From the Director
Library news and happenings.
Many governmental agencies, professional organizations, and businesses are urging a “yes” vote on Proposal 1 on August 5. This week the library board followed the lead of others and passed a resolution of support.
This proposal accomplishes two major goals without raising taxes:
- Provides a tax cut for small businesses by ending the personal property tax they are required to pay
- Creates a stable, reliable funding system for such services as police, fire, roads, libraries, and other community services as a replacement for personal property tax revenues
Many organizations and media outlets have published FAQ’s, impact statements, and informational bulletins. Here is a link to the one complied by the Michigan Library Association.
The library community is hopeful this proposal will pass and eliminate some of the funding uncertainty for libraries.
….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
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
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
As most library users know, the Kalamazoo County Law Library is located on the lower level of Central Library next to the Friends Bookstore. We aren’t lawyers, but we have knowledgeable staff there to help. There is now another legal resource for Michigan residents: www.MichiganLegalHelp.com
The Michigan Legal Help website helps people handle simple civil legal problems without a lawyer. It contains articles about specific areas of the law and toolkits to help you represent yourself in court. Some forms are available and can be completed automatically online once you answer a few simple questions about the issue.
The website is not to be a substitute for a lawyer and does not cover all areas of the law. The self-help areas include family, protection from abuse, housing, consumer, expungement, and public benefits issues.
It is funded by the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, and the Legal Services Corporation.
It might be a good first step as you deal with a legal matter in one of these areas.
Michigan Legal Help
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.
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
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
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.