From the Director
Library news and happenings.
The Library of Michigan recently released state wide data about public libraries, compiled from the annual reports we all submit.
Here’s some of the information I found particularly interesting or compelling:
- Michigan residents visited their public libraries over 56 million times; KPL estimates about 800,000 visits to our five locations.
- Patrons borrowed over 89,000,000 items from public libraries across the state; our circulation was 1,682,620.
- Circulation per capita is flat across the state from the previous year: 9.0.
- Over 5 million Michigan residents hold library cards; we have about 80,000 cardholders.
- 415 libraries are participating MeLCat libraries; we loan to other libraries and borrow for our patrons about an equal number of items.
- Michigan public libraries provide 11,229 computers used 13.3 million times by the public; KPL’s 100 public computers logged 184,811 sessions.
- 98% of operating income for Michigan public libraries is from the local community; we rank 32nd in state funding at just $0.91 of state money per capita.
- Children’s program attendance remains strong at most libraries; adult program attendance has declined.
- And not surprisingly, book collections have decreased over the past five years while AV, e-book, and audiobook collections have increased. Despite the decrease in book collections, they remain by far the dominant item in public library collections.
Come visit soon – at one of our five locations or via our website. We’re counting for next year’s state report.
About the Library
I’m guessing when you visit our website, you go to one or two areas….perhaps the catalog, the calendar of events, maybe our databases. You know what you are looking for and you head there.
I want to call your attention to several new features or services available on our website with the hope you will explore them as well as your favorites.
New blogs are posted to our website several times each week, new materials being added to our collection are highlighted, new services are often featured in the rotating pictures. Visit often.
Kalamazoo Public Library website
Last month the Kercher Center at WMU sent out a survey on behalf of the library. It was mailed to 2,000 randomly selected residents in our service area. If you didn’t get one in the mail, now you have an opportunity to express your opinion online.
Responses to the survey will help us plan for the next few years. We are interested in how you rank our current services, suggestions you might have for new services in place of current ones, and what you would reduce or eliminate if we have a major reduction in revenues.
I hope you will take 10 minutes or so to complete this survey. We want to hear from library users.
Do you consider the environmental impact when choosing a print or e-book format?
I admit, I’ve only thought very briefly about this question and it doesn’t enter into my decision to read a book in print or digital format. My decision is based primarily on availability.
I recently came across a short article on this very topic. It gave me pause. The author considered the trees used to make paper, chlorine bleach to dye the paper, use of recycled paper, amount of ink, energy needed to produce the ink, lifespan of a typical e-reader, and carbon emissions from production and use of an e-reader.
Bottom line conclusion from the author: an e-reader is the more environmentally responsible choice for those who read more than 23 books per year.
Now that you know this, will it make a difference in the format you choose?
Last week’s blog was about e-reading vs print reading. I wrote that e-book choices through libraries are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase or license digital copies to loan to cardholders. This limit has become a freedom to read concern for libraries.
E-books are here to stay; it is possible that in the future new books may be published only in digital format. When that happens, an e-reader, a credit card, and disposable income will be necessary to read a book unless all major publishers are willing to sell or license a title to public libraries.
Currently several major publishers refuse to sell or license e-books to public libraries. Others make them available at a very high price or impose heavy restrictions on their use. Consequently the selection of e-books available for loan is limited.
Librarians and library organizations are pressing publishers to change their practices. Some pilot programs are underway as publishers and libraries strive to develop mutually acceptable models.
We need the help of readers to voice their concern about preserving the freedom to read. You can support this effort by contacting state and federal elected officials. Make them aware of the e-book lending challenges and encourage them to press publishers to work with libraries.
Preserving the freedom to read is worth fighting for.
E-books for Libraries: Freedom to Read
A recently released Pew Research Center study reports 23% of Americans, ages 16 and older, have read an e-book in the past year, up from 16% the year before. Those who read a print book dropped from 72% to 67%. Overall book readers, no matter the format, remained about the same at about 75% of the population.
Not surprisingly, there has also been an increase in ownership of e-book reading devices; 25% of those 16 and older own a tablet computer, 19% an e-book reading device.
Also not surprisingly, e-book borrowing from public libraries has increased too….from 3% last year to 5% this year.
Here at KPL we have had a whooping increase in e-book circulation: 3,593 in 2010 / 11 to 17,369 in 2011/12. That’s an increase of 383%!
The titles available to download through our website have increased substantially too. We purchase copies of popular titles just for KPL cardholders in addition to those available through the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. Nevertheless, the choices are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase digital copies to loan to cardholders.
The American Library Association is challenging publishers to include libraries in their service model. So far, most publishers are not willing to do so.
The awards and “best of” season continues in the entertainment and publishing fields. The Library of Michigan just announced the “2013 Michigan Notable Books.”
This designation began in 1991. Each year 20 books published during the previous year are featured. The books are about, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a native or resident of our state. Fiction and nonfiction titles with a wide appeal on an array of topics are selected.
In the news release announcing this year’s choices, our state librarian, Nancy Robertson, wrote that “this program successfully shines the spotlight on the number of talented writers and illustrators we have in Michigan; these books help tell Michigan’s story.”
By coincidence, I happened to be reading Detroit City Is the Place to Be, one of this year’s selections. I’ve also added several titles to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read.
I hope your reading year is off to a good start; mine is.
Michigan Notable Books
Year end brings a time of reflection. As I look back on 2012 for the library, many events and milestones immediately come to mind.
We were honored to be awarded a Citation of Excellence for superior customer service from our state librarian at our annual conference. It affirmed our commitment to superior service with a can-do attitude in a cost effective manner.
Our 140th birthday celebration with author Susan Orlean was a highlight of the year and we were pleased it was one of the top entertainment events on MLive.
We launched First Saturday @ KPL, a monthly program for school age children last spring, hosted all KPS first-graders twice this fall, and kept kids reading over the summer through our summer reading games. Through these efforts, kids checked out 19% more books this year than the year before!
We bonded with author Luis Urrea when he visited as our Reading Together author, launched our Geek campaign in the Do-Dah Parade, graduated the first class of our Nonprofit Leadership Academy through ONEplace.
Of course we continued to provide materials for reading, viewing, and listening and assistance at a variety of public service desks at Central and branches.
It was good year at the library and we are ready to move on to 2013.
Best wishes for the new year; come visit soon.
It is the time of year when we all receive many requests for donations from a wide variety of local, regional, and national organizations.
The library does not conduct an annual fundraising campaign nor send out a solicitation request. Our only fundraiser is our annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee to raise funds to buy books for distribution through our Ready to Read program.
Of course donations to the library are always welcome and greatly appreciated.
A donation can be designated for a specific collection, such as large print or children’s; a location, such as your neighborhood branch; or a service such as Local History, Teens, or Ready to Read. Undesignated gifts are directed where they are needed most.
And don’t forget our good Friends; your donations of gently used books and audio visual material are always appreciated.
We appreciate if you think of the library when you are considering your year-end giving.
Support the Library
My Ideal Bookshelf was recently published. We have it in our collection, although it is checked out and I haven’t yet seen it. I have read about it, however.
The premise is that the books we keep, let alone read, say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. The author asked dozens of cultural figures – authors, filmmakers, chefs, architects – to select a small bookshelf worth of books to represent themselves.
What books would you select if you had been asked? I’m still pondering this for myself. As I look around my bookshelves at home, I see favorite novels, biographies of presidents especially Lincoln, memoirs by women, some autographed children’s books. I’m not sure these are the ones I would select to say who I am but for various reasons and at various times, those are the books I have chosen to have on my shelves.
What’s on your shelf that says who you are? If you can’t select the entire shelf, how about one title?
My Ideal Bookshelf