Column: A Traditional Turkey

My pilgrimage to a university library

I’ve already had my Thanksgiving turkey this year. It was served up by Peggy Daub, who is head of the special collections library at the University of Michigan. I got my turkey from Daub last year, too. She prepared this year’s turkey by literally taking a page from the same book as last year: “Birds of America,” illustrated by John James Audubon.

Turkey Book

The Audubon Book as it appeared on Nov. 17, 2010. It will stay turned to the turkey page through Sunday, November 28. (Photo by the writer.)

It’s not the same page as last year. But it really is the same book, which is on display in the Audubon Room at the Hatcher Library. Yes, the room is named after the book, which was the first one ever acquired by the UM library system.

Last year, a turkey page for Thanksgiving was just a coincidence. This year it was not – I asked for it to be turned to that page. It’s actually not a trivial request. There are eight volumes the library is displaying with a page-a-week approach. And right now the turkey page is out of sequence, page-wise. Next year, it will be out of sequence volume-wise. So this could very likely wind up being just a two-year turkey tradition.

That’s all the more reason for Ann Arborites to make a pilgrimage over to the UM campus and visit the Audubon Room in the Hatcher Library. The Hatcher Library is the large academic building with its front steps facing north on the UM Diag. To get to the Audubon Room, head right through the front door, past the checkout desk on your right, all the way to the rear, then turn left. You’ll go up a ramp. At the top of the ramp, there’s a giant image of John F. Kennedy that’s part of a Peace Corps display. Turn left at Kennedy and you’ll see signs for the Audubon Room.

Hours of the Audubon Room:
Monday – Friday  8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 7 p.m.

Thanksgiving Week:
Closed Thursday and Friday
Saturday 1 – 5 p.m.
Sunday  1 – 7 p.m.

Even though I’ve already had a slice of the Audubon turkey this year, I’m planning to make another visit before the page gets turned after Nov. 28. [The library is, of course, all set up for keeping leftovers – it's sort of like their whole mission.]

Thank you, Peggy, for indulging my taste for turkey pictures this year. And thanks also to Mary Morris, who handles community engagement for the UM Library.

Dave Askins is editor and co-founder of The Ann Arbor Chronicle.