From the Director
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.
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:
- The right to not read.
- The right to skip pages.
- The right to not finish.
- The right to reread.
- The right to read anything.
- The right to escapism.
- The right to read anywhere. (My favorite!)
- The right to browse.
- The right to read aloud.
- 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.
Our website has a new look!
We have revised our website, especially our homepage, to have a more contemporary look and be easier to use, especially on mobile devices… increasingly the way our website is accessed. We’ve also added some new features and moved many of the links to other sections of the website to the bottom of the page.
I like the photos but my favorite change is the scrolling images of new books. Click on any that look appealing for the catalog record with more information and to place a hold. Similar scrolling images of new movies and music will be added soon to those sections of our website too.
With this change, we have revamped the Kids & Parents section and a new, easier to use calendar will be coming in the next few weeks along with some additional new features.
Visit our website often, watch for further enhancements, and let us know what you think about these changes.
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
Party in the Park 2014
…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.
Dewey Decimal System
….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!
Millage Renewal Approved
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
This is our last full week of Reading Together 2014 events. Next week we welcome Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer to wrap up this year’s series of programs.
We hope you have read both books and participated in some events but even if you haven’t, Novella Carpenter is sure to be an interesting and compelling speaker. She’ll be at Kalamazoo Central High School, Tuesday, April 15, 7:00. No ticket required.
As we end this year’s series of programs, we value your feedback. It won’t be too long until we begin talking about next year’s book(s); suggestions for titles or subjects are welcome.
We thank our sponsors who provided major funding: The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library.
So….what should our community read and talk about next year?
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.
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.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
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.
Library Use Statistics
Our planning for Reading Together is almost like holiday planning…..you plan and prepare for months and then the day is here. That’s how I’m feeling.
We started talking about a theme and book for Reading Together 2014 last summer. We reviewed all the suggestions that had come to us from patrons and staff, we looked at titles that had been successfully used at other libraries, we watched author presentations on YouTube, and we read and read and read. Each time we came together, our focus became a bit sharper. We ultimately settled on not one, but two books, and a food theme.
And now the day is here! Our first event is Wednesday, March 5, with Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating; Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.
Tracie’s visit kick-offs about five weeks of programming. Full list is on our website or in brochures available around town as well as at the library.
We’ll wrap-up with Novella Carpenter on Tuesday, April 15, author of our second title, Farm City.
We hope you have read the books and will join in the conversation, but even if you haven’t, I’m confident you’ll enjoy the author visits and find the programs interesting.
The American Way of Eating
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.
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.
Kids & Parents
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.
Friends Bag of Books Sale
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)
2014 Michigan Notable Books
2013 seemed to be the year of digital services. We added several new ones, including eBooks for Kids just last week.
All of our digital services are described on our website. They include
• eAudiobooks – download online and listen on various devices
• eBooks – available through OverDrive and TumbleBooks; some titles are always available, others can be put on hold
• eBooks for Kids – our newest digital service
• Freegal Music – free and legal access to millions of songs
• Hoopla Digital – borrow digital videos, music and audiobooks
• Rocket Languages – learn a new language at your own pace
• Zinio – subscribe to magazines for your devices
• Databases – we have lots!
These services are free to KPL resident borrowers. Sign-up and download directions are on the website or ask staff for help.
Of course, we still have books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs in the more traditional formats…..whatever your preference!
Happy New Year – may it be one of good reading, viewing, and listening for you.
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.
Good Lord Bird
...at the 13th Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee held earlier this month.
The bee is our fundraiser to buy books to give children through Ready to Read, our early childhood literacy program that helps prepare children to be ready to learn to read when they enter school.
Corporate sponsors pulled together a company team or sponsored a team from an area nonprofit organization. Fourteen teams, each with two spellers and six cheerleaders, learned a cheer or dance routine, designed wild and crazy costumes and practiced their spelling. Once all the bills are in and paid and all pledges have been received, we expect to have raised $20,000 - $22,000! That will buy a lot of books for area children.
Thanks to our corporate sponsors, donors, judges, cheerleaders, spellers, and the library staff who pull all this together for such a good cause. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners.
It was fun with a serious purpose and we are looking forward to the 14th next fall. Watch a replay of the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee on PMN television (channel 95) and enjoy these photos to appreciate what a fun time we had.
Congratulations to KPL’s “award-winning” cheerleaders!
Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee
……Reading Together, that is.
If you visit one of our locations or our website, you probably know we have chosen two books with a food theme for this year’s Reading Together: The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan and Farm City by Novella Carpenter. We have multiple copies of both titles and a “Book Club in a Bag” set.
In addition to two titles being new this year, we also are adding Reading Together To Go! and have placed copies of both titles around town where folks gather and often wait. If you find a copy, read it, pass it on, and log in on our website.
The Reading Together website has also been launched earlier than usual. We’ll be adding to it frequently as events are planned and the calendar is filled in. Our blog will also link to relevant related topics as well as include updates on this year’s events.
Check the website often and start reading!
….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.
Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
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.
Library Bill of Rights
A recent study from the University of London found that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better in school than their peers. Children who read for pleasure made more progress in math, vocabulary, and spelling than those who rarely read.
Are these results surprising? Not to educators and librarians. It is the reason for our close partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools.
For the third year, all KPS first graders will visit a KPL location twice in the fall and then again in the spring. Northglade first graders visited the Powell Branch in the Douglass Community Center to launch this year’s visits. Each student received a KPL card, checked out a book, and heard a story. In a few weeks they will visit again to learn how to return a book and select another one. In the spring, we will celebrate a year of first grade reading and promote summer reading games.
For the first time, there are two new components to our partnership with KPS. All KPS students will be eligible for a one year KPL library card that will permit them to check out three books at a time. With full information from their parent or guardian, it can be converted to a full, unlimited access KPL card.
Second is our evolving very close relationship with Northglade. We are undertaking a two year project to determine if a close relationship between a school and a public library improves student achievement. We think it will! We expect every student and staff in the school will have and use their KPL card, that there will be visits back and forth with Powell Branch staff frequently at Northglade and students of various grades visiting the branch, and a library presence at all Northglade events.
As Walter Dean Myers, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and recent visitor to KPL says, “reading is not optional” if you are going to be successful in school and life. We are working on that with our partners at KPS.
We’ll report periodically on our progress.
“Reading Is Not Optional”
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.
Banned Books Week
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.
Library Card Signup Month
As I have often written, we have very good friends, The Friends of KPL.
Their annual Fall-Bag-of-Books Sale is Saturday, September 14, from 9 am – 3:30 pm in the auditorium on the third floor at Central Library.
As in past years, all books are just 10¢ each OR a grocery size bag full for $2.00. Buy a bag there or bring your own. The bookstore on the lower level will also be open.
And while you are at the sale, pick up a membership brochure and consider joining. They would welcome having you as a member as a further way to show your support for the library.
Friends Fall Bag-of-Books Sale
We’ve had a good summer beginning with our summer reading kick-off during June Jubilee through strong participation in our summer reading games, good attendance at programs, and several days of recordbreaking circulation. Now it is back-to-school time.
We’ve gathered many online databases for early elementary through college on our website. They range from eLibrary Elementary to Gale Virtual Reference Library which provides access to reference materials on business, history, science, environment and more. Some of these resources require a KPL library card to access.
Also in the back-to-school mode, we will offer three sessions of new program Think College. Representatives from KRESA, along with our staff, will share information on preparing for college and show several test preparation resources.
Our buildings are available for studying, some locations have small study rooms for group work or tutoring. And, of course, we have staff to assist and lots of printed materials to checkout or use at the library.
I hope back-to-school went smoothly at your home.
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.
Little Free Libraries
I don’t buy a lot of books, afterall I am in a library every day. When I do buy any, they are usually gently used ones from the Friends Bookstore on the lower level of the Central Library.
The books I buy are generally of two types: literary fiction and big, thick biographies. Books in both categories are usually $2 each.
The literary fiction books I usually give as gifts, often as a small hostess gift or just a little surprise gift for a friend. I tend to select books I have already read so I add a note of why I liked the book and am giving them a copy, along with encouragement to read and pass it on to someone else.
The big, thick biographies I read gradually, sometimes over the course of six or eight weeks. These are books I can lay down, they aren’t page turners, so I read them off and on and, I admit, it is nice not to have the pressure of a due date. Many of them I then give back to the Friends to sell yet again.
I encourage you to shop the Friends Bookstore to build your home library and to support the library. Generous donations from the bookstore revenue support many of our programs, including summer reading games.
AND…news flash / drum roll…..credit and debit cards may now be used in the Friends Bookstore. Easier than ever to shop there.
I have often written here about the ebooks available through our website, but have seldom mentioned downloadable audiobooks. I check out many ebooks but few audiobooks, probably because I have a short drive to work, the time many listen to audiobooks.
Clearly reading is evolving. Today readers can continue the same story as they toggle between an ebook on their iPad or Kindle, a paperback at home, an eaudiobook in the car or on another mobile device….whatever format fits the setting and mood. And a new word…..this is considered the “transmedia” world.
We still maintain a large collection of the traditional audiobooks but in addition, downloadable eaudiobooks are available through our website. Many titles are available in ebook and eaudio format, some just in one or the other, depending upon the publisher.
Formats are evolving – VHS and cassettes are no longer – but for now, we have audiobooks in both physical and digital formats.
Earlier this year, a survey about library use was sent to a random sample of 2,000 residents within our service area. A very similar survey was also posted on our website. Responses to both formats were similar.
Here’s some of what you told us:
- Most respondents use the library once or twice a month
- Most use us to check out books, movies, or music – computer use is the next most frequently used service
- If we had to reduce hours, most favor closing the teen area during the school day
- Closing a branch is the least desirable reduction if our revenues are reduced substantially
- Providing children with good books, movies, and music is considered our most important goal
- If we are able to add additional goals, expanding homework help would be the most desired
- About 1/3 of respondents wish we had more ebooks available for loan; we wish more popular titles were available to libraries
- Another 1/3 of respondents told us they are not interested in checking out ebooks
- Most are neutral or undecided about having their photos on their library card – we’ve dropped that idea
- More than 2/3 would definitely vote to renew our millage to maintain the current services
Thank you for responding to our survey – we value your input and opinions.
What a downtown weekend it was! All of the library’s events were well attended: Art Hop, Friends of KPL sidewalk booksale, First Saturday @ KPL, and the kick-off of summer reading with music and games in our parking lot on a beautiful summer day. Thanks for stopping by.
We celebrate summer reading with fun and games but it is fun with a serious purpose….keep kids reading over the summer to counter the “summer slide.” Especially in the early elementary years, there is a gradually shift from learning to read to reading to learn and for enjoyment. Reading over the summer maintains the skills learned during the school year and contributes to a faster start in the fall.
Our community has many summer literacy activities planned. Check out opportunities wherever kids are going this summer: churches, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, KPS, Nature Center, Communities in Schools among many others. Most every organization with a summer program has added a literacy component.
We are working together to build a college-going culture. Encourage kids to read this summer, share what you are reading, bring them to the library.
June Jubilee at Central Library
KPL will be joining with other downtown organizations to celebrate the “official kick-off to summer in Kalamazoo” with June Jubilee, June 6-9.
Link to our website to see full information on the library events or pick up a brochure downtown for a listing of all the events.
Friday night we’ll be celebrating a LEGO view of Kalamazoo at Art Hop. See classic Kalamazoo buildings in LEGOs!
Saturday is the Friends of KPL Sidewalk Sale on the portico….$2.00 for a bag of books…what a bargain. Visit their bookstore on the lower level too.
AND the June Jubilee Concert with Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers as the kick-off to summer reading in our parking lot from 1 pm – 4 pm. Hear good music, enjoy activities for kids, and, of course, sign-up for summer reading games….all ages.
AND finally, First Saturday@KPL from 2 pm – 4 pm in the children’s room.
See you there or elsewhere around downtown this weekend.
Summer June Jubilee
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.
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.
Children’s Book Week
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.
All About Kalamazoo History
I have often written here about the Friends of KPL... how they fund all our summer reading games and programs, help us bring the Reading Together author to town, provide door prizes for First Saturday @ KPL, help us with the cost of Link, provide funding so we can participate in the quarterly Art Hops, and I could go on and on.
I have also written here about their bookstore on the lower level of the Central Library and their special booksales (next one is Saturday, June 8) and have encouraged library supporters to become members of the Friends.
Now I am writing to ask you to “like” our Friends on Facebook and repost to your Facebook friends. One of their recent posts was listing several particularly interesting titles for sale in the bookstore. It was a good teaser for the wide array of books donated to them and available in the bookstore.
We like our Friends and hope you will too.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library on Facebook
As April winds down, I just happened to have seen that April is Magazine Month. What good timing as we have just recently launched Zinio, a downloadable magazine service.
We offer 72 different titles, all downloadable for free on to your device. Zinio, as well as all of our downloadable services, are grouped together on our website. (Look for Download in the blue navigation bar on every page.) Many patrons have quickly found this new service and in the first five days, there were 322 circulations of magazines through Zinio.
Step-by-step instructions for signing up for this service are on the website, but if you need help, ask at any of our service desks.
I’d welcome your comments about this new service.
Zinio Digital Magazines
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.
World Book Night
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.
National Library Week
I’m always on the lookout for articles or essays about reading, books, libraries; I often use them as the basis for this blog. I just came across one in which the author makes the case that reading novels sharpens business skills.
His point is that reading fiction leads to understanding people better; fiction presents a range of circumstances, interactions, and characters that one is likely to meet in the real world and enhances the ability to empathize with others. He quotes from a study that concluded fiction readers scored better at interpreting facial expressions and social cues than those who read mostly nonfiction.
Hmmm…..or is it that those who are already more socially adept read more fiction? In any case, I agree with the conclusion that “it would be an oversimplification to say that having more fiction readers on Wall Street would have prevented the financial crisis.”
I’m just going to continue to read whatever catches my attention, fiction and nonfiction, and not try to analyze my choices.
Just read…..come visit soon.
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?
The Final Four
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.
I recently read an article by what I would call a “power reader.” He reads at least two hours per day, at least 100 books a year and often twice that many. Not surprisingly, he reads in all the obvious places: home, trains, planes, buses, public parks, as well as the not so obvious: during concerts and plays, waiting for people to emerge from comas, during a medical treatment. He reads mostly fiction.
He writes that he has figured out why he reads so much: he wants to be somewhere else. He considers his real world to be reasonably satisfactory but the world conjured up by books is a better one. He reads to escape to a more exciting, more rewarding world.
I read a lot too, but not that much. I read more fiction than nonfiction, but still a fair amount of nonfiction. As I think about it, I agree that fiction reading is often to escape to a different world, though I’m not so sure it is always more exciting or rewarding. My nonfiction reading seems to be more about an interest in a different time, place, or person, not necessarily that I want to be there….I want to know about it though.
Beyond that, I’m not going to overly analyze why I read. I just know I enjoy it. Why do you read?
The Library of Michigan recently released state wide data about public libraries, compiled from the annual reports we all submit.
Here’s some of the information I found particularly interesting or compelling:
- Michigan residents visited their public libraries over 56 million times; KPL estimates about 800,000 visits to our five locations.
- Patrons borrowed over 89,000,000 items from public libraries across the state; our circulation was 1,682,620.
- Circulation per capita is flat across the state from the previous year: 9.0.
- Over 5 million Michigan residents hold library cards; we have about 80,000 cardholders.
- 415 libraries are participating MeLCat libraries; we loan to other libraries and borrow for our patrons about an equal number of items.
- Michigan public libraries provide 11,229 computers used 13.3 million times by the public; KPL’s 100 public computers logged 184,811 sessions.
- 98% of operating income for Michigan public libraries is from the local community; we rank 32nd in state funding at just $0.91 of state money per capita.
- Children’s program attendance remains strong at most libraries; adult program attendance has declined.
- And not surprisingly, book collections have decreased over the past five years while AV, e-book, and audiobook collections have increased. Despite the decrease in book collections, they remain by far the dominant item in public library collections.
Come visit soon – at one of our five locations or via our website. We’re counting for next year’s state report.
About the Library
I’m guessing when you visit our website, you go to one or two areas….perhaps the catalog, the calendar of events, maybe our databases. You know what you are looking for and you head there.
I want to call your attention to several new features or services available on our website with the hope you will explore them as well as your favorites.
New blogs are posted to our website several times each week, new materials being added to our collection are highlighted, new services are often featured in the rotating pictures. Visit often.
Kalamazoo Public Library website
Last month the Kercher Center at WMU sent out a survey on behalf of the library. It was mailed to 2,000 randomly selected residents in our service area. If you didn’t get one in the mail, now you have an opportunity to express your opinion online.
Responses to the survey will help us plan for the next few years. We are interested in how you rank our current services, suggestions you might have for new services in place of current ones, and what you would reduce or eliminate if we have a major reduction in revenues.
I hope you will take 10 minutes or so to complete this survey. We want to hear from library users.
Do you consider the environmental impact when choosing a print or e-book format?
I admit, I’ve only thought very briefly about this question and it doesn’t enter into my decision to read a book in print or digital format. My decision is based primarily on availability.
I recently came across a short article on this very topic. It gave me pause. The author considered the trees used to make paper, chlorine bleach to dye the paper, use of recycled paper, amount of ink, energy needed to produce the ink, lifespan of a typical e-reader, and carbon emissions from production and use of an e-reader.
Bottom line conclusion from the author: an e-reader is the more environmentally responsible choice for those who read more than 23 books per year.
Now that you know this, will it make a difference in the format you choose?
Last week’s blog was about e-reading vs print reading. I wrote that e-book choices through libraries are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase or license digital copies to loan to cardholders. This limit has become a freedom to read concern for libraries.
E-books are here to stay; it is possible that in the future new books may be published only in digital format. When that happens, an e-reader, a credit card, and disposable income will be necessary to read a book unless all major publishers are willing to sell or license a title to public libraries.
Currently several major publishers refuse to sell or license e-books to public libraries. Others make them available at a very high price or impose heavy restrictions on their use. Consequently the selection of e-books available for loan is limited.
Librarians and library organizations are pressing publishers to change their practices. Some pilot programs are underway as publishers and libraries strive to develop mutually acceptable models.
We need the help of readers to voice their concern about preserving the freedom to read. You can support this effort by contacting state and federal elected officials. Make them aware of the e-book lending challenges and encourage them to press publishers to work with libraries.
Preserving the freedom to read is worth fighting for.
E-books for Libraries: Freedom to Read
A recently released Pew Research Center study reports 23% of Americans, ages 16 and older, have read an e-book in the past year, up from 16% the year before. Those who read a print book dropped from 72% to 67%. Overall book readers, no matter the format, remained about the same at about 75% of the population.
Not surprisingly, there has also been an increase in ownership of e-book reading devices; 25% of those 16 and older own a tablet computer, 19% an e-book reading device.
Also not surprisingly, e-book borrowing from public libraries has increased too….from 3% last year to 5% this year.
Here at KPL we have had a whooping increase in e-book circulation: 3,593 in 2010 / 11 to 17,369 in 2011/12. That’s an increase of 383%!
The titles available to download through our website have increased substantially too. We purchase copies of popular titles just for KPL cardholders in addition to those available through the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. Nevertheless, the choices are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase digital copies to loan to cardholders.
The American Library Association is challenging publishers to include libraries in their service model. So far, most publishers are not willing to do so.
The awards and “best of” season continues in the entertainment and publishing fields. The Library of Michigan just announced the “2013 Michigan Notable Books.”
This designation began in 1991. Each year 20 books published during the previous year are featured. The books are about, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a native or resident of our state. Fiction and nonfiction titles with a wide appeal on an array of topics are selected.
In the news release announcing this year’s choices, our state librarian, Nancy Robertson, wrote that “this program successfully shines the spotlight on the number of talented writers and illustrators we have in Michigan; these books help tell Michigan’s story.”
By coincidence, I happened to be reading Detroit City Is the Place to Be, one of this year’s selections. I’ve also added several titles to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read.
I hope your reading year is off to a good start; mine is.
Michigan Notable Books
Year end brings a time of reflection. As I look back on 2012 for the library, many events and milestones immediately come to mind.
We were honored to be awarded a Citation of Excellence for superior customer service from our state librarian at our annual conference. It affirmed our commitment to superior service with a can-do attitude in a cost effective manner.
Our 140th birthday celebration with author Susan Orlean was a highlight of the year and we were pleased it was one of the top entertainment events on MLive.
We launched First Saturday @ KPL, a monthly program for school age children last spring, hosted all KPS first-graders twice this fall, and kept kids reading over the summer through our summer reading games. Through these efforts, kids checked out 19% more books this year than the year before!
We bonded with author Luis Urrea when he visited as our Reading Together author, launched our Geek campaign in the Do-Dah Parade, graduated the first class of our Nonprofit Leadership Academy through ONEplace.
Of course we continued to provide materials for reading, viewing, and listening and assistance at a variety of public service desks at Central and branches.
It was good year at the library and we are ready to move on to 2013.
Best wishes for the new year; come visit soon.
It is the time of year when we all receive many requests for donations from a wide variety of local, regional, and national organizations.
The library does not conduct an annual fundraising campaign nor send out a solicitation request. Our only fundraiser is our annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee to raise funds to buy books for distribution through our Ready to Read program.
Of course donations to the library are always welcome and greatly appreciated.
A donation can be designated for a specific collection, such as large print or children’s; a location, such as your neighborhood branch; or a service such as Local History, Teens, or Ready to Read. Undesignated gifts are directed where they are needed most.
And don’t forget our good Friends; your donations of gently used books and audio visual material are always appreciated.
We appreciate if you think of the library when you are considering your year-end giving.
Support the Library
My Ideal Bookshelf was recently published. We have it in our collection, although it is checked out and I haven’t yet seen it. I have read about it, however.
The premise is that the books we keep, let alone read, say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. The author asked dozens of cultural figures – authors, filmmakers, chefs, architects – to select a small bookshelf worth of books to represent themselves.
What books would you select if you had been asked? I’m still pondering this for myself. As I look around my bookshelves at home, I see favorite novels, biographies of presidents especially Lincoln, memoirs by women, some autographed children’s books. I’m not sure these are the ones I would select to say who I am but for various reasons and at various times, those are the books I have chosen to have on my shelves.
What’s on your shelf that says who you are? If you can’t select the entire shelf, how about one title?
My Ideal Bookshelf
The library and Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) recently partnered to bring children’s book author and illustrator Patricia Polacco to town for a day and what a day it was!
This was not her first visit to KPL – she’s been here several times since publishing her first book, Meteor!, in 1988. We consider her a very good friend of ours as well as the children of Kalamazoo.
Patricia spoke to 4th and 5th graders at Washington Writers Academy and Milwood Elementary schools and to more than 200 children and their families at Central Library, but she is much more than a “storyteller.”
Her presentation as well as her 85 books(!) dealt with her learning disabilities, her family, heroic teachers in her life, the pain she suffered from being bullied. She revealed very personal emotional issues and kids totally related to her. As she signed books after the presentation, she listened to tens of children tell her their stories, how they relate to her story, and how meaningful her books are to them. The book signing line moved slowly but no one complained. They waited patiently for their turn.
Her books are available in the children’s area at Central Library and all branches; there is a message for children that can also be appreciated and understood by adults.
Thanks for visiting KPS and KPL, Patricia. Come again soon.
I admit I seldom borrow an audiobook, don’t rent library meeting rooms, check out a CD only occasionally, BUT I do check out tens and tens of books and many movies, and I download ebooks through OverDrive. I live in the KPL district and I get my money’s worth with my library card.
Given the purchase price for a hardcover book, the cost to use a computer at a copy center, and fees to attend a class, the library is a good value for those who even use our services a few times per year.
How much would you pay out-of-pocket for library services? Try our library value calculator. I hope the library is a good value for you.
The Michigan eLibrary, known as MeL, just celebrated its 20th birthday.
MeL was launched in 1992, just as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was funding computers for libraries and internet became affordable through the e-rate program. MeL provided the content.
MeL’s centerpiece is a collection of databases that support homework, small business, job searches, and general informational inquiries. There are now over 1,000,000 full-text article retrievals each year.
MeLCat, the state wide catalog for interlibrary loan, includes the holdings of 415 participating libraries. Each year, there are also over 1,000,000 requests for materials to be shared statewide, by sending the item to a user’s home library or by sending the user to the home library of the item, if it cannot be loaned.
Our statewide system is considered a model of efficiency in the tech world. MeL users consider it a model of the good use of federal money to benefit library services.
Happy 20th birthday to MeL from the 140 year old KPL! It’s a month of library birthdays.
Michigan eLibrary (MeL)
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.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
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.
Teen Read Week
KPL is celebrating its 140th anniversary this week with an appearance by literary journalist and author, Susan Orlean. What better way for a library to celebrate than to bring a best-selling author to town for a free public appearance.
Orlean’s most recent book is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, just out in paperback. It tells the story of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from a puppy on the WW I battlefield to movie star. An earlier book, The Orchid Thief, was made into the Oscar-winning movie, Adaptation, starring Meryl Streep. She has also been a staff writer for The New Yorker.
I hope you will join us Friday night, October 12, 7 pm, Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium for this free program to celebrate our anniversary. A selection of her books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
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.
Banned Books Readout
One of our staff recently gave me an editorial on the importance of “every word.” The author wrote of “pockets of language poverty,” a phrase I had not heard before. One example he wrote about is when parents are unemployed, kids lose the secondary benefit of casual access to workplace words. Hearing the terms that are part of the workplace enhances a child’s understanding of the world.
Increasingly kids are not hearing and learning the words they need to be successful. Reading is one way to learn new words and be transported to different times and places; learning through conversation can be equally important.
This is a good reminder to all of us who work with, live with, know kids…..read with them, encourage them to read, talk with them, share your experiences. We all have a part in giving kids the many words they need to make their way in the world.
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.
Library Card Sign-Up Month
I’m always sorry to see summer and beach reading days come to an end. I admit to having spent many hours sitting on the beach reading this summer BUT not necessarily reading “beach reads.”
“Beach reads” has a bad rap. One definition I saw recently: breezy, lightweight for pool or lakeside reading.” Well, many of the books I read this summer at the Lake Michigan beach do not fit this definition. Among others, I read and recently blogged about The President’s Club. I read The Tiger’s Wife for August book group; Canada, Richard Ford’s new book; A Hundred Flowers; Destiny of the Republic; By the Iowa Sea; The Snow Child; among others, all from our collection.
Although I am hoping for at least one more weekend of beach reading, I’m moving into another season of reading—primarily in my living room instead of the beach—but my book choices aren’t going to change.
What did you read this summer? Do your reading choices vary by season?
What a summer for readers!
We celebrated a strong summer of reading with a concert in Bronson Park on Saturday featuring Milkshake, a high energy, rock and roll band for kids. We tossed around a big globe, shared baseballs, and spread some sunshine. I hope you were there; no matter what your age, it was fun.
Kids have attended many fun events over the summer but most importantly, they’ve been reading. The reading game was based on reading 20 minutes per day with prizes at 20, 40, and 60 days. So many kids read so many days that we ran out of prizes. What a good problem to have—we were happy to order more.
We had a 25% increase in registrations and a special emphasis on KPS first graders, all of whom visited the library three times during the school year and were preregistered for summer reading. It is especially important to maintain newly acquired reading skills over the summer for that age.
Thanks once again to our very good Friends for sponsoring our summer reading games!
I hope you had a good summer of reading and that back-to-school goes smoothly for all the kids in your home or life.
Our year ended on June 30 and it was a very good one!
Circulation of print and AV materials was up 21% over the previous year. Not surprisingly, the percentage increase was greatest in ebooks – from about 3,600 to over 17,000. Our total circulation was over 1.6 million so ebook circulation is still small in comparison to print and AV.
Program attendance was strong also, especially for our programs for children and teens; attendance at youth programs was over 37,000 for the year. We have increased our emphasis on programs for these ages, both in the library and around the community, in support of our priority of “creating young readers.”
Computer use, number of cardholders, and hits to our website are all up for the year, too.
Come visit soon, in person or through our website... check out an item, attend a program, find information on our website.
Kalamazoo Public Library
I have often written here about our very good friends, The Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library. I am writing about them again to share their goal of increasing their membership.
The Friends goal is 150 or more (!) new members. That’s a very reasonable goal for a community our size with a strong history of support for the library.
Once again this year, the Friends are funding our summer reading games for all ages: the game cards, programs, prizes, the end of summer concert – about $25,000 worth – and that’s only about half of their annual gift to the library.
Selling gently used books, gently priced in their bookstore is their major source of income. Memberships provide a secondary source of revenue.
Membership brochures are available throughout the library and in the bookstore, of course. You can also join through our website.
Please consider joining; membership levels range from $5 - $100 and are tax deductible.
Join the Friends of KPL
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?
Books that Shaped America
If you have children in your life, you might know about the TumbleBook Library but if not, here is a brief overview with a link to our website for more detailed information.
Kids and tweens can listen to or read along at their own pace to animated, talking picture books, read-alongs and ebooks on a computer or ipad. In addition to books, there are videos, puzzles and games, and language learning. All are available through our website. A good starting point is the virtual tour for an overview of the various features.
The books range from picture books, easy readers, chapter books, teen fiction, and graphic novels. Suggested grade level is included.
Children learn in various ways and many of today’s kids learn best in an online environment or as a complement to print learning. We’ll have books in both print and online format for many years to come.
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.
A recent library publication included some statistics to show “its’s an ‘e’ world”. Some of them seemed worth sharing:
• 2,267,233,742 - Internet users worldwide
• 644,275,754 – number of websites as of March 2012
• 47,097 – magazines, newspapers, newsletters, TV/radio transcripts around the world that offer online full text, up from about 5,500 in 2000
• 112 – number of e-mails sent and received each day by the typical user
• 183% - increase in public library e-book collections in the past year
Of course KPL’s holdings reflect this shift to an ‘e’ world also. These statistics are from our annual report to the Library of Michigan submitted earlier this year:
• 1,352 – downloadable audio items
• 4,184 – e-books available
• 16 – database subscriptions
Most of our holdings are still in “physical units”: print books, DVDs, CDs, but we are increasingly moving to the ‘e’ world also.
Come visit soon – through our website for e-resources or any of our buildings.
School will be over for area students on Wednesday, June 13. It is no coincidence that we kick off summer reading games the same day.
Research shows that students, especially those from low-income families, lose more than two months of reading achievement over the summer and that the loss is cumulative. More than half of the achievement gap between lower and higher-income youth is due to unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
KPL, like most all public libraries, is hard at work creating summer programs to keep children reading and learning. All first graders in KPS have been preregistered for our summer reading game. KPL staff handled out 100’s of brochures outlining the games during the DoDah Parade; we’ve had information on our website, have distributed informational materials through KPS, and are promoting it as families have visited one of our library locations.
Our goal is to keep children reading over the summer and especially to help level the playing field for children without opportunities for summer learning.
Please help us by bringing or encouraging all the school-age children in your life to sign-up, to read 20 minutes per day, to attend programs, and even earn some cool prizes! Ask them what they are reading and listen as they tell you – share their summer reading enthusiasm.
We are aiming for record-breaking summer reading games participation, but that’s not really what it is about…..it is about maintaining reading skills over the summer and having fun!
Just sharing some miscellaneous info...
• Our summer hours are now in effect….we close at 6 pm on Thursdays and are closed Sundays. Winter hours will resume after Labor Day.
• Summer reading games for all ages – youngest to oldest – begin on June 13, last day of school for Kalamazoo Public School students.
• Our popular First Saturday @ KPL program will continue through the summer along with many programs for school age children.
• We are beginning to consider suggestions for next year’s Reading Together title and would welcome your ideas for a title, author, or theme. Just add yours as a “comment” to this blog.
• And speaking of Reading Together, did you see the heartfelt letter this year’s author, Luis Urrea, sent us?
• You can now search the Kalamazoo Telegraph, a local newspaper from 1863 – 1913, through our website. It’s interesting reading even if you aren’t a local historian or genealogist.
• If you missed “Michigan at the Exposition: The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair,” it is on our website, along with many other programs.
• There are some online audio books, always available, you can download through our website. It makes exercising more enjoyable if you can listen to a good book at the same time.
• KPL staff blog about books they have recently read and particularly enjoyed. Our reading tastes vary greatly; we invite your comments and welcome an online discussion.
• We’ve added ebooks for kids to our website. Some reluctant young readers who have access to an ereader, but be enticed to read more in this format.
Come visit soon…..Central Library, branches, or through our website.
Summer @ KPL
This final week of May and first weekend in June is a busy time for downtown Kalamazoo, as well as for the library.
On Wednesday, we will celebrate our 15th annual “Party in the Park.” You may have seen photos from previous years on our website. What a fun event for preschoolers and a feel good event for the adult participants—so rewarding to see the excitement in these young children as they hear a good story, sometimes even being read by a famous storybook character!
Friday night is Art Hop all over the downtown area including Central Library and the Barnabee Gallery at Powell Branch Library. Central Library will be displaying art work by children from Nebbi, Uganda, created with art supplies donated by Kalamazoo area residents; the Barnabee Gallery displays works created by WMU journalism students.
Saturday is the Friends of KPL sidewalk book sale; books for 10¢ each or $2 for a bag full – what a bargain!
KPL staff, friends, families and even a few pets, will march in the DoDah Parade. Look for us in our black t-shirts as we encourage participation in our summer reading games and launch a new awareness campaign.
And Saturday afternoon is once again “First Saturday @ KPL.” This month our partners are KPS, NAACP, and Northside Ministerial Alliance. Sid Ellis is the guest storyteller. Sure to be a fun afternoon!
Stop by when you are downtown this week – it will be a busy, fun one as summer kicks off.
Party in the Park
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.
Ebooks for Libraries
Last week was a celebration of our good friends, the Friends of KPL.
The Friends held their annual meeting on April 14. A record breaking crowd of about eighty, celebrated a year of strong book sales in the bookstore as well as at several special sales and enjoyed retired KPL librarian Margean Gladysz talk about her book The Spy on the Bus.
On Wednesday, our Friends, along with tens and tens of community organizations, were honored at the STAR Award Breakfast to celebrate volunteers throughout the greater Kalamazoo area. Even though it was a week of celebrations and recognition for them, they continued their work on behalf of the library – they held a book sale at Oshtemo Branch on Saturday and as usual, staffed the bookstore at central, Wednesday through Saturday.
Last year the Friends funded our summer reading games for all ages, contributed to Reading Together events, and supported the Global Reading Challenge, general adult programming, and staff recognition.
As I say often and mean sincerely, KPL is fortunate to have very good Friends. You can support them and the library by becoming a member and shopping at their bookstore.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
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.
2012 Indies Choice Book Awards
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.
National Library Week
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.
National Poetry Month
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.
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.
Last week we kicked off this year’s Reading Together with a discussion of the book and the issues it raises led by Dr. Karen Vocke, associate professor of English at WMU. Almost all attendees had read the book and we had a spirited discussion interspersed with Dr. Vocke’s experiences working with the migrant community and her literary insights.
This week we welcome the author Luis Alberto Urrea to Kalamazoo. He will speak Tuesday evening, 7:00, at Kalamazoo Central High School. There are many other community events through early April, all described on our website.
Last week we launched a new initiative: First Saturday @ KPL. We encourage families to make a visit to the library part of their regular routine and on the first Saturday of each month, we’ll entice children with storytimes, fun activities, and special guests. Families who visit during First Saturday @ KPL are eligible to win door prizes. We were thrilled with the turnout at this first one and look forward to it growing as we partner with other community organizations. The next one is Saturday, April 7, 2 pm – 4 pm.
This week we have family storytimes, toddler talk, baby talk, and reading with Bailey.
Last week was the Teen Filmmaker Festival; this week tweens and teens can take their cartooning skills to the next level with comic master Kenjji Jumanne-Marshall.
And for adults, in addition to Reading Together events this week, we’ll offer tax help and Ask a Lawyer. See our website for eligibility for these two programs.
Come visit soon, either to attend a program or to find something good to read, view, or listen to.
Luis Alberto Urrea
Join us on Saturday, March 3, for the start of a new initiative: First Saturday @ KPL.
Make a visit to the library part of your family’s regular routine! We’ll help you entice your children by offering impromptu storytimes, fun activities, and special guests on the first Saturday of each month in the children’s room at Central Library.
Families who visit during the First Saturday program time, from 2 pm - 4 pm, may win door prizes! This March, the prizes include Meijer gift cards for $100, $50 and $25.
We expect a growing list of partners to help KPL staff plan and carry out First Saturday events. Our partners currently include Kalamazoo Public Schools, the NAACP, the Northside Ministerial Alliance, and the Hispanic American Council.
Of course in addition to enjoying activities, we encourage you and your family to check out books, movies, and music, and to read every day. We’ll be glad to sign you up for a library card if you don’t have one.
See you on Saturday!
First Saturday @ KPL
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...
- ALA, Authors Guild, 3M Weigh In on Penguin-OverDrive Dispute
(February 10, 2012, Library Journal)
- ALA responds to Penguin’s decision to discontinue digital media sales to libraries via Overdrive (February 10, 2012, American Library Association)
- Penguin Severs Ties with OverDrive
(February 9, 2012, Publishers Weekly)
- Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive
(February 9, 2012, Library Journal)
- Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Express Concerns About Library Ebook Lending After ‘Positive’ Talks with ALA (February 8, 2012, Library Journal)
There’s a new look in Teen Services on the lower level of Central Library.
Teen patrons and our staff in teen have long wished for an area separate from the rest of the lower level to allow for teen programming and discussions there without disturbing others. We now have it, along with a bright, fresh look.
We’ve installed a divider between the teen area and the AV collection. Large windows provide an open feeling but create a separate area. Computers have been moved to a counter mounted on the divider to free up space for a programming / discussion / hang-out area for teens.
Along with the divider, we have bright, 2012 colors thanks to our Facilities Management staff.
You don’t need to be a teen to stop by for a look. You might wish you had had a teen area like this when you were in middle and high school though – I do.
…… the county Law Library is located on the lower level of Central Library?
……all KPL locations have paper and reproducible tax forms and information about free tax preparation clinics?
……eBooks and eaudiobooks are available through our website?
……our librarians will be glad to suggest books based on what you have read and enjoyed?
……KPL staff share their favorite books, music, and movies on our blogs?
……if you missed a concert you enjoy it on YouTube?
……there is a printable calendar of all the library activities for kids on our website?
……there are some amazing teen filmmakers in Kalamazoo?
……many photos of historic Kalamazoo are posted on our website?
……Luis Urrea, this year’s Reading Together author will be here on March 6?
……there are used books for sale at Central Library?
……you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter?
Last week I wrote about our recent birthday party to celebrate the 115th anniversary of Children’s Services at KPL. I also wrote that 2012 is a milestone year for many of our services with more celebrations ahead.
Well, I didn’t have in mind that January 10 was the 7th birthday for MeLCat, our statewide shared catalog and the basis for interlibrary loan. Each month we borrow about 1,300 items for our patrons from other libraries AND we loan about the same number to other libraries across the state. A delivery service moves the items within days to wherever they are needed, then back to the home library.
Patrons can place their own holds and be notified when the item is ready to be picked up at their home library. If we don’t have what you need, it may be available through MeLCat.
Happy 7th birthday MeLCat!
We had a birthday party at KPL last week! We celebrated the 115th anniversary of Children’s Services with special storytimes and cupcakes….it’s not a birthday party without cake….and we gave the gifts: a coloring book “Celebrating 115 Years of Reading at Kalamazoo Public Library.” The story coloring book was created by Janie Bynum, local author and illustrator.
In December 1896, KPL dedicated a room for exclusive use by children, one of the first ten libraries in the country to do so. Now, 115 years later, early childhood literacy and preparing children to learn to read, remain our highest priorities.
The story coloring book follows Grandpa and Little Bear as they visit the library each week to borrow books, use the computers, attend storytime, make crafts, and play in the puppet theater. It’s a fun look with an underlying serious message: the importance of regular library visits and reading to children.
Interestingly enough, 2012 is a milestone for many of our services. We are planning more celebrations this year, including a big one for the entire library in the fall.
Happy birthday, children’s services!
Children’s Services: Celebrating 115 Years
The “best of” lists are out in full force. Along with these lists, nominations for awards for 2011 books, music, and movies are also being announced.
Many KPL staff are sharing their favorite books, movies, and music from the year to support our priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” Our lists, along with ones from previous years, are on our website.
I freely admit I am not current on music or movies, but I think I am current on books until I see these lists. I realize how many titles I haven’t even heard of that are staff favorites. I’ve also learned whose reading interests are similar to mine – I’ve likely to enjoy the book if it is on their list.
What was your favorite from the year?….a new book, an older one you had missed….doesn’t matter. Please share!
I hope the new year provides time and opportunity for reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. Best wishes.
Best of 2011
As year-end approaches, almost every publication has its “best of” list. Lists of best books, movies, and music, at least in some editor’s or reviewer’s opinion, are especially popular. When I see such list of books, I immediately want to begin checking off those I have read and adding those I haven’t read and sound good to my “list of books to read sometime.”
Some lists are divided by genre….travel , romance, historical fiction, mysteries….and on and on. Library staff are working on our lists to share. We are dividing ours by format: books, movies, and music to match our strategic priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” We want to share with you what we liked, no matter what the reviewers or critics might have said about the title.
Our lists are due December 5 so look for our “best of the year” shortly thereafter on our website. In the meantime, you can review our favorites from past years. When you see our lists, please share yours on one of our blogs.
I hope it has been a good year of reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. As always, I’ve added more titles to my list than I read ; it gets longer each year. I need more reading time in 2012!
Best Of 2011
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.
American Education Week
As I have often written, “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure” is one of our priorities. Many services to readers are described on our website... ...Book My Favorites, eBooks, New Fiction, New Nonfiction, Hot Picks, Book Club in a Bag for book groups, and others. We now have a new one—Now Read This for personalized reading recommendations from our staff.
We are available to suggest titles that match your reading interests. Complete the form on our website telling us books or authors you love, titles you have enjoyed or not enjoyed, genres you enjoy or would rather avoid, subjects about which you would like to read more widely. Within 7 business days, our staff will email you a list of 5 recommendations based on your interests. If you aren’t happy with those recommendations, we’ll try again!
Staff members haven’t read every book in our collection but we are familiar with most of them, we read lots of reviews, and we talk about what we have read among ourselves and with patrons.
We hope you use and enjoy this new service for readers. Let me know with a comment on this blog or email to email@example.com
Now Read This!
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.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
The Historical Society of Michigan presented its 2011 State History Awards at their recent 137th annual meeting and conference. I’m pleased to report that KPL won the award in the “newsletters and websites” category for the local history section of our website “All About Kalamazoo History.”
The announcement described the 600 interconnected web pages covering more than 20 categories with basic as well as detailed information. It was cited as “an invaluable resource for researchers ranging from middle school students competing in history day to genealogists.”
Of course we are pleased to receive this recognition but even more importantly, we are pleased and hopeful that the announcement of this award and the accompanying publicity, will prompt even more use of the resources our staff has created.
I congratulate and thank our local history and website staff for their work and foresight in developing the local history section of the KPL website. I’m confident you will find something of interest there even if you don’t consider yourself a genealogist or a local history enthusiast.
2011 State History Award
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!
Banned Books Art Contest
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.
The Smartest Card
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.
International Literacy Day
I have often written about summer, beach, vacation reading... what I am reading, asking what you are reading, the angst of having the wrong or not enough books along on a trip, how reading sometimes changes in the summer.
I recently read an essay in which the writer reflected on summer reading. He reminisced about the decision of what books to take along on a trip and the worry of making a bad choice or not having enough books along, especially if you were traveling to a remote area. He remembered vacation was not a time to challenge himself with a particularly heavy book, not in weight or tone.
Well, times have changed. Now books travel easily in a variety of formats and you can have hundreds of books practically in your pocket and definitely in your suitcase. No worry about the wrong title or not enough.
This is not a new idea of course, but like a lot of essayists, the writer said it well and gave me pause to reflect on the changing world of books yet again.
I hope you had a good summer of reading in your format of choice.
Summer has gone fast, too fast as usual. We’ve had a great summer of reading games. Registration for the games has been strong AND we’ve had record-breaking circulation on several Mondays, our busiest day of the week.
Programs have been fun – Bubbleman and Chemical Kim entertained kids; tweens and teens watched the Harry Potter movies, adults celebrated the world premiere of local author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new book, music fans enjoyed Joe Reilly at the Oshtemo Township Park and Steppin’ In It at our 50th free concert.
It’s been a good summer of reading for all ages and now we are ready to celebrate! I hope you can join us at the end-of-summer concert on Sunday afternoon, August 28 at 4:00 in Bronson Park. The Verve Pipe will entertain with catchy songs and melodies from A Family Album, their critically-acclaimed collection of music for the entire family. One reviewer says it is full of “insanely fun, playful and memorable songs that will turn your smile upward.”
I hope to see you in the park for the concert!
The Verve Pipe, A Family Album
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.
Summer is often the time of year for trips near and far. We have many materials to help with trip planning but a case can be made for staying home too.
I recently read an article that made the case that Picasso was particularly prolific because “he never went anywhere.” The author wrote that Picasso only left France twice and got up every morning, including during the Nazi occupation of France, and worked. He didn’t hold with the idea that to understand life it was vital to travel. His inspiration came from museums in his area, reading books and magazines, and watching films. The author concluded that “the greatest artist of the 20th century was basically a shut-in.”
Everyone has a different travel philosophy. ...some want to travel widely, some hardly at all, some want to return to favorite travel destinations and not venture elsewhere.
Our summer reading games this year have a travel theme as participants read for at least 20 minutes each day. I hope you have signed up and are “traveling” though your summer reading. We have materials to help plan a trip, find inspiration for a new destination, or “travel” from your armchair by reading, viewing, and listening with items from our collections.
Novel Destinations: KPL Summer Reading Games
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.
Simple fresh southern : knockout dishes with down-home flavor
My list of books-to-read-sometime is growing fast. It seems as if every magazine or newspaper I read has a list of “best summer reads.” The titles range from beach reads to classics. I seldom read such a list without adding at least a handful to mine.
NPR recently had a commentary about reading. The point was if you could read two books a week and started that pattern when you were fifteen, still going strong at eighty, you would have read 6,500 books! That’s a lot of books, BUT only a tiny fraction of all the books published EACH YEAR!
None of us readers will ever read all the good books out there, all the books on our own lists. We need to relax about that – I’m talking to myself here too! – and enjoy the ones we do read. As one writer has said, “each book is a wonderful gift and you’re never going to run out of such gifts! That should be a cause for celebration, not frustration.”
Well said, I agree!
I just finished reading Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell and Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch. Next on my reading pile is Room by Emma Donoghue followed by Please Look After Mom by Kyong-suk Sin.
What are you reading?
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.
The History of the Library
With the approval of the state budget last week, appropriations for library support, including MeL, the Michigan eLibrary, are now in place.
State aid to public libraries remains about the same as does support for the Library of Michigan - the same, that is, as last year, but reduced substantially over the past several years.
The best news for library patrons is that funding for MeL will continue. We expect a similar array of databases for the next three years, October 2011 through September 2014, as has been offered, including continuation of the recently added Job and Career Accelerator.
Funding for MeLCat, the interlibrary loan system, is also now in place. KPL patrons borrow about 1,500 items per month through this system; KPL loans just as many to patrons of other libraries across the state. I’m pleased this popular, well-used service will continue.
Thanks to patrons who contacted their legislators to advocate for library funding.
If you’ve been by one of our buildings recently, you may have noticed we have our “SUMMER @ KPL” banners out of winter storage and ready for another great summer. And indeed we are ready!
Summer reading games for all ages – youngest to oldest patrons – begin on Wednesday, June 15, the last day of school for KPS, and run through Friday, August 26. The rules are simple: read 20 minutes per day, mark it on the game board calendar, win prizes.
For school age children, the goal is to maintain reading skills over the school break. Teens and adults can be encouraging to children by also signing up for the game and reading with children – read out loud or silently together.
We also have many events planned for the summer – concerts, an acrobatic team, Zoomobile, cartooning, storytimes and more. Full information is on our website.
We will celebrate the end-of-summer reading with a family concert in Bronson Park on Sunday afternoon, August 28.
Thanks to our very good friends, the Friends of KPL, for sponsoring all of our summer reading games. Their generous funding is made possible by the proceeds from their bookstore.
Have a safe and fun summer and leave plenty of time for reading!
Summer @ KPL
If you frequently browse the KPL website, you know we add new sections often. There are several new ones I want to call to your attention to:
• We have revamped the Job and Career Support section with links to Michigan Works and Goodwill Industries as well as to some library databases and resources of particular interest to job seekers.
• Summer Reading Games for all ages will begin June 15. We now have the information on our website with fun graphics for each game.
• There is some new information about eBooks on that section of our website. We are pleased that later this year, OverDrive will be available for the Kindle. We’ll share information as it becomes available.
Our Blogs aren’t new but they are updated frequently. The varied reading, viewing, and listening tastes of our staff mirror those of our patrons. I’ve discovered several recent favorite books from our staff blogs... books that wouldn’t have come to my attention otherwise.
Several staff have a particular interest in Local History and add to the growing list of essays about Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan places and people.
And it’s a big weekend for the Friends of KPL – the Super Saturday Sale on Saturday, June 4, 9 am – 3:30 pm in front of Central Library. Books are 10¢ each or a bag full for $2!
Browse our site. We hope you will find information of interest; we always welcome your feedback.
Reading Together (RT) 2011 ended last week with a visit by Deogratias (Deo) Niyizonkiza and Dziwe Ntaba, co-founders of Village Health Works, and the focus of this year’s RT book, Strength in What Remains. As I wrote on the RT blog, it was a powerful finale to this year’s program.
And now we are ready to think about next year’s RT title. Library staff are exchanging possible titles and themes and will soon meet to begin considering the suggestions, narrowing down the choices, and making a decision. Most likely the title will be announced in late summer or early fall.
We’d like to add your suggestions into the process. What would you like our community to read and discuss next winter?
Strength in What Remains
Last week the Friends of KPL and the Friends of WMU Libraries held a joint annual meeting. The program was “Founding Friends.” Lynn Houghton of WMU Archives and Regional History Collection, spoke about Edwin and Cynthia Van Deusen who donated the funds that built the first dedicated building for the Kalamazoo Public Library.
Lynn mentioned that one stipulation of Dr. and Mrs. Van Deusen was that the public library be open on Sundays so that working men, most of whom worked six days per week, would have a day to come to the library.
Of course I have heard or read a fair amount of our history but I had never known about this early requirement for Sunday service. We are currently open Sundays during the school year and have been for many decades. I don’t know if there was ever a break in Sunday service or if the library has been open on Sundays since its founding in 1872.
Our Sunday service for the current school year will end on May 22 and resume in the fall on September 11.
Come visit Central Library on Sundays from 1 pm – 5 pm for two more weeks, but even when we are closed on Sundays over the summer, we are still open six days, and our online branch is always open!
KPL Locations & Hours
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!
National Library Week
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.
National Poetry Month
If you are familiar with the KPL website, you probably know we have a variety of blogs written by our staff. There are links from our homepage. The blogs – books, movies, music, @ your library (news and events), parenting & kids, tweens, teens, and technology – are an opportunity for our staff to share with patrons what they are reading, viewing, and listening to and what is going on at the library in various areas. We welcome patron comments on all of them.
In addition we have some blogs with helpful information that are not quite as visible to a patron who might be browsing our website.
Our three tech interns each have a blog: Alex has recently written about the internet, Cheryl about creating a strong password, and Ryan about protecting your computer. I always learn something from the blogs of these young tech savvy staff interns.
Local History staff share interesting information about southwest Michigan. A recent post is on historic schoolhouses. They also blog about genealogy, most recently about Canadian genealogy research.
The Friends of KPL share the bookstore specials of the week on their blog; the ONEplace@kpl blog offers news and advice for nonprofits, and a Reading Together blog provides highlights of that program.
See all the latest posts on our Blogs, News & Reviews page and bookmark the blogs of interest to you, or just scroll through our site from time to time AND please do comment….we welcome and appreciate your feedback.
Blogs, News & Reviews
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.
Come visit soon for materials on this topic or most any other!
Caroline Bartlett Crane, a KPL Women’s History essay
The Friends of KPL will hold a booksale at Oshtemo Branch on Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12. Many of the books will be discards from the library; like all libraries, we buy many copies of a popular title, then discard some to the Friends when demand has dropped. There are children’s as well as adult books in the sale.
These are great books at bargain prices - 50¢ each or 3 for $1.00!
Periodic booksales and the bookstore on the lower level of Central are the primary revenue sources for our very good Friends. They give the library $50,000+ each year to support our programs and services. Just think how many books pass through the hands of their many dedicated volunteers to generate that level of funding - most books they sell for 50¢ to $2.00. That’s a lot of books handled and sold to generate $50,000+ each year!
Build your home library, support the Friends of KPL as they in turn support the library.
Friends Oshtemo Book Sale
The numbers are in and MeLCat, our state-wide resource-sharing system, had a recordbreaking year with over one million requests.
KPL patrons continue to use this popular, do-it-yourself interlibrary loan service. KPL cardholders can place their own request at the MeLCat website and within a few days it will be delivered to KPL for them to pick-up. The system is well balanced and we loan about as many items as we borrow.
This statewide service is funded as part the Michigan eLibrary project of the Library of Michigan. Librarians continue to express strong support for this service. Those I have talked to advocate for continued MeLCat funding over direct state aid to public libraries, if a choice needs to be made. Funding for all library services that are state-wide depend upon the priorities for our state budget.
Resource-sharing within Michigan is alive and well. We hope it will continue.
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.
How Libraries Stack Up: 2010
Usually I do advance or pre vacation reading, particularly if my husband and I are traveling to a new area. We look through travel books for interesting sites at the destination and places to visit enroute. We often plan the route based on museums, historic sites, art galleries to visit along the way.
Last fall we took a big-for-us vacation: Santa Fe, New Mexico. We did our usual review of travel and history books in advance and made a plan to visit the many museums and art galleries in Santa Fe as well as Taos, various national parks and natural sites in the greater Santa Fe area. One day we went to Bandelier National Monument and nearby Los Alamos.
At Los Alamos we toured the science and history museums for an overview of the fascinating story of this once secret city, the scientists and their families, and the work of the weapons laboratory that developed the atomic bomb. I came home and wanted to read more about the human side of this city and project, not the technical details of the scientific research. I found the perfect book in our collection: 109 East Palace by Jennet Conant.
The book is loosely framed around Dorothy McKibbin, a young widow hired by Robert Oppenheimer, the civilian director of Los Alamos, to run the Santa Fe office. She greeted arrivals who, incredibly enough didn’t know exactly where they were going or what they would be working on, dealt with the numerous challenges of their daily lives, and became the gatekeeper between the hidden world of Los Alamos and the outside world.
The focus is on the day-to-day experiences of those who worked there during the stress of World War II and the rush to develop the bomb to end the war. Some technical details add to the understanding but don’t overpower the human side of this story. Especially interesting was the discussion among those involved of how the development and use of the bomb would change the post war world.
Even though I knew the outcome, of course, this book was still a page turner for me.
109 East Palace by Jennet Conant
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 Kalamazoo Public Library, January 2006
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.
eBooks and Sony Readers®
It’s that time of year that most every publication I pick up seems to have a “Best of the Year” list of one type or another. The ones I am most drawn to, not surprisingly, are those of best books.
I want to immediately start checking off the ones I have read and add the others to my “list-of-books-to-read-sometime.”
Most lists of best books of the year are from those published during the past year; mine is of books I have read that year, not necessarily those published.
It’s hard to decide, but here is my list:
Many staff have shared their favorite books, movies, and music from 2010 on our website under “Best of 2010” and we share routinely on our blogs in these same categories.
What were you favorite books of the year OR what do you think of mine? I’d appreciate hearing what you read and enjoyed.
Best wishes for the new year – good times, good health, good friends, and, of course good books!
Let the Great World Spin
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.
About the Library
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.
National Reading Group Month
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!
We just concluded our annual celebration of “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read.”
Booksellers, publishers, and libraries co-sponsor this event to highlight the benefits and importance of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books from libraries or schools, across the country.
Once again, we partnered with the local branch of the ACLU and held a banned books reading and art contest during Art Hop last week. Artists were invited to create original art inspired by one of five frequently challenged or banned books.
- Adult : Sandy Olsen (Illustration for: “To Kill a Mockingbird” - pictured above)
- Honorable mention: Ann Marks
- Student: Marissa Morgan
- Honorable mention: Katy Munn
- People’s choice adult: Beverly Fitzpatrick
- People’s choice student: Destine Price
Congratulations to these winners and thanks to all the artists who participated, both for their submissions but also for helping to call attention to the importance of our First Amendment rights and the freedom to read.
Exercise your freedom – come visit soon and read whatever you want to read! Don’t take that freedom for granted.
Illustration for: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Sandy Olson
Almost every magazine or newspaper I pick up seems to have an article about e-readers, often combined with the author’s viewpoint that books are going away, print will be obsolete.
Some studies show that reading overall is on the rise, be it on e-readers or traditional books. Some believe that the ease of sharing reviews about books is contributing to the increase.
Technology is allowing the casual reader to share the joy of reading, the discovery of a new author or an overlooked author. Previously major newspapers had separate book review sections; few of those still exist. Instead readers, rather than professional book reviewers, post their reviews on Amazon, bookstore websites, Twitter, Facebook, LibraryThing and Goodreads websites, and within library catalogs. Some sites provide for a rating system, usually a number of stars.
Then the dialogue begins! Other readers chime in, some, of course in agreement, others in strong disagreement. Some readers wonder if such comments are really reviews, but others say “who cares”. I’m in the group of “who cares”. I like to know the opinion of other readers; it often helps me decide to read or not read a particular book.
Book reviews may be added online to our catalog. Click on the “add a review” icon and share your opinion with others. As more readers contribute through public libraries with the same library catalog system, the number of titles with patron comments will grow.
Come visit, get a book, share your opinion.
Write a Review
The Library of Michigan has just released the 2009 edition of Michigan Public Libraries Data Digest, a compilation of activity in our state’s public libraries. The data is pulled from the annual reports we all submit to the state and covers fiscal year 2008/2009.
The digest includes a brief five year comparison between 2003 and 2008. Numbers / usage is up in all areas: items available, hours open to the public, programs offered, use of computers. This growth, during a time of reduced budgets for many public libraries, is encouraging. Many libraries, including KPL, have reduced hours, tightened materials budgets, and reexamined programming.
In other interesting, fun statistics:
- Michigan public libraries hold over 35 million books, almost four for every resident.
- Each resident checks out an average of over 8 items per year.
- Public libraries entertained and educated over 2.5 million people with our programs.
- We received 52.7 million visitors, double the number of visitors to our state parks.
- Combined, Michigan public libraries encompass more than 5 times the size of Ford Field Football Stadium!
Come visit soon – check out “your” four books, attend a program, use a computer, ask a question.
Michigan Public Libraries Data Digest
I have a reputation around the library of not liking the 800’s, meaning books that have a Dewey number classification in the 800s: plays, poetry, essays, literary criticism, satire and humor, literature.
When I made the comment that has earned me that reputation, I was referring to the amount of shelf space we devote to the 800s in comparison to the number of times books in these categories are checked out in a year. It was in the context of a discussion about books needing to “earn” their shelf space and a comparison to retail – more retail shelf space is devoted to items that sell. In our case, “selling” generally means circulating, although some books, of course, are used within the library and not checked out to a patron.
In the case of the 800s, we devote much more space to them than the circulation percentage would warrant, but we aren’t in the retail business either.
Collection maintenance, ordering new titles and discarding old ones, is a delicate balance within libraries. We want to have the new, hot titles; we want our shelves to look inviting; we want patrons to check out our materials; but we also want to have that old, favorite title a patron wants to reread or a title someone wants to browse, but not check out.
Our librarian staff is experienced at finding this balance, using a variety of tools, including circulation statistics, lists of standard titles, and their experience helping patrons. We also keep current on old titles that might have a new life through a movie version or renewed attention to the author.
Come visit soon; I’m betting we will have what you want to read next.
P.S. I really don’t dislike the 800s, actually I read quite a few books of essays, but I admit, I don’t read poetry very often.
800s: plays, poetry, essays, literary criticism, satire and humor, literature
“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.
Ann Rohrbaugh, Valerie Wright and Lisa Godfrey sign the "Declaration for the Right to Literacy" scroll at KPL
The used book business is booming, according to a recent article in Publishers Weekly. The internet and the economy are driving supply and demand. The internet has greatly expanding the buying and selling opportunities for used books, while economically some booksellers report long-time collectors are selling their collections and downsizing.
Some bookstores report more business in used books than new books, both in their store and on their website and have devoted more floor space and staff resources accordingly.
Of course if you are a public library user, you check out books from us rather than purchase them BUT we know folks want to own some books and have their own personal library. We librarians feel the same way!
As a KPL user, you can have easily have it both ways. Our very good friends, the Friends of KPL, operate the bookstore on the lower level of Central Library. They have only used books and very gently priced, less than on the internet or at most other used bookstores, and to make it even better, the revenue from the bookstore supports library programs and services, such as our just-completed Summer Reading games.
Come visit the library and the Friends Bookstore – borrow a book, buy a book.
It seems as if every popular magazine or newspaper I pick up has an article about ebooks, downloading content, changes in the compensation model for authors and publishers. The professional journals and newsletters I read, take those very same topics and examine them from the library perspective – how will libraries be impacted by these changes, how can we stay current and relevant to our patrons.
A recent issue of Newsweek included an article on self-publishing. One author was unable to find a publisher for his first novel, decided to upload it to the Amazon Kindle Store, sold many copies, attracted the attention of a publisher, his book was published in hardcover. This is the opposite of the usual route.
This nontraditional route is becoming increasingly common. Print-on-demand is also a rapidly developing new model for publishing. One author reports earning more money per ebook than per hardcover – basically the middleman has been cut out in that model.
I like a quote in the article: “The gatekeepers have become who they should have been in the first place: the readers.” We readers decide what we want to read, in what format we want to read it, and if we want to buy it or check it out from the library. Some authors attribute the success of books published in these nontraditional ways to user generated reviews….we readers express our opinions freely and now increasingly widely.
Clearly these publishing changes will impact public libraries. We’ll follow developments closely. As those who read move increasingly into ebooks and downloadable content, we’ll provide more and more books in those formats too, but we’ll continue to have the traditional print books for quite some time.
Personally, I still prefer a traditional book, especially for the beach, but since I wrote my last blog entry, I’ve seen my first e-reader on the Lake Michigan beach.
The self-publishing manual : how to write, print, and sell your own book by Dan Poynter
Last Sunday, I walked about 45 minutes along the Lake Michigan beach. It was a perfect beach day with lots of folks swimming in the warmer-than-usual lake and sunbathing. Many of the sunbathers were also reading. As I walked, I tried to see what they were reading.
Most were holding mass market paperbacks or magazines. I didn’t notice one single e-reader in spite of the recent e-reader ads that tout how well they work on a sunny day at the beach. I noticed many reading one of the page turners from Stieg Larsson, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Girl Who Played with Fire; Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I could tell from the cover graphics, that many were holding mysteries, but I couldn’t see the titles. People was a popular magazine choice that day.
After my walk, I returned to my beach chair and continued reading Let the Great World Spin, the August title for my book group. I’m looking forward to the discussion – there’s much to talk about in this one.
What are you reading on the beach or in your back yard this summer? And don’t forget to add it to your reading log for the grown-up summer reading game.
Several times recently, I’ve said or written my prediction that traditional printed books will continue to be our focus for the remainder of my library career. If that prediction is going to be true, it’s a good thing I’m nearer the end of my career than the beginning!
It seems almost every publication I read lately, has an article about e-books. Amazon has announced sales of digital books increased 207% in the first five months of the year and it sells more books for its Kindle e-reader than it does traditional hardcover volumes. Last month they sold nearly twice as many Kindle books as hardcover ones.
Barnes & Noble reports physical books, as opposed to digital ones, will be the majority of its sales for the next five years but their future is bright with the Nook, their e-reader. Publishers still depend on bookstores to display their books and promote authors and they are a destination to test new products. They see a market for both.
Other publications report that authors are now bypassing publishers and posting older works or unpublished works directly on Amazon in exchange for 70% of the sales price. Many authors are reportedly earning more from such e-book sales than from hardcover sales, consistent with Amazon’s overall sales direction.
Of course this all has implications for libraries. Some are proposing inviting authors to share their works directly with libraries in digital format with libraries paying for each transaction. Some suggest a central depository for libraries to draw on and pay per download. All agree such an approach would require a coordinated effort – no individual library could accomplish this to any significant degree on its own.
I still stand by my prediction that traditional printed books will dominate during the remainder of my library career but I certainly see the shift to digital books and their advantages. That shift to a major focus on digital with printed books as almost an aside, could well happen during the career of our younger librarians.
Although we do have e-readers and e-books to check out, traditional printed books are still our mainstay and will be for some time.
Come visit soon; check out a traditional printed book OR an e-book!
My handy desk dictionary defines “transliterate” as “to represent letter or words in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.”
I’m beginning to see this word more and more in the library literature, usually as “transliteracy” meaning “the ability to read, write, or otherwise communicate across different technological platforms.”
Libraries are increasing acknowledging that our role includes supporting transliteracy as well as the traditional literacy. We provide books for various reading levels in the traditional print format but we also provide them on e-readers and as a digital download to your computer or device. We offer computer classes for the public, we have over 100 computers for public use, and we have informational databases available in the library and remotely.
Through our staff Tech Team we examine new technologies as they gain popularity and determine if there are library applications that are logical. Technology rapidly changes and it is often hard to keep up, but it is important for us to keep pace with technological needs of our patrons. Right now we are looking at music downloads, apps for iPhones/iPads, and user friendly advancements to our online catalog.
Come visit soon. Try these services to increase your transliteracy or just find a good book for the beach!
A ‘Transliterate’ design at Bedminster Library, Bristol. UK. Collaborative artwork by Annie Lovejoy and Mac Dunlop, © 2005
…a book that doesn’t grab your attention, that is.
Some of us feel an obligation to finish a book once we have started it. We’ve become invested in it and should press on to the end.
Reader advisory expert and book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, encourages readers to give themselves permission to stop reading a book. She even has a “rule”: if you are 50 or younger, read at least 50 pages before you commit to reading it. If you are over 50, subtract your age from 100 and that is the number of pages you should read before deciding to read to the end or give up and move on to another title. Her theory is the older you are, the less time you have to read all the books on your list.
I like this “rule”. Some books just don’t grab my attention or it’s not the right time. I might want a lighthearted book, this one is serious. For those titles, I’ll keep them on my list, but come back to them at another time.
I think it is Thomas Jefferson who wrote “so many books, so little time”, but whoever it is, it makes the point of Nancy’s approach – move on to a book that engages you, ignites your imagination, takes you to new places.
We have many good books, come visit soon.
Nancy Pearl visited Kalamazoo Public Library in 2006
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.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Earlier this spring, I read my first complete book, actually two, on one of our Sony eReaders. I’d only read excerpts previously to try it out.
My husband and I took a driving vacation. Usually I’d take five or six books along; this time I took 30+, all on the eReader and it wasn’t full.
I admit it took me a little while to get used to it – the screen, the page turning, the side light when needed, BUT it sure was convenient.
I read Little Bee, such a compelling novel that I would have kept reading no matter what the format, and a short story collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out.
I’m not a total convert to eReaders; I still like the traditional printed book but it’s a format that has its place and it sure was easy to take an eReader rather than a stack of books on vacation.
We have several to loan; come visit and give on a try.
Audiobooks & eBooks
We spend months planning for summer and it’s finally here! Summer reading games for all ages kicked off last week with the end of school for KPS students.
As in recent years, kids – preschoolers and school age, tweens, teens, and grownups have their own game with age-appropriate requirements, incentives and prizes. Full information is on our website. Sign up at any branch or Central.
We have an array of events planned too: concerts, Zoomobile visits from Binder Park Zoo and John Ball Park, a musical circus, the ever-popular Bubblemania, cooking, crafts, gardening, and more.
And the “End-of-Summer Reading Party” to be held Sunday afternoon, August 29, will conclude our summer, but we won’t wish summer away….enjoy all the activities over the coming weeks.
On a more serious note, research shows that kids who read and write during the summer don’t lose “ground” over the break from school. Encourage all the kids in your life to read, either through a library summer reading game or books from their own collection.
Thanks to the FRIENDS OF KPL, our very good friends, for sponsoring all of our summer reading games.
Come visit soon.
Summer @ KPL
Most libraries separate mysteries from other fiction titles. Some also pull out other genre – westerns, science fiction, historical fiction, romance, for example. There was a time when it was obvious if a title fit a particular genre, but that’s not so true any longer for many titles.
I recently read an article on the dilemma this is presenting for booksellers. They call it genre-bending and give examples of titles that feature time travel, mystery and historical fiction all in one. Where does such a title belong to catch the eye of a bookstore browser and hopefully lead to a sale? The article’s author wonders if we need extensive testing to determine the genetic genre makeup of some titles!
Libraries face the same situation. If we put the right book in the wrong place, the right reader won’t find it if they are browsing. Some librarians believe genre classifications are going the way of top hat or, to continue to be useful to readers, will need to be even further fragmented. This issue can be addressed through the library catalog when a title is given multiple subject headings, but many readers browse the shelves for a good book they don’t browse the catalog.
I don’t see KPL creating additional genre collections for fiction. However, our staff is always available to help readers find a good book in any specific or multiple genre category. Our staff have varied reading interests and we have reader advisory tools to help to.
Come visit soon. We’ll be glad to help you find a good book or just browse.
Books @ KPL
I have three hometown friends with whom I exchange Christmas gifts. Regrettably, I am seldom able to gather with them over the holidays – they have been able to return to our hometown, while I have not.
Last year, I mailed them a big box of books – fifteen to be exact, five for each. All of the books were gently used paperbacks from the Friends Bookstore. I wrapped them individually; they were all titles I had read, so I put a post-it note on each one describing why I liked the book and thought they would too.
I hear it was a VERY successful gift; they each left with five books they hadn’t read. They tell me they’d like this gift every year. All of the books came from the Friends Bookstore for $1 - $2 each. What a bargain.
I’ll resume my Christmas shopping on Super Saturday, June 5, 9:00 – 3:30 when the Friends of KPL have their annual sidewalk book sale at the library. The bookstore on the lower level will also be open.
Get a head start on shopping!
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.
Keith Richards’ Library
I’m not current on teen literature, but as I wrote in a previous blog, I do have three favorite teen authors. Not surprisingly, they are my favorites because they have visited KPL and we had a wonderful experience with them.
I recently noted that Laurie Halse Anderson was the official spokesperson for April “School Library Month,” sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians. I was reminded of her visit to KPL about six years ago and how she quickly moved to my “list of favorite teen authors.”
Laurie was here for our Teen Literary Seminar. She visited English classrooms at K-Central and particularly bonded with one of the English teachers there, a Ms. X, I’ll say. Laurie told me she quickly sensed what a good teacher Ms. X was, how she challenged the kids to read and react to books that might be considered controversial but that had an important message for teens. Some of the books of this sort were Laurie’s, others were by other teen authors often not popular, shall I say, with school administrators and some parents.
As we were leaving a program at Chenery where Laurie had spoken to several high school English classes, she pulled me aside and told me in a strong tone of voice, to contact her if Ms. X was ever in trouble; she’d come back to defend her. I knew Laurie meant that if Ms. X’s choice of books for her students to read was challenged, she’d want to know and be involved. It wouldn’t matter if they were Laurie’s books or those of another author.
Laurie didn’t know that my son was in Ms. X’s class and was having a wonderful high school English experience. Indeed he was reading books he never would have otherwise, was engaged in challenging conversations, and had also totally bonded with Ms. X.
I’ll never forget this message from Laurie. I’m glad I’ve never had to follow up with her. I don’t know if Laurie remembers this specific teacher and conversation, but when I’ve seen her at conferences and reintroduce myself, she always speaks fondly of her visit to Kalamazoo.
No wonder she’s one of my favorite teen authors and a great spokesperson for school libraries.
Laurie Halse Anderson
Children’s Day/Book Day, also known as El Dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros, usually shortened to Dia, is the celebration of children, families, and reading held annually. It emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Children’s author, Pat Mora, proposed this linking of children and books, and founded the celebration now commemorated in most public libraries.
This year, KPL will celebrate Dia on Saturday, April 24, 11 AM, at Central Library with stories and songs in Spanish and English. We’ll have a special performance by Fantasia Ballet Folklorica along with crafts, door prizes, treats and, most importantly, a free book for every child for their home library.
You don’t have to be a child or have a child to enjoy this family event.
Dia de los Niños - Dia de los Libros
…..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.
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.
National Library Week
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.
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
I just read that two of my three favorite authors of teen books, John Green and David Levithan, are collaborating on a novel about two characters who have the same name. The book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, will have half of the chapters, one of the Wills, written by John and the other half by David. The book won’t be published for several weeks; I have it on my reading list already.
Not surprisingly, these authors are two of my favorites because they have visited KPL. We bonded with them and I believe they feel likewise. I saw John at a library conference this past summer and as soon as I reintroduced myself to him, he started fondly reminiscing about his visit here. I haven’t seen David since his visit, but I bet he’d feel likewise. He was very complimentary to KPL and our staff when he was here several years ago.
David Guterson in Kalamazoo
This is a week for another author visit to KPL – David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, this year’s Reading Together book, will be here Wednesday, March 17, for a public program at Kalamazoo Central High School at 7:00. His books, especially this one, are some of my favorites, so I expect I’ll enjoy meeting and hearing him speak.
The Kalamazoo community is fortunate to have many institutions and groups who sponsor author visits and programs. KPL is just one of them. Meeting and hearing an author adds a new dimension to reading their work. You may, like me with John and David, then want to read everything they write!
I hope to see you Wednesday or at some upcoming author program in our community.
While looking for some books recently, I came upon an essay on the joy of reading. It reminded me why I was attracted to a library career many years ago – I loved to read and still do. Some of my younger colleagues were attracted to a library career for the technology and informational aspects of library work. Not me, it was all about the books and reading; the other attractions to a library career came later.
I read just about everything from books to magazines to newspapers. It might sound trite, but passionate readers know it is true – it feels wonderful to lose yourself in a book, to transcend your present situation. I’ve been all over the world in all different time periods; I’ve “met” Lincoln, my favorite president; I’ve received self-help advice from experts.
“Never leave home without a book” is my “rule”. You never know when you might need to wait and have a few minutes to read.
Come visit soon. We have lots of good books – you can easily get lost in one of them.
Books and Reading
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.
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.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
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!
Audiobooks & eBooks
I’m impressed and amazed by those who can pick their favorite book, movie, or music of the decade. I’m still struggling to decide on my favorite fiction titles of the year and I’m allowing myself to select several from those I read this year, not necessarily published this year.
I’m glad I waited this long to decide since I just finished That Old Cape Magic over the weekend and I’m adding it to my top five. My other four include Piano Teacher, The Vagrants, Exiles in the Garden, and Invisible Mountain in no particular order.
These five are closely followed by Shanghai Girls, The Lace Reader, The Story of a Marriage, Gardens of Water, and Telex from Cuba.
I’ll stop there and continue to ponder my favorites of the decade. Please share your favorites – the year or the decade.
Come visit soon. All of these favorites of mine are from our collection, along with the many other good books, of course.
I wish you a healthy and happy 2010 and hope there is time for leisure reading and many good books.
That Old Cape Magic