Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Family Milestones

The Kalamazoo Gazette’s Linda Mah recently wrote about her 10-year old daughters moving from KPL’s children’s room to its teen area in her opinion column, “My Girls are Ready for a Big Downtown Move.”

From the library perspective, I am so pleased that Linda’s daughters have had such a wonderful experience in the children’s room, and such a strong introduction to books and reading. I appreciate Linda’s mention of our dedicated staff by name, and hope her family’s experience will encourage others to become library users too. However, my strongest reaction to Linda’s article was as a parent.

My children are in college. I well remember, as all parents do, a variety of transitions during their elementary and middle school years. Linda wrote about the library transition with such moving words and images that it brought tears to the eyes of several of my colleagues. Me, too.

Thanks, Linda, for sharing this special time with your readers, but more importantly for reminding parents of these milestones. The years go fast.

Bring your children for a visit. Build library traditions in your home.


Children's Room

Presidential Support for Reading and Libraries

In his first address to Congress, President Obama mentioned reading and libraries!

He encouraged parents to read to their children. Although he didn’t elaborate, I’m sure he meant read to your newborn, your toddler, your preschooler to prepare them to learn to read when they enter school. That’s the focus of our Ready to Read program.

But also read to and with your children as they learn to read; model the joy of reading, share your love of books. It’s special parent and child time together.

When President Obama introduced the young girl in the audience with Michelle Obama, he said she had written to him using a computer at her local public library. She asked him what he could do to make her school better.

"And I think about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina – a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom. She has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp. The letter asks us for help, and says, 'We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world. We are not quitters.'" ~ President Barack Obama, Address to Joint Session of Congress, 24 February 2009 

I don’t remember previous presidents mentioning reading or libraries in speeches to Congress. I was listening more carefully than I have in the past though.

I agree with him... to your children, come use a public computer at the library.


The Barack Obama READ Poster


WWMT recently ran a story on their website and on the local newscast about KPL. They were following up on the many stories in the national print and broadcast media about the surge in library business in these tough economic times.

I told the reporter what I have written on this blog and in Link, the library newsletter, that our circulation is up almost 10%, with a 25% increase in AV materials. Program attendance, registration for computer classescomputer usage, use of our meeting rooms… all up.

One patron in the WWMT news report commented that our AV shelves are sometimes empty. Some days the shelves of new AV materials are rather bare. It’s a high priority to get returned items, especially new, popular ones, back on the shelves ASAP. However, we have a strong collection of older titles too….ones you may have missed or ones worth watching or listening to again.

We’ve pleased our local TV station followed-up the national stories with the local experience. It is still another opportunity to remind viewers of our resources and that there is no charge to borrow any materials, including AV items.

Come visit soon.



If you are reading this blog entry, you have obviously found our website, but have you really explored it yet?

We launched this website in June, 2008. Since then we’ve added many more features, further developed the original sections, and added videos of many of our events. It’s a site to browse for readingviewing, and listening suggestions; a doorway into our catalog to search our holdings, reserve materials, and check your own account; a source of information through our topic guides; a calendar to our many events and programs at all locations for all ages. 

Some website features are basic and will always be there, others are seasonal…..we currently have a link to tax forms and information. Others are constantly being expanded…..look at the local history section.

Library websites are frequently called online branches. We hope it is becoming that for you with logical, easy navigation and information you needed. We hope, however, that it is also a site you just want to browse even when you aren’t looking for anything in particular. I’d welcome your comments about our website. 

Do explore our online branch soon.


Kalamazoo Public Library Website

Reading Together @ KPL

I’m proud of all our programs, but Reading Together is one of my personal favorites. I like to read a book and discuss it with others and that’s exactly what Reading Together is all about!

This year the “community book club” is reading and discussing Rick Bragg’s powerful trilogy of memoirs. The kick-off event, a screening of short animated video productions inspired by his story, is March 4. The concluding event, “Meet Rick Bragg,” will be April 14. He’ll read from his books, tell his stories, share what he reads, and answer questions.

A recent article in the Kalamazoo Gazette included excerpts from an interview with Mr. Bragg. Full information about the bookssuggested discussion questionseventsbook discussions, and suggestions for further reading is on the website. If you're inspired by the books, you're also able to “Tell Your Story.” 

We have copies of all three of the books to check out, but you don’t need to read all of them to participate. It is hard to stop reading after one though!

Read one, two, or three books and join me at an event or discussion.


Reading Together
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