Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Reader's Roundtable

Mark your calendar for the next "Reader's Roundtable" on January 20 at 7p.m. at Central Library. We will be discussing Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Treats will be provided.

In February we will be talking about The Known World by Edward Jones and then in March will be discussing A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. All discussions are held at the Central Library at 7p.m.

Classics Revisited on January 15th will be reading Robinson Crusoe.

Come join us in sharing literature with others.



Mountains beyond mountains
Joanna L

Libraries in tough economic times

Librarians know that libraries are even busier in tough economic times. It is obvious in the number of patrons through our doors, the number and types of reference questions asked, the wait to use public computers, attendance at our programs, and, of course, an increase in circulation of books and AV items. Unfortunately that increase in the need for our services and in usage is often coupled with tighter budgets and an increase in costs. Nevertheless, libraries rise to the challenge.

We were pleased to see a national news story on this very topic….increase in usage, tighter budgets for libraries.

Libraries offer free relief from tough times (MSNBC)

Usage at KPL mirrors this national trend. So far, for our year which just began on July 1, our circulation of all materials across all our locations is up 10%. This reflects an increase of 6% for print materials, 23% for nonprint materials. Our reference questions are up 9%, patron assistance of all types up 22%. Our equipment use, primarily of public computers, is up a staggering 54%.

Most of our FREE computer classes are filled and attendance at our programs for adults, teens, children, and families has increased.

Come visit soon!  I’m confident we will have a book, an AV item, a program, a class, a computer that will help you in one way or another during these challenging economic times.


MSNBC Report: Libraries offer free relief from tough times

Despite the frigid temps, Holiday Hop was HUGE!

Over 650 people attended our annual Holiday Hop celebration on December 5th. This event is part of the December Art Hop sponsored by the Arts Council of Kalamazoo. This year over 50 local authors including Bonnie Jo CampbellNic BishopWendy Anderson Halperin and William Decker, who signed books and talked to participants. Many of our great local poets read from their works in the Children's Room. The Van Deusen Room was transformed into a Christmas Bazaar as KPL staff, friends and family displayed and sold their art. The evening was complete with music provided by the Ken Morgan Jazz Trio.

Check out these photos and see what you missed!

Kevin King

The Red Sea Pedestrians @ KPL!

Local favorites, The Red Sea Pedestrians performed their unique brand of high-energy, neo-Klezmer music to a diverse crowd of over 140 on December 10th. The band played a mixture of songs from their most recent release A Lesson in Cartography as well as some new songs including "Carnival Bells," about the old amusement park at Woods Lake. One of the best parts of the show was the amazing energy between the band and the audience. There were many instances of spontaneous dancing, clapping, and cheering during the set. It was an amazing evening of FREE music.

Check out these videos and photos from the show.


Red Sea Pedestrians
Kevin King

Prime Time at Alma Powell

After six weeks of reading, singing, acting and storytelling this season’s Prime Time ended with a musical blast!

Prime Time is the Alma Powell branch Monday night Family Reading Program for children ages 6 to 10. The program ran for 6 weeks. After dinner educators Ruth Heinig and Robin Nott led a book discussion. We heard stories, kids told stories, Ruth and Robin provided puppet shows and we had weekly sing-a-longs. Babysitting was provided for children under six.

We are all looking forward to the spring session of Prime Time!



Powell Branch Library

Biography Resource Center

The Biography Resource Center, a biographical database available to KPL patrons, has added new content.

A one-stop resource for more than 440,000 comprehensive narrative biographies of more than 340,000 people from around the world and throughout history and across all reference and journal disciplines. The intuitive interface makes accessing the comprehensive reference and journal content — easy and delivers viable results instantly.

To further enhance Biography Resource Center, the company has announced the launch of the Lives & Perspectives Collection. This optional new module offers more than 160,000 biographies drawn from a range of highly respected academic reference titles such as American Men & Women of Science, Governments of the World, Encyclopedia of African-American Culture & History and the Dartmouth Medal-winning Encyclopaedia Judaica.

Start exploring unique profiles of notable individuals in history, science, religion, government and more at your KPL online resources and Biography Topic Guide. 


Biography Topic Guide




The glowfriends are a bright spot!

A stripped down line-up of the favorite local band, glowfriends, entertained a large crowd of music loving fans to an acoustic set on November 19th. The band is not used to the "non-electric, interact with the audience between songs format," but overcame their fears to deliver a fabulous show. Mark, April and Holly shared a bit of not only their music and the stories behind the songs, but also what makes music touch the souls of those who listen.

Check out exclusive videos from the show.


A Farewell to Fair-Weather
Kevin King
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