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From the Director

We Have Good Friends!

This week, October 19 – 25 is National Friends of Libraries Week.

KPL is pleased to celebrate our good friends, the Friends of KPL. They are major contributors to our library’s success through their community advocacy for the library and their donation of about $50,000 annually to enhance our programs and services.

In their advocacy role, they were the primary funders of our very successful spring millage campaign and, of course, they helped us get the word out about the vote and the library services it supports.
Their annual donation comes from the revenue from the bookstore, located on the lower level of Central Library. They sell “gently used books, very gently priced” that have been donated or have been withdrawn from the library collection.

Their 2013-14 donation funded our summer reading activities, supported the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, and provided an enhancement to many programs: Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, Youth Literature Seminar. They thanked the library staff with years of service recognition and honored retirees.

We have very good friends; they would welcome you as member and as a bookstore patron.
Thank you, good FRIENDS OF KPL, and happy Friends week.


142 Years and Going Strong!

We are in birthday mode!

We trace our founding to October 12, 1872, which makes us 142.

Each year at this time, I pause to consider our long, strong history and appreciate that only about eight years after the Civil War, folks in Kalamazoo were opening a library.

Of course we have considerable information about the library’s history on our website and while you are reading that, enjoy the many essays and other information about Kalamazoo and the area that our staff has compiled.

Please stop by – any of our five locations or our website. We think our founders would be proud of how the library has developed over the years and we acknowledge we are only the current “caretakers;” many others will follow us.


Library Satisfaction & Use

Earlier this summer, a Harris Poll was conducted nationally to determine the level of library satisfaction and use of public libraries.  Here are a few interesting results:

  • 66% of adults are extremely or very satisfied with their public library, a 7% increase from the 2008 survey
  • Parents are more likely than those without children to be extremely or very satisfied
  • 64% of Americans have a library card, down from 68% in the 2008 survey
  • Women are more likely than men to have a library card:  71% vs 57%
  • Higher levels of education coincide with higher likelihood of having a library card; those with a high school education or less are the least likely to have a card
  • 89% of adults believe it is important for children to have their own library card
  • Eight out of ten adults with library cards have used the library in the past year; 18% visit every other week or more
  • The top reason for visiting their library is to borrow a book (56%), borrow a DVD (24%), or borrow / use digital content (15%)
  • Men are more likely to borrow CDs than women (12% vs 7%), to use reference materials (also 12% vs 7%), and to check email (14% vs 5%)
  • 89% feel the public library is a valuable education resource; 65% believe the library is an entertainment resource

None of these results are particularly surprising to me. Based on what I hear from our patrons and the results of our millage vote in May, I am guessing our percentage of adults extremely or very satisfied might be higher than this national poll. I’d also guess that the other findings are in line with those of our patrons.

I hope you are using KPL services, both online and at our five locations. If you haven’t been here in a while, come visit soon.

 


Read Whatever You Choose

We are joining with libraries, bookstores, and publishers across the country to affirm the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 – 27.

You may be surprised to learn there are hundreds of reported attempts to remove materials from libraries and schools for content deemed by some as inappropriate, controversial or even dangerous. This year the spotlight is on graphic novels which are often the target for censors.  Two graphic novels appear on the Top 10 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books compiled by the Intellectual Freedom Office of the American Library Association:  Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series at #1 and Jeff Smith’s series Bone at #10.

Banned Books Week is to remind us of the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book they choose.

As in recent years, we will celebrate the week during Art Hop on Friday evening, October 3, with our partner the SW Michigan Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Local celebrities will read from frequently challenged books.

Join us for this program and exercise your right to read whatever you choose.


Bargains with your Library Card

Libraries promote library cards as the “most powerful card in your wallet.” For the month of September, your KPL card has even more power…. the power for discounts at some popular restaurants and retailers.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month across the country. In celebration, many Kalamazoo merchants are offering discounts for showing your library card. The ever-growing list is on our website.

Have your KPL library card in hand, visit these local businesses, and enjoy a discount.

Thanks to these restaurants and retailers for partnering with us to promote library card month.


Homework Resources

As usual, summer has gone fast and it is back to school.  Although homework may not be assigned immediately, it will be soon.

KPL subscribes to more than 70 databases, many with a homework help perspective for students at all grade levels, including college. They cover an amazing variety of topics and have been researched and compiled by subject specialists.

Depending upon the format and the licensing agreements with the vendor, some are available through our website for home access, while others are available only within the library. Most require a KPL library card to log-in.

Links on our website for Databases and Homework Help will take you to these resources. Our staff are also available to help guide you to these databases as well as to other materials, both online and in print.

I hope back-to-school has gone smoothly at your home.


Ebooks @ the Library

Amazon recently rolled out “Kindle Unlimited” and described it as 600,000 ebook titles, 1000’s of audiobooks all for $9.99 per month. Read and listen unlimited. It sounds good, but wait…..are the books you want to read and listen to included??

I just read an informal “study”. The author identified about 15 titles, some current some classics, and checked the availability in Kindle Unlimited, in several other ebook services, and at two public libraries.

Hands down, more of the titles, both current and classics, were available through the libraries than from the vendors.

Yes, I realize there are differences…..ebooks through libraries are the library model: place a hold if not available, wait your turn, return the title at the due date BUT more publishers have made their titles available in ebook format to libraries than to Amazon.

KPL participates in a consortium of Michigan public libraries who share ebook services through OverDrive. The price is right…..free to resident cardholders….and there is a good selection of titles. Information is on our website and our staff are available to help get you started.

My advice….browse our ebook holdings before your subscribe to a commercial ebook service.


Test Prep / Career Help

I often use this blog to promote our services and events. It has been a while since I have called attention to one of my favorite services and one that amazes patrons when I happen to mention it:  Learning Express Library.

Learning Express Library is a database of online classes and video tutorials available to public libraries through the Library of Michigan. It has several components: Job and Career Accelerator; Computer Skills; Adult Learning Center; Career Center; High School Equivalency; College Prep.

If you are preparing to take an exam for a job, college, or even graduate school there is a good chance a practice test is available. If you are considering a career choice or change, there is some good info here. Want to brush up on your computer or math skills or business writing before a job interview? This is the place.

Many folks look to Google for everything. You won’t find the type of learning, practice tests, and career information through Google you will find here. Even if you don’t need it now, we all know family or friends who might find it useful. Help me spread the word about this state-provided service.


Proposition 1 - Personal Property Tax

Many governmental agencies, professional organizations, and businesses are urging a “yes” vote on Proposal 1 on August 5. This week the library board followed the lead of others and passed a resolution of support.

This proposal accomplishes two major goals without raising taxes:

  • Provides a tax cut for small businesses by ending the personal property tax they are required to pay
  • Creates a stable, reliable funding system for such services as police, fire, roads, libraries, and other community services as a replacement for personal property tax revenues

Many organizations and media outlets have published FAQ’s, impact statements, and informational bulletins.  Here is a link to the one complied by the Michigan Library Association.

The library community is hopeful this proposal will pass and eliminate some of the funding uncertainty for libraries.  


Where Have You Read?

I seldom leave home without something to read, usually a magazine, a book, or my e-reader in my purse. Although my phone is also in my purse, I don’t read on it to any substantial degree. Most times I don’t read when I am out and about, but unexpected waiting does occur and then I am glad to have reading materials with me.

Not surprisingly, when I recently came across the “Reader’s Bill of Rights” all ten of them spoke to me:

  1. The right to not read.
  2. The right to skip pages.
  3. The right to not finish.
  4. The right to reread.
  5. The right to read anything.
  6. The right to escapism.
  7. The right to read anywhere.  (My favorite!)
  8. The right to browse.
  9. The right to read aloud.
  10. The right to not defend your tastes.

My motto: Don’t leave home without something to read. Where is the most unlikely place you have read? It might be in line at the grocery store for me.


Celebrations

We are still enjoying the glow of two big events last week: the grand opening of The Hub, our digital lab and the 17th annual Party in the Park to celebrate the importance of early childhood literacy.

Information about both The Hub services and the Party can be found on our website. The photos of both events tell the story….enjoy!

Party in the Park | The Hub Grand Opening

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Party in the Park 2014
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157644479833807/

“020”

…is the Dewey Decimal number for general information about library and information sciences. Although catalogers like exact numbers, I’m using this one for some miscellaneous library updates that cross the entire library….apologies to catalogers DH and KL.

The Hub, our digital lab, has the grand opening on Tuesday, May 27, at 5:30. We are excited about this new service.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten continues to receive attention in local media. This is the KPL program most often mentioned to me when I am out and about in the community. I love it too!

• Sign-up for Summer Reading Games for all ages begins June 2; the kick-off party will be Saturday, June 7 as part of June Jubilee.

LINK, the library newsletter, is now a quarterly publication. Expect the June, July, August issue in your mailbox very soon. Copies also available at all library locations.

• When you are at Central Library, walk by the archway entrance to the recently-expanded Local History Room. The name has just been added, “The Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room.”

• And lastly, thank you again for your support for renewing the library operational millage.

Come visit soon….Central, branches, website.

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Dewey Decimal System
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http://www.oclc.org/dewey/versions/print.en.html

Thank You Voters!

….for the renewal of our millage on Tuesday. We are grateful for this strong confirmation of the services we are offering and the priorities we have set with community input.

Thanks to the Citizens Committee for KPL, the Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library, our board and staff, but most importantly to the voters for this vote of support.

Come visit soon!

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Millage Renewal Approved
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/support/millage.aspx

This Week @ KPL

This has been a busy week with three particularly big or important events, each one quite special.

On Monday night was the final challenge in this year’s Global Reading Challenge and a celebration of the 20th year of this battle of the books program for 4th and 5th graders. And what a gathering…..200+ family, friends, and siblings to watch kids answer increasingly hard questions about one of ten books. What a celebration of reading! Congratulations to the Prairie Ridge team, the Crazy Cougars, who answered the most questions correctly.

On Wednesday we hosted folks from the national Family Place Libraries grant team. They came to review our progress at the end of the first year of this three year grant. We proudly showed off our new Story Place, shared the success of our first two 1,2,3 Play With Me workshops, and described all of our services to preschoolers. In exchange, we were given Family Place banners to display at our two Family Place Library sites, Central and Oshtemo.

Also on Wednesday, the Friends of KPL conducted their annual meeting over lunch at the Ladies Library Association. New officers were elected, a budget was adopted, and we thanked them for their generous gift of $50,000+ which funded all of summer reading games among other library programs and services.

We have many events and programs, of course, but these were three special ones. A big week at KPL.

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Family Place Libraries
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157644435697012/

Libraries vs. Apple Pie

A report on The State of America’s Libraries was recently released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. There are some interesting and affirming statistics and commentary for public library use.

To share a few:

• 95% of respondents said public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading while 94% said having a public library improves the quality of life in a community

• More than half have used a public library within the past year

• 72% consider they live in what is considered a “library household”

• 70% report that a child from their household has visited a public library in the past year. Of course we are always working hard to increase that number

• And a fun one:

“….public libraries not only rank more highly in the American psyche than Congress, journalists, and President Obama, but they also trump baseball and apple pie. Public Libraries are more beloved than apple pie.”

We hope you too value public libraries – come visit soon.

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The State of America's Libraries
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http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2013

National Library Week 2014

This is National Library Week. We join with libraries, schools, bookstores, and publishers in celebrating this week to highlight the value of libraries. This year’s theme is “Lives change @ your library.”

In the mid 1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less time with books and more times with radios, TV, and musical instruments. Concerned we were reading less, publishers formed a National Book Committee. In 1957, they developed a plan for National Library Week. The first celebration was held in 1958 with the theme “wake up and read.” The celebration continues.

Each day of the week now has a focus. Tuesday is National Library Workers Day, Thursday is Celebrate Teen Literature Day. A relatively new aspect of the week is Library Snapshot Day. We’ll be taking photos all day Tuesday to show “a day in the life of the library.” Look for photos on our website.

Celebrate National Library Week with us and visit one of our five locations or through our website. Much has changed in society and in libraries since the first celebration, but we still provide a wealth of information and a wide variety of services with staff to help.

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National Library Week
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http://atyourlibrary.org/national-library-week

What's Your Reading Format Choice?

E-books and reading on phones, tablets, and computers has transformed reading. As one author has said, the “sweet spot” was hit. The devices are generally big enough for detailed, legible type, but small enough to be carried in a pocket or backpack or just in your hand.

Another reading revolution occurred just 75 years ago….the “pocket book.” Small books, about 4 by 6 inches and priced at 25¢ were introduced. Their introduction into the market changed who could read and where; books were also more readily available for purchase….not just in the few bookstores in big cities, but grocery and drug stores and even airports. Within just two years, 17 million books in this new format had been sold.

Not surprisingly, the biggest sellers were mysteries, westerns, and “thinly veiled smut” or a “flood of trash” as critics labeled it. This small format launched gritty detective stories and science fiction.

The paperback format changed the reading habits of the nation, much like the introduction of e-books. The choices are many; I’m pleased we can offer good reading in all formats…hardcovers, paperbacks, and e-books.

Visit Central, one of our four branches, or our website for reading suggestions and format options.

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Books
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Bedtime Reading

A few months ago, I wrote here about one of our newest programs for very young children, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. It was also featured in the March – May issue of LINK, our quarterly newsletter.

Since we launched this program, several people from around the community have commented to me that 1,000 is sure a lot of books; they wonder if it is reasonable. In most cases, their children are grown. As the conversation continues and they remember reading to their children at bedtime, remember reading several books a night, they then realize 1,000 books is indeed reasonable.

With bedtime in mind as a frequent time to read to your children, I recently saw a list of “twenty benefits of bedtime stories.” Reading to young children can make a profound difference in the lives of children as books are shared as part of a regular bedtime routine.

Here are just a few of the reminders of the importance and benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Makes bedtime easier, more enjoyable, and something to look forward to
  • Helps a child feel special and loved as they share quality time
  • Builds a bond and opens avenues of communication
  • Encourages reading
  • Builds a child’s vocabulary
  • Fosters imagination
  • Improves creativity
  • Expands the child’s world
  • Creates memories

Read to your children, encourage parents and caregivers you know to read to theirs. The benefits to parent and child are immeasurable.

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1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
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/kids/1000-books-before-kindergarten.aspx

We Like Numbers, Too.

The image of librarians is that we are more about words than numbers. I guess that’s true but there are two “number” sections on our website I think you will find interesting.

We’ve just added library use statistics to our website. Circulation of books, music, movies, and digital products are tracked by location….central and each branch….along with program attendance and computer use. There are numbers and graphs.

The value calculator is not new to our website although it hasn’t been highlighted recently. It is an interesting way to appreciate the value of the library services you use.

I’d welcome your comments on either of these.

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Library Use Statistics
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/about/stats/

A New LINK

From time to time, we would hear that patrons preferred more lead time on events and would like to see all summer programs at one time, as well as spring and winter break, so they could plan ahead. We also wanted to make LINK more of a newsletter and not just a program guide by sharing library information including new services, book, movie and music reviews, and more. We are excited to share with you……the new LINK.

By now, you probably received your copy of LINK at home and hopefully noticed it is now a quarterly publication, not bimonthly. The March, April, May issue includes not only program information but with more pages, also articles about new services, book suggestions, and more information from our Friends.

We hope you like this new format and frequency.

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Library LINK
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eBooks

I often use this space to promote one of our services or to highlight something on our website. This week I am doing both, namely our ebook collection available through our website.

A Pew Research Center survey issued in the fall found that the number of Americans age 16 and older who own a tablet computer has grown to 35% and those who have an ereader such as a Kindle or Nook has grown to 24%. Overall those with a tablet or an ereader device now stands at 43% and more than 50% in households earning $75,000 or more.

Ebooks are available to KPL cardholders through our website. Not every publisher makes their new ebooks available to libraries so not every bestseller you might want to read is on the site. Many are however and they can be checked out on your device for up to three weeks.

Ebooks are just one of our digital services. Audiobooks, music, movies, magazines are available also.

Visit soon…..digitally or at one of our five locations.

As tablet ownership grows, more use them for e-books

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eBooks
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What keeps you up at night?

When some library directors were asked that question, the response from many was “the rapid pace of change!” I’d add to that, especially changes in technology.

It’s hard to keep up knowledge-wise, let alone have the financial resources to implement it in the library.

Some interesting numbers that make the point:

2003: 43.7 million websites
2013: 785.3 million websites

2003: 650 million cell phones
2013: 1.8 billion cell phones, including 1 billion smartphones

2003: 280,590 available ebook titles
2013: 4.1 million available ebook titles

2003: 8.8 million global mobile broadband users
2013: 2.1 billion global mobile broadband users

I’m not sure it does any good to lose sleep over this! What keeps you awake at night?

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About the Library
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/about/

New Services for Our Youngest Patrons

Our #1 priority is service to young children, birth to five, to prepare them to enter school ready to learn. We have several new services to support these youngest patrons as well as their older siblings.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten…. it sounds like a tremendous number but if you think about five years, a few books each night before bed, it is quite doable. Daily reading and regular library visits are great preparation for school.

We are distributing the Kalamazoo Early Learning 2014 Calendar. Paper copies are available at all library locations as well as our website. Each of the 365 days has an activity…. January 27: Talk about different materials: paper, cloth, wood, metal, etc. March 12: start each day at the window and talk about the weather.

Ebooks for children are now available through our website. Some parents want to introduce their young children to technology, others do not. Picture books on an iPad won’t replace the print picture book experience, but can be a nice complement.

We’ve made some changes in the children’s room at Central. Some materials have been relocated for ease in use, but the biggest change is The Story Place, an activity room with fun toys where families can stay and play on their library visit. We will also use the room for storytimes and other programs for young children.

Even if you don’t have young children in your home, I hope you will visit our new room and read more about these new services on our website. Share them with children and parents you know.

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Kids & Parents
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Buy a Book, Borrow a Book

The Friends of KPL will hold their first Bag-of-Books Sale of the year on Saturday, January 25, at the Central Library. The sale begins at 9 am when the library opens and will end at 3:30 pm. Books are 10¢ each or $2.00 for a grocery bag full. Just like a library, books are arranged by categories including fiction, nonfiction, mystery, science fiction, among others... ...they aren’t in alphabetical order by author though!

The sale will be in the auditorium; the Friends Bookstore on the lower level will also be open, so shop both places for inexpensive winter reading.

Of course while you are at the library, browse the shelves for a book or movie to borrow. You need your library card for that, money not needed.

We are good partners…. the Friends of KPL and KPL.

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Friends Bag of Books Sale
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/friends/bookstore/sale/

More Books for My Reading List

I like book lists... “best of” and favorites from reviewers, friends, and our staff. I always add more titles to my “list of books-to-read-sometime.”

Here is another one: 2014 Michigan Notable Books

This list is announced each year by the Library of Michigan. The twenty books focusing on the state, notable residents, and events in our state’s history are selected by a committee of folks from libraries, bookstores and related organizations.

I’ve read a few of these books and have added a few more to my list.

2014 Michigan Notable Books:

  • Beyond Pontiac’s Shadow: Michilimackinac and the Anglo-Indian War of 1763 by Keith R. Widder (Michigan State University Press)
  • The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych by Doug Wilson (Thomas Dunne Books)
  • Birth Marks by Jim Daniels (BOA Editions Ltd.)
  • Bluffton: My Summers with Buster by Matt Phelan (Candlewick Press)
  • Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Farm by Mardi Jo Link, (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • The Colored Car by Jean Alicia Elster (Wayne State University Press)
  • Detroit: Race Riots, Racial Conflicts and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide by Joe T. Darden and Richard W. Thomas (Michigan State University Press)
  • Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff (The Penguin Press)
  • The Great Lake Sturgeon Edited by Nancy Auer and Dave Dempsey (Michigan State University Press)
  • I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford by Richard Snow (Scribner)
  • In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell (Soho Press)
  • November’s Fury: The Deadly Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913 by Michael Schumacher (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Poetry in… Michigan… in Poetry – Edited by William Olsen and Jack Ridl (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
  • The River Swimmer by Jim Harrison (Grove Press)
  • Something That Feels Like Truth by Donald Lystra (Northern Illinois University Press)
  • Sweetie-licious Pies: Eat Pie, Love Life by Linda Hundt, Photography by Clarissa Westmeyer (Guilford)
  • Taken Alive: The Sight’s Rock and Roll Tour Diary by Eddie Baranek, Edited and Forward by Brian Smith (Hiros Rise Music)
  • Tear–Down: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young (University of California Press)
  • Tuesdays With Todd and Brad Reed: A Michigan Tribute by Brad Reed and Todd Reed (Todd & Brad Reed Photography)
  • The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works Edited by Ron Riekki (Wayne State University Press)

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2014 Michigan Notable Books
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http://www.michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan/0,2351,7-160-54574_39583---,00.html