Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Belt Tightening at KPL

Most organizations are facing budget reduction / belt tightening. KPL is no exception. State aid to libraries has been reduced and may be eliminated, property tax revenues are almost flat, interest income is near zero.

To cope with these budget constraints, we have not filled staff vacancies, some hourly positions have been eliminated, equipment purchases have been delayed, funds for books and AV items have been reduced, some programs and outreach services have been trimmed.

On May 5, voters will decide on a renewal of the library’s 20-year, basic millage which provides 65% of our operating income.

millage renewal will provide for the continuation of most services, but still require careful budgeting and some spending cuts. Our goal is to make those cuts so that our service to you is affected as little as possible. However, we will continue to reduce staff positions, hold funds for new books and AV items at the present level, and further reduce programs and outreach activities.

Readers of my blog know that use and demand for our services has grown tremendously in these tough economic times. Please know we are striving to continue to provide the services our patrons have come to expect and need but at the same time to reduce costs.

Your feedback is always welcome.



National Library Week Wrap-Up

Rick Bragg’s visit last week was the highlight of our National Library Week celebration as we concluded this year’s Reading Together program.

You helped us celebrate with the bright yellow “Library Champion” signs in yards throughout our service area and we have added “Library Champion” photos to our website.  Send us yours!  Cute kids and dogs are the most popular ones to pose by their yard signs so far!  Thanks to the Friends of KPL for funding these signs.

The Friends of KPL also celebrated “National Library Workers Day” on Wednesday with a cake for the KPL staff and a discount in their bookstore.  We have good Friends!

It was a good week.


Library Champions

National Library Week Visit

Last week was National Library Week. Our major event was Rick Bragg’s visit on Tuesday evening as the climax of this year’s Reading Together program. 

An audience of about 800, most of whom had read at least one of his books, enjoyed hearing him tell his stories in his own voice. He talked about his dad, his parents’ relationship, his extended family, growing up in the south. There was humor and sadness.  He took questions from the audience and signed books for over an hour.

After the program, Rick said we were the first community reading program to do all three of his memoirs. He complimented our materials and said he’d be glad to come again, maybe after his next book, a novel, is published. We’d welcome having him again!

We’ll soon have a video interview with him as well as photos of the event on our website.


Reading Together author Rick Bragg

National Library Week

Happy NLW... …..National Library Week, that is.

National Library Week is an annual celebration of the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians. All types of libraries participate – school, public, academic, and special. This year’s theme is “Worlds connect @ your library” for the week April 12 – 18; the honorary chair is best selling author and actress, Jamie Lee Curtis PDF.

Rev Jesse Jackson, president and founder of Rainbow PUSH coalition, will kick off this year’s observance at a reading event. Other events at the national level include the release of the report “The State of America’s Libraries” and “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2008,” Tuesday as “National Library Workers Day,” and Thursday as “Support Teen Literature Day.”

KPL will celebrate NLW with the highlight of this year’s “Reading Together” program: author Rick Bragg speaking at Kalamazoo Central High School on Tuesday, April 14, at 6:30.  We have several other programs that week as well…check our calendar.

Help us celebrate….come visit or come to a program. Indeed we can connect you to the world.


National Library Week

More State Funding Challenges

Earlier today, I posted a message here about the challenges faced by public libraries due to the uncertainties of state funding. The story is evolving rapidly...  

I learned this morning, April 2, the full state Senate has approved Senate Bill 247 with State Aid to Public Libraries line reduced to $7.5 million. This is less than half of what is required by state statute PA 89 which calls for $15.4 million in state aid. This is a further threat to the state match of federal funds for MeL. Stay tuned...



State Funding Challenges

Various state House and Senate committees are addressing the state budget. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee passed bills calling for a cut in state aid to public libraries of $1.5 million and transferring the money to the arts.

The House School Aid and Education Subcommittee adopted a budget which retains the Governor’s recommended budget and holds state aid to public libraries at $10 million, the same as last year.

Upon their return from vacation on April 20, the House and Senate will begin negotiations to reconcile budget differences.

State aid to public libraries is the state funding used to match federal funding to support MeL, the state wide databases and interlibrary loan system. Significant reductions in state aid could put MeL funding in jeopardy.

If you want your voice heard, contact your state Senator or Representative.


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