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.
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.
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.
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.
Family Place Libraries
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.
The State of America's Libraries
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.
National Library Week
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?
About the Library