westward movement. Start with some of the titles below:

Across the Great Divide: Robert Stuart and the discovery of the Oregon Trail by Laton McCartney

After Lewis and Clark: mountain men and the paths to the Pacific by Robert M. Utley ; maps by Peter H. Dana

The American West by Dee Brown ; photos edited by Martin F.Schmitt

Cookbooks for Kids

Kids, earn your Chow Down badge this summer by checking out a cookbook from the children's nonfiction collection. Here are some fun titles to consider:

Medicare Signed Into Law

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. The event took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, where former president Harry Truman was enrolled as the health insurance program's first beneficiary. The program, which provides hospital and medical insurance for Americans 65 years or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. For complete information on your Medicare benefits go the official website.

Social Security Handbook: overview of Social Security programs, 2013

Student's guide to landmark congressional laws on social security and welfare by Steven G. Livingston

The people's pension: the struggle to defend Social Security since Reagan by Eric Laursen

Alexis de Tocqueville

Born in Verneuil, France on July 29, 1805, Alexis de Tocqueville was the author of the classic text Democracy in America. Originally published in two volumes in 1835 and 1840, it was based on the author's 1831 visit to the United States, and described the social and economic changes taking place in the young nation. It is considered by some historians to be one of the most insightful books written about democracy.

Democracy in America by translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Democracy in America by translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Tocqueville's discovery of America by Leo Damrosch

Alexis de Tocqueville: a life by Hugh Brogan

Great Discoveries in Physics

It was 100 years ago this year, in 1913, that physicist Niels Bohr discovered the quantum atom (i.e the atomic nucleus in the center with the electrons in orbit around it). For this work he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922. In honor of this goundbreaking event read about some of the other amazing discoveries by physicists throughout history:

American Prometheus: the triumph and tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

The Curies: a biography of the most controversial family in science by Denis Brian

Degrees Kelvin: a tale of genius, invention, and tragedy by David Lindley

Edward Teller: the real Dr. Strangelove by Peter Goodchild

New Documentaries on the Shelf

Bert Stern [videodisc]: original mad man by Magic Film Productions ; Motor Entertainment ; produced and directed by Shannah Laumeister ; producer, Gregory McClatchy, Phyllis Stuart

Brooklyn castle [videodisc] by Producers Distribution Agency presents ; a Rescued Media production ; in association with Indelible Marks and Chicken and Egg Pictures ; produced by Nelson Dellamaggiore, Brian Schulz ; directed by Katie Dellamaggiore

Cesar Millan [videodisc]: the real story

Journey of the universe [videodisc]: an epic story of cosmic, Earth, and human transformation by produced and directed by Patsy Northcutt, David Kennard ; written by Brian Thomas Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker ; Northcutt Productions ; InCA Productions

Kind hearted woman [videodisc] by PBS ; a film by David Sutherland

Last summer won't happen [videodisc] by a film by Peter Gessner and Thomas Hurwitz

Happy Birthday to our Nation's Capital!

fireworksOn July 16, 1790, President George Washington signed the Residence Act, officially approving the creation of a capital district to be located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. According to the U.S. Constitution, Washington, D.C. is not part of any state, but is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Congress. Virginia and Maryland both donated land to form the capital district which was named in honor of our first president.

Through a fiery trial: building Washington, 1790-1800 by Bob Arnebeck

Washington: the making of the American capital by Fergus M. Bordewich

Washington burning: how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army by Les Standiford

Royal Baby Watch

Have you caught Royal Baby Fever? Are you anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new Prince or Princess of Cambridge? How about a little royal reading to keep you occupied until we hear the big announcement!

William and Kate: a royal love story by Christopher Andersen

William & Kate: a royal love story

William & Catherine: a royal wedding by Andrew Motion

Elizabeth the Queen: the life of a modern monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

Prince Philip: the turbulent early life of the man who married Queen Elizabeth II by Philip Eade

Philip and Elizabeth : portrait of a royal marriage by Gyles Brandreth

Say Nice Things About Detroit!

Detroit turns 313 this year! The city was founded on July 24, 1701 by the French explorer Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac. Originally named Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit, its name was shortened by the British after they had gained control of the settlement during the French and Indian War. The city is known throughout the world as both an automotive center and the birthplace of some of the world's best known musical talent. Several nicknames have been attached to Detroit throughout its long history: Motown, Hockeytown, the Motor City, the City of Champions, and the Arsenal of Democracy all reflect the city's acheivements. Although the city has undergone some tough times in recent years, Detroit can be proud of its contributions to both the country - and the world. Several new books and films have been produced recently about the city's current problems, but there is much to celebrate as well. For a taste of the city's history, as well as a picture of its present, check out some of the titles below:

Book Club Choices: July 2013

Ten Books Every American Should Read...

Common sense by Thomas Paine

1776 by David McCullough

Founding brothers: the revolutionary generation by Joseph J. Ellis

The Declaration of Independence by illustrated and inscribed by Sam Fink

Animal farm by George Orwell ; preface by Russell Baker ; introduction by C.M. Woodhouse

1984: a novel by George Orwell ; with an afterword by Erich Fromm

The Star-Spangled Banner by Spier, Peter

Look What's In Large Print July 2013

In celebration of our nation's 237th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg...

American creation [Large print]: triumphs and tragedies at the founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis

Benjamin Franklin [large print] by Edmund S. Morgan

Bunker Hill [large print]: a city, a siege, a revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick

The killer angels [Large print] by Michael Shaara

Samuel Adams [Large print]: a life by Ira Stoll

Battle of Gettysburg for Tweens and Teens

150 Years ago, the battle of Gettyburg was just ending today. Learn more about this historic and bloody battle while earning badges for Connect Your Summer.

You wouldn't want to be a Civil War soldier!: a war you'd rather not fight by written by Thomas Ratliff ; illustrated by David Antram ; created and designed by David Salariya

The Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address by Carin T. Ford

The Battle of Gettysburg: would you lead the fight? by Elaine Landau

Tillie Pierce: teen eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg by Tanya Anderson

Two miserable presidents: everything your schoolbooks didn't tell you about the Civil War by Steve Sheinkin ; illustrated by Tim Robinson

Find more fiction and nonfiction in our catalog.

Born on the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is not only the birthday of our country but of the following notable individuals:

Coolidge by Amity Shlaes


Doo-Dah!: Stephen Foster and the rise of American popular culture by Ken Emerson


Salem is my dwelling place: a life of Nathaniel Hawthorne by Edwin Haviland Miller


America's mom: the life, lessons, and legacy of Ann Landers by Rick Kogan


Barnum's own story: the autobiography of P. T. Barnum by combined, condensed from the various eds. pub. during his lifetime by Waldo R. Browne


Rewrites: a memoir by Neil Simon

Heroes of the American Revolution

gwflagms.jpgWe all know about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and their contributions to our country's beginnings, but there are plenty of other figures who should also be remembered. Read about some of them below:

Lafayette by Harlow Giles Unger

Samuel Adams: a life by Ira Stoll

Nathan Hale: the life and death of America's first spy by M. William Phelps

Tom Paine: a political life by John Keane

National Cherry Festival

The National Cherry Festival will kick off its 87th annual celebration on June 29th 2013 in the Traverse City area. Cherry lovers from every corner of the world visit the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan every July for this event. This area also showcases tremendous natural resources and beauty, and it offers a wide spectrum of recreational opportunities that take full advantage of the water, woods, and snow.

Go West [Michigan], Young Man!

When your family is debating their upcoming summer vacation, don't forget to consider the often overlooked Michigan beachtowns along the southwest Michigan shoreline. The areas along this shoreline offer many amenities and family fun, are quite affordable and travel-friendly. Follow the link above for additional information on these possible vacation spots.