From the Director

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
cover-soal-160
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 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?

Books

About the Library
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/about/

James McBride Wins National Book Award for Fiction

Earlier this fall, I read and blogged about James McBride’s new novel, Good Lord Bird. Dare I say I knew it was a good book and others, like important literacy judges, agree. Earlier this week, McBride was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for this work.

Of course one of his previous books, The Color of Water, was our 2005 Reading Together title. I still get an occasional comment from library patrons who attended his talk or his concert and remember how much we appreciated and enjoyed his visit to Kalamazoo.

He was one of the most approachable, engaging authors I’ve met. I’ll always consider him a friend of KPL’s.

Congratulations, James.

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Good Lord Bird
good-lord-bird-cover-160
http://kzpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/KPL/search/results?qu=Good+Lord+Bird&te=&lm=ALLLIBS&rt=TITLE%7C%7C%7CTitle%7C%7C%7Cfalse

Congratulations...

….to Alice Munro for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

As I have often written on our book blog, I don’t read many short story collections, with one exception: Alice Munro.

She has been called the “master of the contemporary short story” for her sparse fiction that often begins in an unexpected place then moves back or forward in time. She says her recent collection Dear Life is her last and she is finished writing.

The report of an author’s reaction to winning a major prize is always interesting to me. Apparently the Swedish Academy was unable to locate her before the public announcement. They left a phone message for her. It turns out she was visiting her daughter in British Columbia and was awakened at 4 AM with the news. Reports are she sounded groggy and emotional!

In a recent interview, she said she fell into writing short stories by accident. She thought stories were practice until she had time to write a novel. Then she found they were all she could do.

Ms. Munro is the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Canadian prime minister issued a statement of congratulations as have many writers. Her long-time readers are pleased and hope indeed there will be more stories to follow.

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Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
alice-munro-160
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/books/alice-munro-wins-nobel-prize-in-literature.html?_r=0

A Library Connection

In my brief introductory comments at last week’s banned books program offered in partnership with the ACLU, I mentioned that our materials selection policy is based on the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements.

After the program, one of the attendees approached me to share that her grandfather had written the Library Bill of Rights. What??!! Wow! That makes him the James Madison of the library world.

The Library Bill of Rights was written by her grandfather, Forrest Spaulding who served as director of the Des Moines, Iowa, Public Library from 1917 – 1952. He drafted the Library Bill of Rights in 1938 and it was adopted by the American Library Association the following year. It has been revised a few times since but retains its original flavor and intent.

We had a very interesting conversation. She knew her grandfather and was well versed in his library accomplishments. She also shared her experiences from an event in Des Moines a few years ago to recognize him that she and other family members attended.

So many of us have a connection to libraries. I enjoy hearing them…thanks for sharing this connection.

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Library Bill of Rights
library-bill-of-rights-160
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

Banned Books Week 2013

It is Banned Books Week, the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. We join with libraries, bookstores, and publishers across the country in drawing attention to censorship.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since the launch. In 2012, the most challenged title was Captain Underpants series for children; second was The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Many books long considered American classics have also been challenged and sometimes banned over the years. You might be surprised by some of the familiar titles.

We will extend our celebration into next week and on Tuesday, October 1, host our traditional readings with the ACLU. As in past years, local celebrity readers will read passages from titles that have been challenged.

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

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Banned Books Week
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/events/banned-books.aspx

Show ‘Em Your Card

It’s September, back-to-school, library card sign-up month.

Once again, we join libraries across the country in reminding parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

Your KPL card provides access to print books, ebooks, online homework help, and research tools and resources.
We are pleased local businesses and organizations are partnering with us to offer an incentive just for showing your KPL card during September. If you don’t already have a card, here is a further incentive.

Click here for the entire list and information on signing up for a KPL card.

See you at the library or at one of our partners.

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Library Card Signup Month
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/account/library-card-sign-up-month.aspx

Little Free Library

As you have been out and about in Kalamazoo, you may have noticed an increasingly number of “little free libraries,” essentially an oversized mailbox or birdhouse with books to share.

The idea started in 2009 with a simple concept—take a book, return a book.

It is now estimated there are between 6,000 and 7,000 little free libraries across 36 countries and at least 1,650,000 books have been donated and borrowed.

Of course these won’t replace libraries, but they are a nice companion. More information is on their website www.littlefreelibrary.org. Local information is available at kalamazoolittlefreelibraries.com or through a link on our website.

Feel free to take a book, leave a book if you pass one on your walk or drive.

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Little Free Libraries
little-free-library-160
http://kalamazoolittlefreelibraries.com/

ALA Conference Take-Aways

I’ve just returned from Chicago where I attended the annual conference of the American Library Association. It’s a big conference – about 15,000 attendees including staff, vendors, trustees, Friends, library supporters. There are always more programs, more authors talks, more vendors demos than anyone can possibly attend and some of the best insights and new ideas come from casual conversation with other attendees.

As I begin to process all I heard and saw, here are a few observations:

  • The software market for libraries is ever-growing. At every conference there are vendors with new or upgraded readers advisory, statistics, meeting room management, staff training software.
  • Librarians still love authors and books. The author sessions were full and the publisher booths on the exhibits floor were crowded.
  • We like author autographs, even in uncorrected proofs of books not yet published.
  • We like to recognize good books with prizes. A new award, “The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction” were awarded to Richard Ford’s novel Canada and the nonfiction to Timothy Egan’s book Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis.
  • There is a major emphasis on the role of libraries in summer activities for kids with “interest driven learning.”

Attending a conference is re-energizing. Those of us who attended from KPL will share our experiences across the library. We returned with good ideas but also a renewed perspective that we are “on the right track” and an appreciation for our community support.

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ALA 2013 Conference Program
ac13-program-160
http://ala13.ala.org/

Access to eBooks

Our circulation of ebooks continues to grow but patrons often ask why we don’t have a specific new, popular title or why more copies of a title aren’t available. Unfortunately, the major publishers have been slow to make their ebook titles available to public libraries.

None of the six largest publishers sell or license ebooks to public libraries in the same way they do print editions. Three major publishers have pricing policies that make ebooks more expensive than print editions and others still refuse to make ebooks available to all libraries and are only now piloting programs that make them available to only select libraries.

The example of a recent bestseller makes the point: print edition cost to a public library: $15.51. Ebook cost on Amazon to an individual: $9.99. Ebook cost to a library from the publisher: $84.

The relationship between publishers and libraries is changing. Many small, independent publishers are willing to work with libraries; the major publishers have not yet adopted policies that address equitable access and fair pricing.

Oversight is needed to ensure that publishers do not inhibit access to ebooks in public libraries. The library community is urging policymakers to guarantee that all libraries and their constituents have unrestricted and equal access to ebooks at a fair and reasonable price.

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eBooks
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/ebooks/

Children’s Book Week

Last week, May 13-19, was Children’s Book Week. This designation was established in 1919 and is the longest-running literacy initiative in the country.

The original goal of the week was to promote higher standards in children’s books. It is now focused on a celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading, with the hope of instilling a lifelong love of reading in children.

The original declaration for the week was “A great nation is a reading nation.” Still true, no matter the format or the device on which children, tweens, and teens are reading.

Encourage the children in your life to read….bring them to the library, read to them, read with them.

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Children’s Book Week
childrens-book-week-logo-160
http://www.bookweekonline.com/

All Things Local History

Kalamazoo beer has been in the news lately…. Bell’s, several new breweries and brewpubs opening, and most recently, the campaign to vote for Kalamazoo to be designated “Beer City USA.” We are worthy of that designation; we have a beer history. Read about “The Brew from Kalamazoo” on our website and enjoy the photos as well.

And, did you know we also have a distillery history? Read about “Luke’s Best” as one of the first products to bring national attention to Kalamazoo.

On a totally different topic, May 13 is the anniversary of the 1980 tornado. Those of us who were here 33 years ago, remember it well. I was at a meeting of the Friends of KPL when the sirens went off and we all moved to the basement storage area. What a sight when we emerged. We have a video as well as a map, description, and links to other information on our website.

And while you are reading about beer, whiskey, and a tornado, scroll through the other topics on the local history section of our website. We live in a city with a rich, fascinating history.

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All About Kalamazoo History
local-history-logo-160
http://www.kpl.gov/local-history/all-about-kalamazoo/

World Book Night

Booklovers, including many librarians of course, are celebrating World Book Night on Tuesday, April 23. Held in the US, UK, and Ireland, the aim is to promote the value of reading, books, libraries, and bookstores by distributing free books all across the country. About 25,000 volunteer booklovers will be personally handing out specially printed copies of books to light or non-readers and to those without the means or access to books. The titles chosen for distribution are contemporary or classic titles that appeal to a wide range of new readers. They are diverse in subject matter, age level, gender, as well as ethnic and geographical considerations.

The day is chosen to celebrate the International Day of the Book as well as Shakespeare’s birthday.

There are about 2,000 World Book Night host locations, including KPL and several area bookstores. About 25 volunteers signed up through KPL, selected their title, and picked up about 20 copies of the book last week. They will distribute the books around town on Tuesday evening….watch for them if you are out and about.

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World Book Night
wbn-2013-logo
http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Celebrate With Us

I have often written here about weekly and monthly designations / celebrations. Well, now it is our turn. 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 “Communities Matter @ Your Library” with Caroline Kennedy, a strong advocate for reading, literacy, and libraries, as the honorary chair of this year’s celebration.

We know you value library services: circulation of all materials in up 9% over this time last year, computer use at all locations is strong, and visits to our website have increased about 14%.

You’ve told us through a recent survey, from your comments to staff at service desks, and in casual conversations around town, that you recognize and appreciate the library’s role in the community.

We appreciate your support and welcome your comments.

Celebrate National Library Week with us and come visit soon.

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National Library Week
ala-national-library-week-2013-160
http://www.atyourlibrary.org

Basketball and War

Most librarians like to read, compile, and share book lists. We seek them out, we check off the ones we’ve read, and add still more titles to our ever growing list of books we want to read.

Of course there are many annual lists and best of lists in all different categories, but there are also subject lists that are timely. I want to share two that are vastly different but both timely.

The young adult division of the American Library Association has compiled a list of basketball books to support March Madness. There are some good suggestions to help extend the college basketball season.

To mark the ten year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, The Washington Post has compiled its list: “10 Years of the Iraq War: 10 Great Books.” They write that “like all wars, this one has produced a library of great books.”

Do you have any to add to either list?

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The Final Four
9780670012640

Celebration of Literacy

March is “Literacy Month.” The focus is to celebrate the love of reading among children and to promote literacy as a fundamental skill for success in school and in life.

Libraries, schools, and bookstores are celebrating with a variety of activities and events to encourage reading.
We have many resources on our website: new books, staff picks, tips for parents and caregivers in using books with their children. We offer many programs: Ready to Read, First Saturday @ KPL, storytimes, and even a book club for children and their adults called Bookworms. There is a printable calendar of all our youth programs for your refrigerator door and, of course, we have lots of books to check out.

We celebrate literacy year-round but we are glad to call extra attention to it in March.

I hope you are sharing your enjoyment of reading with the children around you. Bring them to the library, read together.

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Literacy Month
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/books/

Bed Bugs

As you may have heard or read, KPL had a bed bug “experience” this week. I’ll say I learned more about bed bugs than I ever knew before and perhaps than I wanted to know, but I’m proud of how quickly we were able to respond.

We’ve put some information on our website that you might find helpful and I’m linking to the news release we sent to the media outlining the situation and the actions we took.

Bed Bug Information »

News Release »

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Bed Bugs
michigan-manual-for-bed-bugs
/guides/bed-bugs/

Which is Greener: Print or E-book?

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?

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eBooks
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/ebooks/

Freedom to Read - Help Preserve It

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.

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E-books for Libraries: Freedom to Read
freedom-to-read-poster-160
http://ebooksforlibraries.com/

E-Reading vs. Print Reading

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.

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eBooks
e-reader-image-160
/ebooks/

New Services in the New Year

We are getting ready to offer several new services in 2013.

Details are yet to be worked out, but we will add Freegal Music to our services within the next month or two. With a KPL card, library users will have access to millions of songs from 10,000+ labels, including all Sony Music labels. From an easy-to-use website, users will be able to download mp3 files that can be played on any device, including iPods. Watch for an announcement soon.

rocket-languages-icon-100.jpg

We will also be adding Rocket Languages, an online language learning program. If your new year’s resolutions include learning a new language, this is for you! Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, German, French, Chinese, Arabic, and American Sign Language are here for the learning. Again, details will be announced soon.

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And we are thrilled to have been awarded a grant to become a Family Place Library, a national model and designation that builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement, and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development. Several of us will attend a training institute in the spring with the expectation we will launch this new initiative later in 2013.

We’re looking forward to the new year with these new services. Details to follow over the next few months.

Best wishes for the new year.

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Freegal Music
freegal-icon-160
/music/

We Have Good Friends

Most every day, week, and month has some designation, many of them somehow related to libraries, books, or reading. This week, October 21 – 27 is “National Friends of Libraries Week.”

The Friends of KPL are members of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association for trustees, friends, and advocates of libraries. Their mission is to support citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for all types of libraries.

As I have often written here, KPL is fortunate to have very good friends. They contribute $50,000 - $60,000 per year to the library, all from the proceeds from their bookstore. A lot of used books pass through their hands.

Their contribution funds our summer reading games for all ages and provides support for many ongoing programs including Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, and our recent 140th birthday celebration.

One of their goals for the year is to increase their membership. Please consider joining at modest fees that range from $5 for students and $15 for a family, to $100 for a benefactor.

Happy “National Friends of Libraries Week” to our good friends, the Friends of KPL.

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Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
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/friends/

Teens Reading for Food

It’s TEEN READ WEEK! This week, October 14 – 20, libraries, schools, and bookstores will celebrate Teen Read Week, with events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to look to the library for free reading materials. Many studies have shown that teens who are regular readers and library users achieve more in school.

The spokesperson this year is John Green, author of many teen books, most recently The Fault in Our Stars. John visited here several years ago and we feel a special bond with him; I imagine every library he has visited and every teen he has talked to feels likewise….he’s that kind of guy!

KPL will celebrate with a Teen Read-a-Thon on Saturday, October 20. Teen will be gathering pledges of food items for Kalamazoo Area Loaves and Fishes as they read up to six hours at the central library.

If you want to sponsor a teen reader, contact our teen service desk at 553-7807. It will be a win-win event….teens reading leisure materials to benefit our local food bank.

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Teen Read Week
teen-read-week-john-green-poster-160
http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3876

Banned Books Week

KPL will join libraries, schools, and bookstores across the country in celebrating the freedom to read during “Banned Books Week,” September 30 – October 6.

Bill and Judith Moyers are this year’s honorary chairs. In this video essay, Bill Moyers talks about how libraries provided his first opportunity to indulge his love of reading and learning and shares his dismay over efforts to remove books from schools and libraries.

This week is an opportunity to remind us all that the ability to read, speak, think, and express ourselves freely is a right, not a privilege. Libraries often lead the efforts to speak out for the right to read; without the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed in some communities.

KPL and the American Civil Liberties Union will celebrate our right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to, and view with a “Readout” on Thursday evening. Local literacy celebrities will read from frequently challenged books.

Join us at this event; celebrate and appreciate your freedom to read, listen, and view.

Bill Moyers on Banned Books Week from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

 

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Banned Books Readout
107137-kpl-banned-books-poster-160
/events/banned-books.aspx

Show Me Your Card!

September is “Library Card Sign-up Month.” 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of this monthly designation during which libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

The honorary chair this year is two-time Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can see him on our website holding a KPL card!

Once again, we will be issuing library cards to all 1st graders in Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) who do not already have one. All 1,100+ first graders will visit a KPL location twice this fall. We will have library cards ready for them; they will select a book to take home and check it out on their library card. A few weeks later they will come again to return the book and check out another. We hope this will establish a routine for regular family visits.

If you know a KPS 1st grader, later this month ask them about their library visit and ask to see their library card. Even better ask any student you know to show you their card and if they don’t have one, encourage them to visit any of our locations to register for a card as the first step in becoming a regular library user.

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Library Card Sign-Up Month
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/account/card.aspx

KPL in Good Company!

Much to our surprise, we recently learned Kalamazoo Public Library was selected one of five “exemplary public library websites” for our Support the Library section.

In a recent issue of Public Libraries, a publication of the Public Library Association, “The Website Clinic” author examined the fifty-five websites listed on the “Library Website Hall of Fame.” Of those, he selected five to propose as models for fundraising through library websites.

We’re thrilled to be third in his list of five public libraries, which includes Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, New York Public Library, and High Plains Library District in Colorado, as model websites, “worthy of emulation.”

The author proclaims the information on our Support the Library pages to be “valuable and intelligently presented. Nice work.” As he noted, you can easily donate to KPL using the Donate button, just one click away from KPL’s homepage.

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Public Libraries: Bringing in the Money
pl-jul-aug-2012-cover-160
http://www.publiclibrariesonline.org/magazines/issues/julyaugust-2012

Agree or Disagree: Books that Shaped America

I like lists, especially lists of books. The Library of Congress recently selected a list of 88 books they judge to have shaped America. All the titles are by American authors; Benjamin Franklin is the only author with multiple titles on the list…..he has three.

The list includes a wide variety of titles and has generated some interesting online comments: thin on books from the 60s; what, no John Updike or Maya Angelou; few writers of color.

The books are on display at the Library of Congress through September. They also have an online survey on their website.

What do you think of the list? What’s missing or shouldn’t be included?

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Books that Shaped America
loc-books-that-shaped-america-160
http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/

Rest In Peace, Ray Bradbury

It has been widely reported in the media, that science fiction writer Ray Bradbury passed away earlier this month. Most of the articles included that he was an ardent library fan, that he had done much of his writing in libraries, and that he was very outspoken about the proposed closing of the Long Beach (CA) main library to help balance the city’s budget.

I’m quite sure many libraries feel a connection to him; KPL does.

His often banned book, Fahrenheit 451, was our first Reading Together title. When we launched our version of the “community reads” model in 2003, we were looking for more than a good book. We were looking for a title that would engage the community in a meaningful dialogue. With that goal, we chose his book at the height of the national discussion over the US Patriot Act. It was a good choice, good timing.

Mr. Bradbury did not travel much by then and he did not come to KPL. He did, however, “appear” by phone and we had a good two-way discussion with him. That was before the days of Skype and this phone conversation was a well-attended program that year. His book and this phone conversation was the start of a successful, still going strong, Reading Together program for KPL. Since then, most of the authors have come to Kalamazoo.

Farewell, Mr. Bradbury. Thank you for your support of libraries, your many books that have become favorites of readers, your visit by phone to KPL.

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Ray Bradbury
9781604138054

 


Attention Ebook Users

I have often written here about opportunities as well as limitations for ebook use through public libraries. Now I want to call your attention to two ebook features on our website.

First is a short video (1 minute 14 seconds) explaining publisher limitations on ebook availability through public libraries. Along with the video is an online petition to make your voice heard. I urge you to watch the video and sign the petition. You’ll find links on our home page and on our eBooks page.

Second is a Pew research study about ebook use. The results of this study will help libraries and publishers better understand the use of ebooks through libraries and, I am hoping, strengthen the library argument for ebook availability. I urge you to complete this brief survey. There’s a link on our eBooks page.

Ebooks lending through public libraries is an evolving service for us, an evolving market for publishers. Let your voice be heard, your opinion counted through this petition and research study.

Books

Ebooks for Libraries
ebooks-for-libraries-banner-160
http://ebooksforlibraries.com/

 


Indie Book Winners

Many “best of” and “book winners” are announced at year-end so announcing winners at this time of year caught my attention and is probably a good marketing strategy.

The American Booksellers Association recently announced the winners of the “2012 Indies Choice Book Awards” with the following description: “after a month of voting by the owners and staff at independent bookstores across the county, we have an outstanding list of winners that reflects the types of books independent bookstores champion best.”

 

And the winners are….

  • Adult Fiction Book of the Year: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
  • Adult Debut Book of the Year: The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
  • Young Adult Book of the Year: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

The full list of winners, 2012 Honor Award recipients, and Most Engaging Author Awards designees are listed on their website.

Readers can support independent booksellers by purchasing these titles or any books, of course, or borrowing them from the library. Independent booksellers and public libraries are good partners in promoting books and reading.

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2012 Indies Choice Book Awards
indies-choice-2012-logo-160
http://www.bookweb.org/btw/awards/ICBA.html

Celebrate Libraries

Every week is an occasion to celebrate something. This is the big week for libraries. It is National Library Week!

This annual national observance was first sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association as a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support for all types of libraries.

Within the week, there are some special designations: Tuesday is National Library Workers Day; Wednesday is National Bookmobile Day; Support Teen Literature Day is Thursday.

We appreciate the attention this week brings to libraries and the celebrity endorsements that go with it. This year’s theme is “You Belong @ Your Library.”

Here’s a good reminder from author Brad Meltzer, honorary chair of 2012 National Library Week. Come visit this week or any week and happy National Library Week to you.

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National Library Week
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/events/national-library-week.aspx

National Poetry Month

April is “National Poetry Month” as first designated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. The goal is to celebrate poetry and its place in American culture. Libraries, booksellers, and literary organizations highlight poetry through displays, programs, and readings.

The website of the Academy suggests thirty ways to celebrate the month, ranging from the predictable “read a book of poetry” to “integrate poetry with technology” and “visit a poetry landmark.” Their website also has a search function to locate a poem by title, poet, keyword, form or theme. That’s very handy if you vaguely remember a poem and want to locate it.

We have a large poetry collection, particularly at Central Library. Most is classified in the 811s. Some are compilations, others are the works of one poet.

And happy National Poetry Month to you.

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National Poetry Month
npm-2012-poster-160
http://www.poets.org/images/npm2012_poster_540.jpg

eBook Update Continued

Last week I wrote here about the evolving ebook market.

I shared that libraries were bracing for a price increase for ebooks from Random House publishers. Indeed the recent increases are double and triple the prices we had been paying. As an example, one recently released title had been $40 for the ebook version; it increased to $120 as of March 1. The print version, with the library discount, is a little over $20.

Basically, the new Random House prices for ebooks to ebook distributors, not directly to libraries are

  • Titles in print as new hardcovers: $65 - $85
  • Titles available for several months or timed to paperback release: $25 - $50
  • New children’s titles in print as hardcovers: $35 - $85
  • Older children’s titles and children’s paperbacks: $25 - $45

In spite of these hefty price increases, libraries welcome that Random House continues to offer titles in ebook format to libraries.

Again, as I wrote previously, Penguin Books are not available in ebook format to public libraries. They publish many bestsellers and we, like all libraries, regret we cannot provide them to our users.

Bottom line: please know we will continue to provide ebooks as they are available and affordable for public libraries. Some titles we cannot provide at all, due to publisher restrictions, others we may not be able to provide until several months after their initial release.

The market continues to evolve.

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eBooks
ebook-stack-160
/ebooks/

An Evolving eBook Market

Most libraries, including KPL, experienced a strong increase in the circulation of ebooks after the holidays. Obviously readers were a popular holiday gift. Ebook users have learned how to download books from OverDrive through our website and many have attended our training or Q & A sessions.

In addition to titles available through the OverDrive consortium, we purchase additional copies of popular titles available to KPL resident cardholders. However patrons often ask why a particular popular title isn’t available in ebook format.

All publishers will sell us print copies, but not necessarily ebook copies. Their policies and approach vary considerably:

  • Random House titles are available; they recently announced a price increase.
  • HarperCollins titles are available to public libraries but each title is limited to 26 uses. The library must then renew its license for that title.
  • Macmillan does not make its popular titles available; some scholarly titles are available to public libraries.
  • Penguin terminated its agreement to provide to public libraries in February. Those titles already in a library’s catalog are still available.
  • Simon & Schuster titles are not available.
  • Hachette backlist is available, not the frontlist of new, popular titles.
  • Scholastic titles are not available.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles are available.

Bottom line: the availability of a popular title in ebook format through a public library depends upon the publisher. Ebook lending through public libraries is still evolving and the specifics change frequently. Be assured, however, that we continue to follow the market closely and purchase popular titles available to us. Even if we don’t have the title in ebook format, we will have it in print.

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eBooks
ebooks-160
/ebooks/

eBook Availability

The availability of e-books through public libraries is ever changing.

Libraries, including KPL, offer downloadable e-books through a vendor–OverDrive. Publishers offer their titles to OverDrive, libraries purchase titles in e-book format through OverDrive, patrons download e-books to their device through their home library using the OverDrive technology.

Three of the major publishers have not allowed their titles to be purchased by public libraries through OverDrive: Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. Just this week, Penguin announced they too will no longer offer their titles in downloadable format for public libraries to purchase. (Read more)

With this move, Random House is the only big-six publisher allowing unrestricted access to its e-books through libraries. HarperCollins does work with libraries, but has implemented a limit of 26 uses or checkouts of the title before it must be “repurchased.”

If you don’t find a particular e-book title available for download though our catalog, quite likely it is from a publisher who will not sell to public libraries.

The American Library Association is continuing to talk with publishers about the future of e-book availability for lending through libraries. We, along with the entire library community, share your frustrations with this ever changing e-book situation, both the availability of titles and the process of downloading to various devices. Stay tuned.

Some recent articles...

  

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eBooks
overdrive-icon-160
/ebooks/

American Education Week

As I have often written, each day and week has some special designation, many relevant to libraries. This week, November 13–19, is the 90th anniversary of “American Education Week.”

The goal of this designated week is to “inform the public of the accomplishments and needs of schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”

KPL is particularly proud of our relationship with Kalamazoo Public Schools. As I previously wrote in this blog and in our newsletter LINK, all KPS first graders recently visited one of our libraries and were given their own library card. We are now in the midst of their second visit to return the books they checked out and hopefully to begin a pattern of regular library visits.

We are now preparing for the “Global Reading Challenge,” a battle of the books type program for fourth and fifth graders; we just concluded this year’s “Youth Literature Seminar” focusing on teen literature; and, of course, we have many resources for students at all grade levels, both in print and online.

We applaud our colleagues in education and join them in supporting student learning and achievement.

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American Education Week
american-education-week-2011-160
http://www.nea.org/aew

We All Need Friends

We all need friends and KPL is fortunate to have very good ones….Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library….and this is the week to recognize them.

October 16 – 22 is “National Friends of Libraries Week.” The description encourages “library lovers everywhere to join their local friends of the library group.” I would add to that, in the case of KPL friends, shop their bookstore on the lower level of Central Library to show your support too.

The Friends of KPL contribute $50,000 - $60,000 per year to the library, all from the proceeds from their bookstore. That represents a lot of books….most are priced from 50¢ to $2.50. As their slogan states….“gently used books, gently priced.” Our community is generous in donating books to the Friends for them to sell to benefit the library.

The Friends contribution funds our summer reading games for all ages and provides support for some signature ongoing programs: Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, and concerts among others.

Happy “Friends of Libraries Week.” They would welcome you as member.

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Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
friends-logo-160
/friends/

Banned Books

We will be celebrating the 30th annual Banned Books Week (BBW) with Art Hop and a Read Out on Friday evening, October 7, from 5 to 8 pm.

BBW celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. It draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the country.

Again, as in recent years, we are partnering with the local chapter of the ACLU to sponsor an art contest inspired by one of the six books most frequently challenged or banned. The submissions will be on display during Art Hop. The winner will be announced at the event and later posted on the KPL and ACLU websites.

In addition to the art, the Read Out will focus on read aloud passages from challenged or banned books. You might be surprised at some of them: Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, to name a few.

Many authors whose books have been challenged are participating in Read Outs around the country. Authors as well as readers are raising awareness of book censorship by posting videos on YouTube of themselves reading from their favorite banned books.

Celebrate and appreciate your freedom to read whatever you want to read!

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Banned Books Art Contest
kpl-016-banned-books-160
/events/art-contest.aspx

National Library Card Sign-Up Month

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month as declared by the American Library Association. It is the logical time of year for libraries to remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

For the first time this fall, all 1st grade classes from the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) will visit one of our locations. They will visit twice in the fall, and hopefully, once in the spring. Classes will visit the nearest KPL location; some will walk, some will come on school buses.

On their first visit, we will have library cards ready for all students who do not currently have one. They will hear a story from a librarian, find a book to take home, and check it out on their very own card. A few weeks later they will come again to return the book and check out another. The hope is the third visit will be with their family and will establish a routine for regular family visits.

The spring visit will be to sign-up for summer reading.

We are excited to have over 1,100 1st graders visit one of our four branches or Central Library. KPL and KPS are partnering to make this happen – it takes a lot of coordination as we work together to emphasize the importance of reading and regular family library visits.

Book

The Smartest Card
smartest-card-logo-160
http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/pio/mediarelationsa/factsheets/librarycardsign.cfm

International Literacy Day

Most every day, week, and month has some designation. September 8 is International Literacy Day, a designation with particular relevance to libraries and to Kalamazoo.

Of course libraries care deeply about literacy – that’s a given. Our community does too with the recent announcement of The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo, as well as The Kalamazoo Promise, Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo, The Kalamazoo Literacy Council, and the emphasis this year in the Kalamazoo Public Schools on reading and writing.

International Literacy Day has been designated by the United Nations to raise awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world with particular emphasis on the importance of literacy for a healthy society. The UN estimates that one in five adults worldwide cannot read and two-thirds are women.

September 8 will be a good day to pause and appreciate that you can read, but also to consider how you can get involved and truly make a difference. Communities in Schools and Kalamazoo Literacy Council both are in need of volunteer tutors.

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International Literacy Day
international-literacy-day-2011-poster-160
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/education-building-blocks/literacy/advocacy/international-literacy-day/

Publishing Pace

It has long been the rule of thumb within the publishing industry that the hardcover edition of a book was released first, followed by a large print edition and audio version, then a paperback edition about a year or so later, depending upon the pace of sales for the hardcover. That’s changing.

The first change I noticed was the release of the large print and audio versions soon after the hardcover. Now the ebook version is in the mix too. The ebook is released with the hardcover and sometimes before the hardcover OR sometimes just an ebook and no hardcover.

There is now an urgency to release the paperback sooner, following the model of Hollywood which has shortened the time between the theatrical release of a film and the DVD release. Publishers now watch each title’s sales quite closely to determine the best time to release the paperback and continue the momentum of the title. That could be just a few months to more than a year.

The entire publishing cycle is faster. Hardcovers have less time to prove themselves; ebooks sales are strongest at initial publication and do not spike again with the paperback release.

We purchase popular titles in all of these formats, some simultaneously, some staggered as they are released. In addition to various formats, we also purchase for special collections such as Hot Picks and Book Club in a Bag.

Come visit soon – I hope we have the title you want in the format you prefer.

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Books
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/books/

Winning Cookbooks

Cookbook awards were recently announced by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. More than 500 titles were entered in seventeen categories.

I’m pleased we already have many of the winners in our collection. To name a few you might want to put on hold or look for next time you are here:

• In the “American” category: The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

• “Baking: Savory or Sweet” category: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies

• “Children, Youth and Family” category: Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners

• “Compilations” category: The Essential New York Times Cookbook

Cookbooks are popular. We are restocking our current display of “grilling” books daily. Although the many food and cooking sites on the internet make it easy to find a particular recipe, it’s not the same as leafing through a new cookbook with mouthwatering photos as you get inspired to try some new recipes and make the grocery list.

Browse our cookbooks on line or on the shelf.

Book

Simple fresh southern : knockout dishes with down-home flavor
9780307453594

4th of July Thoughts

There are a few times during the year when it seems logical to pause and consider the role of public libraries – National Library Week and Banned Books Week come immediately to mind but the 4th of July is another one as we think about our country’s history. The public library is an American invention. Early European libraries were subscription based. Supposedly it was the citizens of Peterborough, NH, who introduced the radial concept of a truly public library in 1833. By the 1870’s, eleven states had 188 public libraries, including Michigan and Kalamazoo with the establishment of KPL in 1872.

Fast forward to today. Nationally 2/3’s of the population carry library cards, about half visit a public library at least once a year.

Business is strong for public libraries, including KPL. During economic hard times people turn to the public library to borrow books, DVDs, attend programs, and use computers for job searching. Library use is increasing as funding decreases. KPL has had record breaking use this past year; as we begin our new year on July 1, our primary source of revenue, local property tax, is reduced.

Come visit soon. We continue to offer a wide range of materials and array of programs and have a staff ready to help you.

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The History of the Library 
july-4th-graphic-160
http://www.history-magazine.com/libraries.html

Celebrate Libraries!

This is our week to celebrate – its National Library Week!

NLW, as it is known in the library world, was first observed in 1958. It is sponsored by the American Library Association as a celebration of the contributions of our country’s libraries and librarians, and to promote library use and support.

The first year’s theme was “Wake Up and Read!”….still a good message, 53 years later.

This year’s is “Create Your Own Story @ Your Library.”

We’ve been collecting “your stories” for several years and we’d like to add yours to our collection. There are about 50 on our website and room for yours too. Think about your best library memory, how a library book changed your life, what you’ve learned at the library, how library staff have helped you, then share it with us. It can be from any library that has been important to you, not just KPL.

Your story might introduce someone else to a library service, inspire them to read a particular book, remind them of the importance of reading to children.

We’ve love to hear your story and happy National Library Week to you!

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National Library Week
nlw-2011-poster-160
http://www.atyourlibrary.org/

Happy Poetry Month!

Poetry is in the news – April is National Poetry Month.

This celebration was first introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the US. Over the years, free books of poetry have been distributed, a postage stamp of Langston Hughes was issued, a gala honoring Poets Laureate was held at the White House, and poetry readings have been held across the country.

National Poetry Writing Month, also celebrated in April, encourages writing a poem a day in celebration of this literary form! Many teachers focus on poetry with their students this month, both reading and writing.

Whichever is your preference – reading or writing poetry – this is the month and we have many resources.

Come visit soon for materials on poetry or most any other topic.

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National Poetry Month
national-poetry-month-poster-160
http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41

March is Women’s History Month

March has several designations that relate to libraries – March into Literacy Month and Women’s History Month in particular. We promote and celebrate literacy year round of course; our support for Women’s History Month is not quite as obvious.

National Women’s History Month traces its origins to March 1857 when a group of female New York City factory workers staged a protest over their working conditions. It wasn’t until 1981 that Congress designated the second week in March as National Women’s History Week. In 1987 it was expanded to the entire month.

Each year a Presidential Proclamation is issued in recognition of the month. This year it also commemorates the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the “economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future.” It is to remind us that although progress has been made, there is still much work to be done before women achieve true parity with men.

In keeping with this 100th anniversary and as an emphasis of the current administration, the first federal report since 1963 on the welfare of women in America has recently been issued.

We have many materials in our collection that provide historical background and perspective. Most are in the subject headings of Women history and Women’s rights – history.

Also...

Come visit soon for materials on this topic or most any other!

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Caroline Bartlett Crane, a KPL Women’s History essay
caroline-bartlett-crane-160
/local-history/women/

Fun Library Facts!

A recently released national study, How Libraries Stack Up: 2010, details how public libraries are delivering millions of dollars in resources and support to meet community needs. A few interesting conclusions:

  • Nearly 12,000 public libraries provide free wireless internet access, more than Starbucks, Barnes & Nobel or Borders. KPL provides free wifi at all locations.
  • 10,800 public libraries offer meeting rooms; every day 225,000 people use them. We have meeting rooms available for public use.
  • There were 1.4 billion library visits last year as compared to 1.3 billion movie attendance and 218 million U.S sporting event attendance. KPL counted 866,268 visitors last year.
  • Every day, Americans borrow 2.1 million DVDs from libraries. Netflix has us beat there, but many libraries, including KPL do not charge for DVD use. What a bargain!
  • U.S public libraries circulate as many materials each day as FedEx ships package worldwide.
  • And finally, 2/3’s of Americans have a library card; for many young people, it is the first card in their wallet.

Statistics like these are fun, but they don’t tell the whole story, of course. Come visit soon – use our wifi, attend a program or event in our meeting rooms, check out a DVD or a book or just sit and relax with a popular magazine in our reading areas.

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How Libraries Stack Up: 2010
how-libraries-stack-up-160
http://www.oclc.org/reports/stackup/default.htm

Congratulations, Nancy

Generally the national “Librarian of the Year” is not well known outside of the library community and their home state, but this year’s winner, Nancy Pearl, is the exception.

Nancy is often referred to as the “rock star of librarians”! While at Seattle Public Library, she wondered what would happen if everyone read and talked about the same book. The program was so successful that it has been offered at libraries across the country with local variations. KPL’s Reading Together is our version, still going strong as we begin our 9th year.

Nancy can be heard on NPR, Weekday, where she reviews books. She also teaches library school students, does workshops for library staff around the country, presents public programs on the joys of books and reading, has written a series of Book Lust books and, most importantly, is a strong, national advocate for libraries and reading. And this is all from a woman who is “retired”!

I am especially proud that Nancy is a good friend of KPL’s. She visited several years ago and did a workshop on services to readers for KPL staff and a public program, still talked about among those avid readers who attended. Her visit here prompted her to add a “warning” to her workshop for librarians – be aware – patrons may think they’re read the most recent one in a mystery series but they may not have, so don’t give away any secrets! Whenever I see her at conferences, we reminisce about the conversation that led to this warning!

Congratulations, Nancy, on this well deserved recognition and thanks for your efforts on behalf of all libraries and booklovers.

Nancy Pearl at KPL 2006

Nancy Pearl at Kalamazoo Public Library, January 2006

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Nancy Pearl
nancy-pearl-160
http://www.nancypearl.com/

A New eReader, Perhaps?

A study released in the fall found that one in ten Americans use an ereader of some type and one in ten would likely get one in the next six months. If that study is accurate, that means many of us received or bought ourselves an ereader recently, perhaps over the holidays.

Reading used to be simple. Check out a book from the library, buy a new or used one at your favorite bookstore, borrow one from a friend, and just read it! Although those are still options, there are now many more with a variety of ereaders and devices with multiple uses.

We have just revised the ebooks section of our website. Thousands of ebook titles are available through the digital download center. We also have links to resources about various reading devices, and if you don’t have an ereader, you can borrow one at the Central Library.

Some studies have found that those who use ereaders read more. Personally, I’m not there yet – I still prefer the traditional book, but we offer both.

Come visit soon, either through our website or at any branch or the Central Library.

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eBooks and Sony Readers®
sony-ereader-intro-160
/ebooks/

Numbers and More Numbers

Our society likes numbers and we seem to accept that numbers can be used in various ways to tell a story from any perspective. Certainly we saw a lot of numbers in the results of last week’s election: number of votes cast, percentage among the candidates, percentage of citizens who voted, and on and on.

Some recent library related statistics that came to my attention are interesting:

  • 764,448 - book titles self published or by micro-niche publishers in 2009, double the output in 2008
  • 288,355 – book titles from traditional publishers in 2009, 1,374 fewer than 2008
  • 234,000,000 – websites at the end of 2009, up 47 million from 2008
  • 1,967,000,000 – internet users worldwide

These numbers show trends that are good for us to have in mind as we implement our strategic plan and set specific goals for the next year. Fewer books are being published by traditional publishers, more people are using the internet. With this in mind, we are expanding our digital offerings, putting more and more information on our website, posting to Facebook and Twitter, sending email newsletters to patrons.

Come visit us in one of our five buildings or online through our website.

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About the Library
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/about/

Happy Belated National Reading Group Month

I just realized October was National Reading Group Month as declared by the Women’s National Book Association. They first started this designation in 2007. They endorse reading groups at a time when there is much talk about the decline of the book and reading.

I’m in two book groups – a traditional one in which we all read the same book and talk about it and a second one with library colleagues in which we share whatever we are reading as a way to learn about titles we wouldn’t have time for or be inclined to read ourselves.

The library supports reading groups through our Book Club in a Bag service and recently convened a Book Club Soiree to share titles that inspired good discussion. Many such titles can be found on our website. We are also working on a list of staff reading, viewing, and listening favorites for the year and will post those near year end. Stay tuned!

The sponsoring organization for this national celebration, the Women’s National Book Association, has chosen 12 novels and one memoir as their “great group reads” for this year. They have the list on their website too.

Maybe next year I’ll remember this October designation within the month, but if not, oh well!

Come visit soon. I’m sure we have titles that will work well for your book group or for you alone. Our librarians are available to offer suggestions too.

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National Reading Group Month
national-reading-group-month-160
http://www.nationalreadinggroupmonth.org/

We Celebrate Our Very Good Friends!

This week, October 17–23, 2010, is the fifth annual National Friends of Libraries Week. The celebration offers libraries an opportunity to thank their Friends and encourage membership as a way to show support for the library.

We have more than “friends” at KPL—we have very good “friends”, officially known as The Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2009.

KPL’s Friends manage and operate the Friends Bookstore on the lower level of the Central Library where they sell “gently used books, very gently priced”. Most books are $2 or less!

The work of many volunteers who sort, price, and sell the books results in an annual gift of $50,000-$60,000 from the Friends to the library. In recent years, their gift has funded KPL’s summer reading games for all ages and helped support Ready to Read, Reading Together, and other programs.

Anyone can join the Friends as a way to support KPL. Although there are volunteer opportunities, it is not a requirement of membership!

Come visit the Friends Bookstore at the Central Library, join the Friends, help support KPL. And, of course, thank the very good Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library for their financial support and advocacy.

Enjoy your special week, Friends!


Show Support for Literacy - Sign the Scrolls

“The Declaration for the Right to Literacy” scrolls are in Kalamazoo as one of their last stops before heading to Washington for presentation to President Obama on Sept. 22.

The scrolls were drawn up at a national literacy conference last year and have already been signed by thousands of citizens from 31 states. The scrolls are here through the efforts of Dr. Juan Olivarez, president of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, and a strong, vocal literacy advocate on the national and local level. We are pleased the library was asked to host the event to celebrate their arrival here and to kick-off the community signing.

About 100 representatives of education, businesses, and nonprofits gathered at KPL. Several spoke of their personal and organizational commitment to literacy before lining up to sign. I briefly outlined our commitment to preschool literacy through our Ready to Read program and storytimes.

Signing the scrolls shows support for literacy as a fundamental American freedom and that every American must be able to read and write to fully and equitably participate in community life.

As one of the speakers said, librarians are the original literacy champions. We are, but we are pleased to see literacy receive the broader attention it deserves. Signing is important, but more important is to do something about it within your own circle. You can start by reading to the children in your life every day or volunteering through our Ready to Read program or the Kalamazoo Literacy Council.

I hope you will have a chance to sign the scrolls while they are in Kalamazoo for a few days. 

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Ann Rohrbaugh, Valerie Wright and Lisa Godfrey sign the "Declaration for the Right to Literacy" scroll at KPL
signing-the-literacy-scrolls-1688-160
http://www.thecne.org/documents/share/RighttoLiteracy.pdf

Our “National Novel” Turns 50

To Kill a Mockingbird is turning fifty this summer. Not surprisingly, it’s getting lots of media attention.

One newsletter writer referred to it as “more than a literary classic; it’s a 50-year testament to the ways a well-told story can inspire readers and impact a culture”.

Oprah referred to it our “national novel”. Others have suggested it as a parenting manual, a novel that taught other novelists how to write, the only way to understand racism. Author Anna Quindlen said she can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t get Scout.

Many events are being organized across the country – readings, live re-enactments, showings of the movie, book discussions. A 50th anniversary hardcover edition will be published by HarperCollins.

The enduring interest in this novel is due to the subject – coming-of-age and the trial – as well as the writing itself. It takes on racism with a stand of what is right without, as one columnist has written, a tone of self-righteousness.

With the 50th anniversary, a new generation of readers may discover this treasure. For those of us who read it many years ago, it’s time to reread it.

Book

To Kill a Mockingbird
9780061743528

Librarian Keith Richards??

I recently read that Keith Richards has confessed to a secret longing to be a librarian. Yes, THAT Keith Richards, he of the Rolling Stones, the greatest rock and roll band of all times in the opinion of many! Isn’t that an interesting visual??

He has said he has been “quietly nurturing his inner bookworm” and considered some type of training (that would be librarianship!) to manage the 1000’s of books at his various homes. He says he started to arrange his books in categories but gave up, instead opting to keep his favorites close at hand. He also loans books to friends with little hope of getting them back and leaves books by the bedside for guests in his homes.

Richards’ autobiography, Life, will be released in the fall. According to advance publicity, he will reveal how he found comfort in books before he discovered music.

I expect we’ll be ordering his book for our collection; how could we not when he writes that the public library is one of two institutions that affect one most powerfully! By the way, the other is the church, he says.

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Keith Richards’ Library
keith-richards-library-160
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pQMsWo4GOt8/S79Al87El4I/AAAAAAAAAoI/dsI0TDgX5s0/s1600/keith+richards+library.jpg

The State of America’s Libraries

The annual report, The State of America’s Libraries, was released last week, National Library Week, by the American Library Association.

Its findings and conclusions confirm what KPL and most public libraries are experiencing and discussing at our conferences, on email lists, and wherever library staff gather: Americans are turning to their libraries in ever increasing numbers for all types of resources but at the same time funding from all sources is decreasing.

The report addresses public, school and academic libraries; technology; construction and renovation; social networking; legislation; outreach; copyright.

The many statistics confirm that overall use of public libraries is up 23% at over 16,600 locations across the country. Libraries are being turned to in increasing numbers for access to employment resources, continuing education, government services, and the more traditional ones of free access to books, magazines, CDs, DVDs.

The report refers to a “perfect storm of growing demand and shrinking resources”. Half of the states have reduced funding to libraries; a majority of states report a decrease of 5 – 10% in local funding to public libraries. Not surprisingly, many have reduced staff, hours, services.

KPL is not immune; we also expect a decrease in local revenues for next year. As reported previously on our blogs and in LINK, we have made a variety of reductions and are in the midst of strategic planning to determine our priorities and the goals to support those priorities for the next several years. We’ll continue to share the outcomes of that process on our website and in our publications over the coming months.

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State Of America's Libraries Report 2010
state-of-americas-libraries-160
http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/index.cfm

Vote for Obama @ K-Central!

We join all the others throughout the community in urging you to vote in the Commencement Challenge to have President Obama as Kalamazoo Central’s commencement speaker.

K-Central is one of six finalists in the nation, the only one in Michigan, selected to compete. View the three-minute student-produced video and vote by 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 29, to narrow the field from six contestants to three. President Obama will choose the winner.

(Kalamazoo Gazette photo, John A. Lacko)

Watch as White House staff notify the six finalists.

More information about the Commencement Challenge is available on the White House website, and today’s post by Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the White House blog.

Vote Kalamazoo!

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Vote Kalamazoo!
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http://www.votekalamazoo.com/

Happy NLW

…..National Library Week, that is. We join libraries across the country in celebrating April 11 – 17 as National Library Week to highlight the value of all types of libraries and their contributions to our community.

Neil Gaiman, winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book, is the honorary chair of this year’s celebration, and the theme is “Communities Thrive @ Your Library.” Learn more... PDF

It’s a good time to remind our community of library services and especially to highlight them during tough economic times. KPL, like most public libraries, provides free access to computers, helps with homework, offers computer classes, and of course, loans books, DVDs, and CDs. We also offer a variety of programs for all ages – leisure and informational.

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In addition to the weekly designation, each day will have a special library significance:

  • Monday, April 12 – “The State of America’s Public Libraries” report will be released
  • Tuesday, April 13 – Celebrate “National Library Workers Day”
  • Wednesday, April 14 – Release of the “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2009” list
  • Thursday, April 15 – Celebrate “Support Teen Literature Day”
  • And all of April is “School Library Month”, our partners in working with youth

Well, it might not rank up there with some other weekly designation, but those of us in libraries think it’s pretty important and appreciate the attention it brings to us.

And happy NLW to you – celebrate with a visit to any of our locations.

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National Library Week
nlw-2010-banner-160
http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/pio/natlibraryweek/nlw.cfm

Women’s History Month

March is “National Women’s History Month;” this year’s theme is “writing women back into history.”

The initiative for this designation started in California in the late 1970’s. In 1981, a Joint Congressional Resolution proclaimed a “women’s history week.” In 1987 it was expanded to the entire month of March and a resolution has been approved each year with bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

Not surprisingly, there has been an increase in recent years of books published with this theme. Currently Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and The Help by Kathryn Stockett are fiction titles on many bestseller lists. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is a teen novel with adult appeal, about a young slave girl in New York during Revolutionary War times. All three of these titles were some of my favorites from last year.

On my list to read is When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins.

Women’s achievements and women’s history are both subjects in which we have many titles in our collection. Staff can help you find a good one to read.

Come visit soon. 

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When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
9780316059541

Google Network for Kalamazoo?

As you may have read in the Gazette, Kalamazoo is applying to be a prototype community for a new, experimental network to make internet connections 100 to 200 times faster than current speeds.

Google, the developer of this high-speed fiber-optic system, is seeking nominations from cities to serve as test sites. We fit the population they are looking for— 50,000–500,000.

The City of Kalamazoo will take the lead on submitting the application. Individuals, businesses, and organizations can support the application by completing an endorsement explaining why Kalamazoo should be chosen.

There is information on the city’s website and linked through ours that provides additional details and the link to submit an endorsement.

I imagine there will be steep competition. Let’s make sure Kalamazoo is a strong contender with considerable community support.

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Google Fiber Project
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http://www.kalamazoocity.org/googlefiber

Final 2009 “Best” List

The first month of the new year is not quite over, so I’m thinking I can share one more “best” list from 2009 before it is time to move on. Earlier this week, I shared some year end observations from the New York Times Book Review. Publishers Weekly (PW) summarizes its bestseller lists from the past year also. Not surprisingly, there are some similarities between the two lists, but also some differences. Obviously the lists are compiled differently.

PW entitles its list “longest-running bestsellers” in various categories. The Host tops the fiction hardcover list at 29 weeks with The Help a close second at 28 weeks.

In hardcover nonfiction, Outliers is the clear favorite at 51 weeks; The Last Lecture was on the list for 40 weeks.

Paperbacks are listed separately. The top two spots in the mass market were From Dead to Worse at 28 weeks, closely followed at 26 weeks by Dead Until Dark.

The Shack was on the trade paperback bestseller list for 51 weeks with the popular Three Cups of Tea at 47.

It is always interesting to learn what books others are reading or buying, what is most popular. Although I don’t have our circulation statistics by title at hand, I know many of these books were popular with KPL patrons, too.

Now I’m ready to move on to 2010 bestsellers and new titles. Let the new year of reading begin.

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The Host
9780316068048

Different Twist on “Best Of”

It’s about the end of the season for “best of” lists. A recent New York Times Book Review had a different twist on “best of.” Their focus was a year end summary of titles that appeared on their weekly bestsellers lists. I share a few of their observations that I found particularly interesting:

  • The hardcover nonfiction list was dominated by sports, celebrities, and conservatives. Liberty and Tyranny held on to the number one spot the longest, 11 weeks.
  • Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol was first on the fiction list for eight weeks so far. It’s still at the top. The Help, considered a “sleeper hit”, but a top choice on many “best of” lists and a favorite of several KPL staff members, was on the NYT list for 39 weeks – a record for 2009.
  • Girl Who Played with Fire was the first translation to reach the top spot on the fiction list in the last 25+ years.
  • Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was number one on the Advice (how-to) bestseller list, 48 years after it was first published. A movie tie-in can certainly revive interest in a book!

KPL staff have blogged about many of the titles on the NYT lists and they are all in our collection.

Come visit soon. If these titles aren’t on the shelf, put them on “hold” so you are on the waiting list. Staff can help if you aren’t familiar with that process.

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Mastering the Art of French Cooking
0375413405

E-Readers @ KPL

The e-reader choices are expanding – the Kindle, the Sony E-Reader, the recently announced Nook, and the Apple Tablet expected later this month. With each new device, there is more news coverage in the popular press.

Amazon announced that on Christmas Day, for the first time ever, it sold more e-books than regular paper books. It sounds as if lots of folks received Kindles for Christmas.

If you, like me, did not receive an e-reader but would like to try one, visit Central Library, AV department. We have Sony E-Readers to loan. We chose that model as a better fit for library use than the others.

I still don’t think paper books will go away, at least not in my library career, but e-readers certainly have a place and it good to keep up with the latest “gadget.”

Come visit soon for an e-reader or a book….we have both!

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Audiobooks & eBooks
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http://www.kpl.gov/audiobooks-ebooks/